Sunday, May 31, 2009

May Reading Wrap UP

What I Read:

Blaggard's Moon (Prequel to the Trophy Chase Trilogy) by George Bryan Polivka
Nightmare's Edge (Echoes from the Edge, Book #3) by Bryan Davis
A Passion Denied (Daughters of Boston, Book #3) by Julie Lessman
Beloved Counterfeit (Fairweather Keys, Book #3) by Kathleen Y'Barbo
Gold of Kings by Davis Bunn
Jillian Dare by Melanie Jeschke

The links above will take you to the reviews previously posted on my blog. Here are some trailers of the above mentioned books too for your enjoyment..

Friday, May 29, 2009

FIRST: Who Made You A Princess? by Shelley Adina

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:

Who Made You A Princess? (All About Us Series, Book 4)

FaithWords (May 13, 2009)

Plus a Tiffany's Bracelet Giveaway! Go to Camy Tang's Blog and leave a comment on her FIRST Wild Card Tour for Be Strong and Curvaceous, and you will be placed into a drawing for a bracelet that looks similar to the picture below.


Award-winning author Shelley Adina wrote her first teen novel when she was 13. It was rejected by the literary publisher to whom she sent it, but he did say she knew how to tell a story. That was enough to keep her going through the rest of her adolescence, a career, a move to another country, a B.A. in Literature, an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction, and countless manuscript pages. Shelley is a world traveler and pop culture junkie with an incurable addiction to designer handbags. She writes books about fun and faith—with a side of glamour. Between books, Shelley loves traveling, playing the piano and Celtic harp, watching movies, and making period costumes.

Visit her book site and her website.

It's All About Us is Book One in the All About Us Series. Book Two, The Fruit of my Lipstick came out in August 2008. Book Three, Be Strong & Curvaceous, came out January 2, 2009. And Book Four, Who Made You a Princess?, came out May 13, 2009.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (May 13, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446179620
ISBN-13: 978-0446179621


NOTHING SAYS “ALONE” like a wide, sandy beach on the western edge of the continent, with the sun going down in a smear of red and orange. Girlfriends, I am the go-to girl for alone. Or at least, that’s what I used to think. Not anymore, though, because nothing says “alive” like a fire snapping and hissing at your feet, and half a dozen of your BFFs laughing and talking around you.

Like the T-shirt says, life is good.

My name’s Shani Amira Marjorie Hanna, and up until I started going to Spencer Academy in my freshman year, all I wanted to do was get in, scoop as many A’s as I could, and get out. College, yeah. Adulthood. Being the boss of me. Social life? Who cared? I’d treat it the way I’d done in middle school, making my own way and watching people brush by me, all disappearing into good-bye like they were flowing down a river.

Then when I was a junior, I met the girls, and things started to change whether I wanted them to or not. Or maybe it was just me. Doing the changing, I mean.

Now we were all seniors and I was beginning to see that all this “I am an island” stuff was just a bunch of smoke. ’Cuz I was not like the Channel Islands, sitting out there on the hazy horizon. I was so done with all that.

Lissa Mansfield sat on the other side of the fire from me while this adorable Jared Padalecki look-alike named Kaz Griffin sat next to her trying to act like the best friend she thought he was. Lissa needs a smack upside the head, you want my opinion. Either that or someone needs to make a serious play for Kaz to wake her up. But it’s not going to be me. I’ve got cuter fish to fry. Heh. More about that later.

“I can’t believe this is the last weekend of summer vacation,” Carly Aragon moaned for about the fifth time since Kaz lit the fire and we all got comfortable in the sand around it. “It’s gone so fast.”

“That’s because you’ve only been here a week.” I handed her the bag of tortilla chips. “What about me? I’ve been here for a month and I still can’t believe we have to go up to San Francisco on Tuesday.”

“I’m so jealous.” Carly bumped me with her shoulder. “A whole month at Casa Mansfield with your own private beach and everything.” She dipped a handful of chips in a big plastic container of salsa she’d made that morning with fresh tomatoes and cilantro and little bits of—get this—cantaloupe. She made one the other day with carrots in it. I don't know how she comes up with this stuff, but it’s all good. We had a cooler full of food to munch on. No burnt weenies for this crowd. Uh-uh. What we can’t order delivered, Carly can make.

“And to think I could have gone back to Chicago and spent the whole summer throwing parties and trashing the McMansion.” I sighed with regret. “Instead, I had to put up with a month in the Hamptons with the Changs, and then a month out here fighting Lissa for her bathroom.”

“Hey, you could have used one of the other ones,” Lissa protested, trying to keep Kaz from snagging the rest of her turkey-avocado-and-alfalfa-sprouts sandwich.

I grinned at her. Who wanted to walk down the hot sandstone patio to one of the other bathrooms when she, Carly, and I had this beautiful Spanish terrazzo-looking wing of the house to ourselves? Carly and I were in Lissa’s sister’s old room, which looked out on this garden with a fountain and big ferns and grasses and flowering trees. And beyond that was the ocean. It was the kind of place you didn’t want to leave, even to go to the bathroom.

