Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the 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-

First Series from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen!
The lifeblood of the Wiltshire village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. But when the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant owner. Jane has no notion of how to run a business. However, with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must find a way to bring new life to the inn. 

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to find her place in the world. As she and Jane work together, they form a measure of trust, and Thora's wounded heart begins to heal. When she encounters two men from her past, she sees them--and her future--in a different light.

With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane employs innovative methods to turn the inn around, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place. Will her efforts be enough to save The Bell? And will Thora embrace the possibility of a second chance at love?

My thoughts-

I am a huge fan of Mrs. Klassen, she has written some of my favorite books. The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill isn't her usual fare. It's still historical fiction, but not the regency era stuff I typically clamor after. Maybe because of that, I had a hard time getting interested in the characters in this novel or the over all story. The writing was still great, it just didn't resonate with me personally. I still can't wait to see what is next in this series, and I am so excited that Julie Klassen even decided to write a series because she is wonderful at character development and I think that will really shine in this format of work. I recommend the Inn Keeper of Ivy Hill to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Scentsy FLASH SALE 11/16/16 50-80% off!

At 9 am Pacific time (11 central) Scentsy will be having a BLOW OUT sale ! Up to 80% off! Set your timers and go get your deeply discountedScentsy today! These products will go fast!


Select buddies will also be buy one get one free. That includes scent paks for both buddies! Get those kids marked off your Christmas lists!! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Oh, Ick by Joy Masoff (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the 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. 

My thoughts-

This is the exact kind of book my kids are always asking for. They love hands on science experiments and learning how things work and getting messy every now and then. I love books like these too, that make learning fun! Oh, Ick covers all of the different faucets of science and offers many great ways for kids to fall in love with science. This would be a great resource for science fairs!


Gluten-Free Small Bites by Nicole Hunn (Cookbook Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the 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-

Small bites aren't just for fancy parties with twee hors d'oeuvres (and no small children in sight). Gluten-free guru Nicole Hunn shares recipes for portable foods fitting every imaginable occasion—mini quiche for your book club, crispy coconut shrimp for the office potluck, and handheld chicken pot pies the kids can devour on-the-go. Complete with bite-size sweets—mini √©clairs, little apple pies—that no one can resist, Gluten-Free Small Biteshas a recipe for every occasion—spicy or sweet, vegetarian or meaty, fancy or kid-friendly.

My thoughts-

We are still pretty new to the gluten free lifestyle. Our basic game plan is basically just to avoid everything other than fruit, vegetables, or meat for the most part, but we have definitely been missing out on some of our old favorites. Now that we are getting more used to it, we are ready to add more things in. Gluten Free Small Bites is a fantastic book for all of your favorite party foods! Most of these foods would also make excellent lunchbox additions which I know my kids will be so excited about! There are only so many times one can eat sushi, nachos, soup or salad for lunch. Gluten-Free Small Bites will allow me to give my kids some of the foods that they have been missing since we changed our eating habits! Pot pies, gyros, burritos, tacos, quiches, and so much more. I am so excited to have a book with so many fun recipes in it! 

Love, Alice by Barbara Davis (Book Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the 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-

From the author of Summer at Hideaway Key comes a sweeping new Southern women's fiction novel about forgiving the past one letter at a time...
 
The truth lies between the lines...
 
A year ago, Dovie Larkin's life was shattered when her fianc√© committed suicide just weeks before their wedding. Now, plagued by guilt, she has become a fixture at the cemetery where William is buried, visiting his grave daily, waiting for answers she knows will never come. 
 
Then one day, she sees an old woman whose grief mirrors her own. Fascinated, she watches the woman leave a letter on a nearby grave. Dovie ignores her conscience and reads the letter—a mother's plea for forgiveness to her dead daughter—and immediately needs to know the rest of the story. 
 
As she delves deeper, a collection of letters from the cemetery's lost and found  begins to unravel a decades-old mystery involving one of Charleston's wealthiest families. But even as Dovie seeks to answer questions about another woman's past—questions filled with deception, betrayal, and heartbreaking loss—she starts to discover the keys to love, forgiveness, and finally embracing the future…


About the book-

I love books with dual time lines. I think it adds to the overall depth of the book to have two sets of characters, especially when it comes time to interweave the two story lines. This was my first Barbara Davis book, but I absolutely loved how effortlessly she jumped from Alice's timeline to Dovie's. Love, Alice is a book about loss and grief and new beginnings. It was full of drama, and full of surprises. My favorite aspect of the book were the letters from Alice to her little one. They really help take the book to another level and help us understand Alice and what happened with her, her child, and her mother. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction with a touch of historical fiction and who do not mind heavy subject matter.




