Sunday, July 23, 2017

Mailbox Monday - July 24



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Happy Monday! I was so bummed last week when I was too busy to post Mailbox Monday. My son's father had a heart attack while we were away and last Monday morning he suffered a stroke. Praise God he is finally home resting and recuperating.

Vacation was wonderful and it gave me a chance to catch up on some overdue book reviews.


Books I read from NC

While we were away I had a few arrivals too.


Through her interview series, The Conversation, Amanda de Cadenet talks with some of today's most badass women--from Hillary Clinton to Lady Gaga--in as-honest-as-it-gets conversations that speak to what it means to be female. Now, in It's Messy, Amanda shares her own story: a portrait of childhood fame, A STINT IN JUVIE, teen motherhood, a high-profile marriage (and divorce), and the sexism that threatened to end her career--all before she turned nineteen.

With the raw honesty and intense passion for which she's known, Amanda tackles uncomfortable yet familiar topics: ambivalence about motherhood; marriage; sex; body image; and the cultural influences that shape unrealistic expectations for women. Part manual, part manifesto, this intimate, hilarious, and insightful collection of essays challenges stereotypes and social norms, and examines the universal experiences relevant to women today.


When Reagan Summerside turned the first floor of her old Victorian home into a consignment shop, she never imagined she’d be harboring a fugitive in her attic. But after a dead man is found in a bathtub and local lawyer Walker Boone is accused of doing the dirty deed, she suddenly has a new houseguest.

Having the lawyer who took her to the cleaners in her divorce settlement—and who has been getting under her skin ever since—in close proximity is enough to drive Reagan to distraction. For the sake of her sanity—and Walker’s freedom—they need to put their heads together to find out who is trying to get the lawyer out of the picture . . .


For fans of the beloved TV show Little House on the Prairie, a self-help book by Melissa Francis, bestselling author of Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter and child star of Little House, revealing important life lessons inspired by a childhood on set.

Melissa Francis was only eight years old when she won the role of a lifetime: playing Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on the world's most famous prime-time soap opera, Little House on the Prairie.
Now in Lessons from the Prairie, she shares behind-the-scenes stories from the set, and lessons learned from the show's dynamic creator, Michael Landon, that have echoed throughout Melissa's adult life. With novel insights on hard work, making mistakes, and even spirituality, Francis shares inspirational and practical life lessons that will appeal both to her current TV fans, and fans of one of the most adored TV shows of all time.

I bought this book from Downton Books in Manteo, NC...


In 1886, a young woman becomes the sole survivor of a disastrous shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina's treacherous Outer Banks. She is rescued by the brave surfmen of the Life Saving Service at Little Kinnakeet Station and is suddenly forced to make her own way in the world... One hundred thirty years later, a young widow moves to the Outer Banks of North Carolina seeking a peaceful place to build a new life and somehow come to terms with her own tragic loss… The lives of these two vulnerable yet remarkable women unexpectedly intertwine in what becomes a moving, must-read story of peril, friendship, newfound strength and love.


What was in your mailbox? Hope you have a blessed week.

Book Review & Giveaway: Weddings at Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard

Another superb novel of love, friendship, and forgiveness can be found in Weddings at Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard.

The community of Promise Lodge, founded by the three Bender sisters, continues to thrive. The arrival of widowed Bishop Monroe Burkholder seems like an answer to prayer, but Preacher Amos believes he's too good to be true and is determined to uncover the details behind his unannounced arrival.

Christine Bender fell in love with the new bishop the moment she laid eyes on him and Monroe feels the same way. Their love is quickly put to the test when a young girl named Leola shows up claiming the bishop "ruined" her and how she is going to make an honest man out of him. Monroe can only pray everything will be worked out so he can stay in Promise Lodge and have a future with Christine.

Hubbard never disappoints. Every book draws you in from the very first page and holds you until the last word is read. In this latest Promise Lodge novel, characters are put to the test in all kinds of ways; but faith, goodness, kindness and grace see them through. It was such a joy watching this story unfold and reading it every moment I could sneak away. Paradise for me would be a never-ending library filled with Hubbard's books.

If you enjoy Amish fiction and sweet romances, you need to pick up Weddings at Promise Lodge. Better yet, read the series from the beginning. You won't want to miss anything that happens at Promise Lodge.


Excerpt:

“You look lovely in that deep red dress, Christine. It was all I could do to keep my mind on marrying Amos and your sister.”

