November 27, 2015

The Thread That Binds by Alice Hayes - Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

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

Published: September 15, 2015
Number of pages: 284
Genre: Fiction

Sherice is a new mother, a sonographer, quilter, and wife; an overworked young woman whose elderly mother is slipping away from her.

Sylvie is a newlywed and recent immigrant, unemployed and virtually penniless. Her husband’s paycheck can’t even cover prenatal care, let alone a baby, and her due date is only drawing nearer…

Joanne’s unconventional pregnancy turns her world upside down, redefining her career and relationships, and even bringing to the surface long-buried demons from her past.

Payton is seventeen, pregnant, and on the run. She flees to her uncle in Georgia with the hope of making a fresh start, but discovers making it on her own is harder than she could ever have imagined.

Gloria is trapped in an unhappy marriage; in love with someone else. Her life is falling apart. With a baby on the way, would it be selfish to flee?

Five women, once strangers, form bonds. Set in modern day Georgia, this is the story of friendship that blossoms in the land of country music, sweet tea, and secrets kept locked tight behind closed doors. Moving, funny, and at times heartbreaking, The Thread That Binds is a lesson in empathy, strength, and the beauty of love.

Buy the book: Amazon

What did I think about this book:
This is the first book I have read by this author and I thought it was a good book. I enjoyed getting to know each of these women in this book and how they ended up forming a friendship that brought them close together. For me this is a book that grabbed me from the first page and did not let go until the very end. The author's writing style made the book read quickly. The author did a good job with the characters each of them could have been anyone you know. I think that is what I liked about this book is that I felt as if I was friends with these ladies as well. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a story of friendship, strong bonds and love. 

About the author:
Originally from Winchester, England, Alice’s plans to read law at a British university were disrupted when she fell deeply in love with Georgia, USA, while studying abroad. After moving all over Georgia, Alice has finally settled in Athens and has no plans to go anywhere else.

She is a single mother to a three-year-old girl and a 65 lb hound dog. She likes coffee, wine, and anything edible with the words ‘salted caramel’ in its description.

At the time of publication, Alice is a 24-year-old history student working full time in a law office, and writing fiction at every stolen moment. She hasn’t slept in approximately two years. Her first published novel, The Thread That Binds won third place in World's Best Story contest.

Connect with the author: Website Twitter

Guest Post:
I looked again at the customer email I had received. “I had the baby”, it said, with no pomp or revelry. Not so much as a “healthy baby girl” or “little baby boy”. For a moment, I wondered if hidden behind a lack of words was something worrisome.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was a new immigrant to the United States. I had not yet received work authorization, and sitting on my heavily pregnant laurels did not bode well for me. So I reached out in an online community of pregnant mothers with an interesting proposal: if anyone wanted a patchwork quilt made, I would do it, for free; to gain experience and skill so that once my holy Green Card arrived could make quilting my full-time job. A few women reached out and I made them quilts, for free, from materials they provided me. Now, I had received this cryptic email from one of these ‘customers’ I had befriended, and I wasn’t sure how to react.

The truth is, I suffered from horrific prenatal depression. I was also bullied online after I admitted that we were too poor to afford health insurance or prenatal care (these were in the days pre-ACA; and I was denied Medicaid), and I learned something during the whole experience: you never know what strangers are going through. The women online who openly wished ill harm on me and my baby did not know that I was suffering day and night. So receiving an email like that – “I had the baby” – my first thought was “she doesn’t sound excited… Is she suffering, too?”

Eventually, my circumstances changed and I was able to get health insurance. My first prenatal visit was in my third trimester. My baby was born in July 2012: a big, healthy girl. Yet still, I thought about the attacks I had received online. Still, I thought about that email from my customer-friend, and although I would very soon learn first-hand that her brevity came from nothing more than exhaustion, it got me thinking: what if there was someone who made quilts, like me, but also reached out to the women who would receive them? And just like that, the character of Sherice came to life.

Sherice is named for one internet stranger who didn’t crucify me, but instead reached out to help. She contacted me to say that she’d received a lot of gift cards at her baby shower – more than she could ever use – and was there anything I needed for my baby? I was touched by her kindness, and I decided that I was going to write a novel about a quilter who believes in helping and uplifting strangers.

She meets Sylvie, a new immigrant who cannot work and cannot afford healthcare (that might sound familiar). She cannot walk away leaving her helpless. She later meets Joanne, Payton, and Gloria: all pregnant; all struggling; all in need of friendship.

The Thread That Binds is fiction, but its message is not. Extending kindness to strangers usually costs us nothing, and you never know just how badly they might need it.