I contrasted it with the freezing wind off Lake Michigan in the winter and the long empty hallways of the seven-million-dollar McMansion on Lake Road, where I always felt like a guest. You know—like you’re welcome but the hosts don’t really know what to do with you. I mean, my mom has told me point-blank, with a kind of embarrassed little laugh, that she can’t imagine what happened. The Pill and her careful preventive measures couldn’t all have failed on the same night.

Organic waste happens. Whatever. The point is, I arrived seventeen years ago and they had to adjust.

I think they love me. My dad always reads my report cards, and he used to take me to blues clubs to listen to the musicians doing sound checks before the doors opened. That was before my mom found out. Then I had to wait until I was twelve, and we went to the early shows, which were never as good as the late ones I snuck into whenever my parents went on one of their trips.

They travel a lot. Dad owns this massive petroleum exploration company, and when she’s not chairing charity boards and organizing fund-raisers, Mom goes with him everywhere, from Alaska to New Zealand. I saw a lot of great shows with whichever member of the staff I could bribe to take me and swear I was sixteen. Keb’ Mo, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Roomful of Blues—I saw them all.

A G-minor chord rippled out over the crackle of the fire, and I smiled a slow smile. My second favorite sound in the world (right after the sound of M&Ms pouring into a dish). On my left, Danyel had pulled out his guitar and tuned it while I was lost in la-la land, listening to the waves come in.

Lissa says there are some things you just know. And somehow, I just knew that I was going to be more to Danyel Johnstone than merely a friend of his friend Kaz’s friend Lissa, if you hear what I’m saying. I was done with being alone, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t stand out from the crowd.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like this crowd. Carly especially—she’s like the sister I would have designed my own self. And Lissa, too, though sometimes I wonder if she can be real. I mean, how can you be blond and tall and rich and wear clothes the way she does, and still be so nice? There has to be a flaw in there somewhere, but if she’s got any, she keeps them under wraps.

Gillian, who we’d see in a couple of days, has really grown on me. I couldn’t stand her at first—she’s one of those people you can’t help but notice. I only hung around her because Carly liked her. But somewhere between her going out with this loser brain trust and then her hooking up with Jeremy Clay, who’s a friend of mine, I got to know her. And staying with her family last Christmas, which could have been massively awkward, was actually fun. The last month in the Hamptons with them was a total blast. The only good thing about leaving was knowing I was going to see the rest of the crew here in Santa Barbara.

The one person I still wasn’t sure about was Mac, aka Lady Lindsay MacPhail, who did an exchange term at school in the spring. Getting to know her is like besieging a castle—which is totally appropriate considering she lives in one. She and Carly are tight, and we all e-mailed and IM-ed like fiends all summer, but I’m still not sure. I mean, she has a lot to deal with right now, with her family and everything. And the likelihood of us seeing each other again is kind of low, so maybe I don’t have to make up my mind about her. Maybe I’ll just let her go the way I let the kids in middle school go.

Danyel began to get serious about bending his notes instead of fingerpicking, and I knew he was about to sing. Oh, man, could the night get any more perfect? Even though we’d probably burn the handmade marshmallows from Williams-Sonoma, tonight capped a summer that had been the best time I’d ever had.

The only thing that would make it perfect would be finding some way to be alone with that man. I hadn’t been here more than a day when Danyel and Kaz had come loping down the beach. I’d taken one look at those eyes and those cheekbones and, okay, a very cut set of abs, and decided here was someone I wanted to know a whole lot better. And I did, now, after a couple of weeks. But soon we’d go off to S. F., and he and Kaz would go back to Pacific High. When we pulled out in Gabe Mansfield’s SUV, I wanted there to be something more between us than an air kiss and a handshake, you know what I mean?

I wanted something to be settled. Neither of us had talked about it, but both of us knew it was there. Unspoken longing is all very well in poetry, but I’m the outspoken type. I like things out there where I can touch them.

In a manner of speaking.

Danyel sat between Kaz and me, cross-legged and bare-chested, looking as comfortable in his surf jams as if he lived in them. Come to think of it, he did live in them. His, Kaz’s, and Lissa’s boards were stuck in the sand behind us. They’d spent most of the afternoon out there on the waves. I tried to keep my eyes on the fire. Not that I didn’t appreciate the view next to me, because trust me, it was fine, but I know a man wants to be appreciated for his talents and his mind.

Danyel’s melody sounded familiar—something Gillian played while we waited for our prayer circles at school to start. Which reminded me . . . I nudged Carly. “You guys going to church tomorrow?”

She nodded and lifted her chin at Lissa to get her attention. “Girl wants to know if we’re going to church.”

“Wouldn’t miss it,” Lissa said. “Kaz and his family, too. Last chance of the summer to all go together.”

And where Kaz went, Danyel went. Happy thought.

“You’re not going to bail, are you?” Carly’s brows rose a little.

