Monday, July 28, 2014

Activz Whole Food Multivitamin Shake Review

Disclosure of material connection- I receive a container of Activz Complete in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

I am always on the look out for products to enhance the health of my family and myself. Getting more fruits, vegetables and vitamins is essential to good health and I know sometimes, especially with young children, it can be difficult to get in all of the healthy nutrients through diet alone. I was super excited to have discovered Activz. Activz is a line of whole food supplements. There are several different types of powder supplements- fruit powders, vegetable powders, grass powders and protein powders. In addition the the wide array of whole food powder supplements available, there are also vitamins, supplements, chia bars, and silver. All of these products are derived from whole foods and are a great way to boost your health and wellness.

I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to try Activz whole food multivitamin shake in berries & cream flavor. This whole food shake can be used in several different ways. You can use it as an energy boost or a recovery drink. You could also just use it to add more fruits, veggies and vitamins into your life. Complete is full of 9 servings of different fruits and vegetables such as broccoli sprouts, carrot juice, beet juice, apple juice powder, grape juice powder and several others. 2 scoops of this stuff, which is one serving offers 100% or more of several vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins a, c, d, e, vitamins b1, b2, b3, b12, and folic acid, among others. It is worth adding Activz complete to your life just for the B12 and Vitamin D boost, both vitamins that are important for optimal health and that I think many people are lacking. In addition to the vitamins, there are probiotics and omega 3s. These supplements are great at keeping the immune system in check!

I first tried Complete in just straight up water. It was too sweet for my taste, but I don't like putting stuff in my water. I am sure many people will find the sweetness more than appealing and an easy think to drink in the mornings for extra energy and a great vitamin boost. I find that I like it best mixed in a fruit smoothie. It gives an extra kick of flavor to the smoothie and of course, adds an exponential amount of nutritional value to your day. I wanted to also try it in some yogurt. I got one bite in before my daughter stole it and devoured the entire bowl, so although this is a healthy choice, it is kid friendly. They will even like it and ask for it!

What I love about Activz products besides the fact that they are made of whole foods and last a long while (you will use them up long before they would go bad, I am sure of it!) is that they are made in the USA and are gmo-free. I like that there is absolutely nothing in them that is synthetic and that the people who created this product have our best interest at heart. I absolutely recommend giving Activz Complete a try. You will notice a difference in your energy levels and in your overall health.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

The Nightingale Sisters by Donna Douglas (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-
To the student nurses at The Nightingale hospital, the ward sisters are heartless and frightening, with impossibly high standards. But the sisters have troubles of their own...
The new night sister is not all that she seems. Who is she and what dark secret is she hiding? As the mystery deepens, Sister Wren is determined to find out the truth.


The student nurse is struggling with her own secret, and with her heartbreak over Nick, the man who got away. A new arrival on the ward brings the chance to put a smile back on her face. But can she really get over Nick so easily?


Dora’s fellow student is also torn between the two men in her life. But then an unexpected friendship with an elderly patient makes her question where her heart – and her future – really lies.

As the nation mourns the death of King George V, it seems as if nothing is ever going to be the same again, especially for the women at the Nightingale.

My thoughts-

I loved getting to know the student nurses of the Nightingale hospital in The Nightingale Girls and I could not wait to read the second book in the series. There were relationships hanging in the balance in book one and many of the girls were only at the beginning of their training. What I love about this series is that is about several different type of women working toward the same goal. Millie is from the upper class, Helen from the middle and Dora from the lower class. In the first book Millie was my favorite character, but Helen grew on me in the end. I loved all 3 of them in this book, but Dora's story is particularly interesting to me. There was also a solid moment in this book where I really came to love Nick, Dora's next door neighbor and love interest, even though he does some things that make me shake my head too. There is a lot going on in the book with these women and several story lines, but it isn't hard to follow,  and there are some many interesting things going on, it kept me turning the pages. I also enjoy that there are several romances going on in the novel, I am a sucker for a good relationship and there are a ton of romances blossoming (or not in some cases) in The Nightingale Sisters. For me, it is great reading historical fiction because I am really interested in the past. I love that I get a feel for what a girl who might have been going through nursing school at this time period in London might have gone through, but that these characters are all easy to relate to and quite easy to come to care for them. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or themes of romance or suspense. I absolutely can not wait to read The Nightingale Nurses. I already have it downloaded and ready to go on my Kindle!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’sFatherhoodDad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.

