Friday, January 30, 2015

Review of Hope Crossing: The Complete Ada's House Trilogy by Cindy Woodsmall


I have found a new love recently in the world of books--Amish Fiction. I discovered Cindy Woodsmall's books at my local library and decided to pick one up for a taste of something different. I'm so glad I tried something new! I absolutely love Cindy's writing style. She has created authentic Amish Characters with stories filled with heart, tragedy, triumph, spiritual strength, and romance.

I love a good clean read that isn't sickly sweet. Cindy has written stories that are true to life and given an intimate look into the lifestyle of living the Plain Amish way that so many people live in communities across Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Hope Crossing is definitely a treat because it is three books in one! I read these books quickly, one right after the other because I was eager to find out how everything turned out in the continuing stories and old and new characters. I've included the back cover copy for each book below and my thoughts on each novel after that.

Book #1
The Hope of Refuge
Two very different women are pulled by their strongest desires. Deborah Mast joined the Amish church and longs to marry her fiancĂ©, but he is changing. Cara Moore is forced to look into a life that was meant to be hers. Will Ada’s House help them realize their hearts’ desires or will it force them to accept what life has done to each of them?

Rachelle's Thoughts: Cara's story is fascinating because it pulls a woman living in the modern world into the culture of the Amish. To Cara it is akin to an alien world and she struggles to find her place.  I love her realistic struggle to find faith all while a romance is blossoming.

Book #2
The Bridge of Peace
Living out her passion for teaching, Lena Kauffman’s work is suddenly interrupted by a series of pranks and accidents targeted toward her and her students. When tragedy strikes her dear friend Grey Graber’s family on school property, the school board begins to blame her for the trouble. As grief and confusion take their toll on Grey and Lena’s friendship, they are both forced to face a new reality that may offer the peace and love they each long for.

 Rachelle's Thoughts: This is my favorite novel in the trilogy because I love Lena's story. She has such a strong character. At the same time, Grey is intriguing with his gentle ways and unselfish character. The threatening backdrop of this story was intense and the romance was unforgettable!

The Harvest of Grace
Fleeing a terrible mistake, Sylvia Fisher dedicates herself to saving the failing Blank farm. When prodigal son Aaron returns, he is surprised by this unusual farmhand who opposes all his plans. Will Aaron and Sylvia’s unflinching efforts toward opposite futures mask the bigger picture—a path to forgiveness, grace, and the promise of love?

Rachelle's Thoughts: This novel wraps up all of the character stories and introduces a new character in Sylvia Fisher. This novel was a little slow-moving for me and even though I didn't enjoy it as much as the other two, I did enjoy seeing everything come full circle. Cara is a resilient character and it was neat to watch her struggle to forgive and fully accept the Amish ways. The romance between different characters in this novel was sweet and satisfying.

This three-in-one collection includes the entirety of the best-selling Ada’s House trilogy, now at a new low price!




This book was provided to me by bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review of Audio CD By John Bytheway, Embark!

John Bytheway is an incredible speaker who particularly appeals to youth, but I think all ages can benefit from listening to him and his motivational talks filled with spiritual enlightenment and anecdotes that remind us of what we can do to make a difference in our lives and others.

 I recently listened to the new audio CD Embark! by John Bytheway and in the beginning he talks about what the word "Embark" means. My six-year-old son was in and out of the kitchen while I was listening and I didn't think he was really paying attention but when John asked the audience if they knew what "Embark" means, my son smiled and said. "I know what it means. I can embark on my horse." He pointed at the bouncy horse on our patio. This not only made me smile, but reassured me that this audio CD is excellent for the entire family to listen to.

I'd encourage you to pick up this CD and listen to it a few times, in the car, in the kitchen, etc. to give yourself a chance to really soak up the great ideas John shares. I always feel stronger after listening to him speak, like even though life is tough we can get through it if we hold tight to what we know is right and keep trying!

Here's a little more information about this new presentation:
An ideal talk that supports the new 2015 Mutual theme!
In this motivating talk related to the 2015 youth theme, John
Bytheway explains what it means to truly embark—to get
fully on board in the service of God with all your heart, might,
mind, and strength. Using scriptures, powerful stories, and his
characteristic humor, John explains that with the Savior’s help,
we can remain on board and eventually stand blameless before
God at the last day.

John Bytheway served a mission to the Philippines and later
graduated from Brigham Young University. A favorite speaker
and teacher, John holds a master’s degree in religious education
and is a part-time instructor at BYU. John is the author of many
bestselling books, audio talks, and DVDs, including How Do I
Know if I Know?; Of Pigs, Pearls, and Prodigals; When Times
are Tough: 5 Scriptures That Will Help You Get through Almost
Anything; and the 2014 youth theme talk on CD, Come Unto
Christ. He and his wife, Kimberly, have six children.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Recipe Hacker Cookbook: Comfort foods without gluten, dairy, soy, grains or cane sugar


 Here's a new cookbook that is perfect for many people today struggling with allergies to food. The Recipe Hacker: Comfort Foods without Soy, Dairy, Cane Sugar, Gluten, and Grain is a cookbook by Diana Keuilian and she has shared her expert hacking skills with us and I'm so grateful! I have gluten sensitivity and other problems relating to Leaky Gut Syndrome which I've worked hard to repair. This is a life-long change that I'm making and it's nice to have the options of favorite comfort foods made with ingredients that are non-irritating to the gut.