When Christine turned, Bishop Monroe was standing so close she nearly bumped into him. She smiled up at him a little nervously, for he was tall and broad and extraordinarily handsome—and his dimples had come out to play. “Mattie wanted Rosetta and me to have new dresses with some color to them,” she explained. “And since Christmas was only a couple of weeks ago, we decided this red would be more cheerful than, say, the usual dark blue or gray or teal.”

“Mattie’s a wise woman—with admirable taste in color and husband material, as well,” he added. He held her gaze with his glowing green eyes. “May I have the honor of sitting with you at dinner, Christine? And spending the rest of the day with you, as well? Once we’re alone, I’d like to discuss some important decisions.”

Christine wondered if Monroe could hear how rapidly her heart was beating. Was her face as red as her dress? “I’d like that a lot, Monroe,” she said breathlessly.

The crowd around them seemed to disappear as he offered her his elbow. All Christine could see was Monroe’s attractive face, framed by wavy brown hair and a neatly trimmed beard—and those deep green eyes that focused so intently on her. What decisions could he possibly want to discuss with her? Did she dare hope he wanted her to become a permanent part of his new home, his new life at Promise Lodge?

Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Zebra (June 27, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1420139452
ISBN-13: 978-1420139457

The author sent me a paperback copy of this novel. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


Many moons ago—like, in 1983 while she was still a school librarian—Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. This launched her into writing around seventy of those “true confessions” stories over the years, and she’s been a slave to her overactive imagination ever since. Over the course of her writing career, she has sold nearly 50 books—most recently, Amish romance series she’s written as Charlotte Hubbard or Naomi King.

Charlotte lived in Missouri for most of her life, so her Amish stories are set in imaginary Missouri towns. These days she lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband of 40+ years and their Border collie, Vera.

WEBSITE www.CharlotteHubbard.com

Facebook www.Facebook.com/Charlotte.Hubbard1


Charlotte will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, July 21, 2017

Coming this Fall: Kent McCray: The Man Behind the Most Beloved Television Shows


A behind the scenes look at the world of the production and producing for some of the television legends of yesterday and today. The book chronicles the illustrious career of Kent McCray from his days at Hartt School (University of Hartford), running the Central City Opera House , working in Live Television then into film.

During the apex of his career McCray has worked with television greats as Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Groucho Marx, Ralph Edwards, Michael Landon and many others. McCray shares his experiences which led to his being head of the production and producing his caliber of television entertainment still being aired today to an ever-growing vast audience around the world.

Will be available September 18 at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Visit Kent's book website for more news at http://kentmccray.com

Tips for Avoiding "I'm Bored" This Summer


I blog at Christian Children's Authors every first and third Friday of the month. Today's topic is one most parents have had to cope with each summer: kids who sigh, "I'm bored." Check out my article at "Avoiding the 'B' word" today that includes some tricks I've used and links to other great articles. You'll find it at http://christianchildrensauthors.com/2017/07/21/avoiding-the-b-word/

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

New Release: The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck


Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (July 11, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310341590
ISBN-13: 978-0310341598

Order at....

Christianbook.com
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Novella Review: Dead Man Walker by Duffy Brown

If you're a fan of Duffy Brown's Consignment Shop Mystery series, you'll definitely want to pick up an e-copy of Dead Man Walker, a digital only novella that is considered book 3.5.

Springtime has come to Savannah, bringing with it customers into Reagan Summerside's consignment shop. Maybe now she can pay off some bills and think about getting some wheels.

Mercedes is a mortician beautician and housekeeper, so dead bodies don't scare her; but she doesn't really expect to find one of her clients dead in his bathtub. Having already had some trouble with the law, this sure won't make her any more popular with the police, so she calls on lawyer Walker Boone to help her out.

But Walker has his own connection to the recently deceased, which quickly makes him the number one suspect. Now, he'll need Reagan's help to clear his name.

As you can tell from recent reviews, I'm a fan of Brown's Consignment Shop Mystery series. What the author did with this short addition is keep it fresh while still giving the reader all of what she loves about these books. Though the previous three books are told from Reagan's point of view, this one is from Boone's. Not only is the reader treated to seeing things through his eyes, they learn a bit more about the mysterious gang member turned lawyer. For me, this was a mixed bag. Part of Boone's appeal is his secretive nature and the unknown parts of his past he hasn't shared with Reagan. Though there is still a ton to learn, part of that has been lost and he's not quite so mysterious anymore.