My thoughts-

I thought the title of this book was funny and I have seen a few of Jim Gaffigan's stand up acts, so I thought it might be a fun read. I didn't realize that the Gaffigan's have five children! I have been lamenting the fact that my husband and I become outnumbered in a very short period of time...while when my first baby was 13 months old, we tried and successfully became pregnant with our second baby...and our third baby. We had only planned on evening out the score and having two total, so having three kids, that are exceptionally close in age, it has been a pretty big adventure the last 5 years! I really enjoyed this book because I could relate to a lot of the scenarios Jim Gaffigan had mentioned going through with his children. I like that he can joke about parenting, the same way my husband and I do sometimes about our gaggle of kids. This book had me laughing out loud more than a few times. I could not even begin to imagine having more than 3 children and we live in a decent sized house in the suburbs with a nice backyard. Jim's stories about living in a two bedroom apartment in New York City, especially the stories that involve him getting 5 kids ages 8 and under down 5 flights of stairs to go anywhere, were super funny. I like this lighthearted book and I think most parents, especially parents of several kids could relate to it. In addition to all of the cute stories and self deprecating humor, I also really enjoyed reading how completely enamored Jim Gaffigan is of his wife. It is evident from the very clever theatrical like opening of the book where he lists her as having multiple "roles" in the book/family and all the way through when he consistently mentions her. It is refreshing to see a husband write so sweetly about his wife. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good laugh, but especially to parents...who need one.

Dad is Fat is available on

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Younique Makeup- This stuff is amazing!

So much comes in the Presenter's Kit! $99 + ship's free
in July!
A while back I did a review and giveaway for Younique's 3D fiber lashes. A friend of mine became a presenter and I had heard of and seen awesome pictures of this amazing product and I new I needed to try it. I absolutely fell in love the very first time I applied the fiber lash mascara. Even my favorite high end natural brand of mascara can't compare, and Younique is actually a few dollars cheaper! When I ordered the mascara, I also ordered a couple of the eye pigments and a lip gloss so I could try several of the products. I have been impressed with all of them. So this month when my friend mentioned that they exclusive deal for July is free shipping on the $99 presenters kit, I was pretty much on board to get it and begin a Younique journey of mine own. The kit contains over $400 worth of makeup for you to play around with and use at in home parties should you chose to have any (they are not required, most Younique parties are exclusively online!)

A lot of people are intimidated by direct sales or think that they can not create a lucrative business out of it, but Younique is well...unique. Here are some great reasons to consider joining:

  • $99 Starter kit ships free July. It's over $400 worth of makeup, but you only pay 1/4 of that cost. 
  • Automatic Commissions- unlike other direct sales companies that pay you once a month, Younique automatically loads your commission after each sale happens! 
  • $25 bonus to spend on your birthday
  • FREE Website (you have to pay a fee monthly for most other direct sales I know of)
  • Great products that sell themselves! 
  • The opportunity to earn a $250 shopping spree with "Fast Start" when you join
  • Discount on products you will love using anyway! Not only can you earn commission from your own purchases, if you host your own parties, you can take the hostess credits for yourself
  • The ability to have parties from the comfort of your home. Most parties are online on Facebook, unless you CHOOSE to have in home parties!
  • Because the parties are online, your guests can be from out of town, expanding your customer base exponentially.
  • You get to help people discover makeup that is not only better for their skin and the environment, but looks so much better than traditional brands!
There are so many fantastic reasons to become a Younique presenter. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me and I will be glad to help.  If you would like to throw a party to test the waters, I am happy to help you set one up!