Prizes: ​ 
Win 1 of 5 copies of The Thread That Binds
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Tour Schedule:
Nov 23 - The Book Review - review / giveaway

Nov 23 - Puddletown Reviews - review

Nov 24 - - review / giveaway

Nov 24 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway

Nov 25 - Fantastic Feathers - review

Nov 25 - Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway

Nov 26 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / author interview / giveaway

Nov 26 - The World As I See It - review / giveaway

Nov 27 - Griperang's Bookmarks - review / guest post / giveaway

Nov 27 - Life as Leels - review

Nov 30 - From Isi - review

Nov 30 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review

Dec 1 - Corinne Rodrigues - review / giveaway

Dec 1 - Room With Books - review / author interview / giveaway

Dec 2 - Sahar's Blog - review

Dec 2 - Divas With A Purpose - review / guest post

Dec 2 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway

Dec 3 - StoreyBook Reviews - review / giveaway

Dec 4 - A Splendid Messy Life - review / author interview / giveaway

Dec 4 - Book and Ink - review / giveaway

Dec 7 - Worth Getting in Bed For - review / guest post

Dec 7 - Genuine Jenn - review / giveaway

Dec 8 - Readers Muse - review / guest post

Dec 8 - The Autistic Gamer - review

​Dec 9 - I'd Rather Be At The Beach - review / giveaway

Dec 10 - Singing Librarian Books - review / author interview / giveaway

Dec 10 - Her Book Thoughts! - review / giveaway

Dec 11 - Jessica Cassidy - review / author interview / giveaway

Dec 11 - Maddie & Books - review / author interview

A Reluctant Assassin by JC Morrows - Review and Giveaway

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

Published: September 24, 2015
Number of pages: 228
Genre: Science Fiction, Steampunk
Series: Order of the Moonstone

Her mission was simple — get close to the Prince, and kill him. . .

Kayden entered the palace under a lie, one designed to get her close to the Prince. On the outside, she may look like a princess but beneath the mask, a killer lays in wait — for the perfect moment.

Dvarius was not ready to take the crown, nor was he ready for a wife . . . but due to his father’s unexpected death and an archaic law — he must find a bride before he is allowed to take his rightful place on the throne.

And the one woman he wants — just might be the one who is there to kill him...

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What did I think of this book:
This is the first book I have read by this author. I thought the book was a good book even though it is not normally the genre I would read. There is a bit of action and romance in this book so a little for everyone. I liked the idea of a female being an assassin. For me this is what drew me to the book. I thought the character developement was good and Kayden was a strong person. The author did a good job in all the details she used. This is a good book sor someone looking for a strong female character with a little action and romance. 

About the author:
C Morrows - Bestselling author of YA Christian speculative fiction, drinker of coffee and avid reader - is a storyteller in the truest sense of the word. JC has been telling stories in one form or another her entire life and once her mother convinced her to write them down, she couldn't stop.

She finished her first speculative fiction novel purely for the enjoyment of her mother - also known as her biggest fan.

She gives God all of the glory for her talent and ability!


The Order of the Moonstone is not just another shadowy underground resistance operation.

They have a much more sinister purpose.

Kayden is about to find out just how sinister.

Go back to the very beginning with us... see how Kayden was chosen for her most important and most dangerous assignment yet.

When a reluctant assassin returns to the palace and receives a less than warm welcome, she is certain her opportunity has passed to fulfill her mission.
Or has it . . . ?

When a young prince makes the decision to ignore a certain young lady with red hair and a fiery temper to match, will he seal his fate?

Or will a moonlit ball, and a special dress bring the two of them together again - with life . . . not death . . . in mind?

Kayden’s mission should have been simple — she was sent to kill the prince . . . not to fall in love with him.

Within the palace walls, Kayden has discovered that things are not as she expected. Is there more to the royal family, or . . . is there a more sinister depth to Drey’s mission?

Dvarius thought his mind was made up — but will he have the resolve to see it through?

Between attacks from outside the palace — and within, will the Prince live long enough to choose his Queen?

And will Kayden choose to follow her head . . . or her heart — knowing that her decision could very well make her a target as well!

November 24--
November 26--Bookworm Lisa

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November 26, 2015

People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann

Published: September 9, 2014
Number of pages: 224
Gnere: Humor

A debut collection of witty, biting essays laced with a surprising warmth, from Jen Mann, the writer behind the popular blog People I Want to Punch in the Throat

People I want to punch in the throat:
• anyone who feels the need to bling her washer and dryer
• humblebraggers
• people who treat their pets like children

Jen Mann doesn’t have a filter, which sometimes gets her in trouble with her neighbors, her fellow PTA moms, and that one woman who tried to sell her sex toys at a home shopping party. Known for her hilariously acerbic observations on her blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Mann now brings her sharp wit to bear on suburban life, marriage, and motherhood in this laugh-out-loud collection of essays. From the politics of joining a play group, to the thrill of mothers’ night out at the gun range, to the rewards of your most meaningful relationship (the one you have with your cleaning lady), nothing is sacred or off-limits. So the next time you find yourself wearing fuzzy bunny pajamas in the school carpool line or accidentally stuck at a co-worker’s swingers party, just think, What would Jen Mann do? Or better yet, buy her book.

What did I think of this book:
While looking for a book in the bookstore I ran across the sequel to this book first and bought it (review for it to come next month) so then I had to find this book so I could read it first. The title is what caught my attention as I can tell you I have felt this way at times. From page one I was hooked and found myself laughing and agreeing with Jen. I even read some of the stories to my husband and he laughed as well. All the stories are so good that I don't know if I can pick a favorite. One of my favorites though is Who needs Dr. Phil when we have Adolpha?, the things her daughter comes up with. I can't wait to read the holiday version of this book next month. I give this book five stars and will be recommending to everyone. The only disclaimer is if you do not like swearing then you might not want to read it as there is cursing in it. 