One of the best parts of Dead Man Walker is seeing Boone interact more with people from his former life, like Big Joey.

The cliffhanger ending on this one is superb and the reader gets a short excerpt from the next book in the series, Demise in Denim--which will be waiting for me when I get back home. While I'm not usually a fan of the cliffhanger ending in a series, here it works well because Boone's story naturally flows into Reagan working to clear his name in the next book. I can't wait to get started on it!

File Size: 1036 KB
Print Length: 71 pages
Publisher: Berkley (February 3, 2015)
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B00KGH5GVA

I purchased a copy of this book from Amazon. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mailbox Monday - July 10



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Happy Monday! Our day started out with a thunderstorm and a tornado warning where we were instructed to seek shelter. Doesn't that sound like fun?

Since we are on vacation my mailbox is very far away this week. That's okay, I've been catching up on my reading. Probably won't have anything new when we get home, but I need to order the next two books in Duffy Brown's Consignment Shop Mystery series. These characters are addicting.

Watched The Girl on the Train last night. Good, but a little creepy. Also watched The Zookeeper's Wife  and now I want to read that book.

Here are some shots from vacation:






See you back at home by this time next week. Have fun!



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Book Review: Pearls and Poison by Duffy Brown

Can Reagan Summerside clear her mother's name when she is accused of murdering her election time opponent?

In Pearls and Poison, the third book in Duffy Brown's Consignment Shop Mystery series, Judge Guillotine Gloria is running against Kip Seymour, a local construction contractor, for alderman. When Kip is found poisoned, Gloria quickly becomes suspect number one.

Determined to clear her mother's name, Reagan delves into who might want Kip dead. Unfortunately, that is a very long list and many of these people are dangerous. Keeping herself out of harm's way is going to be challenging enough, never mind trying to keep Auntie Kiki safe. With her loyal companion, Bruce Willis (a.k.a. BW) by her side, Reagan will need to tread lightly if she doesn't want to wind up the next victim.

Pearls and Poison is my favorite of this series so far. Brown combines her well-developed characters, a bit of backstory, great dialogue and the essence of the south to create a fast-paced, fun cozy mystery. I've been a fan of the series since the first book and each one gets better as new characters are introduced, bits and pieces of well-known characters' pasts are shared, and each new mystery with its twists and turns evolves.

If you like cozy mysteries, you have to put Duffy Brown on your "to read" list. You won't be disappointed.


Series: A Consignment Shop Mystery (Book 3)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley; 1st edition (March 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425252485
ISBN-13: 978-0425252482

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Book Review: Killer in Crinolines by Duffy Brown

Reagan Summerside and Auntie Kiki are back to their high jinks solving a new murder in Killer in Crinolines by Duffy Brown.

When Reagan's best friend Chantilly is arrested for murdering Simon Ambrose, Reagan knows she can't just sit working at her consignment shop. She must find out who really offed Simon--and the list of suspects seems endless. With the help of Auntie Kiki and some unwanted help from Walker Boone and friends, she won't stop until Chantilly's name is cleared.

I loved Iced Chiffon--the first book in this series--and have already started the third book in the series, Pearls and Poison. Brown mixes a great mystery filled with twists and turns with the charm of the South and the antics of Reagan and her aunt to come up with a superb series that keeps the reader coming back for more. Now five books in, I don't see this series ending anytime soon....thank goodness.

The sexual tension between Boone and Reagan, the savvy of Auntie Kiki in weaseling information out of people, the occasional appearance of boys from the hood, and the numerous other characters in Savannah provide for a fun, unique totally southern cozy mystery you won't want to miss.

Highly recommended!

Series: A Consignment Shop Mystery (Book 2)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley (May 7, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425252159
ISBN-13: 978-0425252154

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day!

 

Wanted to take a minute from our vacation on the Outer Banks to wish all my fellow Americans a happy and safe Independence Day. Thank you to all those who serve(d) our country and their families. God bless you all and God bless America.

 Click the link below for some Independence Day history. http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/july-4th

Monday, July 3, 2017

Book Review: Finding Bethlehem in the Midst of Bedlam by James W. Moore

In this moving Advent devotional, readers will find Scripture, daily devotionals, personal stories, prayers, discussion questions and exercises that are perfect for a single person or group study.