I am so excited to be a Younique Presenter and I would love to have you on my team!

Here are a few of my personal Younique looks! I am having fun playing with the colors.

Here are my bare eyelashes/eyelids
In this picture I have 2 coats of fiber lashes

Once again, 2 coats of fiber lashes! :)


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Green Virgin Liquid Soap Nuts Review

I have been using soap nuts for a few years now, but for someone who is not familiar with them, they might be a little intimidating. I was thrilled to hear that there is a liquid version of soap nuts and I was even more excited to give it a try!

If you are unfamiliar with soap nuts, they are the shell of the fruit of sapindus trees. This is the only laundry product you can get that grows on trees! That makes this pretty much the safest thing to use in your washing machine to clean your clothes. You can not get more natural than right off of the tree. The liquid version made by Green Virgin  is comprised of the main ingredient sapindus mukurossi soap liquid and caprylyl glycol and phenethyl alcohol as the preservatives. All ingredients rate as a 0 (the best rating) on the Skin Deep Database, so this is a safe product to use for your clothes. It comes with a pump and it says for HE washers that you only need to use two pumps.  That is 120 loads in a tiny 8 oz bottle! I have a top loading washer, which requires three pumps of liquid, but that would still last a while! When I first pumped it in, I noticed that it is a brown liquid, which is a little different than the norm, but I have used this laundry soap several times now and the coloring has not effected the outcome of any laundry I have done. There is a distinct smell to the laundry soap, but I have not noticed that it leaves any scent on the clothes. I like to use dryer balls with essential oils infused for scenting my laundry. 
I have been impressed with Green Virgin's Liquid Soap Nuts so far. It does a great job getting my clothes super clean and since it is so concentrated, it takes up less space in the laundry room and also lasts longer than some of the big containers you would get at the store that contain all kinds of bad chemicals. Liquid Soap Nuts are great for naturally cleaning your clothes, contributing less to waste (because of the small bottles/long lasting product:) and better for you and your family to be around because the liquid does not contain any chemicals.

Green Virgin has a sample bottle of the liquid soap (that will take care of 6 loads of laundry) for .50 cents if you want to give it a try before you commit. I highly recommend giving it a try!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers."

Monday, July 21, 2014

Escape Monthly July/India box review

There is probably nothing I love more than traveling when I can. I think it is so much fun to explore new places and explore new cultures. I do not get to travel as often as I would like or go to all of the places on my travel bucket list, so when I heard about Escape Monthly I was ecstatic! Escape Monthly is a subscription box. Each month they pick a new destination, gather cool items from the destination, jam pack a box with said items and ship them to your doorstep. The coolest thing about it is that each month, one lucky subscriber wins a trip to wherever the destination is! Past escapes have included: Napa Valley, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Colorado and Ireland. July's escape was to India and so far it was my favorite!

There were tons of great items in the India box. In addition to the travel book about the Taj Mahal and surrounding areas, my absolute favorite thing included was a bottle of Amber perfume oil. It smells fantastic. I have been wearing it daily.  There was a small bottle of gee included which I promptly used to enhance the rice I was cooking in the rice cooker that night. You know if the family eats all of their brown rice (at least in my white rice loving house) that whatever was used to cook it must have been some good stuff! Madras curry and Korma curry were also in the box. I used the Korma for some chicken the same night as I used the ghee. It was okay as far as taste goes (Indian food is supposed to have a bit of spice kick to it, and this korma fell short in that department), but I was glad to see that Saffron Road (the company that makes it) is GMO free. That is enough to prompt me to buy it again and add my own spices and to try other Saffron Road products. Another really cool thing included in this box was the Masala Pop Chai Masala Popcorn. It is a unique twist on popcorn with authentic Indian flavors. The cardamom gave it a wonderful taste. The kids and I absolutely loved it. As with every Escape Monthly box, there were a couple of bath and body products included. There was a sample of Banyan Botanical's Neem & Aloe soap and Healthy Hair Oil from the same company. I am really excited to use the hair oil because I know it will make hair look shinier and healthier. Last but not least, for a bonus item Escape Monthly through in some cute Bindi decals for the forehead. These are a tradition in India said to represent one's wisdom. They also look really cute! Although it had nothing to do with India and wasn't listed in the brochure as one of the items, they also through in a Juice Beauty hand cream! It was a nice extra bonus!

