Books reviewed on this site have been provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. All reviews are my honest opinions.

October 29, 2015

Vendetta {Lisa Harris}

vendetta lisa harris tings mom books
No one needs to push Nikki Boyd to excel on the Tennessee Missing Persons Task Force. The case of her own missing sister, still unsolved after ten years, is the driving force in her work. When a Polaroid photo of a missing girl shows up at a crime scene, Nikki quickly recognizes similarities to the past. The closer she gets to the abductor, the more she feels this case has become personal, and she is not the hunter . . . but the hunted.

With this explosive first book in The Nikki Boyd Files, award-winning author Lisa Harris takes you on a fast-paced pursuit of justice that will have you holding your breath until the heart-stopping finish.







My Thoughts:
From the very first chapter of this book I could not put it down until I knew how it was all going to end. This is one of those stories that I would love to see on the big screen.

Nikki becomes an instantly familiar character and it is so easy to see her as a friend rather than just a character in a story. She has such a heart for her job and her mission to help others. She seems to truly care for her family and friends and would do anything in her power to care for them and see to their well-being. I loved her ability to think fast and work through all the many obstacles that came her way in this book.

The other characters in this book come together to create an amazing crime solving team. I could just picture them as they made their way through Tennessee on a mission to bring home a missing girl. As each character developed, it was also easy to feel like you had known them forever.

The story itself is so intense. With each page, there is another twist and turn. Just when you think you know how the story is going to end, something else happens and throws so many other options in the path. I found terrified for Nikki through parts of this story in hopes that should would find a way out of her situation.

In the end, we get both a happy and sad ending, but we also have a whole new story that is completely wide open. I cannot wait for the next book in this series so I can catch up with these characters and watch their story continue.


Award-winning author of nineteen novels and novellas, Lisa Harris lives with her husband and their three children in Mozambique, Africa, where they work as missionaries. 

When she is not busy writing or home schooling, she loves traveling, cooking different ethnic foods, and photographing animals and birds in the African bush. Visit her website at 
www.lisaharriswrites.com and her blog at  myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com


Amazon  |  Nook  | FCS | CBD



October 28, 2015

Wee Read Wednesday: VeggieTales Super Comics

Wee Read Wednesday: VeggieTales Super Comics
VeggieTales! VeggieTales!

My kids get crazy excited whenever anything VeggieTales makes its way into our house. Excited in a way that they start running around and singing the theme song at the top of their lungs. I have to admit, though, the veggies are pretty cool, even for the mom in me.

Recently we were introduced to the VeggieTales Super Comics. These are some cool books. I want Ting to enjoy reading as much as I do, but sometimes she acts like it is a chore. But these comic books seems to be enjoyable to her and I'm happy to see her reading.

Each super comic book includes three VeggieTales stories. Volume One teaches bravery with Dave and the Giant Pickle, sharing with Lyle the Kindly Viking, and defeating pride with LarryBoy and the Prideosaurus.

In Volume Two we get three more fun stories about handling fear with League of Incredible Vegetables, saying you're sorry with LarryBoy and the Reckless Ruckus, and obedience with Josh and the Big Wall.

Each book is filled with bright graphics and introduces kids to speech bubbles with fun dialog between the veggies. My kids enjoy reading through the stories, and my son even makes up extra dialogue for some of the characters, ha!

The back of each comic book includes a Parent Connection section. This section points out the key verse from each story and has a few questions that parents can discus with their kids about the stories they have read.

You can pick up both of these, plus the new Volume Three, and your local Family Christian Store, or through their online store.

October 26, 2015

The Gifting Series {K.E. Ganshert}

I have to start by saying this is not a sponsored post. I know, it's rare to have a non-sponsored post on here, but sometimes I do read just for fun!




A reading group I am a part of suggested The Gifting series, and the first book was free on Amazon (I think it still is) so I grabbed it. I wasn't even half way through that first book and I knew I was going to NEED to read the rest of the series. I requested my local library purchase the series, and I was able to finish over the weekend.

One word to describe this series: AMAZING

This series takes place in the future, although I'm not exactly sure how far. So many things are still the same as they are today, but then there are crazy things that are taking place as well. The government is fully in control of the lives of Americans. There is much more technology than we have right now, and everyone just seems to go with whatever the government tells them to do.

