Monday, 30 March 2015

Book Review: How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck

About the Book:

American heiress Corina Del Rey's life was devastated by war. Every thing she loved was lost. But after five years of grief, she's shed her grave clothes and started over in the sunshine along the Florida coast.

But some things are not so easily forgotten. When a secret from her past confronts her face to face, she realizes she must follow her heart. Even if it cost her everything.

Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom is a former Royal Air Command lieutenant turned star rugby player, trying to make sense of his life after the devastation of war.

When his brother, King Nathaniel, discovers Stephen's pre war secret, he must deal with an aspect of his life he longed to forget. But how can he do so without exposing the truth and breaching national security?

Yet, true love has a destiny all it's own. As the cathedral bells peal through Cathedral City, Corina and Stephen must chose to answer the call of love on their hearts.
Or let it be lost forever?

My Thoughts:  With the release of the new Cinderella movie, this seemed a very fitting book to review.  If you enjoy fairy tales and princesses, then you will love this book!

It's not all light and fluffy.  The book deals with serious issues including war and death.  Yes, there is romance and love, but there is also tragedy and sorrow.  What I really enjoyed were the spiritual lessons learned along the way.  One scene involving the prince towards the end of the book was particularly moving.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Book Review: Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton

About the Book: A bet gone wrong. A small town's meddling. And a cowboy intent on saving his ranch.

Maggie Hope is an advice columnist whose background leaves her with little advice to give . . . and it's beginning to show. When Maggie fills in at an interview with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan, the on-camera chemistry between them is undeniable. Maggie's bosses know this is the opportunity she's been looking for to launch her career---and their bank accounts. In order to save her column, Maggie takes Tru up on the bet that he can teach her to ride a quick-stepping cutting horse like any cowgirl, despite the fact that she has never been on a horse. And in the meantime, she can get the scoop on the man under the cowboy hat.

Tru has been on the competition circuit for longer than he'd like, but he knows it's the only way he can afford to keep the Four of Hearts Ranch that means so much to his ailing grandfather. So when his sponsors see the opportunity for Tru's fans to get to know the star on a more intimate level, he knows he must oblige. To his dismay, Maggie not only invades his small town of Wishing Springs, but she also invades his heart, and that is something he cannot let any woman do-for her own good.

In Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart's desires.
My Thoughts: I don't think I've read anything by Debra Clopton before but that will change from now on - I'm hooked!  I'm not really into horses myself, and yet westerns still hold a great appeal as far as fiction goes.

Believable and extremely likable characters were the biggest draw for me in this story.  Even though the ending isn't very suspenseful, you are still caught up in the storyline because you care what happens to the characters.  Her writing is excellent, and makes you feel like you're right there in the small town of Wishing Springs.  I loved it!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.


Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Book Review: Twisted Innocence by Terri Blackstock

About the book:
Holly Cramer's past choices have finally caught up to her, but she never expected them to endanger her baby.

Though Holly's stumbled through most of her adult life as a party girl, she longs to live a more stable life for her daughter. Then police show up to question her about the whereabouts of Creed Kershaw, Lily's father. She has kept his identity a secret from friends and family---she never even told him about the pregnancy. Now he's a person of interest in a drug-related murder case.

Determined to keep him out of their lives and turn him over to police, Holly uses her private investigating skills to search for him. But her bravado backfires when he turns the tables and takes her and the baby hostage. As desperate hours tick by, Holly realizes his connection to Leonard Miller-the man who has gunned down several members of her family. Creed claims he's innocent and that Miller is after him too. His gentleness with Lily moves her, but she can't trust a man who has held her at gunpoint . . . even if he reminds her so much of herself.

Dangers old and new threaten Holly and her baby, and lives are demanded as sacrifices for love. Through a complex web of mistakes and regret, redemption is the one hope Holly has left to hold on to.

My Thoughts: I always know I'm in for a good read when I pick up a Terri Blackstock book and this one was no exception.

A great plot, believable and likable characters, suspense, and romance - this book has it all.  The book also tackles the deep subjects of second chances, and personal suffering being used by God to deepen our faith and our character.

You won't be disappointed in this one.


Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Book Review: Remember the Lilies by Liz Tolsma

About the Book:  Can Irene and Rand stave off starvation until the American troops bring freedom?

Interred by the Japanese, missionary Irene Reynolds comes across a mysterious note while working at the censor's office. She memorizes the parts she must black out and delivers it to wealthy nightclub owner Rand Sterling. Before she knows what's happening, she's drawn into a web of secrets and danger.

Rand Sterling wants nothing more than to reopen his nightclubs once the war ends. But slimy Frank Covey wants his hand in the till---and has news that could threaten Rand's reputation if it became public. More importantly, beautiful and intriguing Irene Reynolds cannot discover this information if he expects to persuade her to become his wife.

When Irene is attacked by a sinister Japanese guard and their secrets are exposed, they must learn the true meaning of forgiveness---if they can stave off starvation until the American troops bring freedom.