It’s not like I’m anti-religion or anything. I’m just in the beginning stages of learning about it. Without my friends to tell me stuff, I’d be bumbling around on my own, trying to figure it out. My parents don’t go to church, so I didn’t catch the habit from them. But when she was alive and I was a little girl, my grandma used to take me to the one in her neighborhood across town. I thought it was an adventure, riding the bus instead of being driven in the BMW. And the gospel choir was like nothing I’d ever seen, all waving their arms in the air and singing to raise the roof. I always thought they were trying to deafen God, if they could just get up enough volume.

So I like the music part. Always have. And I’m beginning to see the light on the God part, after what happened last spring. But seeing a glimmer and knowing what to do about it are two different things.

“Of course not.” I gave Carly a look. “We all go together. And we walk, in case no one told you, so plan your shoes carefully.”

“Oh, I will.” She sat back on her hands, an “I so see right through you” smile turning up the corners of her mouth. “And it’s all about the worship, I know.” That smile told me she knew exactly what my motivation was. Part of it, at least. Hey, can you blame me?

The music changed and Danyel’s voice lifted into a lonely blues melody, pouring over Carly’s words like cream. I just melted right there on the spot. Man, could that boy sing.

Blue water, blue sky

Blue day, girl, do you think that I

Don’t see you, yeah I do.

Long sunset, long road,

Long life, girl, but I think you know

What I need, yeah, you do.

I do a little singing my own self, so I know talent when I hear it. And I’d have bet you that month’s allowance that Danyel had composed that one. He segued into the chorus and then the bridge, its rhythms straight out of Mississippi but the tune something new, something that fit the sadness and the hope of the words.

Wait a minute.

Blue day? Long sunset? Long road? As in, a long road to San Francisco?

Whoa. Could Danyel be trying to tell someone something? “You think that I don’t see you”? Well, if that didn’t describe me, I didn’t know what would. Ohmigosh.

Could he be trying to tell me his feelings with a song? Musicians were like that. They couldn’t tell a person something to her face, or they were too shy, or it was just too hard to get out, so they poured it into their music. For them, maybe it was easier to perform something than to get personal with it.

Be cool, girl. Let him finish. Then find a way to tell him you understand—and you want it, too.

The last of the notes blew away on the breeze, and a big comber smashed itself on the sand, making a sound like a kettledrum to finish off the song. I clapped, and the others joined in.

“Did you write that yourself?” Lissa removed a marshmallow from her stick and passed it to him. “It was great.”

Danyel shrugged one shoulder. “Tune’s been bugging me for a while and the words just came to me. You know, like an IM or something.”

Carly laughed, and Kaz’s forehead wrinkled for a second in a frown before he did, too.

I love modesty in a man. With that kind of talent, you couldn’t blame Danyel for thinking he was all that.

Should I say something? The breath backed up in my chest. Say it. You’ll lose the moment. “So who’s it about?” I blurted, then felt myself blush.

“Can’t tell.” His head was bent as he picked a handful of notes and turned them into a little melody. “Some girl, probably.”

“Some girl who’s leaving?” I said, trying for a teasing tone. “Is that a good-bye?”

“Could be.”

I wished I had the guts to come out and ask if he’d written the song for me—for us—but I just couldn’t. Not with everyone sitting there. With one look at Carly, whose eyes held a distinct “What’s up with you?” expression, I lost my nerve and shut up. Which, as any of the girls could tell you, doesn’t happen very often.

Danyel launched into another song—some praise thing that everyone knew but me. And then another, and then a cheesy old John Denver number that at least I knew the words to, and then a bunch of goofy songs half of us had learned at camp when we were kids. And then it was nearly midnight, and Kaz got up and stretched.

He’s a tall guy. He stretches a long way. “I’m running the mixer for the early service tomorrow, so I’ve got to go.”

Danyel got up, and I just stopped my silly self from saying, “No, not yet.” Instead, I watched him sling the guitar over one shoulder and yank his board out of the sand. “Are you going to early service, too?” I asked him.

“Yeah,” he said, sounding a little surprised. “I’m in the band, remember?”

Argh! As if I didn’t know. As if I hadn’t sat there three Sundays in a row, watching his hands move on the frets and the light make shadows under his cheekbones.

“I just meant—I see you at the late one when we go. I didn’t know you went to both.” Stutter, bumble. Oh, just stop talking, girl. You’ve been perfectly comfortable talking to him so far. What’s the matter?

“I don’t, usually. But tomorrow they’re doing full band at early service, too. Last one before all the turistas go home. Next week we’ll be back to normal.” He smiled at me. “See you then.”

Was he looking forward to seeing me, or was he just being nice? “I hope so,” I managed.

“Kaz, you coming?”

Kaz bent to the fire and ran a stick through the coals, separating them. “Just let me put this out. Lissa, where’s the bucket?”

“Here.” While I’d been obsessing over Danyel, Lissa had run down to the waterline and filled a gallon pail. You could tell they’d done this about a million times. She poured the water on the fire and it blew a cloud of steam into the air. The orange coals gave it up with a hiss.

I looked up to say something to Danyel about it and saw that he was already fifty feet away, board under his arm like it weighed nothing, heading down the beach to the public lot where he usually parked his Jeep.