Sunday, November 6, 2016

Where Jesus Slept by Norma Lewis Book Review + Giveaway

 * Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Flyby Promotions 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 new picture book about the Nativity of Jesus, with a lively cumulative story structure.
This is the bed where Jesus slept. This is the straw that lined the bed where Jesus slept. From here, the story builds with each spread, adding a new element and explaining the relationships among the participants in and witnesses to the first Christmas. From Jesus sleeping sweetly to the wise men bringing gifts, this charming book reminds readers of the joyous event we celebrate at Christmastime. Children will love the charming illustrations and the engaging repetition in this Nativity tale. Ages 4-7.

My thoughts-

The first thing that grabbed my attention about Where Jesus Slept is the gorgeous cover. I loved the similar artwork throughout the book. I love books written in this particular style for pre-school and young school age readers. Each page building on the previous page and the repetition cumulative stories create using this pattern are great tools for kids this age to work on their reading skills. 
This book is a great way to introduce or remind your children of the story of the birth of Jesus and all of the events that took place in the days leading up to his birth, the tale of the Nativity. I think this would be a great book to wrap and place under the tree to be opened and read as a family Christmas eve. I recommend this book to anyone who has young children.

Enter below for your chance to win a copy of the book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray Blog Tour + Book Review

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Litfuse Group 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 Shelley Shepard Gray’s fourth book in her Charmed Amish Life series, an unlikely Amish romance reveals that Christmas is a time for family, miracles—and love.
Ever since his father died in a tragic fire, Levi Kinsinger has felt adrift. Newly returned to Charm, Ohio, Levi is trying to fit into his old life, only to discover he seems to have outgrown it.
But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can’t help having doubts. There’s something about Julia that doesn’t ring quite true…
Like Levi, Julia Kemps has survived her fair share of hardships—but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she’s hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually…perhaps even sharing her life with him.
Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together…in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.

My thoughts-

When October rolls around, it is time to start doing some holiday reading! I am glad that An Amish Family Christmas was my first Christmas book to kick off the season. It was a sweet book with familiar characters and a quick read- I read it all in one setting on a quiet and lazy Saturday afternoon. What I really love about the characters in Shelley Shepard Gray's Charmed Amish Life Series is that the characters are heavily flawed. It makes the stories seem more true to life and makes the characters more relateable. I was glad to get to know Levi better in this book and I loved that there was a strong woman character in Julia. Watching their story unfold was interesting and enjoyable. This was a quick, romantic read. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction.  


Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2dYRwqr

About the author:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.





A Sister's Wish by Shelley Shepard Gray Blog Review + Book Tour

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book  from  the publisher via Litfuse Publicity Group 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 Shelley Shepard Gray’s third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.

Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman—at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she’s also harboring a secret: She’s been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he’s about as far from “perfect” as an Amish man could get… but that’s exactly why she’s so drawn to him.

Life hasn’t been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he’s determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past…unless it pertains to Amelia.

He’s loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas—who just happens to be Simon’s best friend—has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he’s the only one who can truly make her happy. 

But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together—and face their past mistakes. There’s a chance for love… but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.


My thoughts-

A Sister's Wish is about Amelia, a nice Amish girl who has fallen for a bad boy! He is Amish too, but has a bit of shady past. I enjoyed this element of the book. I think sometimes we in the outside world view the Amish as almost perfect in some ways and it is true that everyone has their issues, maybe not to Simon's degree but it is definitely possible. Simon dotes on Amelia and I love it. It was interesting to see him interact with his siblings, who have both left the Amish world, and it was also nice to see Amelia come into her own and stand up for herself. She seems to be treated almost as Cinderella was by her step mother and sisters, expected to do everything, but treated not so well. Her family didn't treat her badly necessarily, but definitely like a child that she is not and they do not appreciate her as they should. This was a great book about forgiveness and with some emotionally heavy content. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2dYRwqr

About the author:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.