My Thoughts: I was very interested in reading this book, particularly after watching and reading Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini and his experience of being a prisoner of war in a Japanese camp.  I must admit to being a bit disappointed.  

The book was good and a decent read, and maybe my expectations were simply too high, but the story line was a bit slow moving for me; the characters were rather shallowly developed; I didn't gain a strong attachment to any of the characters; the dramatic portions of the storyline could have been written with more, well, drama; and I felt like there needed to be a bit more of an explanation about how, why, and when they all ended up in the internment camp.  The story just didn't capture me like I was expecting it to.


Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Book Review: The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer

About the book:
This handsome firefighter makes a living coming to the rescue, but Gin doesn't need a man to fight her battles.

After Raine's dad walked out, Ginevieve Lightly never lived in one place too long, a rambling lifestyle that defined her daughter's youth. When their car dies in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin promises Raine they can stay until she finishes her senior year of high school. Gin will do anything to make sure her daughter has a bright future . . . a future that's compromised when Raine reveals she's pregnant.

Dan Moretti has only ever called Banister Falls home. After losing his best friend in a tragic accident, Dan devoted himself to responding to fires, rescuing the helpless, and guiding Cody Bennett, his best friend's son, through life. With Cody being the epitome of the good kid, it was an easy job. Until he says four little words: "The baby is mine."

Knowing gossip of Raine's pregnancy will erupt sooner or later in the small town, Gin's reflex is to grab the suitcase and escape to a new city, a new life. But with each passing day, Gin's feet stay rooted in Banister Falls, and she falls a little more for this local firefighter who shows her not all men abandon women at the first sign of smoke.

As Gin and Dan do the best they can to guide the two teenagers through their early entry into adulthood, they discover together that romance can bloom in the rockiest of situations. And God can turn the pieces of a broken past into a beautiful new beginning.

My Thoughts:  This is the first book I've read by Springer and I really enjoyed it!  The story immediately pulled me in, and I appreciated the depth of character she gave to several different characters - Raine, Cody, Dan, Ginevieve, and Evie (Cody's mom).

This book definitely does not shy away from the reality of life and that it is not easy.  The book tackles several tough issues including abuse, abandonment, teen pregnancy, single parenting, and death - and yet woven through it all is hope.  Hope in God, and knowing that even when we are alone, we are not alone.

I appreciated the realism in this book - including both the flattering and unflattering (sinful!) reactions of the church people to Cody and Raine's pre-marital relationship.  It is a harsh truth that one moment of weakness, one wrong decision, can impact your life forever.  And yet is is a beautiful truth that God can work, even through our sin, to bring joy and hope in the midst of life's hard times.



Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Book Review: The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues by Cindy Vincent

About the book:
Buckley and Bogey, Cat Detectives, find their next big case with the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Agency to be their most complicated ever! It all starts when someone hides a mysterious package in their Mom's antique store --- in the middle of the night! Of course, the boys find it, and put it in a nice, safe place, until they can open it . . . and, find the rightful owner. But that's when a whole bunch of suspicious people show up in St. Gertrude, and every single one of them seems to be after that package! Holy Catnip! Plus, everything happens just when a priceless, jeweled statue collection goes on display at the St. Gertrude Museum. Missing from that collection are two jewel covered cat statues that disappeared almost a hundred and fifty years ago.

But soon Buckley and Bogey wonder how long those statues will stay missing. Because this is one case that really keeps them on their paws! From a trip to the Museum, and to an old church for the Blessing of the Animals; and from dinosaurs to diamonds, they end up dodging shady suspects the whole time. It sure helps to have their friends with them, especially when the bad guys make a beeline for boys. That's because it becomes very clear, very quick --- the priceless cat statues aren't the only cats those crooks are after! Holy Mackerel!

Olivia's Thoughts: I had my 9 year old daughter read and review this book for me.  These are her thoughts.....

The book begins when Buckley and Bogey are in their house while the humans in the family are sleeping, the mom's store is broken into in the night and Buckley and Bogey go with their mom to her store. A small package is left at the store and the mom and officer Phoebe don't notice it. Buckley and Bogey find it and hide it. The next day they go to the museum for ''take your cat to museum day''. The two cat detectives plan a distraction so they can look at the exhibit. while looking they find two little statues called ''the best friends'' statues''. in the exhibit they find two bad guys who used to be friends that are now enemies. the two little statues had been either missing or stolen. The next day they go to their mom's store and a pirate comes in claiming he left a package there. But the mom said they don't have any package. Later on the two cat detectives are going to their mom's store, and open the package and take it home. In the end they solve the mystery.

What I liked about the story is that Buckley is trying to be a good cat detective even if he makes mistakes, and that he has somebody to look up to.

What I didn't like very much about it is that near the end it's a little scary because of all the bad guys trying to kill the cats.

Some parts were a little boring and others were really suspenseful.

Overall it was a really good book and it would be very interesting to some other people.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.


Friday, 12 December 2014

Book Review: Love Without End by Robin Lee Hatcher

About the book: Love Without End || A King's Meadow Romance

Chet and Kimberly have both failed when it comes to love. Will they risk their hearts to love again?