The book has a great format: one reading for each Sunday of Advent followed by questions for reflection and discussion. Then there is a prayer, a "Focus for the Week," and "Daily Devotion" section which is followed by six days of daily devotions that are also followed by questions.

I ordered this book because it often feels more like bedlam than Bethlehem around here. While I didn't get a chance to read it during Advent, I did take it with me on vacation and instantly dove in. James W. Moore's book encourages the reader to not only look for Bethlehem during Christmas, but throughout the year. I could see myself reading it numerous times a year to stay focused on God's Word during my hectic life. I would highly recommend Finding Bethlehem in the Midst of Bedlam to busy people everywhere looking to reconnect and refresh their relationship with their Lord and Savior. It's a book that will touch your heart.


Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press; Reprint edition (September 15, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1501804286
ISBN-13: 978-1501804281

I received a copy of this book through the Amazon VINE program. This review contains my honest opinions, which I was not compensated for in any way.

Mailbox Monday - Jul 3



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Hello from the Outer Banks. We left a day early so we missed all the check in traffic. The kids are big into traditions, so we often visit the same places year after year. This is from the top of Jockey's Ridge Crossing, a shopping center across from the sand dunes and Jockey's Ridge State Park. They have a tower where they fly a flag or windsock every day. We visit every year and get fudge at The Fudgery. This is the first time we climbed the tower, though.



The dog traveled with us into Manteo on Sunday and walked the waterfront. We also stopped in Downtown Books and bought a Harry Potter puzzle and a book set on Cape Hatteras. 


Today we might go into Duck and walk the boardwalk. There's a new restaurant we would like to try as well. 

Here's the book I picked up today to add to my Outer Banks collection....




In 1886, a young woman becomes the sole survivor of a disastrous shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina's treacherous Outer Banks. She is rescued by the brave surfmen of the Life Saving Service at Little Kinnakeet Station and is suddenly forced to make her own way in the world... One hundred thirty years later, a young widow moves to the Outer Banks of North Carolina seeking a peaceful place to build a new life and somehow come to terms with her own tragic loss... The lives of these two vulnerable yet remarkable women unexpectedly intertwine in what becomes a moving, must-read story of peril, friendship, newfound strength and love.

Not sure if there will be anything in my mailbox when we return, but I brought a bunch of books down here to hopefully catch up on my overdue reviews.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mailbox Monday - June 26



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

If you're here, welcome. As I mentioned last week I merged The Busy Mom's Daily and Cheryl's Christian Book Connection into this blog, which I think will work out much better. Last week was a bit hectic with appointments and end of school year stuff. Dance recital was Saturday and I worked all day Sunday. Someone I still managed to get some cleaning done around here and some farming for real estate.

My mailbox made me happy last week as I received a book from one of my favorite southern fiction authors I ordered and then a book of poetry I am reviewing for a book tour arrived.



Chattahoochee, Florida, a town with a state mental institution on its main drag, seldom slips from its usual relaxed pace. Detached from the tourist havens farther south, everyone here knows everybody else. Senior citizen Elvina Houston, head of the little-ole-lady hotline, keeps her nose wedged in the middle. October typically brings three well-attended festivals and a break from the oppressive summer. But this year, the relentless heat and humidity continue and a parade of horribles cranks up for Jake Witherspoon, his best friend Hattie Davis Lewis, and her older brother Bobby, one that will affect their intertwined families, friends, and the entire town. The incidents Jake perceives as a replay of his horrible assault are every bit as real as the twisted man who inches into Hattie's family. How this group of small town folk handles the clash with hate and crime is a tribute to resiliency, friendship, and hope.


In this rare collection of nonfiction Christian poetry and prose based on real life experiences, Diamante Lavendar, a victim of abuse, shows the reader the raw emotions of pain, hate, and denial that occur before a victim of abuse can find a way to heal from the pains of assault. Knowing herself the very difficult journey of being a victim, Diamante was abused as a child, and turned to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain. Many years later, she started to heal under God's watchful eyes and was able to find love in her life again. She shares these truly inspiring, religious poems in the hopes that it may help other victims heal their hurts, as she did while writing the poetry collection.

Hope you'll share what was in your mailbox too. Enjoy your week!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mailbox Monday June 19



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Happy Monday! Hope you had a wonderful weekend. The Lil' Diva, Lil' Princess and I took their dad out to Olive Garden for lunch after church. Then we went to visit my father-in-law in rehab. Looks like two more weeks of physical therapy for him before he can go home.

