Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer chased away Spring, so here's a Great Read for the Summer!

For the second year in a row, Spring stepped aside prematurely to let Summer come rushing in.  I am not a fan of Summer.  Never have liked the heat.  But today it was up to at least 95 degrees here in Auburn, Indiana.  Thank goodness for air conditioning.

Enough about the weather!  I just finished a quick, fun book by Janice Hanna.  Have any of you read LOVE ME TENDER yet?  For those of you growing up in the 1950's this will bring back memories and I'm sure you will love it.  Yes, the title is tied to the Elvis hit, Love Me Tender, but the story is about two other young rising stars.  It was just a really sweet story.  The story is set in Laguna Beach, California as well as Los Angeles. I loved that because I am a Native Southern Californian & before moving here to Indiana ten years ago I lived in Orange County not to far from Laguna Beach. 

Hopefully I can get a review posted later this week.  In the meantime, check out this link to the YouTube clip about the book.

Smiles & Blessings,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

THE ONE DAY WAY by Chantel Hobbs – a review

The full title of this book by Chantel Hobbs is, The One Day Way, Today is All the Time You Need to Lose All the Weight You Want.
If any of you are like me, when it comes to dieting we tend to look at the big picture instead of making smaller goals. For instance, right now I would like to lose a CHUNK of weight. Before starting a new diet program I always try to calculate how long it will take me to lose the weight. This is just setting myself up for disappointment.

When I was 16 years old, my Mom took me to a diet doctor who put me on seven different pills. As I look back I believe they were probably mostly vitamins and placebos, but they helped me lose weight because of the diet & exercise that went along with them. Unfortunately, I gained it back and then some. I have been on Weight Watchers, Nutri Systems (back when they had ‘clinics’), Jenny Craig, Liquid Protein, and Optifast. I must tell you I lost loads of weight with all of these programs so they do work. Unfortunately, I never learned to do it right so the weight always came back on. Let me correct myself, I learned to do it right (fewer calories & more exercise) but I never made it a lifestyle change.

With all that said, I’d like to tell you what I have learned in reading Chantel’s book. To lose weight & keep it off, I MUST do it one day at a time. Did you hear me? ONE DAY AT A TIME! If any of you are dieters you probably understand what it’s like to think you blew your diet because you ate more then you should have or didn’t get your exercise in. Then the next day you may think, “I blew it yesterday so why even bother.” Let me tell you, in reading Chantel’s book everything made sense. We shouldn’t look back at yesterday…it’s over. Today is now. If we concentrate on making today the best it can be and concentrate on Faith, Food & Fitness we can win this battle for life.

In this book, Chantel, explains how important celebrating the small successes should be in your life. She also says that you should fast one meal a week BUT before you get excited, you also get a Celebratory meal each week as well.

Within the book Chantel gives you an example of a seven day menu for losing weight and a seven day menu for maintaining weight. The food is normal everyday food so you don’t have to go out and by prepackaged foods. She also has a chapter on exercise and how you can get a full workout right at home by purchasing nothing more than a Medicine Ball and Resistance Bands.

On the back of the book is a quote from Chantel that I will be printing out and putting in strategic areas (fridge maybe). It reads:

Yesterday’s mistakes are gone, so let them go.
You can’t control tomorrow, so stop worrying about it.
Today is your chance to lose weight, get strong, and look great.

While I haven’t started my One Day Way as of yet, I will be starting soon. This book was extremely inspirational and Chantel speaks of faith throughout the book. Looking to God for help is something we all should do.

I rate The One Day Way 5 stars.

Smiles & Blessings,

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Coble - my review

The Lightkeeper's Ball is the third book in the Mercy Falls series.  The first, The Lightkeeper's Daughter, and the second, The Lightkeeper's Bride were both wonderful reads and The Lightkeeper's Ball was just as wonderful.  From the first page to the last page I was held captive in the turn of the century town of Mercy Falls. 

I have never been disappointed when reading a book by Colleen Coble.  Her books are good clean reads with a thread of God's love flowing through them.  The only thing I dislike about reading any of Ms. Coble's books is when I turn the last page.  I always hate to say goodbye to her characters.  They are so richly created that I think about them long after I have finished the book.  But, Ms. Coble has a knack of reintroducing characters from previous books into her current books.  Some of her characters from the first two Mercy Falls books appeared again in The Lightkeeper's Ball and it made you feel like you were visiting old friends.