There wasn't a thing in this box that I didn't like. That makes me even more excited for next month's escape. THE ONE I have been waiting for- PARIS!! If you are not already receiving these boxes, this is the month to sign up! Boxes will ship mid-month and I will be counting down the days and crossing my fingers to be the lucky one to win the trip to Paris! If you are a new member, you can get 20% off of your subscription by entering the code PARISESCAPE at checkout!

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

A lively step up from early chapter books, this seafaring romp is packed with hilarious art, lovable misfits, meddlesome monkeys, and tons of kid appeal.

When Oliver's explorer parents go missing, he sets sail on a rescue mission with some new, unexpected friends: a grumpy albatross, a nearsighted mermaid . . . even a living island! But the high seas are even more exciting, unusual, and full of mischief than Oliver could have imagined. Can he and his crew spar with sarcastic seaweed, outrun an army of sea monkeys, win a fabulous maritime fashion contest, and defeat a wicked sea captain in time to save Mom and Dad?

My thoughts-

My kids are still young and are not quite into chapter books yet (my daughter i almost there though!), but I can't wait until the day that they are! It is so fun to come to the realization that you can have such fun adventures through someone else's words using your imagination! I love to read children's books of all sorts so that when they do get to the age to read more difficult books, we will have a library full of them at home to chose from. I recently had the opportunity to read Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre. It is a very imaginative fantasy book that I think little kids would love. Oliver is a likable character and from the very beginning pages, he is on an epic adventure. I love that this book is short enough to not be overwhelming for a young chapter book reader, but there is enough going on in the plot to keep an older child interested as well. The illustrations are lively and adorable and there are fun characters that Oliver meets along the way and I loved the wonderful wit throughout the story! I would recommend this book to parents with young kids ready for chapter books to read together with them and for independent young reader's alike. 

Oliver and the Seawigs will be available for purchase on July 22, 2014. You can pre-order it on

About the author-

Philip Reeve is the acclaimed author of the Mortal Engines/Predator Cities series, the Fever Crumb series, and Here Lies Arthur (2008 Carnegie Medal Winner). He was born and raised in the seaside town of Brighton, and has been writing down adventures since he was five years old. (

About the illustrator-

Sarah McIntyre has written and illustrated several picture books and comics for children. Her delightfully over-the-top drawings and mischievious monkey illustrations brought Philip and Sarah together for this series. (


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Revolutionary (Anomaly #3) by Krista McGee Blog Tour & Book Review + Enter to Win All 3 Books in the Series!

Disclosure- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book- 

All her life Thalli thought she was an anomaly. Now she must use her gifts to fulfill the role she was called to play: Revolutionary. Back in the underground State against her will, Thalli is no longer the anomaly she was before. She has proven herself to be a powerful leader aboveground and returns with information that Dr. Loudin needs to complete his plan of uniting the world under one leader: himself. But he, too, has information. A secret he has kept from Thalli her entire life. A secret that, once revealed, changes everything about the person Thalli thought she was. Hoping to help Thalli rise up against the Scientists, both Berk and Alex join her underground, but their presence only brings more trouble for her. Now Dr. Loudin knows just the leverage to use on his captive, and she is forced to choose between the two of them. Is her first love her true love? Or does Alex ultimately claim her heart? Unsure of everything around her, including her own identity, Thalli doesn't know where to turn. She knows she needs the Designer, but he seems further away than ever. What she does know, though, is that if she doesn't do something to stop Loudin, the fragile world above ground will be lost once and for all.