About the author:
In addition to her blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Jen Mann has also written for The Huffington Post, Babble, Circle of Moms, and CNN Headline News. She was voted one of Circle of Moms Top 25 Funniest Mom Blogs for 2012 and 2013 and chosen by the same site as one of the “Most Influential” bloggers. She was a BlogHer Voice of the Year in 2012 and 2013 and was a finalist for two Bloggies in 2013 (Weblog of the Year and Best Parenting Weblog). In 2012 she self-published a debut collection of essays, Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat. She lives in the suburbs of Kansas with her husband (aka “the Hubs”) and is the mother of two children, whom she calls Gomer and Adolpha on her blog. She swears their real names are actually worse.

November 25, 2015

The Winemaker Detective by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noel Balen

Release date: December 5, 2015 at Le French Book 
Number of pages: 309 pages 
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 9781939474568 Website | Goodreads
The ideal gift for mystery and wine lovers — An immersion in French countryside, gourmet attitude, and light-hearted mystery. Two amateur sleuths gumshoe around French wine country, where money, deceit, jealousy, inheritance and greed are all the ingredients needed for crime. Master winemaker Benjamin Cooker and his sidekick Virgile Lanssien solve mysteries in vineyards with a dose of Epicurean enjoyment of fine food and beverage. Each story is a homage to wine and winemakers, as well as a mystery. In Treachery in Bordeaux, barrels at the prestigious grand cru Moniales Haut-Brion wine estate in Bordeaux have been contaminated. Is it negligence or sabotage? In Grand Cru Heist, Benjamin Cooker’s world gets turned upside down one night in Paris. He retreats to the region around Tours to recover. He and his assistant Virgile turn PI to solve two murders and a very particular heist. In Nightmare in Burgundy, a dream wine tasting trip to Burgundy turns into a troubling nightmare when Cooker and his assistant stumble upon a mystery revolving around messages from another era. This made-for-TV series is “difficult to forget and oddly addictive” (ForeWord Reviews). 

Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen, wine lover and music lover respectively, came up with the idea for the Winemaker Detective series while sharing a meal, with a bottle of Château Gaudou 1996, a red wine from Cahors with smooth tannins and a balanced nose. 

Anne Trager loves France so much she has lived there for 27 years and just can’t seem to leave. What keeps her there is a uniquely French mix of pleasure seeking and creativity. Well, that and the wine. In 2011, she woke up one morning and said, “I just can’t stand it anymore. There are way too many good books being written in France not reaching a broader audience.” That’s when she founded Le French Book to translate some of those books into English. The company’s motto is “If we love it, we translate it,” and Anne loves crime fiction, mysteries and detective novels.


Sally Pane studied French at State University of New York Oswego and the Sorbonne before receiving her Masters Degree in French Literature from the University of Colorado where she wrote Camus and the Americas: A Thematic Analysis of Three Works Based on His Journaux de Voyage. Her career includes more than twenty years of translating and teaching French and Italian at Berlitz and at University of Colorado Boulder. She has worked in scientific, legal and literary translation; her literary translations include Operatic Arias; Singers Edition, and Reality and the Untheorizable by Clément Rosset, along with a number of titles in the Winemaker Detective series. She also served as the interpreter for the government cabinet of Rwanda and translated for Dian Fossey’s Digit Fund. In addition to her passion for French, she has studied Italian at Colorado University, in Rome and in Siena. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband.

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November 24, 2015

A Thousand Shall Fall by Andrea Boeshaar

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

Published: November 27, 2015
Number of pages: 256
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Shenandoah Valley #1

A story of love, hope, and healing set in the midst of the Civil War

Nineteen-year-old Carrie Ann Bell is independent and spirited. The only thing she really fears are the Union soldiers fighting against her Confederate friends. When her youngest sister runs away from home, brave Carrie Ann is determined to find her and bring her back. Disguised as a soldier, she sets off---only to find she's fallen into the hands of the enemy.

Her childhood friend Confederate Major Joshua Blevins has warned her against these Yankees: they're all devils, ready to inflict evil on unsuspecting young women. When Colonel Peyton Collier arrests her for her impersonation of an officer, it seems to confirm all her fears.

Soon, though, she finds herself drawn to the handsome, gallant colonel. He rescued her, protected her, and has been every inch the gentleman. Carrie Ann discovers that her foe has become her ally---and more than that, someone she could love. But the arrival of Joshua in the Union camp as a spy will test her loyalties. Will she protect someone who has been like family or be loyal to this stranger to whom she wants to offer her heart? When her world is being torn apart around her, whom should she trust?

Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, A Thousand Shall Fall is framed around compelling characters and a very romantic setting in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Andrea Boeshaar's extensive research guarantees historical accuracy and romance genre enthusiasts and Civil War buffs alike will enjoy the Christian perspectives on actual historical events.