If you love good Christian Romantic Suspense I would suggest you introduce yourself to Colleen Coble's work.  I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book free from TBB Media to read and give my honest review whether positive or negative.

Smiles & Blessings,

FIRST Wild Card Tour

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Lightkeeper’s Ball

Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (April 19, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Colleen Coble’s thirty-five novels and novellas have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, the Booksellers Best, and the 2009 Best Books of Indiana-Fiction award. She writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail and love begin with a happy ending.

Visit the author's website.


Olivia seems to have it all, but her heart yearns for more.

Olivia Stewart's family is one of the Four Hundred—the highest echelon of society in 1910. When her sister dies under mysterious circumstances, Olivia leaves their New York City home for Mercy Falls, California, to determine what befell Eleanor. She suspects Harrison Bennett, the man Eleanor planned to marry. But the more Olivia gets to know him, the more she doubts his guilt—and the more she is drawn to him herself.

When several attempts are made on her life, Olivia turns to Harrison for help. He takes her on a ride in his aeroplane, but then crashes, and they’re forced to spend two days alone together. With her reputation hanging by a thread, Harrison offers to marry her to make the situation right. As a charity ball to rebuild the Mercy Falls lighthouse draws near, she realizes she wants more than a sham engagement—she wants Harrison in her life forever. But her enemy plans to shatter the happiness she is ready to grasp. If Olivia dares to drop her masquerade, she just might see the path to true happiness.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (April 19, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159554268X
ISBN-13: 978-1595542687


The New York brownstone was just half a block down from the Astor mansion on Fifth Avenue, the most prestigious address in the country. The carriage, monogrammed with the Stewart emblem, rattled through the iron gates and came to a halt in front of the ornate doors. Assisted by the doorman, Olivia Stewart descended and rushed for the steps of her home. She was late for tea, and her mother would be furious. Mrs. Astor herself had agreed to join them today.

Olivia handed her hat to the maid, who opened the door. “They’re in the drawing room, Miss Olivia,” Goldia whispered. “Your mama is ready to pace the floor.”

Olivia patted at her hair, straightened her shoulders, and pinned a smile in place as she forced her stride to a ladylike stroll to join the other women. Two women turned to face her as she entered: her mother and Mrs. Astor. They wore identical expressions of disapproval.

“Olivia, there you are,” her mother said. “Sit down before your tea gets cold.”

Olivia pulled off her gloves as she settled into the Queen Anne chair beside Mrs. Astor. “I apologize for my tardiness,” she said. “A lorry filled with tomatoes overturned in the street, and my driver couldn’t get around it.”

Mrs. Astor’s face cleared. “Of course, my dear.” She sipped her tea from the delicate blue-and-white china. “Your dear mother and I were just discussing your prospects. It’s time you married.”

Oh dear. She’d hoped to engage in light conversation that had nothing to do with the fact that she was twenty-five and still unmarried. Her unmarried state distressed her if she let it, but every man her father brought to her wanted only her status. She doubted any of them had ever looked into her soul. “I’m honored you would care about my marital status, Mrs. Astor,” Olivia said.

“Mrs. Astor wants to hold a ball in your honor, Olivia,” her mother gushed. “She has a distant cousin coming to town whom she wants you to meet.”

Mrs. Astor nodded. “I believe you and Matthew would suit. He owns property just down the street.”

Olivia didn’t mistake the reference to the man’s money. Wealth would be sure to impact her mother. She opened her mouth to ask if the man was her age, then closed it at the warning glint in her mother’s eyes.

“He’s been widowed for fifteen years and is long overdue for a suitable wife,” Mrs. Astor said.

Olivia barely suppressed a sigh. So he was another of the decrepit gentlemen who showed up from time to time. “You’re very kind,” she said.

“He’s most suitable,” her mother said. “Most suitable.”

Olivia caught the implication. They spent the next half an hour discussing the date and the location. She tried to enter into the conversation with interest, but all she could do was imagine some gray-whiskered blue blood dancing her around the ballroom. She stifled a sigh of relief when Mrs. Astor took her leave and called for her carriage.

