About Me

My Photo
Mysteries, polka dots, California Rolls, TJ Maxx, cozy blankets, rainy days and getting the first spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar make me smile. Spiders, rude people, cold fingers and toes, baby leashes, people that don't wrap their packages before going to the Post Office, poison ivy and Math (pretty much all of it) make me want to scream. My perfect day would be spent with my wonderful husband and sweet girls- watching movies in our jammies! Of course, having the movie theater to ourselves would be great, too. Please pass the popcorn and M&M's.:) I am saved by the grace of God. He is my constant companion and hears my every prayer. What a blessing! I'd love to hear from you! Lori at toosillysisters@cox.net

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt


My Thoughts:

Letters exchanged between grandson and grandfather, a romance poured into a book entwined with a lost love and unanswered questions.  I was intrigued and thus compelled to read The Mason Jar, by James Russell Lingerfelt.  Savannah and Clayton are the main characters.  They meet at Pepperdine college (overlooking the ocean- swoon!) and a romance quickly transpires.  They have similar ideals and dreams and the future seems happily certain for this couple but then, Savannah disappears leaving only a note behind and Clayton is shattered.  

In the beginning, I was charmed by Clayton's early years and relationship with his grandfather.  I would've loved a story based solely on their experiences. Grandpa's letters were heartfelt life lessons.  For example, "Sometimes the greatest love we can show someone is to just let them be."  Beautiful and so true.  

Clayton and Savannah are good people (devote their summers to missionary work) but in my opinion, a bit self-centered and self-righteous.  I wanted so much to love them and their story but it never happened.  I didn't grow to care for them and thus their story fell "flat" for me.  When I uncovered the mystery of Savannah's disappearance I liked her even less.  Of course, you'll have to judge for yourself...

The supporting characters including fighter Oz ("Alabama Irish") and beautiful (prone to jealousy) Katie Wilson were much more interesting to me.  I'd love to read a love story about this passionate "wild child" pair.  In fact, I just noticed that the author's next book is about Oz and I'm truly looking forward to hearing his story in 2015.

About the book: 

What if your old college roommate called, raving about a book someone sent her, calling it the most beautiful book she's ever read? "But," she said, "it's about you." The author is your college ex.
In The Mason Jar, Clayton Fincannon is a Tennessee farm boy raised at the feet of his grandfather. He and his grandfather leave letters for each other in a Mason jar on his grandfather's desk---letters of counsel and affirmation. When Clayton attends college in Southern California, he meets and falls in love with a dark debutante from Colorado. However, when an unmentioned past resurrects in her life and she leaves, Clayton is left with unanswered questions.
Clayton goes on to serve as a missionary in Africa, while he and his grandfather continue their tradition of writing letters. When Clayton returns home five years later to bury his grandfather, he searches for answers pertaining to the loss of the young woman he once loved. Little does Clayton know, the answers await him in the broken Mason jar.
A story about a girl who vanished, a former love who wrote a book about her, and a reunion they never imagined.
Written for the bruised and broken, The Mason Jar is an inspirational romance that brings hope to people who have experienced disappointment in life due to separation from loved ones. With a redemptive ending that encourages us to love again and written in the fresh, romantic tones of Nicholas Sparks, The Mason Jar interweaves the imagery of Thoreau with the adventures and climatic family struggles common toDances with WolvesA River Runs Through It, and Legends of the Fall
Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/C52aq

About the author: 

James Russell Lingerfelt is the author ofThe Mason Jar and writes articles forThe Huffington Post. James connects with readers at his blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective, and divides his time between Southern California and his family's ranch in Alabama.

Find James online: websiteFacebookTwitter



James Russell Lingerfelt's debut novel, The Mason Jar, is hot-off-the-press and causing quite the buzz. It's even been optioned for a feature film and is in pre-production.