I stared down into the coals, wet and dying.

I couldn’t let the night go out like this.

“Danyel, wait!” The sand polished the soles of my bare feet better than the pumice bar at the salon as I ran to catch up with him. A fast glance behind me told me Lissa had stepped up and begun talking to Kaz, giving me a few seconds alone.

I owed her, big time.

“What’s up, ma?” He planted the board and set the guitar case down. “Forget something?”

“Yes,” I blurted. “I forgot to tell you that I think you’re amazing.”

He blinked. “Whoa.” The barest hint of a smile tickled the corners of his lips.

I might not get another chance as good as this one. I rushed on, the words crowding my mouth in their hurry to get out. “I know there’s something going on here and we’re all leaving on Tuesday and I need to know if you—if you feel the same way.”

“About . . . ?”

“About me. As I feel about you.”

He put both hands on his hips and gazed down at the sand. “Oh.”

Cold engulfed me, as if I’d just plunged face-first into the dark waves twenty feet away. “Oh,” I echoed. “Never mind. I guess I got it wrong.” I stepped back. “Forget about it. No harm done.”

“No, Shani, wait—”

But I didn’t want to hear the “we can still be friends” speech. I didn’t want to hear anything except the wind in my ears as I ran back to the safety of my friends.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Amish Love & Cindy Woodsmall

Amish Love

What’s all the hubbub about Amish fiction? Major media outlets like Time and ABC Nightline are covering it, and authors like Cindy Woodsmall are making the New York Times bestseller list regularly. What makes these books so interesting?

Check out the recent ABC Nightline piece here about Cindy and her titles When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and When the Soul Mends. It’s an intriguing look at Amish culture and the time Cindy has spent with Amish friends.

And don’t forget that Cindy’s new book The Hope of Refuge hits store shelves August 11, and is available for preorder now.

B&H: Shadow of Colossus by T.L. Higley

Shadow of Colossus (Seven Wonders Novel, Book #1) Shadow of Colossus by T. L. Higley

In a world enslaved by money and power, one woman dares to be free. Will an explosive secret enslave her again?

The place is the island of Rhodes; the time, 227 BC. In the ten years that Tessa of Delos has been in bondage as a hetaeira, a high-priced Greek courtesan to a wealthy politician, she has learned to abandon all desire for freedom and love. But when her owner meets a violent death, Tessa is given the chance to be free if she can hide the truth of his death and maintain a masquerade until escape is possible. Now Tessa must battle for her own freedom and for those she is beginning to love, as forces collide that will shatter the island's peace and bring even its mighty Colossus to its knees.

Here is a powerful story showing how the love of God can transform even the most hardened person and bring back to life a soul jaded by sin and grief.

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
After reading this story, while reading a note provided after the story within the book I found that this really explained what I think as a whole about the tale.

Weaving in and out of actual events, brushing lightly against the lives of characters from the pages of history, the Seven Wonders novels take us beyond man's ingenuity and hubris to explore the Supreme Creator's work in the ancient world beyond Israel. From the fall of the mighty Colossus of Rhodes to the destruction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one thing becomes clear: The power of redemption will never be silenced, and the One True God still desires to draw all men unto himself.

This novel might have taken place in 227 BC, but there is no doubt in my mind that it falls within a classification of Christian fiction. Through the characters hearts and mind, the "one true God" makes his love and redemption vision known.

The author has used a talent for story telling to educate and to fill the soul with a redemptive tale that is as classic as the story of the woman at the well or the good Samaritan. God loves you, and can use you, and desires you, no matter your past or situation.

View all my reviews.

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Broadman & Holman Publishers (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080544730X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805447309

CFBA: Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Rose House

WaterBrook Press (May 5, 2009)


Tina Ann Forkner


Tina Ann Forkner writes contemporary fiction that challenges and inspires. She grew up in Oklahoma and graduated with honors from CSU Sacramento before settling in Wyoming. She lives with her husband, their three bright children and their dog and stays busy serving on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors. She is the author of Ruby Among Us, her debut novel, and Rose House, which recently released from Waterbrook Press/Random House.


A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope

Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.

She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.

What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.

A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

If you would like to read an excerpt from Rose House, go HERE

I absolutely love the cover of this book and look forward to reading it (after pregnancy).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Hershey Kisses likes my pregnant belly.

pediped™ to host special shoe promotion to benefit the Make-A-Wish FoundationÃ’

pediped™ to host special shoe promotion to benefit the Make-A-Wish FoundationÃ’

HENDERSON, Nev. (May 2009) — Beginning May 27 and running through June 10, pediped™ Footwear will host a Purchases with Purpose fundraiser to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. During this period, select styles of both Originals and Flex shoes will be marked down. Fifty percent of sales from this fundraiser will be donated to the charity to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

pediped™ very rarely marks down the price of their shoes. In fact, this will mark the third time in the company’s five-year history that such an event will occur. The first two events also benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“In these times, it's more important than ever to give back to the community and bring joy to children who need it. We hope people will go online to shop, and together we can all make a difference!” said pediped™ President Angela Edgeworth.