“I’ll be happy when you’re settled, Olivia,” her mother said when they returned to the drawing room. “Mrs. Astor is most kind.”

“She is indeed.” Olivia pleated her skirt with her fingers. “Do you ever wish you could go somewhere incognito, Mother? Where no one has expectations of you because you are a Stewart?”

Her mother put down her saucer with a clatter. “Whatever are you babbling about, my dear?”

“Haven’t you noticed that people look at us differently because we’re Stewarts? How is a man ever to love me for myself when all he sees is what my name can gain him? Men never see inside to the real me. They notice only that I’m a Stewart.”

“Have you been reading those novels again?” Her mother sniffed and narrowed her gaze on Olivia. “Marriage is about making suitable connections. You owe it to your future children to consider the life you give them. Love comes from respect. I would find it quite difficult to respect someone who didn’t have the gumption to make his way in the world. Besides, we need you to marry well. You’re twenty-five years old and I’ve indulged your romantic notions long enough. Heaven knows your sister’s marriage isn’t what I had in mind, essential though it may be. Someone has to keep the family name in good standing.”

Olivia knew what her duty demanded, but she didn’t have to like it. “Do all the suitable men have to be in their dotage?”

Her mother’s eyes sparked fire but before she spoke, Goldia appeared in the doorway. “Mr. Bennett is here, Mrs. Stewart.”

Olivia straightened in her chair. “Show him in. He’ll have news of Eleanor.”

Bennett appeared in the doorway moments later. He shouldn’t have been imposing. He stood only five-foot-three in his shoes, which were always freshly polished. He was slim, nearly gaunt, with a patrician nose and obsidian eyes. He’d always reminded Olivia of a snake about to strike. His expression never betrayed any emotion, and today was no exception. She’d never understood why her father entertained an acquaintance with the man let alone desired their families to be joined.

“Mr. Bennett.” She rose and extended her hand and tried not to flinch as he brushed his lips across it.

“Miss Olivia,” he said, releasing her hand. He moved to her mother’s chair and bowed over her extended hand.

Olivia sank back into her chair. “What do you hear of my sister? I have received no answer to any of my letters.”

He took a seat, steepled his fingers, and leaned forward. “That’s the reason for our meeting today. I fear I have bad news to impart.”

Her pulse thumped erratically against her ribcage. She wetted her lips and drew in a deep breath. “What news of Eleanor?” How bad could it be? Eleanor had gone to marry Harrison, a man she hardly knew. But she was in love with the idea of the Wild West, and therefore more than happy to marry the son of her father’s business partner.

He never blinked. “I shall just have to blurt it out then. I’m sorry to inform you that Eleanor is dead.”

Her mother moaned. Olivia stared at him. “I don’t believe it,” she said.

“I know, it’s a shock.”

There must have been some mistake. She searched his face for some clue that this was a jest. “What happened?”

He didn’t hold her gaze. “She drowned.”


“No one knows. I’m sorry.”

Her mother stood and swayed. “What are you saying?” Her voice rose in a shriek. “Eleanor can’t be dead! Are you quite mad?”

He stood and took her arm. “I suggest you lie down, Mrs. Stewart. You’re quite pale.”

Her mother put her hands to her cheeks. “Tell me it isn’t true,” she begged. Then she keeled over in a dead faint.

Harrison Bennett tugged on his tie, glanced at his shoes to make sure no speck of dirt marred their perfection, then disembarked from his motorcar in front of the mansion. The cab had rolled up Nob Hill much too quickly for him to gather his courage to face the party. Electric lights pushed back the darkness from the curving brick driveway to the porch with its impressive white pillars. Doormen flanked the double doors at the entry. Through the large windows, he saw the ballroom. Ladies in luxurious gowns and gentlemen in tuxedos danced under glittering chandeliers, and their laughter tinkled on the wind.

His valet, Eugene, exited behind him. “I’ll wait in the kitchen, sir.”

Harrison adjusted his hat and strode with all the confidence he could muster to the front door. “Mr. Harrison Bennett,” he said to the doorman.

The man scanned the paper in his hand. “Welcome, Mr. Bennett. Mr. Rothschild is in the ballroom.”