Revolutionary is the 3rd book in the Anomaly trilogy. Check out my review for the first two books by clicking on the titles- Anomaly #1, Luminary #2. You will want to read the first two books before you set out to read Revolutionary.

My thoughts-

Revolutionary picks up right where Luminary left off. We found out what has become of Thalli and her friends and some intense action scenes take place throughout this book. Thalli is still trying to figure out how she feels about both Alex and Berk in the midst of trying to figure out what she can do to fix the dystopian world that she lives in. There is a great plot twist involving Dr. Loudin and Thalli and Thalli also gets to know James better. Throughout the book I wonder which side James is on, Mcgee definitely keeps us guessing where his heart lies. As it's two predecessors, this novel is centered around faith in God. I enjoyed this aspect of the novel and thought it was a different take on a dystopian trilogy. It was done well. I was just as into this novel as I was the first two books in the trilogy. Revolutionary was definitely edge of your seat reading. I was left wondering many times who might get out alive and if Thalli and company would be able to stop the evil Dr. Loudin. As far as this book ending the trilogy, I was left somehow feeling a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, this was a great book and everything was concluded and wrapped up nicely, but I felt like something was missing. I guess I expected the book to go out with a bigger bang since it was the end to a series, but I would absolutely still recommend the Anomaly trilogy to anyone who is interested in dystopian fiction, christian fiction or ya fiction.

About the author-

Krista writes for teens, teaches teens, and more often than not, acts like a teen. She and her family have lived and ministered in Texas, Costa Rica, and Spain. Her current hometown is Tampa, FL.

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is now available on, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books & The Book Depository

Enter below via the Rafflecopter for your chance to win all 3 books in the Anomaly series!
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson (Book Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

I live in Texas and grew up in a family full of wonderful southern cooks and bakers and as a result, I grew to love cooking quite a bit myself. Add to that a mother who is known to eat dessert before her meal instead of after and I have always battled a sugar addiction. I was really excited when I came across this title on Blogging for Books and I had high hopes that it would be exactly what I needed. I absolutely loved the beautiful front cover and then flipping through to check out the other pages, this is just a beautifully presented book that will catch your eye with it's pop's of color throughout. As far as the actual book goes, I did agree with much of what the book says, I can not however agree that sugar is sugar. The sugar in fruit is quite different than using overly processed table sugar, but I get what the author means as far as really needing to give it all up to detox your body for the 8 week program. It is evident in her writing and her recipes that she feels the same way, that sentence in the beginning just irked me a bit. As far as the actual book goes, there is a lot of useful information to be read and I love that there are tons of great recipes in the book. I have bookmarked at least half of them to try it. Although these recipes are sugar free, several rely on the use of stevia or brown rice syrup so you don't have to give up all sweetness forever. I definitely plan to try many of these recipes very soon. I recommend this book to anyone looking to get a hold on their sugar addiction or just looking to have a more well rounded view of healthy living.

About the author-

Sarah Wilson is a journalist, television host, and blogger, and a qualified Health Coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York. She lives in Sydney, Australia.

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I Quit Sugar is now available from Random House.

Guilt by Degrees (Rachel Knight #2) by Marcia Clark (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I was provided a copy of the book by the publisher via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

Someone has been watching D.A. Rachel Knight—someone who's Rachel's equal in brains, but with more malicious intentions. It began when a near-impossible case fell into Rachel's lap, the suspectless homicide of a homeless man. In the face of courthouse backbiting and a gauzy web of clues, Rachel is determined to deliver justice. She's got back-up: tough-as-nails Detective Bailey Keller. As Rachel and Bailey stir things up, they're shocked to uncover a connection with the vicious murder of an LAPD cop a year earlier. Something tells Rachel someone knows the truth, someone who'd kill to keep it secret.

Harrowing, smart, and riotously entertaining, Guilt by Degrees is a thrilling ride through the world of LA courts with the unforgettable Rachel Knight.