pediped™ will host several different fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In 2008, the company raised more than $111,000 to help grant 15 wishes and has aspirations of surpassing that figure in 2009. Information on current and upcoming fundraisers can be found on

About pediped™
pediped™ footwear was launched in 2004 by Angela and Brian Edgeworth in their quest for the perfect soft-soled shoe for their first daughter. Exceptional quality, unsurpassed comfort and distinctive styling have made the award winning company one of the fastest-growing children's footwear brands in the United States. pediped™ footwear is sold in over 2500 stores in the United States and 40 countries worldwide with an offering of more than 120 designs for boys and girls between their two lines, Originals and Flex. Originals (soft-soled shoes for newborns to age 2+) and Flex (rubber-soled shoes for children 1-6 years) are available in EU sizes from 20 to 29. For more information, visit or call 1-702-567-0311.

About the Make-A-Wish Foundation
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Founded in 1980 when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the Foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world. With the help of generous donors and nearly 25,000 volunteers, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish every 40 minutes and has granted more than 177,000 wishes in the United States since its inception. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit and discover how you can share the power of a wish®.

# # #

Media Contact:

Hilary Abbott

Hilary Abbott Communications, Inc.

770/753-8144 or mobile 404/444-9977

Jillian Dare (or is it Jane Eyre?) by Melanie Jeschke

Jillian Dare: A Novel Jillian Dare: A Novel by Melanie M. Jeschke

Jillian Dare leaves her Shenandoah Valley foster home behind and strikes out on her own as a nanny at a large country estate in northern Virginia. She is delighted with the beauty of her new home, the affection of her young charge Cadence Remington, and the opportunity for frequent travel to the Remington castle in England. She is less certain about her feelings for her handsome but moody employer, Ethan. In spite of herself, Jillian realizes she is falling for her boss. But how can a humble girl ever hope to win a wealthy man of the world? And what dark secrets from the past is he hiding? This contemporary story, inspired by the well-loved classic "Jane Eyre", will capture readers' hearts.

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jillian Dare is a fabulous contemporary adaptation of the classic story of Jane Eyre and I enjoyed it thoroughly. In the authors letter at the end of the book, Melanie tells us that she wrote this book not for the Bronte purists, but for three different types of people: those that love romantic suspense, those that have yet to read Jane Eyre and now will want to, and the category I fit in - those that have read the story and love to find the comparisons between the two stores and make conjectures as to how the contemporary twist plot will unfold. I have to admit, with each turn of the page I was fascinated by how in the world could the next main scene unfold.

Other things that I really enjoyed in this book were the bits and pieces that alluded to the personal life of the author as well as to her previous book "Evasions". It made me smile quite often. Also, the brought in pieces of Dickens literature as well as references to Broadway plays that I am familiar with such as "The Woman in White". As a reader, I am not one that usually leans toward reading and enjoying a story of contemporary fiction. But Melanie does more than that, she ties the bits and bobs of history in that make it worthwhile, page-turning, and fun.

In the last quarter of the book, there was a topic brought up that has been in theological debate as long as their has been theology and although at first it was a good point, after a few chapters I tired of it. But other than that slight imperfection, I heartily the entire book and could hardly bare to put it down until completion. I had to wait too many years before this for more fabulous fiction from Melanie Jeschke, and I do hope to read more from her in the future sooner rather than later. Although, I will wait quite impatiently for later if need be. *wink*

View all my reviews.

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800733169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800733162

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dream Belly Review

Stretch marks are probably one of the banes of pregnancy for most women. When I first became pregnant I was terrified of after pregnancy what my poor stretched out belly would appear to look like. At 7 weeks, to me and my husband I was already showing a bit, but it was not until my third or fourth month when the first dreaded stretch mark appeared. Soon after a friend of mine acquired a fabulous product for me that I wanted to share with you today.

Dream Belly info straight from their website:

DreamBelly is uniquely formulated to address the dermatological needs of pregnant women during times of sudden bodily change - particularly when bellies are dramatically growing and delicate tissues and sensitive skin are required to rapidly expand.

More than just a deep-moisturizing skin cream, Dream Belly was designed specifically for the dermatological demands of pregnancy, and works in two unique ways. First, DreamBelly helps prevent stretch marks by keeping skin supple and elastic. Second, DreamBelly may aid the body in regenerating strained tissues and help fade existing marks.

Along with prevention and revitalization, DreamBelly is a restorative balm that may strengthen damaged collagen and soothe the taut, overtaxed dermis and hydrate dry surface skin.

The DreamBelly formula brings together an array of ingredients shown to be central to skin wellness and dermis integrity, including aloe vera gel, a select blend of natural butters and moisturizing oils, grapeseed extract (a nutribiotic), as well as rosehip seed oil & antioxidant-rich Vitamin E (ingredients recognized for their ability to revitalize skin).