Last week I posted my reviews of What the Bishop Saw and Annie's Recipe over at The Book Connection. I also received the following book for review:


It’s down to fathers and fatherhood.

Ben Bracken, ex-soldier, has just got out of Strangeways.

Not by the front door.

With him, he has his ‘insurance policy’ – a bag of evidence that will guarantee his freedom, provided he can keep it safe – and he has money, carefully looked after by a friend, Jack Brooker.

Rejected by the army, disowned by his father, and any hopes of parenthood long since shattered, Ben has no anchors in his life.

No one to keep him steady.

No one to stop his cause…

The plan: to wreak justice on the man who had put him in prison in the first place.

Terry ‘The Turn-Up’ Masters, a nasty piece of work, whose crime organisation is based in London.
But before Ben can get started on his mission, another matter is brought to his attention: Jack’s father has been murdered and he will not rest until the killers are found.

Suddenly, Ben finds himself drawn in to helping Jack in his quest for revenge.

In the process, he descends into the fold of Manchester’s most notorious crime organisation – the Berg – the very people he wants to bring down…

This action-packed and fast-paced story will keep you turning the pages. Manchester is vividly portrayed as Ben races around the city seeking vengeance.

Three other short books are on the way for virtual book tour reviews: a children's book and two books of poetry.

That's it from me. Hope you'll share your mailbox too. Have a great week!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Caring for Aging Parents



I don't always talk about my blogging days at Christian Children's Authors but I thought my article on caring for aging parents might be of interest to our readers here. You can find my post at http://christianchildrensauthors.com/2017/06/16/role-reversal-caring-for-elderly-parents/

Monday, June 12, 2017

Book Review: What the Bishop Saw by Vannetta Chapman

If you like Amish mysteries, you need to grab a copy of What the Bishop Saw by Vannetta Chapman. This first book in a new series features a bishop with an extraordinary talent that could be the key to finding a murderer.

Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene of an out of control fire in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. He soon learns the fire was no accident and that Vernon Frey was killed. Considering Vernon's reputation in the Amish and Englisch communities there is no end to potential suspects.

When police suspect someone Henry knows is innocent, he must decide if he will use his mysterious, God-given gift to set the record straight.

When I heard Chapman was releasing a new series that blended two of my favorite genres--Amish fiction and mystery--there was no doubt I would read it. What the Bishop Saw hooked me right from the Prologue and didn't let go until the Epilogue was done. I'm already planning to beg to review the next book in the series when it comes out.

Her trademark of "Christian Fiction Full of Grace" is front and center throughout this exciting story, while the romance between Henry and Emma percolates slowly like a good cup of coffee. The ending is superb and I loved the Epilogue. The novel is filled with characters I hope we will see again in the next book.

I have enjoyed everything I've ever read by Vannetta Chapman, but What the Bishop Saw is my new favorite. I can't wait to see what happens next in The Amish Bishop Mysteries series.


Series: The Amish Bishop Mysteries (Book 1)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (May 1, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736966471
ISBN-13: 978-0736966474

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Product Review: ElimiTag Skin Tag Remover Homeopathic Medicine


As I have gotten older, I've noticed skin tags cropping up mostly underneath my arms--which can make shaving a challenge. Tired of dealing with them and a bit self-conscious that a few are large enough that I don't want to wear tank tops, I decided to try ElimiTag, which I purchased at the grocery store. You brush this on up to three times a day and in three to six weeks the tags are supposed to be gone. 

Considering the hefty price tag of this product ($12.49 for a 5 fluid ounce bottle), I was expecting better results. A couple of the smaller skin tags have gone away, but even with consistent application the larger ones remain unchanged. ElimiTag also smells dreadful. I'll qualify that by stating I am very sensitive to strong odors, but the reason I switched from apple cider vinegar to this was so I didn't smell horrible. After spending that much money on such a tiny bottle I am planning on using most of it, but I will switch back to the vinegar after that because it is so much cheaper. 

ElimiTag has received mixed reviews on Amazon. Some people have had success with it and others haven't. Check it out for yourself and see if you want to give it a try. 

I purchased this product during my regular grocery shopping run. I have not been compensated for this review in any way.

Book Review: Annie's Recipe by Lisa Jones Baker

A story of faith, love and lifelong friendship is what you'll find in Annie's Recipe by Lisa Jones Baker.