Harrison thanked him and stepped into the opulent hall papered in gold foil. He went in the direction of the voices with a sense of purpose. This night could change his future. He glanced around the enormous ballroom, and he recognized no one among the glittering gowns and expensive suits. In subtle ways, these nobs would try to keep him in his place. It would take all his gumption not to let them. It was a miracle he’d received an invitation. Only the very wealthy or titled were invited to the Rothschilds’ annual ball in San Francisco. Harrison was determined to do whatever was necessary to secure the contract inside his coat pocket.

A young woman in an evening gown fluttered her lashes at him over the top of her fan. When she lowered it, she approached with a coaxing smile on her lips. “Mr. Bennett, I’d hoped to see you here tonight.”

He struggled to remember her name. Miss Kessler. She’d made her interest in him known at Eleanor’s funeral. Hardly a suitable time. He took her gloved hand and bowed over it. “Miss Kessler. I wasn’t expecting to see you here.”

“I came when I heard you were on the guest list.”

He ignored her brazen remark. “It’s good to see you again. I have some business to attend to. Perhaps later?”

Her eyes darkened and she withdrew her hand. “I shall watch for you,” she said.

And he’d do the same, with the intent to avoid her. “If you’ll excuse me.” He didn’t wait for an answer but strolled through the crowd. He finally spied his host standing in front of a marble fireplace. A flame danced in the eight-foot hearth. Harrison stepped through the crowd to join the four men clustered around the wealthy Rothschild.

The man closest to Harrison was in his fifties and had a curling mustache. “They’ll never get that amendment ratified,” he said. “An income tax! It’s quite ridiculous to expect us to pay something so outrageous.”

A younger man in a gray suit shook his head. “If it means better roads, I’ll gladly write them a check. The potholes outside of town ruined my front axels.”

“We can take care of our own roads,” Rothschild said. “I have no need of the government in my affairs. At least until we’re all using flying machines.” He snickered, then glanced at Harrison. “You look familiar, young man. Have we met?”

Flying machines. Maybe this meeting was something God had arranged. Harrison thrust out his hand. “Harrison Bennett.”

“Claude’s son?”’

Was that distaste in the twist of Rothschild’s mouth? Harrison put confidence into his grip. “Yes, sir.”

“How is your father?”

“Quite well. He’s back in New York by now.”

“I heard about your fiancĂ©e’s death. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Harrison managed not to wince. “Thank you.” He pushed away his memories of that terrible day, the day he’d seen Eleanor Stewart for what she really was.

“Your father was most insistent I meet you. He seems to think you have a business proposition I might be interested in.”

Harrison smiled and began to tell the men of the new diamond mines that Bennett and Bennett had found in Africa. A mere week after Mr. Stewart’s passing, Mr. Bennett had renamed the venture to include Harrison. An hour later, he had appointments set up with three of the men as possible investors. His father would be pleased.

Harrison smiled and retraced his steps to toward the front door but was waylaid by four women in brightly colored silk. They swooped around him, and Miss Kessler took him by the hand and led him to a quiet corner.

“Let’s not talk about anything boring like work,” she said, her blue eyes sparkling. “Tell me what you love to do most.”

He glanced at the other women clustered around. “I’m building an aeroplane. I’d like to have it in the air by the time Earth passes through the tail of Halley’s Comet.”

She gasped. “Do you have a death wish, Mr. Bennett? You would be breathing the poisonous fumes directly. No one even knows if the Earth will survive this.”

He’d heard this before. “The scientists I’ve discussed this with believe we shall be just fine,” Harrison said.

“I assume you’ve purchased comet pills?” the blonde closest to him said.

“I have no fear.”

The brunette in red silk smiled. “If man were meant to fly, God would have given him wings. Or so I’ve heard the minister say.”

He finally placed the brunette. Her uncle was Rothschild. No wonder she had such contempt for Harrison’s tone. All the nobs cared for were trains and ships. “It’s just a matter of perfecting the machine,” Harrison said. “Someday aeroplanes will be the main mode of transcontinental transportation.”

The brunette laughed. “Transcontinental? My uncle would call it balderdash.”

He glanced at his pocket watch without replying. “I fear I must leave you lovely ladies. Thank you for the conversation.”

He found Eugene in the kitchen and beckoned to his valet.