The best part when I first started looking at the ingredients of this fabulous little item was that I was familiar with all of the oils and vitamins mentioned and the best thing of all is the smell! At the first stretch mark appearance I had purchased some of the usual brand of stretch mark cream and with my sensitivity to smells it definitely did not agree with me. Yet, with Dream Belly, it is such a calm and beautiful scent that I was not bothered at all and actually relaxed a bit whenever I applied it.

This is the perfect gift for the pregnant lady you know or if you are pregnant, hint to someone you know that you want some for your own! Dream Belly is available from Fairhaven Health and I strongly suggest you go check it out and see what other items they have as well.

Having a baby is among the most miraculous moments in life. And when it comes to preconception and pregnancy, Fairhaven Health is with you every step of the way - offering a tradition of unsurpassed product quality, service, and a compassion for each customer's unique journey to parenthood.

*****Here's the best part, well for you readers anyway. *wink* Fairhaven Health has generated the coupon code 'creativemadness' that will allow readers of Creative Madness 10% off DreamBelly and all our products.*****

Now tell me, what was the best type of product you used during your maternity time period or that you have heard of someone else using??

CFBA: Jillian Dare by Melanie Jeschke

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Jillian Dare: A Novel

Revell (May 1, 2009)


Melanie M. Jeschke


Melanie Morey Jeschke (pronounced jes-key), a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and graduated from University of Virginia as a Phi Beta Kappa with an Honors degree in English Literature and a minor in European and English History.

A free-lance travel writer, Melanie contributed the Oxford chapter to the Rick Steves’ England 2006 guidebook. She is a member of the Capital Christian Writers and Christian Fiction Writers as well as three book clubs, and taught high-school English before home-schooling most of her nine children. Melanie lectures on Lewis and Tolkien, Oxford, and writing, and gives inspirational talks to all manner of groups, including university classes, women’s clubs, young professionals, teens, and school children.

A fourth generation pastor’s wife (her father Dr. Earl Morey is a retired Presbyterian minister), Melanie resides in the Greater Washington, D.C. area with her children and husband Bill Jeschke, a soccer coach and the Senior Pastor of The King’s Chapel, an non-denominational Christian church in Fairfax, Virginia.


Jillian Dare leaves her Shenandoah Valley foster home behind and strikes out on her own as a nanny at a large country estate in northern Virginia. She is delighted with the beauty of her new home, the affection of her young charge Cadence Remington, and the opportunity for frequent travel to the Remington castle in England.

She is less certain about her feelings for her handsome but moody employer, Ethan. In spite of herself, Jillian realizes she is falling for her boss. But how can a humble girl ever hope to win a wealthy man of the world? And what dark secrets from the past is he hiding? This contemporary story, inspired by the well-loved classic Jane Eyre, will capture readers' hearts.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Jillian Dare: A Novel, go HERE

I absolutely love Melanie Jeschke's writing! I started this last night and have not been to put it down.

Friday, May 22, 2009

B&H: Perfect Piece by Rebeca Seitz - Coming Soon!

Perfect Piece (A Sisters, Ink Novel #4) Perfect Piece (Sisters, Ink, #4) by Rebeca Seitz

Perfect Piece is a perfectly conceived conclusion to the charming Sisters, Ink series of novels for women. At the heart of each story are four unlikely sisters, each separately adopted into the home of Marilyn and Jack Sinclair where they still meet as adults in their late mother’s attic to work on scrapbook projects and work through life together.

The Sinclair sisterhood is about to be rocked from its foundation when Meg—the bedrock sibling most like Momma—collapses with a brain tumor. Surgery removes the invading mass but leaves a sister full of mood swings, depression, anger, and bitterness. Tandy, Kendra, and Joy struggle to find a trace of their formerly happy sister, who always pointed them to life’s positives. Meg’s husband, Jamison, struggles even more. With no idea how to handle the new, unimproved person inhabiting his wife’s body, he finds it too easy to seek solace in the clever conversation of another woman. What none of them realize is that the wisdom they need is already at hand; available.

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Books (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805446931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805446937
When I get my hands on a copy of this fabulous book, a real review is coming soon!!

Quilting - two finished tops and a cross stitch quilt

Over the last couple months I have been quite busy. I found out last fall that my Sister L was expecting baby #5 and so I set to work on my tradition. With each niece and nephew I have made them a cross stitch quilt. This was one was probably the hardest to work on because at first I was working on it without much distraction except needing to read and then I found I was pregnant in December and while working on this one I kept thinking about the one I would make for my own child! Now, I have finally finished this one... and I am excited about starting mine... but now I know that I have another expectant person in my life that I have to make one for! Oy! My poor fingers and hours of reading I will not be able to do...

Another project I have been working on that is close to completion now, well as close and a completed quilt top... is this Hydrangea quilt that will be for our bed when it is finished. I found it in a magazine and ordered it up and I love it! There were a few things about it that were not quite right, but it turned out well in the end with my alterations. I am quite content.

Lastly is the sheep in the daisy field quilt. When I first decided I wanted to take up quilting this was the first quilt I ever started. Notice it is not finished. It was only in the last couple months (knowing that I'm pregnant and need this baby quilt sooner rather than later) that I went back to it. I have learned so much in quilting skills since I started that this things was horrid! So I took it all apart and fixed lines and such and put it back together. Now the top is finished, and I'll have to find some backing fabric to get it going to full completion...