Chet Leonard's life was forever changed when his 17-year-old son died and then, soon after, his wife walked out on their family. Over two years later, all he wants to do is hold onto his horse ranch and raise his remaining sons to be honorable men.

Kimberly Welch, widowed mother of Tara, a rebellious 15-year-old, has reached the end of her finances and nearly the end of her rope. She and Tara come to King's Meadow to try to piece their lives back together again. Kimberly has no intention of becoming involved with the residents of this remote mountain community and certainly not with any man.

When octogenarian Anna McKenna returns to King's Meadow and to the Leonard ranch, she becomes an agent of change and healing for the two hurting families. With her help, Kimberly and Chet may discover that true love has no end.


My Thoughts: I always enjoy Hatcher's book and this one was no exception.  I have not read any other books in this series and found that this definitely worked as a standalone book.

I particularly enjoyed how the main male character's story was highlighted perhaps even more than the female's - which is uncommon in fiction.

I liked that the storyline and characters were all realistic and believable.  And I enjoyed getting glimpses into Nana Anna's story as well. It was neat seeing both the young and the old Anna.  Sometimes, when we're relating to the elderly, we forget that they were (obviously) young once too, and that we can learn so much from them and their stories.



Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Book Review: Where Treetops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, and Sarah Sundin

About the book: 

The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime
Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonder of Christmas
Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America's involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.
In Cara Putman's White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements---until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.
Abigail's brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin's I'll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete's friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he's no longer the bully she once knew?
In Tricia Goyer's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, "Merry" to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that's precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

The Turner family believes in God's providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ's birth and His plan for a future?

My Thoughts: I like romance, and historical fiction, particularly war time history, and have long been a fan of both Tricia Goyer and Sarah Sundin (Cara Putman was new to me) - so this was looking like a sure thing.  I was not disappointed.

Three novellas centered around three different siblings written by three different authors was a great concept, and one that worked well.  Though there was a slightly different feel to each story, they still felt cohesive.

If you're looking for a book to read to put you in the Christmas mood, look no further!

My favourite?  Tough one, but I'd say I'll Be Home for Christmas by Sarah Sundin.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Book Review: Treasury of Bible Stories by Kelly Pulley

About the book: Children ages 4-8 will be delighted by these rhyming Bible stories pairing spiritual truths with playful illustrations.
Featuring lyrical stories full of lighthearted moments, this colorful collection of Magnificent Tales is perfect for reading out loud. As families read these stories night after night, they will make memories together while learning about the Bible.

My Thoughts: I love Bibles, especially children's Bibles.  We have several and The Jesus Storybook Bible is likely my favourite, but this one is quickly becoming a close second.  

The first time I read this to my 6 yr old son and 9 yr old daughter, I literally read over 100 pages and they still weren't done - but my voice was!

It's difficult to rhyme, nevermind rhyme with accurate theology, but this storybook Bible pulls it off.  There's even a list of animals from a-z in the creation story which I thought was a tremendous feat on it's own, but even more so with the rhyming verses.  

The artwork is completely engaging and fun as well.

This Storybook Bible will be well used in this household, that's for sure!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

From Pinned to Practice - earring display

Finally, another episode of "From Pinned to Practice"!

I've always had a major earring sensitivity.  Nickel free doesn't cut it, it's gold or white gold only for this girl, which makes for some expensive earrings and not very many of them to choose from.  I even tried stainless steel and sterling silver, to no avail.  One day I emailed a local jewelry maker and asked her if she had any ideas of another material I could use that wouldn't break the bank.  She had two ideas and so I purchased two pairs of earrings from her, hoping one of the options would work.  Turns out, they both did!  The titanium was the best so I decided to stick with that.  I then proceeded to send her all of my cheap earrings and replace the hooks with titanium ones - I was so excited to get them back and have earring options!  But then the problem was - how to display them?!  Especially the longer ones that get a bit tangled if you just throw them in a container.

So, I turned to Pinterest.  And found this.....


Click Pic for 33 Creative DIY Jewelry Organizers | DIY Jewelry Storage Ideas - Dangling Earring Organizer  | DIY Storage Ideas for Small Spa...

and this....
Jewelry Organizer Pegboard
and this....


I was recently out on a girls weekend with my best friend and I had mentioned this idea to her.  With a little bit of prompting by her, along with a generous offer to use her just purchased blue burlap, I picked up a cork board (Hobby Lobby) and 3 charm necklaces (Joanne's Fabric).  When we got back to the hotel we decided to do a bit of crafting!  I asked the guy at the front desk if I could borrow his scissors and we quickly cut the right amount of blue burlap.  When I returned the scissors I thanked him for lending them to me, he thanked me for returning them, and I asked to borrow a stapler!  After completing the project, I returned the stapler and he asked if we needed any paper clips! Ha ha.

When I got home, I mounted it on the wall (came with double sided "tape"), hung up the necklaces with a few tacks, inserted the earring hooks into the chains, and voila!


I love it!

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