But we have Tess. She sees some crazy stuff in her dreams. She also sees some crazy stuff when she's awake. So naturally, we decide that Tess is crazy. But when her parents move her across the country so she can get treatment from the best psychologist in the world, things start to get interesting.

We quickly meet Luka and he has a very strange and powerful attraction to Tess. It's hard to tell you much more about this story without giving away all the good parts, but I'll just say that Tess and Luka have something very much in common. It's that something in common that becomes the basis for this entire series.

It's impossible to tell you more without giving away this story, so you'll just have to trust me and read the books. I was completely captivated by the story, and there were places that my heart tracker shows a pretty big spike in heart rate. Having to put the books down to do things like eat, sleep, go to work completely stressed me out because I HAD to know how it was going to end.

There are three books in this series: The Gifting, The Awakening, The Gathering. Go ahead and get all three because you are going to want to read them back-to-back. But you also want to read them in order or you are going to be very lost. And if your local library doesn't have them - request them.


The Gifting
"If science is right, then I am crazy. And crazy is dangerous."

In a world where nothing supernatural exists, Tess Eckhart is positive she’s going crazy. After her complete freakout at a high school party, her parents worry she might be right. So much that they pack their bags and move across the country, next to a nationally-renowned facility for the mentally ill.

Tess is determined to fit in at her new school, despite the whispers and stares. But when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy in her class, she’s unused to a stare that intense. Then the headaches start, and the seemingly prophetic dreams that haunt her at night. As Tess tries harder to hide them, she becomes increasingly convinced that Luka knows something—that he might somehow be responsible.

But what if she’s wrong? What if Luka Williams is the only thing separating her from a madness too terrifying to fathom?


The Awakening
"I can't go home. It's not safe. Nowhere is." 

Tess Eckhart isn’t crazy. She’s not suffering from psychosis. She and Luka Williams are part of The Gifting. Before they can find out what that means, the man with all the answers turns up dead. The only thing he left behind? A few patient files that lead to the nation’s most lawless city. 

With authorities chasing them, Luka and Tess escape into the very heart of peril and against all odds, find an underground community of people just like them. They aren’t gathered together for the sole purpose of survival, either. They have a plan and a purpose—to awaken as many people with The Gifting as possible. It’s dangerous and deadly work. Tess wants to help. Luka is desperate to keep her safe—a task that proves increasingly difficult as Tess’s gifting comes to light. 

Could Tess Eckhart be the One they’ve been waiting for? The One who can save them all?


The Gathering
"Darkness is a tricky thing. Especially when it cloaks itself in light." Luka isn't dead. He's not beyond saving. Tess knows because she saw him with her own eyes. After what she saw, she's sure of one thing: If they don't rescue him soon, Luka won't be Luka anymore. If only she could convince the other members of the hub. They're not sure Tess saw what she claims she saw. And they're preoccupied by the fact that their kind is being systematically eradicated. Answers lie in an ancient prophecy, one that revolves around a seventeen-year-old girl who never asked for any of this. 

The Author
K.E. Ganshert was born and raised in the exciting state of Iowa, where she currently resides with her family. She likes to write things and consume large quantities of coffee and chocolate while she writes all the things. She’s won some awards. For the writing, not the consuming. Although the latter would be fun. You can learn more about K.E. Ganshert and these things she writes at her website www.katieganshert.com. You can also follow her on Twitter, @KatieGanshert




Amazon  |  Nook



October 22, 2015

Preview: The Girl From the Train {Irma Joubert}

Release Date - November 3

Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Auschwitz. Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks.

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They mean to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her home. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.


October 21, 2015

Wee Read Wednesday: Annalise's Up and Down Day {Denise L Jenne}

Wee Read Wednesday: Annalise's Up and Down Day {Denise L Jenne}
This is a fun book to read with toddlers and preschoolers. Through the book, we follow three year old Annalise as she goes through her day. With each page we see a practical application of "up" and "down" and a cute illustration to teach kids the meaning of each of these words.

Not only do kids get to learn the difference between up and down, they get to see how fun it can be to point out the terms in their lives as they go throughout their day.