The lambs are appliqued by my sewing machine too. Gotta love those embroidery/sewing machines. *grin*

Thursday, May 21, 2009

B&H: Scrapping Plans by Rebeca Seitz - a review

Scrapping Plans (Sisters, Ink #3) Scrapping Plans by Rebeca Seitz

Scrapping Plans is book three in the SISTERS, INK series of novels for women. At the heart of each story are four unlikely sisters, each separately adopted into the loving home of Marilyn and Jack Sinclair where they still meet as adults in their late mother’s attic to work on scrapbook projects and work through life together. The focus moves now to youngest sister Joy who was adopted from China as an infant. Always the quiet one, she and her husband’s struggle with infertility is being drowned out by sister Kendra’s wedding day, her daddy’s new romance, and another Sinclair sister who may see that double pink line on a pregnancy test before Joy does.

Will a trip back to China help Joy understand that God's timing is perfect, and His plans are the ones to follow?

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love the play on words with this title, because it really means many different things. At least it did to me. One thing with this book that I would preface, is that I would definitely say it is for an older audience, college age and married. I would not give this one to a teen girl, because I feel the "marital bliss" although wonderful and fully appreciated would be out of place for a young reader.

Earnestly, I could hardly put the book down even in the sad parts. This is the third book in the Sisters, Ink Series. Reading the back cover or description blurb you know that it is about Joy Sinclair. She is the sister with Chinese ancestry. From the previous books you know that she is married and shy. Reading the pictures and description you know that she is having a bit of an issue with infertility, you know one of her sisters gets pregnant, and you know that she debates a trip to her "home land".

What you do not know is all of the twists and turns and amazing depths and insights that the author takes you on. Bits of the book are written in a journey or thought like entry from Joy's deepest thoughts. Going with her on this journey is incredibly moving and educational. As a reader, you think one thing is going to happen, and then something entirely different occurs. At first I was unsure if I was happy with the change, but Rebeca's writing guides you to a point without manipulation or controversy of your thoughts.

It is a fabulous story. I recommend it for a read, but I do recommend that you read the series in order, to fully appreciate what occurs in the lives of the Sinclair sisters.

As a person who has dealt with infertility and some of the almost same issues of the heart that occur in this book with sisters and other things this book was an incredible piece to open into my heart, and I feel extremely blessed that God brought it to me at this point in my life. Go read it, read them all! I cannot wait for the next one later this year!

View all my reviews.

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Books (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805446923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805446920

Baby gift arrives by UPS!!

This morning, I awoke to the doorbell. Not a first, actually the third time this week. First was Monday with an envelope of two ARCs from B&H, then on Tuesday, an envelope of one book from B&H. Then this morning. Yesterday, my Mama came to play so I was on my feet a lot longer than normal and was really feeling it in those relaxin pregnant hips later in the day, so my husband dearest told me I was to stay in bed all day and read whether I want to or not. (I think I'll keep him...) I debated getting up, but I was curious what could be awaiting me at the door, so I went to the door and there was a box!! Now the books were a slight surprise, but somewhat expected... but what in the world could be in the box?

I pick it up and sure enough, it is addressed to me. Okay. Return address Say what? Is that not that really fancy expensive store my sister pulled me into once and got me to buy those pants that I will keep forever considering their price (even though they are fabulous). What in the world could come from there?? So, off to get the hubby's pocket knife and open her up. Gift card on top.

MICHELLE MORAN YOU ARE THE COOLEST PERSON EVER!!!!! My friend and amazing author Michelle Moran sent me a baby gift! Oh my goodness! I'm just plain giddy! (Read about her books...)

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran (review)

Click here to find out about all three of Michelle's books.

Click here, to go back and read my review of The Heretic Queen.

Q&A with Michelle Moran, bestselling author of "Nefertiti" and "The Heretic Queen"

And now about that gift... the absolute cutest presentation of onsies that I have ever seen!

I'm so excited! They are just too adorable! Three white and three very pale pink solid onsies with stickers that I can remove and use in the baby book or elsewhere. They're awesome and I am one happy Mama!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

CFBA: Deceptive Promises by Amber Miller (Stockton)

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Deceptive Promises

Barbour Publishing, Inc (2008)


Amber Miller


Hi, I'm Amber, but my friends call me Tiff, short for Tiffany, my first name. I am in my 30's, married the love of my life in July 2007, live in Colorado and just had an incredibly beautiful daughter named Victoria.

I love to travel and visit new places. Ultimately, my dream is to own horses and live in a one-level rancher or log cabin nestled in the foothills of the mountains. For now, I will remain where I am and do what I love—design web sites and write.