My thoughts-

This is the second book in Marcia Clark's book series featuring D.A. Rachel Knight. I hadn't realized Marcia Clark wrote novels at all until I came across the first book in the series,Guilt by Association, and really enjoyed reading it so much that I couldn't wait to read more books in the series. Guilt by Degrees was an enjoyable novel. I always love book series' because they allow us as readers more time to get to know these characters that we may have become attached to and aren't quite ready to say goodbye to like we would have to do in a one and done stand alone novel. It allows more room for character development and to delve further into the protagonist's world. Rachel night is a complicated person, so it is going to take several novels to get her full story, so I am thankful this is a series because there is still so much I want to know about her. In this particular story, Rachel Knight and company are attempting to solve a murder case of a homeless man. In the process of learning about the case and more about the victim, Simon, we discover this case may be related to another murder that took place in the past where the victim is someone close to Simon. I enjoyed the interweaving of the two stories and how everything feel into place. I didn't feel like there was enough of Graden in this book, so I hope there is more focus on the love story in the next book. As far as this novel goes, the only complaint I have is the same as it was for the first novel, it is just way too wordy. I do not mind reading a lengthy novel if all of the details are important to the story, but I feel like there are too many instances in Clark's novels of spending more time than necessary describing things that are unimportant. I found myself skimming over several passages because of this, but I definitely still enjoyed the book and I don't think the overly-wordy descriptions should stop anyone from giving these books a chance. I have already started reading the third book Killer Ambition myself! I recommend Guilt By Degrees to anyone who enjoys courtroom thrillers or suspense novels. 
About the author-

Marcia Clark began her law career as a criminal defense attorney. In 1981, she became a prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney's office where she handled a number of high profile cases prior to and including the O. J. Simpson trial.

In May of 1997, Clark wrote a book the Simpson case called Without a Doubt. It quickly rose to #1 on several best seller lists including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal LA Times, among others.

In addition to her law career, Clark has toured the country giving lectures on women's issues, was a legal analyst and expert for several television networks between 1998-2000, has appeared on several other shows including "The Oprah Winfrey Show", "Larry King Live", "The Today Show", "The Early Show", "Good Morning American" and many others. She has also been involved in writing several tv pilots. 

Guilt by Degrees is the second novel in a series of novels about prosecutor Rachel Knight. These books have been optioned as a television show and are currently in development for TNT. She will serve as Executive Director of the show.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

When Calls the Heart "The Dance" Review

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of When Calls the Heart "The Dance" from Edify Media in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About When Calls the Heart-

When Calls the Heart is a television show on the Hallmark Channel based on the writings of Janette Oke that debuted on the Hallmark Channel to more than 3 million viewers, making it the #2 show for the night on all of cable for the primary telecast at 9 p.m and #3 overall in households. The show is about Elizabeth Thatcher, a young high society woman who is now working as a teacher on the western frontier. "The Dance" is a feature length film that can be purchased on or the entire series can be watched on the Hallmark Channel or Amazon Instant Video. To see my reviews for previous feature length films in this series see in this order-
When Calls the Heart: a film by Michael Landon, Jr.
When Calls the Heart  "Lost and Found"
 When Calls the Heart "A Telling Silence"

"The Dance" is about new minors coming into town and they all happen to be bachelors. Elizabeth meets Billy who seems to be smitten with her. Jack seems weary of Billy, but is that because he is jealous or because he really has a bad feeling about the newcomer? The other women in town also become interested in the new men around and there is a dance to welcome them to town at the end.

My thoughts- 

I always love watching new episodes of When Calls the Heart. I love reading historical fiction and it seems the same is true about watching it. I like that we get to take a peek into another time period and how things might have been at that time. I also love that their is a sweet love story brewing without being over the top about it. The further I get into the series the more hooked I am and the more I want to find out what happens next. This is especially true of "The Dance". I enjoyed the element of suspense with the Billy/Jack story line. I really didn't know whether Billy was a good guy or a bad guy, but I was kind of rooting for him to be a bad guy because I love Jack and although I knew some of him being weary of Billy was jealousy of the relationship he was forming with Elizabeth, I also know he has her best interest at heart. I also enjoyed the new minors being in town and the introduction of a few new characters and possible romances brewing. I look forward to continuing the series and I can't wait to see what is going to happen next, both between Elizabeth and Jack and with the rebuilding of the town.