Catch the spark by entering James' Kindle Fire giveaway!


masonjar-400-click

 

One grand prize winner will receive:


  • A Kindle Fire

  • The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. Winner will be announced October 20th at James Russell's blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective.



masonjar-enterbanner

*I was given this book by Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Friday, September 19, 2014

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant


My Thoughts:

How darling is this cupcake cover?  It all but begs to be opened and devoured- and you'll be glad you did.  Cupcakes, romance and a reality show are found inside, and at the heart of it all are best friends, Kat Varland and Lucas Brannen.  Let's just say, they're "sweet" on each other. ;)  Kat spends her days creating chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cupcakes and Lucas coaches football.  Then Cupcake Combat, a baking reality show, entered the scene and everything could change...

I rooted for Kat from the first page.  She's delightfully insecure (I love rooting for the underdog) and feels overlooked by everyone but her hopelessly devoted buddy, Lucas Brannen.  Kat has no idea that Lucas adores her and that's where the magic lies.  This couple is adorably clueless and reading their innermost thoughts is delightful!  Betsy St. Amant knows exactly how men and women think and holds nothing back- she's spot on and it's first rate entertainment!  

The reality show was cleverly concocted as were the interesting cast of competitors.  Each an intriguing slice of life that kept this reader guessing.  The recipe for Kat's Raspberry Lemonade Torte Cupcakes was the cherry on top!  I'd been wondering what that would taste like through the whole story and now I'll be able to find out for myself.  Lovely.

Don't miss Betsy St. Amant's latest fiction release, All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes. A "sweet" tale of two best friends and the choices they make between dreams and a possible "sure thing," St. Amant's novel is sure to satisfy your romantic-fiction craving.

cupcakes-400-click

Betsy is celebrating with a fun Kindle giveaway and a Love & Cupcakes Facebook party!
One winner will receive:


  • A brand new Kindle

  • All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 18th. Winner will be announced at the "Love & Cupcakes" Author Chat Party on 9/18. Betsy will be hosting a "sweet" book chat, giving away prizes, and answering questions from readers. She will also share an exclusive sneak peek at her next book project!






So grab your copy of All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes and join Betsy on the evening of September 18th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)




Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!

*I was given a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Home to Chickory Lane by Deborah Raney



My Thoughts:

Home to Chicory Lane, by Deborah Raney, involves a gorgeous new B&B, the Whitman family, a headstrong daughter separated from her husband after only 6 months and plenty of real life drama.  I loved Audrey and Grant Whitman, the owners of Chicory Inn.  They are endearingly believable and refreshingly honest with each other and their children.  I was charmed by the selfless efforts of Grant Whitman to fulfill his wife's dream of owning a B&B.  If the entire book had been about Audrey and Grant I'm sure I would have relished every page.  But the primary focus of Home to Chicory Lane is on their daughter Landyn and her husband, Chase.  Landyn and Chase have been married for a mere 6 months and Chase makes a big decision without consulting Landyn.  Resentment and hurt follow and Landyn decides to go back home in a rush of emotion.  I wanted to sympathize with her.  I wanted to be angry with, or at least feel something for her husband.  I wanted to care about them, but in the end I just couldn't.  In my opinion, they were both immature and selfish.  Such a disappointment, as other characters showed so much promise.  I will read more books in this series when they're released because I want to learn more about Bree, the young widow, and Link, the middle child whose often overlooked.  I also want to learn more about Audrey and Grant Whitman and their adventures with their lovely B&B in Langhorne, Missouri.

The first book in Deborah Raney's new Chicory Inn series, Home to Chicory Lane, introduces us to Audrey Whitman, a mother who has launched all her children into life and now looks forward to fulfilling some of her own dreams during her empty-nest years. However, not all of her children are ready to stay out of the nest quite yet.

Deborah is celebrating the release of her new series with a $200 B&B Weekend Getaway and a Facebook author chat party.



chicory-400-click


One winner will receive:


  • A B&B Weekend Getaway (via a $200 Visa cash card)

  • Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney


  • Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 9th. Winner will be announced at the Home to Chicory Lane Author Chat Party on 9/9. Deborah will be hosting a heartfelt book chat, giving away prizes, and answering questions from readers. She will also share an exclusive sneak peek at the next book in the Chicory Inn series!