I got involved with web design in 1997, when I was asked to take over running the official web site for the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. That eventually led to a series of negotiations where I was offered the job of running world-renowned actress Jane Seymour's official fan site. That has branched into doing web sites for a variety of clients, including: authors J.M. Hochstetler, Trish Perry, Kathy Pride, Louise M. Gouge, Susan Page Davis, and Jill Elizabeth Nelson, actor William Shockley (the voice of AT&T and Toyota) and many others. With the help of a handful of other web site "technos," Eagle Designs was born! Feel free to visit and see our other clients.

Amber's very first book, Promises, Promises, released in February 2008. It's a historical fiction set in Delaware during the Colonial period and the Great Awakening. The other 2 books in the series are Quills And Promises (July 2008) and this one, Deceptive Promises (December 2008). In 2009, they will be repackaged for a state set entitled Liberty's Promise. She has also sold another series set in historical Michigan during the Industrial Revolution. The 3 books in that series will begin releasing in May 2009 and will be repackaged in 2010.



Is deception fair in wartime Margret Scott must deal with this question as she finds herself attracte to the enigmatic Samuel Lowe. As the tensions grow between the colonists and the British soldiers and loyalists, Margret cannot always tell where Samuel's loyalties lie.

"If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity." -Job 31:5-6

Samuel's duties have him working for both sides of this war, and he often finds himself torn between what is right and what is wrong. He promises Margret she can trust him, and Margret promises him she does. But can promises born in deception be trusted? Can a relationship built in uncertainty survive?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Deceptive Promises, go HERE.

This is the third in a series that I have read for review from Amber Miller (Stockton). I really enjoyed the first two. You can read my reviews of those here (PP) and here (QP).

Operation Kid-to-Kid

Operation Kid-to-Kid Brings Comfort to Kids in Crisis

Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX—What do think about when you read headlines about economic hardships, natural disasters, and politically charged conflict? Circumstances like these set families and entire communities reeling, and few people are affected as profoundly as the children involved. How do the littlest victims cope with the changes and uncertainty around them? And what can the church do to reach out specifically to these little ones?

Group Publishing, the premier publishers of children’s Bible curriculum including Sunday school and VBS, believes that some of the best ministers to children experiencing disaster and hardship are other children. That’s why they have created a program called Operation Kid 2 Kid (OK2K), which partners with nondenominational Christian ministries like International Bible Society and World Vision to provide opportunities for children in North America to share God’s love with other children in difficult or disastrous situations. Since its inception ten years ago, Operation Kid-to-Kid projects have impacted millions of kids all over the world.

“Operation Kid-to-Kid is a great way to teach kids compassion and service,” says Joani Schultz, cofounder of Group and OK2K. “Children learn by doing. It’s one thing to drop a nickel in the offering plate, but when kids make a gift with their own hands, when they can be creative and personal, this leaves a real impression on both the givers and the receivers.”

This year’s OK2K project features two easy to make (no sewing required) Comfort Critters—small plush turtles with a sewn in pocket for exchanging pictures or notes of encouragement and hope. After they make the turtles, each child will keep one and send the other to a child in need. With a cute little turtle as a friendly and safe messenger, children will understand and communicate Christian compassion and the hope of Jesus. . . and they’ll have fun doing it. Group offers many other resources for OK2K initiatives, including an affordable booklet entitled The Survivors: For Kids in Tough Places.

Over the years, OK2K has become one of the largest forces mobilizing children in serving other children around the world through gifts of school supplies, Bibles, hygiene kits, Christmas gifts, Bible coloring books, and socks and shoes. Between recent natural disasters and the global economic crisis, there are more opportunities than ever for children to show the love of Christ to other children—and not just for a VBS event. Operation Kid-to-Kid can mobilize service projects any time of the year.

Group is also starting a new venture between OK2K and Lifetree Adventures, an organization that combines unique vacations with meaningful service projects. This new venture will be the “follow through” option for those who feel called to take the VBS OK2K effort to the next level. For 2009, Operation Kid-to-Kid will sponsor a trip to New Orleans for children’s leaders to deliver the Comfort Critter turtles to Katrina victims.

“There is still much to be done in New Orleans after the nation’s largest natural disaster. You saw the horror of Hurricane Katrina where over 1,500 people died,” says Group VBS Senior Editor Jody Brosma. “But did you know Christians have led the way, quietly rebuilding and cleaning up after the disaster? Now you can help minister to the children of the 7th Ward, where flooding caused massive destruction. Take your passion for Jesus to kids who have lived through challenging times.”

This trip is open to adult volunteers, but space is very limited. Service activities will include painting, cleanup, and repair of a volunteer center and homes in the 7th Ward and connecting with kids after school.

Plan now to connect with Jody and reach out with love to the kids and families of New Orleans, November 8-13, 2009. Visit or call 1.800.747.2157 to review the itinerary and reserve your trip.

To set up an interview with Thom and Joani Schultz, Founders of Group Publishing and Operation Kid-to-KidTM, contact:

Audra Jennings
Media Specialist
The B&B Media Group
1-800-927-0517 Ext. 104
Visit us on the web at
“A Media Communications Company”

109 S. Main
Corsicana, TX 75110
Fax: 903-872-0518

CSFF: Tuck extras

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