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Watch the trailer for When Calls the Heart "The Dance" below.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

RAGAMUFFIN (Based on the Life of Rich Mullins) Movie Review + Giveaway

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the movie via Flyby Promotions in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not require to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the movie-

RAGAMUFFIN is based on the life of Rich Mullins, a musical prodigy who rose to Christian music fame and fortune only to walk away and live on a Navajo reservation. An artistic genius, raised on a tree farm in Indiana by a callous father, Rich wrestled all of his life with the brokenness and crippling insecurity born of his childhood. A lover of Jesus and a rebel in the church, Rich refused to let his struggles with his own darkness tear him away from a God he was determined to love. As he struggled with success in Nashville and depression in Wichita, Rich desired most of all to live a life of honest and reckless faith amidst a culture of religion and conformity.

My thoughts-

I admit that before this movie my knowledge of Rich Mullins begins and ends with a few of his better known songs. I think most of us have heard and sang "Awesome God" countless times in church. I was very interested in learning more about the person behind the song and I am so glad that I watched this movie. It is always interesting to learn about people who are in the spotlight. Famous people are often held to an unattainable standard, and I think that is probably especially true of famous Christians. Ragamuffin gives us a look at one such person and shows us that he is a real person, flawed just like the rest of us and unapologetic about it to boot. Watching this movie gave me a new respect for Rich Mullins for several different reasons, but one of those reasons was him speaking his mind on his views of the church and how he felt about certain things. He liked to talk and he had important things to say. Ragamuffin also shows us that Rich had his own struggles which were not pretty and how he handled becoming famous. His struggles are not sugar coated, but neither is his message. I think it is important that this movie covered all aspects of Rich's life to help us better understand the man he was. Ragamuffin also introduced me to several songs by Rich Mullins that I hadn't heard before that I plan to add to a Spotify playlist very soon! If you enjoy movies based on real life or if you are a Rich Mullins fan or just want to learn more about very interesting people, I recommend Ragamuffin to you. About Rich Mullins-

Singer and songwriter Richard Wayne “Rich” Mullins was best known for his worship song “Awesome God” which has been embraced as a modern classic by many Christians. His music has been covered by many artists, including Caedmon’s Call, Amy Grant, Jars of Clay, Michael W. Smith, Third Day, John Tesh, and Hillsong United. Mullins’ musical career formally began with Zion Ministries in the late 1970s, where he wrote music and performed with a band called Zion.  Mullins first solo hit, “Awesome God,” appeared on his third album and brought his music to a wider audience. Rich Mullins was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Gospel Music Association on April 29, 2014. Connect with RAGAMUFFIN on Facebook

Connect with RAGAMUFFIN on Twitter RAGAMUFFIN releases today on DVD and is available for purchase at these retailers.
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Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Perfect Summer (Movie Review)

*Disclosure- I received a copy of the movie from Edify Media in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the movie-
In The Perfect Summer, fatherless teenager Jake (Adam Horner) is happy living in Chicago, until his mother (Sydney Penny) decides to uproot them to a small surfing town where her estranged father (Eric Roberts), Jake's grandfather, lives. The transition isn't easy for anyone and it seems everywhere he goes, Jake manages to make enemies, including the town bully, Tyler (JD Banks), who doesn't like the new interloper or his interest in young surfing prodigy, Kayla (Katie Garfield). Stuck in the beach town with no friends and no knowledge of surfing, Jake has nowhere to turn until Cody (Jason Castro), the local surf shop owner, reveals that Jake's grandfather is a surf legend. Tired of feeling like an outcast, Jake asks Lou to teach him about surfing. Jake learns to face his fears, push through inhibitions and realizes that winning the respect of his new peers - and Katie's heart - might mean facing the biggest challenge of his life.