Purchase a copy:

What did I think of the book:
This is the first book by this author that I have read and I have to say that I am happy that I gave her a chance. I am a fan of historical fiction books set in the Civil War time period so this was a win win for me. The author did a good job with developing the characters as well the settings. I felt as if you could tell that she did her historical research. There is plenty of action and adventure to keep this story moving right along. I will be looking forward to the next book in this series as I can't wait to see what happens next. 

About the author:
Andrea Boeshaar is the cofounder of American Christian Fiction Writers and runs "The Writer's ER," a coaching service for writers. She is the author of thirty published works, including Threads of Faith, a finalist in the Inspirational Readers Choice Awards. Andrea is also the author of a popular devotional and regularly blogs on a number of sites.

Connect with Andrea: website, Twitter, Facebook

The search for her runaway sister goes awry when Carrie finds herself arrested during the Civil War for impersonating an officer in Andrea Boeshaar's A Thousand Shall Fall. Soon, though, she finds herself drawn to the handsome, gallant colonel who arrested her. Carrie Ann discovers that her foe has become her ally—and more than that, someone she could love. Will she protect someone who has been like family or be loyal to this stranger to whom she wants to offer her heart? When her world is being torn apart around her, whom should she trust?

Andrea is celebrating the release of A Thousand Shall Fall with a Kindle Fire giveaway!

400 - a thousand shall fall 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of A Thousand Shall Fall
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 10th. The winner will be announced December 11th on Andrea's blog.

a thousand shall fall-enterbanner

November 23, 2015

I, Mary by Mike Hartner

I received this book from Pump Up Your Book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: July 14, 2015
Number of pages: 266
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Eternity Series #3

Mary Crofter's first trip on the water was just after her first birthday, when her parents came from her birthplace in Kilwa to Portsmouth. She's been on several trips from Portsmouth to London and other places since. She loves the water and the water seems to love her. Can she survive on the water? Will people ever take seriously a GIRL as a sailor? Will she ever come off the water? If she does, will the lure of the ocean draw her back?
For More Information

I, Mary is available at Amazon.

Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

What did I think about this book:
This is the first book I have read by this author so I did not know what to expect. As I was reading the book I did find myself enjoying the story line and the author's writing style. This book was written in a memoir form which for me makes the book read faster. I really found myself liking the main character of this book. I felt as if she was a strong person. This book has adventure and history which makes for a good story. The author did a good job of including plenty of historical details for us lovers of history. Even though this book is a part of a series you can read as a stand alone.

About the author:
Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He's traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.

His latest book is the historical romance, I, Mary.

For More Information
Visit Mike Hartner’s website.
Connect with Mike on Facebook and Twitter.
Find out more about Mike at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:
I looked upon the gray waters that surrounded me. To the west it was dark and cloudy, the wind blustering. But as I braced myself against the gale hitting full force against my peacoat, I smiled.

It was fitting that I was here, and nothing could ever convince me otherwise. I’d been birthed on land but it wasn’t long afterward that I was on the water—and acquiring my sea legs. From the time I could walk, I learned to balance myself on the uneven deck. And later to climb the gnarly spars and ultimately the sayles. My parents taught me my numbers and to read and write as well. Numbers, well, was my best subject, and I was good at that. But my time at sea was what I loved the most. In truth, the only fun I remember in my childhood was when they took me on our merchant ship from our home in Portsmouth to London or to Bristol. It wasn’t the location that I liked or the end of the journey; no, for me it was the sayling, standing on the deck, listening to the wind, watching the ocean and the clouds and . . . late at night . . . the stars. I wanted to be on the sea forever, and I knew this from my very first time aboard ship.

I remember very well every one of those trips, because during each voyage I would close my eyes and concentrate, and it was as if I were talking to the water. And through a combination of waves and the ship’s motion, it felt as if the sea was in turn communicating with me.

I recall all of the journeys with my father and his good friend, Captain Jose. The saylors on those ships were always good to me, and I came to respect all of them. They taught me sayling while they went about their own jobs. Even as a little kid I was taught how to tie knots. And when I was eleven they instructed me on how to throw knives and swing a cutlass. Soon afterward I was taught how to prime, load, and shoot a musket. But I turned up my nose at the musket, even the smaller flintlock pistols. To me, there was no honor in this sort of fight. No great talent was needed to shoot somebody. Any idiot could pull a trigger. In my mind, it required real skill to defeat a man, or woman for that matter, with a cutlass. And, yes, I will take up swords against a woman. Because, you see, I am one also.

Captain Jose had been a friend of the family since before I was born. He’d sayled with my father, James, and my mother, Rosalind. I heard the stories of the trip from Kilwa, where I was born, and then to Portsmouth, where we now live. I don’t know how they originally met because I haven’t been told that yet, but Captain Jose is so close to the family that I’ve always called him Uncle Jose or Uncle for short.

Currently, I am not quite twelve years old, thin as a rail, a little over eleven hands high, and maybe weighing four stone soaking wet. My hair is long enough to wear tied behind so it looks like the tail on a pony, but many men wear their hair the same way, so no one would know I was a girl just by looking at me.