Eugene put down his coffee cup and followed. “You didn’t stay long, sir,” he said. “Is everything all right?”

Harrison stalked out the door and toward the car. “Are there no visionaries left in the country?”

Eugene followed a step behind. “You spoke of your flying machine?”

“The world is changing, Eugene, right under their noses—and they don’t see it.”

Eugene opened the door for Harrison. “You will show them the future, sir.”

He set his jaw. “I shall indeed.”

“I have a small savings set aside, Mr. Bennett. I’d like to invest in your company. With your permission, of course.”

Eugene’s trust bolstered Harrison’s determination. “I’d be honored to partner with you, Eugene. We are going to change the world.”

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Fire in Ember by DiAnn Mills - a review

I selected The Fire in Ember to review for two reasons.  One, I loved the cover and two, I had heard great things about DiAnn Mills but had never read anything she has written.  Let me say I was not disappointed in my selection.

Between one woman's life and one man's heart... A fire burns.

Bert believed returning a stolen horse was the right thing for her to do.  But she never imagined ranch hands would mistake her as a horse thief, then sentence her to hang. She couldn't tell them the truth. Neither did she want to die.

Deputy John Timmons's middle name is responsibility. He's been caring for his mother and younger brothers on his ranch for five years. He thought he was saving a boy from a hanging-his duty. But when he learns Bert is a girl, a whirlwind of emotions send his heart spinning.

Cattle rustlers have invaded the northern Colorado ranches, leaving murder in their wake. Bert is a suspect, especially when she refuse to give her real name or reveal what she's running from John knows she's afraid of something, but what? He sees a sweet spirit, not a woman who's deceiving his family.

How can John arrest her when she's stolen his heart?

Twist, turns, and unforgettable characters make this action-packed page-turner a historical romance of fire.


The Fire in Ember starts out with an attempted hanging of what seems to be an eleven year old boy who supposedly stole a horse.  John Timmons, the local deputy, saves the young boy and takes him to his ranch where he lives with his four brothers and mother.  When it's time for their weekly bath, "Bert" admits that she is not an eleven year old boy but a 17 year old young woman.  "Bert" is on the run from her past and keeps the secret, unwilling to open up to Leah, John's mother, or even John, who she is quickly falling in love with. 

Cattle start missing from neighboring ranches and murders are discovered. Eyes start looking to "Bert", with questions that she might be involved.  As the investigations begin, "Bert", whose real name is Ember, starts revealing certain things about her past.

There are plenty of twists and turns in the story, but I refuse to give spoilers so I would just like to say, if you like Christian Romantic Historicals you'll love The Fire in Ember. 

I would like to thank Zondervan for sending me a copy to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

On a 5-star scale, I rate The Fire in Ember an easy 5-star.  I also feel that this is a book not only for adults but for young adults as well.

Smiles & Blessings,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Celebrating our 10th Anniversary with Soul Surfer!

Well, this weekend has flown by but it was the best weekend we've had in a long time.  We were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.  Instead of buying each other gifts or cards we always go away for a day or two.  This year we decided to go back up to Coldwater, Michagan where we spent our wedding night.  I left work a little early on Thursday and my wonderful husband and I headed north to Michigan and checked into the same hotel we stayed in ten years ago.  Although ten years ago it was a Holiday Inn and after being bought and sold several times since, it is now the Comfort Suites.  The awesome thing is we were given the same room we had ten years ago...it was a God thing for sure!  We then left and drove a little further north to have dinner at Winn Schullers, in Marshall, MI. Oh my gosh!  The food was excellant and we were stuffed by the time we left. 

On Friday we went to breakfast and then went to an Indian/Moccasin shop where my dear husband bought me the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn.  They are a black moccasin with a rubber sole.  We then looked around town before heading to the local theater to see Soul Surfer.  Let me tell you, this is one of the best and most inspiring movies I have seen in a very long time.  If you haven't had the chance to see it yet, please do yourself a favor and go see it.  You will not be sorry.  Also, for you Carrie Underwood fans, she was great in the movie!  Please take a few minutes and watch the trailer below.

Well, the weekend is quickly coming to an end and I have much to do before my work week starts tomorrow so I will end this here.  I pray you all have a wonderful week!

Smiles & Blessings,