    So grab your copy of Home to Chicory Lane and join Deborah on the evening of September 9th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)





    Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 9th!

    *I was given a copy of this book from Litfuse win exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

    Wednesday, August 6, 2014

    The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron


    My Thoughts:

    The painting shows a lovely young lady with a violin.  Her head is shaven and she bears a series of numbers on her arm.  Auschwitz was her prison.  What was her story?  Did she survive?  Sera James, an art dealer, is determined to uncover the painting she saw so many years ago.   She's discovered copies of it but where is the original?  What she doesn't know is that William Hanover, a man she is soon to meet, also intends on finding the painting.  The story of the young lady in the portrait draws the two of them together as they untangle a forbidden love story that happened long ago... 

    I thoroughly enjoyed The Butterfly and the Violin.  Kristy Cambron does a masterful job of creating a story that weaves both present and past together.  World War II, Austrians aiding Jews, musicians in the concentration camps and the will to survive are all pivotal elements in this saga that spans the years.  The story is fiction but there is plenty of truth scattered through the pages.  Courageous heroes that risked their lives to help others.  Cruelty that is too much to bear.  Kindness shown when all hope is lost.  My heart broke at times as I read yet my faith soared at other moments.  An incredible story that will stay with you long after you finish the last page...


    About the book: A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz---and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.
    Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl---a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
    In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.
    A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
    As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

    Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/zhXo3

    About the author: Kristy Cambron has been fascinated with the WWII era since hearing her grandfather's stories of the war. She holds an art history degree from Indiana University and received the Outstanding Art History Student Award. Kristy writes WWII and Regency era fiction and has placed first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests, and is a 2013 Laurie finalist. Kristy makes her home in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons.

    Find Kristy online: websiteFacebookTwitter

    Welcome to the launch campaign for debut novelist Kristy Cambron's The Butterfly and the Violin. Romantic Times had this to say: "Alternating points of view skillfully blend contemporary and historical fiction in this debut novel that is almost impossible to put down. Well-researched yet heartbreaking. . . ."

    Kristy is celebrating the release of the first book in her series, A Hidden Masterpiece, with a fun Kindle Fire giveaway and meeting her readers during an August 7th Facebook author chat party.



    butterflyviolin-400-click


     One winner will receive:


    • A Kindle Fire

    • The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron


    • Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 7th. Winner will be announced at The Butterfly and the Violin Author Chat Party. Kristy will be connecting with readers and answering questions, sharing some of the fascinating research behind the book, hosting a fun book chat, and giving away some GREAT prizes. She will also be giving an exclusive look at the next book in the series, A Sparrow in Terezin!






      So grab your copy of The Butterfly and the Violin and join Kristy on the evening of August 7th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)





      Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 7th!

      *I was given this book by Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

      Monday, August 4, 2014

      The Loving Kitchen- Cozy Words and Recipes that Comfort and Delight!


      My Thoughts:

      I was enticed by the cover photo (Chicken and Harvest Vegetable Soup) of The Loving Kitchen, by Leann Rice.  Inside the pages of this book I found nurturing, comfort, love, not to mention, recipes that would absolutely delight my family.  What makes this book extra special are the words that Leann Rice introduces each recipe with- heartfelt passages that make you feel like your cooking with a friend...   I adore butternut squash and Leann's Butternut Squash Bisque sounds incredible!  "Because this soup is pureed you can eat it out of a bowl with a spoon or you can pour servings into mugs so you can curl up with a mugful and your favorite blankie.  I vote for mug and blankie."  This girl knows my heart!  Mugs and blankies?  Yes, please! Within minutes, I had pen and paper out and had created a list for the grocery store.  

      The first recipe we tried was Overnight Breakfast Casserole.  It's the first recipe in the book- I couldn't wait to get going!  We have our house on the market and an Open House was planned that day.  I'm surprised the house didn't sell by the aroma of this deliciousness baking!  The scent lingered long after we had enjoyed it.  Cinnamon swirl bread, maple sausage links, cinnamon- you get the picture. :)  Heavenly.  (Note- Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast has been on my mind ever since I saw the picture.  Oh my goodness.)