In the second book of Baker's Hope Chest of Dreams series, Annie Mast and Levi Miller are reunited many years after a shunning forced him from her life. With their bond as strong as ever, the two separately imagine spending their lives together. But Levi is part of the English world and there is still a ton of bitterness over his family's shunning. With love on their side perhaps they will find an answer to their prayers.

Annie's Recipe is a sweet story that will tug at your heartstrings. Annie and Levi were the best of friends as children, but that ended abruptly when his father was shunned and the family moved away. When Levi returns to Arthur, Illinois for a wedding they reconnect and it opens up new possibilities for both of them.

What caught me off guard a bit with this story was how much focus was placed on simply these two characters. So much of the Amish fiction I read gives you an entire community feeling. Annie's Recipe was really about Annie and Levi and to some degree their families. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about that at first because it was decidedly different from what I am used to. By the time I came to the end, however, I was grateful for it. This style truly allowed me to fully understand these characters and how they developed thought this touching story.

While I didn't read the first book in this series, I didn't miss anything as Annie's Recipe is a stand alone novel. I would, however, love to read Rebecca's Bouquet and Rachel's Dream because these three women are sisters and it would be interesting to learn all their stories. I'll definitely be on the look for more of Baker's work in the future.

If you enjoy Amish fiction, you need to add Lisa Jones Baker to your "to be read" list.


Series: Hope Chest of Dreams (Book 2)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Zebra (February 28, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1420141546
ISBN-13: 978-1420141542

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Mailbox Monday - June 12



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

What a difference a week makes. Last week was damp and rainy. Today is hot and sunny. They are talking record-breaking heat.

Last week was hectic with closings, soccer tryouts, and other end of school year stuff. I'm looking forward to heading to the Outer Banks soon. The pet sitters are all set and John Boy will be living here while we are away. I'm so eager to get away that I've already packed up my reading material. Plan to get some writing done too.

As for my mailbox, the second book in the Da Vinci's Disciples series arrived last week.


In a studiolo behind a church, six women gather to perform an act that is, at once, restorative, powerful, and illegal. They paint. Under the tutelage of Leonardo da Vinci, these six show talent and drive equal to that of any man, but in Renaissance Florence they must hide their skills, or risk the scorn of the city.

A commission to paint a fresco in Santo Spirito is announced and Florence’s countless artists each seek the fame and glory this lucrative job will provide. Viviana, a noblewoman freed from a terrible marriage and now free to pursue her artistic passions in secret, sees a potential life-altering opportunity for herself and her fellow female artists. The women first speak to Lorenzo de’ Medici himself, and finally, they submit a bid for the right to paint it. And they win.

But the church will not stand for women painting, especially not in a house of worship. The city is not ready to consider women in positions of power, and in Florence, artists wield tremendous power. Even the women themselves are hesitant; the attention they will bring upon themselves will disrupt their families, and could put them in physical danger.

All the while, Viviana grows closer to Sansone, her soldier lover, who is bringing her joy that she never knew with her deceased husband. And fellow-artist Isabetta has her own romantic life to distract her, sparked by Lorenzo himself. Power and passion collide in this sumptuous historical novel of shattering limitations, one brushstroke at a time.

An author friend of mine also sent me her next book to read to provide an endorsement.

That's it for me. Hope you have a blessed week.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Mailbox Monday - June 5



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Welcome to the first Monday in June. A bit rainy here, but the sun will come out one day this week. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. It was a family and friends weekend for us.

Another year of dance is quickly coming to an end. On Saturday the girls had recital pictures. I'm not quite sure how this...


and this....


Turned into this...


We also attended a wedding for a young couple from our church. We wish them many blessings and much happiness.


On Sunday, we had church and then visited my father-in-law who is currently in rehab after another fall at home. Growing old certainly isn't for sissies. 

As far as my mailbox, it's been pretty dull lately. I haven't been requesting much of anything since I am so far behind. This cute elementary age graphic novel arrived unsolicited from the publisher.





Second grade isn't always a breeze for Birdie. There are just so many opportunities to embarrass herself! But Birdie's got a secret weapon that nobody knows about--her alter-ego, Crafty Cat! Birdie can become Crafty Cat without anyone noticing, and she always manages to get herself out of a jam using her awesome crafting skills! When Birdie goes to a day-camp for crafting, she knows she's going to have a great time and be the best in the group. But when things go wrong, can Crafty Cat help Birdie set them right?