I was in the office of Crofter Shipping Yards one day when Uncle Jose called me to him said, “Come over here and sit down.” He was always so nice to me that I never hesitated at any request of his, so I took a seat next to him. He gave me a funny look, kind of sly but not really since he smiled right away. “I’ve already talked to your parents, and both James and Rosalind agree with me.”

I looked at him and fidgeted, not having a clue what he was going to say next.

“You’ve sayled with your father and me all your life. We brought you to Portsmouth on a carrack many years ago. You’ve been on the caravel we sayled to Le Havre and on a special boat too, a cog—the one with just one sayle—when we sayled to London.”

I nodded at him, but I was confused. Had I done something wrong?

“Mary, there is a caravel that will be leaving these shipping yards in a little over a week. It's headed to the north of Scotland. Seldom do pirates sayle these waters, so other than weather it will be relatively safe and . . .” My eyes widened. Was I getting the right message? Was he really doing this? Was he really going to make my dream come true? “If you should be interested, I can schedule you to take your sayling tests in the next few days so you can be on that caravel and start out as part of the crew on this trip. This way, you can see if sayling is really what you want to do.”

I threw myself at Uncle Jose. “Yes, yes. Please, yes.”

He laughed. “Then let’s go get you some sayling clothes and set you up to crew on your very first ship. Then I’ll introduce you to the captain.” I jumped up from my chair but Uncle Jose pointed to me so I’d retake my seat. His face turned solemn, almost to a frown. “There’s something we need to discuss, and this won’t be easy to talk about. I brought this up this with your parents, and they told me to go ahead and tell you.”

Uncle Jose’s change of attitude was so great that I was startled. “I don’t understand.”

“I’ve already spoken to the captain, since I assumed you’d say yes. And he assured me that his main crew will respect you as a girl and also as a Crofter. But there are always new men brought on board. And even though the regular crew is honorable as far as this captain knows, they are still men of the sea. Mary, do you understand what I’m saying to you?”

“Your crew was always wonderful to me.” As soon as I said this I started to think back to all the times the men had helped me.

“You were a young girl who was the daughter of the owner of the ship, and I was the captain who knew each man well. If anyone had stepped out of line, he would have been run through or thrown overboard. This will be different, and you must understand that you are older now, almost a woman if you aren’t already. I don’t know how else to put it, but to say you will have to be on your guard at all times. The captain will have a couple of his most trusted men watching over you, but even a caravel is a big enough boat that . . . well, no person can be looked after day and night.”

I hadn’t given what Uncle Jose was talking about a single thought, but I wasn’t scared. “I’m not saying I can take down a saylor, but I know how to defend myself, and Mother has taught me how to hurt a man where it hurts the most.”

Uncle Jose let out a muffled laugh that might’ve been a groan. “Always know who’s around you, and be aware that you’re going to constantly have to prove yourself.”

“Because I’m a girl?” I snapped, mad that I’d done so at Uncle Jose.

“Yes,” he came back just as fast, but then he smiled and showed his big teeth. “Just be aware that nothing I have said was with the intent of trying to talk you off the boat. I just don’t want you—”

“Uncle Jose, I’ve heard the men talk on the boats since I was first able to walk the decks. Sometimes I’d hear things that I know I wasn’t supposed to, and as I got older many saylors didn’t even think I was not one of them, so I’m not unaware that men are going to be men at times. I can handle myself, I promise.”

“Let us hope you don’t have to.” He stared hard at me. “At least with the crew.”

November 22, 2015

Goodnight Manger by Laura Sassi

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: October 6, 2015
Number of pages: 32
Genre: Children's 

Goodnight, Manger, written by Laura Sassi and illustrated by New York Times bestselling artist Jane Chapman, tells the story of Mary and Joseph as they try to lull Jesus to sleep in the noisy stable after his birth. It's bedtime for Baby Jesus, but who knew a manger could be so loud? Mama, Papa, and all of the animals try to lull the baby to sleep, but between itchy hay, angels' joyful hosanas, and three kings bearing noisy gifts, it's just too loud. Until Mama finds a way for everyone to work together to shepherd Baby into peaceful dreams under the twinkling stars.

What did I think of this book:
This is a cute children's book to read to your little ones at bedtime. I liked how each page had a different poem on it to tell the little ones goodnight. The drawings were very nice and fit the story nicely. This is a book that can be read over and over again. There are more books by this author and I will be looking into getting them for my little niece and nephew.

About the author:
Laura Sassi has a passion for telling humorous stories in rhyme. She writes daily from her century-old home in New Jersey where she lives with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie. Her poems, stories, articles, and crafts have appeared in Highlights for Children, Cricket, Ladybug, Spider and Focus on the Family's Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. GOODNIGHT, ARK is her first picture book.

Gossamer Ghost by Laura Childs

Published: October 6, 2015
Number of pages: 336
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Scrapbooking Mystery #12

Carmela Bertrand knows that Halloween in New Orleans means a week of rabble-rousing, costumed craziness—and she can’t wait to get the party started. But when a local antiques dealer turns up dead, Carmela suddenly finds herself in a real-life danse macabre…

An evening’s work deciding on the class schedule for her scrapbooking shop has put Carmela in the mood to kick up her heels. But after some strange noises draw her into Oddities, the neighboring antiques shop, Carmela’s night is abruptly put on hold when a bloody body falls out of a curio cabinet—and into her arms.