      The next recipe we tried was Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake.  Perfect for this time of year and the bumper crop of zucchini that many of us enjoy.  It was crazy delicious!  I should have tripled the recipe- gotta make a note of that for next time. ;)  The Caramel Apple Crisp and Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce will be visiting our tummies soon.  

      I was touched by the introduction, Reaching Out and Gathering In sections of The Loving Kitchen.  The author has personal stories to share and a message to be heard.  Her recipes are beyond delightful but her words linger long after your appetite has been sated.  Reaching Out refers to times in life when others need help- but just can't ask for it.  Illness or loss of a loved one are times when we need to show family/friends that we care.  Leann Rice gives wonderful ideas when we just don't know what to say or do.  Beautiful.  Gathering In is about family and fun ideas you can do together.  Themes for dinner, games to play together, traditions to create.  I plan on using them with my family.  Delightful.

      The Loving Kitchen is a warm hug delivered through words and food.  It would make a lovely gift for a family member, friend or you!

      Back Cover:

      The Loving Kitchen is a collection of comforting recipes straight from the kitchen of popular food blogger LeAnn Rice.
      You know the feeling you get when you’re an overnight guest in someone’s home, and you awaken to a hot-off-the-griddle breakfast? Or when a coworker brings in a pan of her famous brownies to celebrate your recent promotion? Doesn’t it feel great when dinner at the neighbors’ house includes multiple courses of scratch-made recipes and conversation that lingers beyond dessert and that last cup of coffee?
      For many of us, these are the moments in which we feel most loved. That’s the idea behind The Loving Kitchen. Get your family’s day started right with LeAnn’s fluffy Pumpkin Spice Pancakes, or a bowl of Almond Coconut Granola and yogurt. Keep your favorite sports fans fueled through the entire game with hearty servings of Hot Sausage and Spinach Dip, or toss together a Grilled Chicken and Berry Salad for lunch with your dearest girlfriends.
      Want a signature dinner you can serve on those special occasions? Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Orange Cranberry Glaze with Creamy Smashed Baby Potatoes is the perfect meal to celebrate a milestone. LeAnn’s sunny narrative and ideas for bringing people together will remind you that the best meal you’ll ever cook is the one you prepare as an act of love.
      *I was given this book by BookLook in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

      Friday, July 18, 2014

      The Revealing by Suzanne Woods Fisher


      My Thoughts:

      The next book in the delightfully exciting Inn at Eagle Hill series is here!  The Revealing takes us back to the cozy Amish community where the Schrock family lives and loves. Suzanne Woods Fisher continues where she left off in The Calling.  Tobe Schrock is soon to be released from jail while Naomi King secretly pines for their reunion, Rose Schrock and Galen King are making plans for a wedding while Bethany Schrock is irritated to bits because Jimmy Fisher won't do the same.  While all this is going on, a pregnant young lady appears out of the blue, a distant and very handsome cousin comes for a visit and a new guest is staying at the Inn at Eagle Hill, too.  I love how Suzanne Woods Fisher continues the story line of past characters as the story moves forward!  They are almost like family to me and I long for all of them to have a happily ever after.  Before that can happen, the horrid Jake Hertzler needs to be caught and punished and he's not done wreaking havoc yet...

      I have so many favorite characters in The Revealing!  Jesse Stoltfus is an amazingly refreshing young man with a silver tongue and a never ending smile.  Mim Schrock doesn't know what to do with him!   Ahhh...  Jimmy Fisher.  Who would've ever imagined that he'd be flustered or unsure of anything??  Handsome and confident, we see another side of him in this book.  In addition, I also have a soft place in my heart for the five elderly Sisters'.  They are endearing and their antics and words make me giggle.  

      The Revealing is exciting, funny, delightful and served with a slice of romance!  There truly is much that is revealed in this story so sit back and enjoy every page!  I highly recommend all the books in The Inn at Eagle Hill series!  One of my favorite set of books...



