Friday, June 28, 2013

Book: Paige Torn

Everyone knows they can count on Paige Alder. But between volunteering at church, putting in overtime at work, and helping her best friend plan an anniversary party, she's lucky to grab a cheese stick for dinner. Paige can't even remember the last time she had a few minutes to relax or dig into God's Word. Then she meets laid-back Tyler, an attractive, Jesus-loving guy. Will he be able to help Paige get her priorities on track?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Paige Torn, go HERE.


I have not had time to read this book yet either - only had it a week, which, in my former life would have been plenty of time, but not now!  It looked fun though so I hope it is!


Author Erynn Mangum

A few things about her: So, if we were having this conversation in person, we would probably be hanging out at Starbucks or one of the cute coffeehouses in town. I’m nuts about all things coffee, I’m crazy about all things pink and girly, and I love, love, love the Food Network! I’m married to my best friend and the most amazing guy ever, Jon. He is amiable toward coffee, does not like anything pink or girly and tolerates the Food Network. So, we make a good match! In July 2010, we became parents to one of the funniest, cutest, sweetest little guys in the whole world (and nope, we aren’t biased at all!), our Nater-Tot, who is legally known as Nathan. Most days, I’m cleaning up messes, making goofy faces, trying to fit some writing in, and just LOVING the life that God has given me!

I received this book from CFBA in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

On babies and AC units

Whoever designed our air conditioner clearly did NOT have children.  You see because beyond the fan slats in the front (that are plenty wide enough for little fingers to get in) there is nothing stopping a small toy from dropping down into the fan compartment.

This is how much of said AC unit I had to take apart today to get out a little plastic tea set spoon - that white thing the arrow is pointing to.  After a gazillion screws (and none left over!) I was able to get it back together and our house is now mostly cool.  Good thing as it's supposed to get up to 110 by next Tuesday.  Seriously!

It's been fairly cool and pretty rainy this past few weeks so we haven't needed it... but I've been wondering where the tea spoons went... we came home with three and were down to one (which the girls like to fight over).  Now I know where one was I just wonder where the third one is!

And no, we don't have any higher window we could put this one in as the girls have figured out how to climb up on the couch and access it!

Ah, adventures with children!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book: Pieces of the Heart

Cordelia Grace watched Bernard Howard, the love of her young life, go off to fight for our country in WWII. And she has spent the last three years creating the Pine Cone quilt that will grace their marriage bed when he comes home. Each row of triangles signifies a layer in her life, sets of memories, hopes, dreams, and prayers for her future, enough spoken words to cover them forever. Her image of their “happy-ever-after” grows proportionally as the quilt expands.

But is the man that returns from the war, the same man that she remembered? Are the dark shades of color that she had to use for the outside edges of the beloved quilt prophetic of her life to come? Can love and faith overcome all?


This week has been kind of ridiculous and that's about the length of time I've had this book.  So I've only had time to read the first chapter.  From what I've read I can tell you that there's enough of the mannerisms and colloquial style speech of the characters to really place you in the scene, but not too much as to be distracting or overwhelming with slang you can't understand.

This is a story with black main characters.  I don't think we have enough of those and I'm definitely interested to read about how they were treated as soldiers during the war versus when they came home to America where there was still so much racism.

Update: Okay, so the book blurb for this book is really misleading.  Bernard does not go off to war until fully halfway through the book and the first half, while taking place during WWII, does not really have much to do with it.  And when he comes home it's only the last three chapters of the book!

If I were to write the book blurb it would talk more about how Cordelia grows up torn between her grandmother's traditions, as represented by the Pine Cone quilt, and the modern lifestyle her mother chooses.  Will she choose the life of prayer and peace she sees in her grandmother, but doesn't quite believe in, or will she choose the modern independent lifestyle as espoused by her mother and girlfriends.

There are some very deep themes of abuse, racism, and spiritual matters addressed.  I wish the author actually had gone a little more in depth with how Cordelia changes, but overall, this was a good read.  It resonated with me and I feel it falls into a category that isn't much written about in fiction.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Pieces of the Heart, go HERE.

Bonnie S. Calhoun is Owner/Director of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), the ACFW ‘2011 Mentor of the Year,” President of (CAN) Christian Authors Network, and Appointment Coordinator for both the Colorado Christian Writers Conference (CCWC) and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference(GPCWC).

For the last six years she has taught workshops in Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, and creating Social Media promotions at both CCWC, and GPCWC, and in 2011 at the Montrose, Pa Christian Writers Conference. She also taught a Facebook workshop at the 2012 ACFW conference.

Bonnie and her husband live in a log cabin in upstate area of New York with a dog and cat who think she’s wait-staff.

Her sites are:

I received this book from CFBA in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Wordless Wednesday: Summertime

Summer is time for the Farmer's Market!

And time for a complete lack of schedule which would explain why I haven't posted in over a week.  Whoops!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book: Barefoot Summer

Madison's heart has been closed for years. But one summer can change everything.

In the years since her twin brother's tragic drowning, Madison has struggled with her ability to trust God--or anyone else, for that matter. It was her brother's dream to win the annual River Sail Regatta in their small harbor town of Chapel Springs, Indiana. And Madison's determined to honor his legacy by making his dream her own. Maybe then she can finally find closure.

But learning to sail means learning to swim. And her instructor is Beckett O'Reilly, a man who already has two strikes against him in Madison's eyes. Being on the water terrifies Madison. But Beckett's calming presence and unwavering confidence eases her fear. And as much as she'd like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying.