While shop owner Marcus Joubert was known for being an eccentric with a penchant for eclectic merchandise, Carmela never thought he was the kind of man who could inspire the passion required to kill. But when Marcus’s assistant—and fiancée—Mavis reveals that a priceless death mask was also stolen, it becomes clear that murder wasn’t the culprit’s sole intention.

Carmela can’t resist the urge to investigate the growing mystery, but as the list of suspects increases, she realizes it’ll take every trick in the book to unmask the killer thief before there’s another night of murderous mischief…

What did I think of this book:
This is the twelth book that I have read in this series and I like each one as much as I did the first one I ever read by this author. She is who got me hooked on reading cozy mysteries. Carmella and her best friend Ava seem to always get themselves involved in some sort of trouble while trying to solve the newest murder. This time it is Carmella's next door neightbor that is killed. It was neat to see all the things that New Orleans does at Halloween. Some of the activities sound like they would be a hoot. I also like hearing about all the crafts that the ladies are creating. I am looking forward to the next one in the series. 

About the author:
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries, and a recent recipient of the Romantic Times Book Review’s Award for Best Amateur Sleuth. In her previous life, she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

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

Published: October 13, 2015
Number of pages: 240
Genre: Christian Fiction

Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster.

Christmas takes a very different turn when the guests of honor break up instead of announcing their engagement. Trapped with his family, they learn that love looks different than either imagined. Both in their eighties, Dodie and Wilson Binder celebrate every Christmas as if it were their last. This year, their grandson Micah is planning to ask his girlfriend, Katie, to marry him so they can celebrate with the whole family. But things go very wrong when she says, "no." Now they are stuck. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it's Christmas.

Purchase a copy:

What did I think about this book:
This book could be the story of just about any family at Christmas time. This time of year I enjoy reading holiday themed books to help get me in the mood for the upcoming season. So I was happy to get picked to read this book. I have to say this was a nice book to read and a quick one. The writing style of the author made the entire story flow through the pages. This story will take you on a roller coaster of emotions from laughter to tears. There are also multiple lessons to be learned when reading this book. I loved the bonfire scene. The characters were strong and well developed. I will be looking forward to more books by this author. 

About the author:
Drawing from 33 years of on-air radio ministry, Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels and novellas, nonfiction books and devotionals, and speaking for women's and writers' events. Her books have been recognized by Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Awards, Selah Awards, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Christian Retailing's BEST Awards, and Carol Award nominations, among other honors, including a Family Fiction Readers' Choice Award. She and her plot-tweaking husband live in Pittsville, Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

Connect with Cynthia: website, Twitter,Facebook
There's no getting out of Christmas now, despite Katie rejecting Micah's marriage proposal. Cozy up this holiday season with Cynthia Ruchti's new novella, An Endless Christmas. The Binder family celebrates every Christmas as if it were their last. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it’s Christmas.

Celebrate the holidays with Cynthia and An Endless Christmas by entering her $100 Target gift card giveaway!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of An Endless Christmas
  • A $100 gift card to Target
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 30th. The winner will be announced December 1st on Cynthia's blog.

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November 21, 2015

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

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

Published: November 17, 2015
Number of pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult, Christian Fiction

The one who needs rescuing isn't always the one in the tower...

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.

Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel's hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again---this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.

The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight---Sir Gerek---Rapunzel, in turn, rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to him than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?

As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery are about to be revealed after seventeen years. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?

Purchase a copy:

What did I think of this book:
This is actually a young adult book but I enjoyed it just as well. It is nice that you can have an element of faith but it is not an in your face kind. For me this makes the meaning more meaningful. I enjoyed the author's take on Rapunzel's story to get a point across. In the past I have enjoyed other books by this author and I have to say this one was right up there among the best ones she has written. I thought the characters were well developed and very strong. This is a second book in the fairy tale series but can be read as a stand alone book. If you enjoy reading a new turn on fairy tales then this book is for you. I will be looking forward to the next book by this author. 

About the author:
Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer's Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader's Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.

Connect with Melanie: website, Twitter,Facebook, YouTube

November 18, 2015

Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta - Review

Published: September 23, 2014
Number of pages: 96

Bestselling coloring book from Millie Marotta—with over 1.5 million copies sold!

Millie Marotta's adult coloring books, always filled with intricate patterning and detail, invite adults and older children to add their personal touch to each stunning drawing. Enter her captivating animal kingdom, featuring everything from beautiful birds to fantastic fish, delicate dragonflies to elaborately decorated elephants. Give a rooster plumage, adorn a tortoise's shell, create a backdrop for a ram, and more inspiring creative fun. The high-quality paper makes it perfect for color pencils.

What did I think of this book:
This illustrator has done a great job giving us some amazing drawings of animals. These drawings will be providing me with hours and hours of coloring pleasure. I liked the details she used in each of the pictures and the variety of animals used. Another great addition to my colroing book collection.