From Just Grace and Fashion Kitty author Charise Mericle Harper comes the next volume in a hilarious, charming, and sweet new graphic novel trilogy for elementary-age readers about a little girl who can craft her way out of any situation.

That's it from my neck of the woods. Hope you have a great week.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mailbox Monday - May 22



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Happy Monday! I hope you had a nice weekend. The weather was good here and it gave me a chance to spread some mulch down and refresh that area of the yard I designated for my wildlife friends. I also sold a house. Real estate has kept me very busy this year. The market is booming: low inventory and high buyer demand have increased prices.

On the book front, I've been playing catch up. These reviews were posted recently:

Organizing for Your Lifestyle
Food Junkies
The Joyful Business Planner
Creating a Life Worth Living, Volume 1

The Friends of the Wilbraham Public Library held their annual book sale at the beginning of May. Here's what I picked up from there:



Most of them are research materials for my writing, but I did pick up a couple of novels.

Last week, Charlotte Hubbard sent me her upcoming release. She has a book tour coming up soon.

Founded by the three Bender sisters, the Amish community of Promise Lodge is thriving—and growing. In fact, residents are thrilled to welcome a charismatic new arrival—one who may not just strengthen their faith, but put it to the test . . .

When Christine Bender meets widowed Bishop Monroe Burkholder, it’s love at first sight. But Preacher Amos finds him too good to be true, and is determined to find out what’s behind his sudden, unannounced arrival. Still, the colony needs a new bishop, and everyone is excited to have a younger, more progressive leader. As for Christine, Monroe returns her affection, but her bubble is soon burst with the arrival of a young woman half his age . . .

Leola Duff claims Monroe “ruined” her and she now intends to make an honest man of him. But throughout the process of discovering the truth, Christine never doubts that Monroe is the fine man she believes him to be—and never wavers in her faith that all will work out as it should. And when Monroe is forced to confess the truth before the entire congregation, he can only pray that open hearts and minds will prevail, allowing him a future at Promise Lodge—with Christine . . .

That's it for me this week. Hope you'll share your new mailbox.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Book Review: The Joyful Business Planner by Kate Martin

Where has this business planner been for the past three decades of my life? The Joyful Business Planner by Kate Martin is unlike anything you've probably seen before--which is why the author says she put it together.

Broken down into five sections--Business Overview, Marketing, Yearly Tracking, Calendars, and Wish Lists and Aspirations--this planner has the systems to get you organized and on track to meet your goals.

What I love about this book (everything really, but...):
  • It's less than 100 pages (perfect for busy small business owners like me);
  • It is short on narration and long on helpful templates to put the right systems in place;
  • There is one sheet that is a look at your current year at a glance that you can complete and hang in your office to stay focused;
  • One chapter focuses solely on social media marketing (including blogging);
I could go on and on about The Joyful Business Planner, but in the end all I need to say is this: if you are a small business owner, The Joyful Business Planner is an essential tool for success. 

Paperback: 92 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 13, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1539141810
ISBN-13: 978-1539141815

I received a digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Book Review: Food Junkies by Vera Tarman & Phil Werdell Read by Lisa Bunting


This is one of the most fascinating books I've ever read. Food Junkies: The Truth about Food Addiction by Vera Tarman and Phil Werdell and Read by Lisa Bunting is an in-depth look into food addiction with accounts from struggling addicts, a look into the shame of the addiction, and offers practical advice for people struggling with problems of overeating, binge eating, anorexia, and bulimia.

As someone who has struggled to eat healthy, Food Junkies was an eye-opening read. Learning about a variety of addictions and also how our bodies interact with what we eat is certainly helpful. Even when you know the health concerns, it isn't always easy not to over-indulge. Imagine how much more difficult it must be to cope with a food addiction and the shame that can come with it. There are stories of addiction in this book that will be tough to read, but if they help someone it will be worth it.

Audible doesn't always work well with my device, so I purchased the Kindle version. I did, however, download the audio version on my PC and thought Bunting's tone and inflection good for this topic.

If you're dealing with food addiction or know someone who is, Food Junkies is definitely worth reading; though I think it's a fascinating read for anyone interested in food and your body.


Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 8 hours and 20 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press
Audible.com Release Date: July 7, 2016
Language: English

I received an audio version of this book from the authors through Goddess Fish Promotions. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.