As her feelings for him grow, a fledging faith begins to take root in her soul, as well. With Beckett, Madison feels alive for the first time in years--carefree and confident she can win the regatta, maybe even find love.

But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their love and the depth of Madison's faith. Will their love survive summer's challenge? And will achieving her brother's dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?


This is billed as a summer romance, but I found it to focus more on Madison's internal demons with the romance playing into it a little bit, but more as a secondary plot line.  Madison is afraid of the past, afraid of the water, and afraid of her nightmares. Beyond that she doesn't trust God and she's mad at Him for taking her twin in an unexplained accident.

These are some deep issues and I thought the author did a good job of working through them.  It's not a dark story at all, just real life.  I appreciated that it wasn't a completely sappy everything-works-out-perfectly kind of story.

Madison also comes from a large family and I can see the rest of the series focusing on each of her siblings in turn.  Should be some good reads!


Purchase your own or read other reviews here.

Denise Hunter lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

I received this book from LitFuse in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Friday, June 14, 2013


I don't usually put my boys to bed at night.  That's my husband's job and I take care of the girls.  But it's the end of the school year and he's been gone late twice this week, graduation and staff gatherings.

So I put them all to bed.  The boys hardly stop talking until I make them.  I sing "Mama" songs, different from the ones that Daddy chooses.  And they ask me questions like "who is the Devil?" and "where is he?" and "what does supernatural mean?"

And we talk about things when the house is quiet that don't come up in the crazy wild days that are our life.  In words that 6 and 3 year olds can understand I try to explain to them the things that are not of this world.

Sometimes I'm hushing and rushing so I can get things done and have some time to myself in the semi-quiet of the night house.  I try to be patient and answer their questions as best I can, but there is always one more, and one more, and... a 3 year old who thinks he will have a collection of weapons and pick the best one to fight Satan while I try not to laugh.

It's not so easy to listen to boys who babble in the middle of everything, sometimes just to get attention.  But sometimes I think this is the most important Mama job, just to listen and hear what their hearts are asking.

This is a post prompt from The Gypsy Mama. Join in? If you don't have a blog or don't want to write there I'd love to have you write with me, even in the comments!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Book: Stealing the Preacher

A cowboy who wants to be a preacher. An outlaw's daughter who wants to change his mind.

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can't believe it when he's forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday. He's determined to escape-which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request.

For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett he ended up right where he was supposed to be?

With her signature blend of humor, history, and lively western romance, two-time RITA Award finalist and bestselling author Karen Witemeyer delivers a Texas love story sure to steal your heart.


Stealing the Preacher is the second in a series, but it works well as a stand alone book too.  The premise is a bit silly, but it does manage to tie into the larger story eventually.

There are days I can't imagine what it would be like to have lived a hundred years ago and the way they did things.  But people are still people with all their quirks, flaws, and talents and this story does a good job of showing you the people.  With a few twists along the way you'll find Stealing the Preacher to be a fun read.


You can read other reviews on the LitFuse website or purchase your own copy.

Two-time RITA finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion and ACFW Carol Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance because she believes that the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children.

I received this book from LitFuse in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Babies at a wedding

This past weekend the girls and I went on a road trip with my mom to a family wedding.  My cousin's daughter was getting married.  I haven't seen them in years, but I was in her wedding when I was 4 so it was appropriate!

The girls wound up with a new tea set from the lady we stayed with.  Her granddaughters have outgrown it and they had a blast playing with it all weekend.  Hope has been playing pretend with me at home for awhile now, "drinking" out of the stacking cups that we have here and sharing with me so this was perfect!

The wedding was Saturday afternoon in a beautiful old church... that had horrid lighting for pictures.  Not that I would have gotten many trying to keep babies quiet and entertained anyway!  They did really well and there were half a dozen other small children in attendance so I didn't feel too bad when they made little noises anyway.

The bride's niece, Averie, was the younger of two flower girls and she was adorable!  Waltzing down the aisle and forgetting to drop her petals until she looked back and saw the older one doing it.  Then dropping hers by the handful!

After the wedding we moved to the Lincoln Center for the reception.  It was a very cool vintage building... again with horrid lighting.  Here the girls are waiting (and waiting) for things to get started.

The dance floor was vacant while everyone milled around, but there was music playing.  I let the girls down and they danced their way across the floor.  It was completely adorable and Joy was even swinging her dress with her hands.  Unfortunately I couldn't chase and take photos at the same time.  And I would have had to use my flash anyway.

Audrey and Spencer!

The reception was lovely, my cousin had all the little details to make it fun.  From an old key on a tag with your table number to a popcorn bar for dessert and everything in between.

First dance!

The only downside was the photographer "crew".  Perhaps I am just ultra sensitive to this, but they were obnoxious.  There were three of them and they were completely in the way of everything.  You'll notice the cropping is a bit weird in the above photo... because the below is the original that I took without cropping.  And the guy with the video camera was actually circling them on the dance floor!  I didn't even bother to take pictures of the cake cutting because the three of them effectively made a wall in front of the bride and groom so not only could the guests not take any pictures they could barely see what was going on!

The bride's parents gave a toast and then played a music video they had created set to Welcome to the Family.  Oh yes, you must watch it!  All the people in it are the bride's immediate family!  It brought down the house!

We didn't get to stay too late, but had fun and the girls did amazingly well!