      In The Revealing, the riveting conclusion to the Inn at Eagle Hill series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher pulls out all the stops with a fast-paced tale of deception, revelation, and just the right dose of romance.

      Suzanne is celebrating by giving away THREE iPads!

      revealing-400-click


      THREE grand prize winners will receive:




      • An iPad



      • PickPocket Tablet Accessory Pouch (A stylish storage pouch designed to hold all your tablet accessories. Info.)



      • The Inn at Eagle Hill series (The Letters, The Calling, and The Revealing)


      • Five second place winners will receive:




        • The Inn at Eagle Hill series (The Letters, The Calling, and The Revealing) by Suzanne Woods Fisher


        • Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 20th. All winners will be announced July 21st at Suzanne's blog. AND ... if you're looking for more in the Inn at Eagle Hill series, be sure to pick up the ebook novella, The Rescue, for just $1.99!






          BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!




          Suzanne is also giving away two 10-book mystery prize packs! 



          One of the major themes of The Revealing is learning to trust your intuition and instincts. These are God-given qualities that we sometimes are too timid or unsure of to act on. For a chance to win one of the 10-book prize packs, leave a comment on this blog and share about a time when your intuition or instinct saved the day—or a time you ignored it and missed an opportunity. 



          Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne's blog on the 21st to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)
          *I was given a copy of this book by Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

          Thursday, July 10, 2014

          Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke





          My Thoughts:

          I'm always fascinated by WWII Germany.  I occasionally wonder how I would have handled living in such chaotic and frightening circumstances.  How were some people able to look away and ignore what was happening while others were capable of rising above and risking their lives to do what's right.  Saving Amelie is a story of heroes and villains, secrets, experiments, Nazis and a little deaf girl disguised as a boy.  I was horrified to read of exterminations carried out on "defective" children.  The Nazis told parents they were giving them extra assistance and then the child would soon disappear.  Unbelievable but true.  The story begins with two friends who, over the years, have drifted apart.  They meet again in Germany and Amelie's mother begs her friend, Rachel Kramer, to take her daughter and raise her.  She fears for both her life and her child's...  Rachel feels that her friend isn't well at first but quickly discovers that the fear is all too real.  Promising to help Amelie, she seeks the help of Jason Young, a journalist.  The terrifying part of the story is that SS officer Gerhardt Schlick, Amelie's father, is the one planning for Amelie's demise.  He's a horrid character.  Cathy Gohlke, the author, does an incredible job conveying the terror he projects to the people around him.  As the story unfolds, Rachel Kramer discovers that her adoptive parents had plans for her that began long ago.  The life she thought she had soon turns into a nightmare and Amelie is not the only one in hiding...

          I really enjoyed Saving Amelie.  It educated, entertained, and made me think- all qualities that turn a good story into a great book.  Cathy Gohlke always allows the Lord to shine in her books- even in the midst of a terrible war.  Saving Amelie will stay with you a long time after you read it...


          More about Saving Amelie...

          Increasingly wary of her father’s genetic research, Rachel Kramer has determined that this trip with him to Germany—in the summer of 1939—will be her last. But a cryptic letter from her estranged friend, begging Rachel for help, changes everything. Married to SS officer Gerhardt Schlick, Kristine sees the dark tides turning and fears her husband views their daughter, Amelie, deaf since birth, as a blight on his Aryan bloodline.

          Once courted by Schlick, Rachel knows he’s as dangerous as the swastikas that hang like ebony spiders from every government building in Berlin. She fears her father’s files may hold answers about Hitler’s plans for others, like Amelie, whom the regime deems “unworthy of life.” She risks searching his classified documents only to uncover shocking secrets about her own history and a family she’s never known.


          Now hunted by the SS, Rachel turns to Jason Young—a driven, disarming American journalist and unlikely ally—who connects her to the resistance and to controversial theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Forced into hiding, Rachel’s every ideal is challenged as she and Jason walk a knife’s edge, risking their lives—and asking others to do the same—for those they barely know but come to love.


          *I was given a copy of this book by Tyndale in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*