About the author/Illustrator:
Millie Marotta is a freelance illustrator working in her studio by the sea in a little corner of West Wales. She has developed a mild obsession with all things flora and fauna, which along with intricate pattern and detail, remains an ongoing theme in her art. She works in both traditional and digital media for editorial, advertising, merchandising, web, and textiles. Her clients range from Virgin Atlantic to Penguin Books.

Good Night, Little Love by Laura Neutzling - Review

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: December 15, 2015
Number of pages: 24
Genre: Children's

Getting ready for sleepy time has never been so sweet.

It’s time to put on pajamas, snuggle up, and look forward to all the happy adventures and togetherness that God will bring tomorrow. Help your child wind down with this imaginative lullaby with whimsical illustrations, and then drift off to sleep reassured of your unconditional love and affection.

What did I think about the book:
I loved this little board book. Each double page spread has a cute little poem about what mama and baby bunny are going to do. I thought the bunnies were cute and baby bunny in his fuzzy pjs was just adorable to me. The illustrator Anna Currey did a great job with her drawings and choices of colors. This is the perfect book to read along with your toddler before bedtime. I am looking forward to when my little niece comes to visit next week so I can read it to her. 

November 17, 2015

Unlocking Worlds by Sally Allen - Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

I received this book from iRead Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: September 2, 2015
Number of pages: 248
Genre: Fiction

Award-winning writer and teacher Sally Allen knows that good books don’t just draw us in; they talk to us, shape us, and transport us to times, places, and minds different from our own.

In Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, Allen deftly weaves personal stories with fifteen thematized, annotated, and illustrated reading lists for what to read next. By sharing some of the treasures in her library and the secret lives they reveal, she gives us permission to embrace the shameless book lover inside each of us. Unlocking Worlds is a testament to how reading passionately—and compassionately—can unlock the world beyond our back yard. Celebrating books and those who read them, Allen shows how the solitary act of reading can be a powerful thread that creates community and connection. Thought-provoking and eloquent, Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers is a must-have for anyone who can’t leave the house without a book in hand.

Buy the book: Amazon Barnes & Noble

What did I think of this book:
This is the first book I have read by this author and I enjoyed it. I love books about books so for me it was a no brainer that I would have to check it out. Of course I agree with the author that good books don't just draw you in they transport us to times and places different from our own and she did this for me. It was interesting to read how she took personal stories and paired them reading lists. The author's writing style was very nice and for me this make the book easy to read. Of course I list of books that I want to check out has now grown even more thanks to her lists. Another neat thing was the cartoons used in the book. I thought some of them were spot on with avid readers like me. I had to laugh when the author was trying to decide if she should take her book in with her when meeting someone for lunch, I myself have thought at times should I take my book. The answer is yes, I always have a book with me no matter what. This is a must read for lovers of books like myself. 

About the author:
Award winning writer and teacher Sally Allen holds a Ph.D. from New York University in English Education, with an emphasis in writing and rhetoric, and a M.A. in English Language and Literature. She teaches writing, literature, and communications, leads book group discussions, and is the founder and editor of Books, Ink at HamletHub.

Connect with the author: Website Twitter

Guest Post:
Three books to bring to a deserted island
by Sally Allen, author of Unlocking Worlds

Because I keep reading new books, I find that my “books to bring to a deserted island” list never looks quite the same from year to year … or even month to month. Of course, what I would really want with me on a deserted island is my e-reader and a solar power charger thus enabling access to all the books (in my virtual library).

However, if I could only have three paper books, here is how I would go about choosing them:

First, I will need at least one book that is extremely long, like David Copperfield by Charles Dickens or White Teeth by Zadie Smith or IQ84 by Haruki Murakami. This is because I’m assuming being stranded will necessitate frequent rereading. In this case, all other relevant qualities being equal, longer equals better.

Next, a book that makes me laugh is absolutely essential. Being stranded on a deserted island – and here I can only guess, as I have never actually been stranded on a deserted island – seems likely to present many challenges. Maintaining a sense of humor (which can also be about maintaining a sense of proportion) will be required. A book in which characters find ways to laugh even through difficult times might be especially relevant. And since I’m still thinking about long books that will take me a few days to reread, any one of the last four Harry Potter novels would do nicely.

Finally, life on a deserted island may become somewhat monotonous, so it would be helpful to have a book that subsumes me, preferably into an entirely different world. For this, it might be nice to have a Russian classic, preferably one that isn’t utterly depressing. This narrows the list considerably. I’d probably go with The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov or maybe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, as translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.

What books would you want with you on a deserted island?