My thoughts-
The Perfect Summer had me at "beach". I love movies that are set at the beach, it is just a fun environment to be in and I guess i dream of being at the beach a lot of the time myself, so maybe that has something to do with it. I liked that I could watch this movie around my kids, there was a tad bit of violence, but nothing out of control or anything. The movie begins with Jake and his mom moving in with his grandfather. Jake has a tough time with this because he used to living in an entirely different environment and it is just tough for a teenager to transition to an new, unfamiliar place where they don't know anyone. Of course, the thing that turns Jake's attention on becoming more comfortable in town is meeting Katie in the surf shop. He still has a rough time fitting in, but meeting Katie and his grandfather giving him surf lessons help him through some of his trials. I really enjoyed this movie and my 6 year old daughter loved the surfing aspect of the movie. She asked me if she could surf one day too! The surfing lessons were a fun part of the movie. The cast was perfect and I loved seeing American Idol alum Jason Castro as the surf shop owner, he nailed the part! Great acting, a good storyline and a movie that can be watched by the whole family make The Perfect Summer the perfect family movie night pick! 

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

Los Angeles D.A. Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city's most elite division. When her colleague, Jake, is found dead at a grisly crime scene, Rachel is shaken to the core. She must take over his toughest case: the assault of a young woman from a prominent family.

But she can't stop herself from digging deeper into Jake's death, a decision that exposes a world of power and violence and will have her risking her reputation—and her life—to find the truth.

With her tremendous expertise in the nuances of L.A. courts and crime, and with a vibrant ensemble cast of characters, Marcia Clark combines intimate detail, riotous humor, and visceral action in a debut thriller that marks the launch of a major new figure on the crime-writing scene.

My thoughts-

I immediately recognized the name Marcia Clark from the infamous OJ Simpson murder trial. I was only in 5th grade when that trial took place, but I was old enough to know what was going on and to take an interest in the trial. So when I saw that Marcia Clark was writing books, I had to see if she could deliver. I have no idea why I did not notice that she had been writing fiction until now when Guilt by Association was written in 2012, but I am glad that I discovered her books even if a little behind the times. I was engaged from the get-go wanting to know where this book was headed and wanting to know what had happened and of course trying to figure out  not one, but two "whodunits". I love a good criminal thriller, I spent a good majority of my high school years reading John Grisham, so I was excited to find another author to be excited about and that kept me wanting to read on to find out what happened next. The only complaint I have about this book is that it could have been shorter. I don't have any problem with a long book if all of the information was pertinent, but I grew tired of reading about what Rachel wanted to eat vs. what she could eat and when she needed to work out. A few mentions of these things would have painted a sufficient picture of the character. Even though there are parts of the book that were drawn out, they are easy to skim over and this book is still a great debut novel. It is also the first book in a series of books about D. A. Rachel Knight and for me, that makes it even more worth reading. I have already started reading the second novel! I recommend Guilt by Association to anyone who enjoys a fast paced criminal thriller or suspense novel. 

About the author-

Marcia Clark began her law career as a criminal defense attorney. In 1981, she became a prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney's office where she handled a number of high profile cases prior to and including the O. J. Simpson trial.

In May of 1997, Clark wrote a book the Simpson case called Without a Doubt. It quickly rose to #1 on several best seller lists including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal LA Times, among others.

In addition to her law career, Clark has toured the country giving lectures on women's issues, was a legal analyst and expert for several television networks between 1998-2000, has appeared on several other shows including "The Oprah Winfrey Show", "Larry King Live", "The Today Show", "The Early Show", "Good Morning American" and many others. She has also been involved in writing several tv pilots. 

Guilt by Association is the first novel in a series of novels about prosecutor Rachel Knight. These books have been optioned as a television show and are currently in development for TNT. She will serve as Executive Director of the show.

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