January 29, 2015

Reviewing "The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues"

       "The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues", by Cindy Vincent, is a really cute book for young readers.  It is based on a pair of cat detectives who have assigned themselves to the duty of protecting their family and their mom's antique business. No matter what drama unfolds, the cat detectives immerse themselves into the details of the mystery. They are smart and determined cats with special investigative talents that sometimes get them into trouble. But even when they get into trouble, their hearts are in the right place which makes this story so heartwarming for kids and adults as well. The action/adventure element of the book is continuous, and there is never a dull moment.  I like how each chapter is akin to an episode of a cartoon, where you can't wait to tune in next time to see what happens.
    I would recommend this book to be read aloud to elementary school kids. It is written for the younger set, but the length of the book (242 pages) might bog down the young reader if an adult isn't there to make it exciting and interactive.  The cats are very lovable, and would definitely entice young kids to find out what happens at the end of the book.  I think the cover art could be changed to look a little more mainstream and you'd have a real winner of a book.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

January 28, 2015

Simplifying Your Life and Getting Rid Of The Clutter

         I find great delight in organization. I crave order in my everyday life to the point that I even enjoy organizing other people's rooms and collections.  My most recent organizing project is that cute little cart you see in the photo above.  I wanted to have a little collection of art supplies and games within arms reach of our dining room table, but I also wanted this little collection to be organized. So we invested in a couple (extremely adorable) carts from a large Swedish big box store nearby and now I consider them to be my trolleys of fun. This little story is to illustrate just how serious I am about loving to be organized.
       Now that you have an idea of how much I like organization, you can probably guess that I'm not a fan of clutter. Clutter is my nemesis. Today as I was perusing Pinterest, I came across a neat decluttering system that my husband and I decided to implement tonight.  I am so excited about it, I couldn't resist sharing it with you guys right away. The people over at Old World Garden Farms came up with this wonderful plan which they call the "One-A-day/365 Day Decluttering Experiment". The gist of the whole thing is that in order to live more simply and keep your house devoid of unneeded clutter, each person gets rid of one item a day for an entire year.  You can donate, recycle, sell or trash the item depending on what it is, and it can be as simple as a mug you don't use, or a pen that doesn't work. How easy is that? Click here to read their full story.
      Tonight I picked a long glass votive candle holder that we aren't using at all. It's going into our donation box and when that box gets full, we will take a short drive and drop it all off.  For the most part our house is pretty organized, but the closets are full, the cupboards are full, and the garage is full.  I know that we have a lot of stuff we aren't using that could be put to good use somewhere else, and the feeling of freeing up space in our home for things we do need is freeing in and of itself.
      I challenge you to join me in this journey of decluttering. I think we would probably all sleep better and think more clearly if everything in our homes was useful, enjoyable and had a place in our daily lives.

Reviewing "I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last"

     "I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last" by Deb DeArmond, is a great devotional style book designed to keep or get our marriages on the right track.   Each chapter focuses on something we should choose to do for our spouse, such as "I Choose To Be Generous With You", or "I Choose To Listen To You".  The chapters include a Bible verse to apply to the theme of the chapter, a story about a couple dealing with that theme, some discussion questions and a prayer.
      I think this book would be a great tool for any Christian couple, no matter how long they have been married, or how their marriage is doing.  The chapters are short and easily applied to daily life. One of my favorites was the "I Choose to Bless You" chapter.  It emphasizes the difference you can make in your spouse's day just by telling them how much they mean to you, and thanking God (out loud and in front of them) for them during prayer.  I'm definitely going to use this as a practical guide to bringing a renewed sense of closeness into our marriage.  I would recommend this to couples and to Bible Study Groups looking to strengthen their marriages in a Christ-centered way.

If you want to check it out, scroll down to take a look at the fun events related to this book release happening in February.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. 

What’s the secret for hanging on to the happily-ever-after feelings from the day you said, “I do”? It could be as simple as four little words: I Choose You Today. Be sure to grab a copy of Deb DeArmond's latest release and find out how you can make the declaration “I Choose You Today” a regular part of your marriage communication.

Deb is celebrating the release of her book with a Facebook author chat party on February 3rd.