Giveaway Prizes: ​ 
5 winners will each get a copy of Unlocking Worlds & a copy of Book Life: A Book Lover's Journal

Tour Schedule:
Nov 16 - Corinne Rodrigues - review / author interview
Nov 16 - T's Stuff - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 16 - Leigh Anderson Romance - review / author interview / giveaway
Nov 17 - The Bookish and the Romantic - review
Nov 17 - Griperang's Bookmarks - review / guest post / giveaway
Nov 18 - The Novel Life - review / guest post
Nov 19 - View From the Birdhouse - review / giveaway
Nov 20 - Laura's Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
Nov 20 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
Nov 23 - Thistles and Whistles - review / author interview
Nov 23 - booklovercircumspect4 - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 24 - Kinx's Book Nook - review / guest post
Nov 25 - - review / giveaway
Nov 26 - Readers' Muse - review / author interview
Nov 27 - Italophilia - review
Dec 1 - Worth Getting in Bed For - review / giveaway
Dec 2 - Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway
Dec 3 - 3 Partners in Shopping - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Dec 3 - Keenly Kristen - review
Dec 4 - Puddletown Reviews - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Dec 7 - Sahar's Reviews - review
Dec 8 - Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - review
Dec 8 - alwaysjoart - review / guest post / giveaway
Dec 9 - Lovely Reads - review / guest post / giveaway
Dec 10 - Essentially Italian - review / author interview / giveaway
Dec 11 - misty103 @ HubPages - review / author interview
Dec 14 - Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - guest post
Dec 15 - Story Matters - review / giveaway
Dec 16 - I'd Rather Be At the Beach - review / giveaway
Dec 18 - Jorie Loves a Story - review / guest post
Dec 18 - Create With Joy - review

November 16, 2015

The Time Chamber by Daria Song

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

Published: October 13, 2015
Number of pages: 80

Korean artist Daria Song’s sequel to The Time Garden takes readers on a visual journey into a magical nighttime world seen through the eyes of a fairy.

This second book in the bestselling Time coloring series features the voyage of a fairy who, when the cuckoo clock chimes midnight, enters the human world. To the tiny fairy, everything seems enormous and magical, from the curtains to the chandelier to a mystical rowboat that takes her further into an inky adventure. With her she packs her favorite items, which colorers can find throughout the book’s pages: an owl-feathered pen, a star-scented spray, a time tape measure…even the key to the time chamber itself!

Filled with the imaginative, intricately detailed illustrations Song’s readers have come to love, The Time Chamber presents a view of our world made new—and ready for coloring.

The Time Chamber features extra-thick craft paper, ideal for non bleed-through coloring, and the jacketed cover with flaps is removable and colorable. Special gold-foil stamping on the cover and spine and a To/From page make it perfect for gifting to adults and kids alike.

What did I think of this book:
This is the sequel to the Time Garden which is a fun coloring book that I am currently working on. I like how the time theme continues on in this book from the first one. This time we follow a fairy on her journey. Again Daria has done a great job with the details of this book and the added bonus of another story. It is fun that you get to color your own story book. Like the first book this pages are double sided with pictures and the paper is nice and thick so you can use whatever medium you choose. Myself I love to use colored pencils. I am looking forward to more books by Daria Song. Another must have in your collection. 

About the author:
DARIA SONG is an author and artist with a master’s degree in fiber arts from the Ewha Womans University Graduate School of Fine Arts. Winner of the Kyung Hyang Arts Contest, Song has exhibited at numerous galleries and museums in Korea, Singapore, Turkey, and Hong Kong. She is a lecturer at the Kaywon School of Arts and her illustrations can be found in Amore Pacific and SK Planet. She spent five years of her childhood in San Francisco before returning to Korea, and the sense of wonder and mystery that comes from living in a far-off place inspired her internationally best-selling adult coloring book, The Time Garden.

The Time Garden by Daria Song

Published: September 1, 2015
Number of pages: 80

A dazzlingly beautiful coloring book for all ages, The Time Garden will sweep you away into a whimsical cuckoo clock–inspired world, created in intricate pen and ink by the internationally best-selling Korean artist Daria Song. Then, explore the magical world outside the clock through the eyes of a fairy in the sequel, The Time Chamber: A Magical Story and Coloring Book.

Journey through the doors of a mysterious cuckoo clock into its inky innerworkings to discover a magical land of clock gears, rooftops, starry skies, and giant flying owls—all ready for you to customize with whatever colors you can dream up.

Cuckoo . . . cuckoo . . . cuckoo . . . When the clock strikes midnight, you’ll wonder, was it all a dream?

The Time Garden features extra-thick craft paper, ideal for non bleed-through coloring, and the jacketed cover with flaps is removable and colorable. Special gold-foil stamping on the cover and spine and a To/From page make it perfect for gifting to adults and kids alike.

What did I think of this book:
Yes I have been bit by the adult coloring book craze. This book is very detailed which for me means many hours of coloring time. I like how this book is not only a coloring book but a story book as well. My plan is to get the entire thing colored then give it as a gift to my niece and nephew. I have finished the cover of the book and it took me two days. There are pictures on the front and back of the pages so you get double the coloring pages. Also the pages are made of heavy cardstock. Myself I use colored pencils for my coloring. I also think it is neat that you can color the front and back of the removable cover as well the main cover of the book. A must have for your coloring book collection.

About the author:
DARIA SONG is an author and artist from Seoul, Korea. Winner of the Kyung Hyang Arts Contest, Song has a master’s degree in fiber arts and has exhibited at numerous galleries and museums in Korea, Singapore, Turkey, and Hong Kong. She spent five years of her childhood in San Francisco, California, before returning to Korea, and the sense of wonder and mystery that comes from living in a far-off place inspired The Time Garden.