The Recipe Hacker: Comfort foods without gluten, dairy, soy, grains or cane sugar

Break the recipe code for your favorite foods! Free of grains, gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and soy, The RecipeHacker is a mouthwatering collection of your favorite comfort foods with a healthy twist. Learn to use easy ingredient substitutions to transform traditional dishes into real, healthy comfort food masterpieces, without sacrificing any flavor! Enjoy healthier, whole-food versions of Key Lime Pie, Crispy Orange Chicken, and Banana Pancakes. Dozens of recipes and delicious flavors will keep you coming back for more. Enjoy all the comfort foods you crave and keep your body (and skinny jeans) happy at the same time!

My Review: I like the format of the cookbook, ingredient list that is easy to follow. Love the great pictures--I'm a huge fan of photogenic foods. :) Diana has included some wonderful comfort foods that I'm looking forward to testing out.
I've already tried the granola and the granola bars and both were a hit. At first with the granola bars, I thought they might be too crumbly but when I put them in the fridge they set up quite nicely. The amount of shredded coconut in them was a nice change from my usual granola bars with oatmeal as the base. Here's a pic of mine, so yummy!
 About the author:
Diana Keuilian is passionate about creating wholesome versions of your favorite foods. She removes the gluten, dairy, soy, grains and cane sugar from traditional comfort food recipes like cake, tacos, cookies, waffles, enchiladas and more. This hobby propelled her to start the popular blog, RealHealthyRecipes.com, where she shares hundreds of delicious recipes and mouthwatering photos. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two young children.
For more recipes, or to contact Diana, visit RealHealthyRecipes.com andwww.facebook.com/RealHealthyRecipes.

I was given a copy of this cookbook from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Books by Kierstin Marquet

Today I'm highlighting a book series by Kierstin Marquet. If you like suspense and adventure, you'll definitely want to check out these books!
Three Reluctant Promises (Mason Jar Series)
 

Kierstin is a talented writer and her first book Three Reluctant Promises is out in paperback as well as ebook.

Here's the book blurb:
Whoever heard of a kidnapper with a sense of honor?

Illegal immigrant Tommy Ramirez takes odd jobs to make ends meet after a car crash leaves him and his sisters orphaned. A bad day becomes a nightmare, when he discovers kidnapped girls in the back of his semi-truck. A victim's mother enlists his help to free the girls, and she is mortally wounded in the attempt. Bound by honor, Tommy makes three promises to her. Dodging death, deportation, and dyslexia, Tommy knows he can’t keep his word by himself. When he makes a desperate grab for help—literally—Ashten Mason, a cop’s spitfire daughter, doesn’t come willingly.


And of course, you'll want to check out Book 2 in the series, Three Stupid Lies (Mason Jar Series Book 2) the pulse-pounding sequel to Three Reluctant Promises, is also out in ebook on Amazon.com!






About the author:
Award-winning author, Kierstin Marquet, has a BS in criminal justice, a minor in psychology, and a love of sleuthing. Her debut novel, Three Reluctant Promises, and its sequel, Three Stupid Lies are the first two books in the Mason Jar Series. These stories were inspired by Kierstin's unique experiences growing up as a police officer's daughter. Experiences like: getting pulled over with lights (thankfully no siren) in the church parking lot and going to process crime scenes in her nightgown. You can visit her and find excerpts from her latest novels at KierstinMarquet.weebly.com and KierstinMarquet.blogspot.com. She's always delighted to hear from anyone who shares a passion for reading and writing at kierstinmarquet@gmail.com


Sharee Campbell AKA Kierstin Marquet


Friday, January 2, 2015

Review of FoxBrim Vitamin C Lotion

Today I'm sharing my review of a great little moisturizer I received through Amazon.
Vitamin C Lotion ★SALE★ BEST Facial Moisturizer - #1 Natural Face Lotion - Complete Ingredients 15% Vitamin C, MSM, Green Tea, Jojoba Oil & More! - Effective Lightweight Moisturizer for All Skin Types - Natural & Organic - Antioxidant Protection - Use To Fortify, Strengthen and Repair Skin - Visibly Reduce Sun Spots and Discoloration - Can Also Be Used As A Body Moisturizer - Try Risk Free Today - Amazing Quality Guarantee (Misc.)

My Review: This lotion delivered everything it promised. I've been very pleased with the light, clean scent. The lotion isn't greasy and it goes on very smooth. I love the bottle with handy pump that gives me control over how much lotion I want, so much easier than other kinds of pumps or moisturizers that I can to unscrew the cap every time. For me, the bottle adds a lot of value to my moisturizer because I like it when a great product comes in great packaging that provides ease of use.

My skin is very sensitive and so I tested this product for a few weeks before leaving my review. I haven't noticed any adverse effects and we've just hit a major cold snap with dry, dry air and my skin is glowing! 


Foxbrim's Vitamin C Lotion

Expect more from your daily moisturizer. It starts with quality skin protection with proven vitamin C. All the benefits in a single bottle.  Create eight-fold antioxidant protection while effectively preventing the formation of free radicals. From lightening sun spots and discoloration to reducing wrinkle formation our lotion provides a number of essential benefits to fortify and prepare skin for the day.

Enjoy the full benefits of a combination of MSM, Green Tea and Vitamin C. With soothing Aloe, effective restorative agents can work to strengthen skin elasticity and promote cell turnover. All for your healthiest skin yet!
Create healthy hydrated skin that radiates.

• Effectively lighten spots and discoloration
• Reduce wrinkle formation and existing wrinkles
• Refine and even skin texture
• Promote skin cell turnover

Key Ingredients include:
+ Vitamin C (15%)
+ Aloe Vera
+ MSM
+ Shea Butter
+ Jojoba Oil
+ Green Tea
You can try this yourself by ordering from Amazon on the link below. :) 
 I received a sample of this product to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

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