Along with the February 3rd author chat party, you're invited to participate in two marriage-strengthening challenges: one beginning February 1 and the other beginning in March. Don't miss out on this opportunity to build your relationship with your spouse and enter to win some prizes along the way!

The Valentine's Challenge: February 1 – 28

Tell your spouse "I Choose You" every day of the month. Sign up online at www.ichooseyouchallenge.com and receive a free downloadable February calendar to mark off the days of the challenge.

Deb will also be emailing participants 1–2 times throughout the month with giveaway opportunities and "keep going" encouragement.
The "I Choose You" Challenge: March 1 – December 31, 2015

Sign up online at www.ichooseyouchallenge.com to receive 10 weekly emails, each teaching one of the choices from Deb's book along with practical applications. This challenge is broken up into three different sessions, covering all 31 choices from the book.

There will be giveaways and opportunities to win throughout the year. Participants can decide when to join—it's not required to do all three sessions. 

January 14, 2015

Reviewing "Quilts of Love- Masterpiece Marriage" and Kindle Giveaway


       “Quilts of Love- Masterpiece Marriage” by Gina Welborn, is a unique and interesting book that I enjoyed reading.  The themes were unlike any of the previous “Quilts of Love” books and it definitely isn’t your typical quilting themed Christian novel.
        When Zenus Dane’s textile mill floods, he turns to his Aunt who is a very experienced quilter for a way to repurpose his damaged textiles.  When he visits her he finds out that his Aunt’s time is already being used by the mysterious Englishwoman Mary Varrs to complete a series of plant drawings for her.  Mary Varrs on the other hand is roped into helping with a quilting bee in exchange for her plant drawings, and she finds herself in a group of women who immediately take her out of her comfort zone.  Adding a twist to the whole situation, Zenus finds himself very attracted to Mary, but Zenus’s aunt is acting as a matchmaker and trying to set him up with a different woman.  Of course, this creates a lot of relationship drama.  
          Welborn did a great job of illustrating the tension between Zenus and Mary and the weirdness that would surround the actions of a matchmaking aunt.  The conflicted feelings and confusion were very true to what people would be feeling in real life if placed in the awkward situations described in this book.  I liked the storyline and found all of the characters to have very realistic feelings and actions.  I liked Mary’s drive toward being a trailblazer for women in science and making a life for herself instead of succumbing to a the weird plans her family has for her back home.
            I would recommend this book to anyone who likes the “Quilts of Love” Series, as I have enjoyed all of them so far. This one is definitely worth picking up. It’s a quick and enthralling read.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review

Don’t miss the newest Quilts of Love book, Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn. December’s QOL release celebrates the ebb and flow of marriage. Enter to win a Kindle HDX!
One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn
  • Swept Away by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven
  • Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey
Enter today by clicking the button below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 18th. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love blog January 19th.

Enter today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Reviewing "All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes"

       “All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes” by Betsy St. Amant, is a fun, light read filled with lots of romance, drama, and sweets.  The main characters, Kat and Lucas, have been long time friends and from the beginning of the book it becomes quickly apparent that they are meant to be more than friends.   Kat is a talented baker, stuck working at her Aunt’s cupcake shop while wanting more out of life and Lucas is a High School Football coach, who is completely happy with where he is in life, except for the fact that he wants to spend the rest of his life with Kat.  In order to demonstrate how much he cares about Kat, he signs her up for a cupcake baking competition show in Los Angeles. But instead of being the fun and rewarding experience Lucas thinks it will be, the two are thrust into a whirlwind of TV cameras, stress, and cupcake craziness.
        I definitely enjoyed reading this book and found myself getting very caught up in the nuances of Kat and Lucas’s relationship.   At times the storyline got a bit frustrating when as a reader you can see how each character feels about the other, and you just want to scream into the pages “Start dating already!”   I was a little bit wary about the television show aspect of the book since that is the industry I work in, but as I read I was pleasantly surprised at how true to life the behind the scenes details were.  I also think it’s fun that the recipes are included in the back of the book, especially considering how I started constantly wanting cupcakes while I was reading.
          I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys modern Christian Romance novels, especially if you enjoy the theme of baking or reality competition shows.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”