The illustrations in this book and fun and eye-catching and perfect for the toddler aged child. Overall, this is a fun book to share during reading time with your little ones.

About the Author:
Dr. Jenne has taught Criminal Justice at state and online universities for almost three decades, and she is a published author in the field. Outside of work, she enjoys music, reading, scrap booking and time with friends. However, one of her greatest joys is being an aunt to her nephews and nieces - including her great-niece Annalise Clare. This is her first work of children's fiction.

About the Illustrator:
Julie Iannone is an up-and-coming artist, personal assistant, and aspiring teacher. She recently opened an Etsy Shop names TheColorBloom. She graduated from Montclair State University with an Art Education degree. Julie hopes to continue to support herself with her passions for art and helping people. When she isn't working, she is enjoying time spent with loved ones and her giant puppy.





October 12, 2015

The Wedding Chapel {Rachel Hauck}

the wedding chapel rachel hauck book review
An old, forgotten chapel holds the key to love and forgiveness.

Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love—building a wedding chapel for Collette Greer, the woman he fell in love with in 1949. But now a realtor wants the land the chapel sits on, and he sees no reason to hang onto the past.

Photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. Leaving her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, she put a lot of things behind her, including her family’s string of failed marriages. When she falls head-over-heels for Jack Gillingham, a top ad man, their whirlwind romance and elopement leave her with doubts. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to find the right way to show her he really cares.

When a post-mortem letter from Taylor’s Granny Peg shows up, along with an old photo, she is driven to uncover family secrets and the secret to her own happiness, starting with an assignment to photograph an unknown, obscure wedding chapel back in Heart’s Bend.

Taylor begins a mission to convince Jimmy that the chapel is worth saving—and that forgiveness and healing might happen within the chapel’s walls . . . for both of them.

My Thoughts:
I so totally and completely fell in love with this story, and with the characters that make this story so perfect.

There are several story lines going on throughout this book. We travel back to the 1940’s to a time following the war when kids were figuring out their plans for the future and the people they would spend the rest of their lives with. We get a glimpse into the decisions that were made, and how those decisions affected each one of them for the rest of their lives.

We also get to see these same characters in present day. Their children and grandchildren are the ones that this book centers around, and their lives come together in a way that only God can orchestrate.

I loved getting to know Taylor and Jake. They have one of those marriages where they are completely in love with each other, but each has so much baggage that they are unable to fully give themselves to one another. Watching them struggle through most of this story tore at my heart, but made me love them so much more when they finally found their peace in the end.

Collette seems like a character that I would love to run into in real life. She is successful and seems to have it all – except the one thing she always wanted. When this book begins, she is such a confident woman that has it all together. But as the story progresses we get to see her broken down and the true feelings of her heart. When she finally follows her heart, I could not contain my happiness.

There is also the “big secret” that drives this story and the lives of these characters. I admit that I figured out part of the secret pretty quickly, but I was completely unprepared for the realization of how that secret came to be and the events leading up to it. My heart ached for all the characters involved when the truth finally came out.

But above all things in this book, we get to see God work in some amazing ways. He literally moves lives and circumstances around to put people together in the way he intended. He moves in ways that so many people only read about, yet these characters got to experience. I loved how God’s love and compassion suddenly became the focus of this story.

This is one of those books that will leave you thinking about the characters long after the last page has been turned. I recommend you add it to your reading list.


RITA finalist and award winning author Rachel Hauck writes from sunny central Florida. With strong southern stories, she infuses faith and real life into the lives of her fictional characters.

Rachel loves to encourage new writers and is the book therapist for My Book Therapy and writing community founded by Susan May Warren. 


Rachel graduated from Ohio State University with a BA in Journalism. She is an avid OSU football fan. Visit her web site to find out more and click on the icons to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

www.rachelhauck.com





October 8, 2015

Blessed, Blessed... Blessed {Missy Robertson}

missy robertson blessed blessed blessed
Missy Robertson knew that marrying duck-hunting family man Jase Robertson would be an adventure . . . and she was up to the challenge. Their life together was good (even after Jase grew the beard). They had two children, worked hard to help build the thriving Duck Commander business, and loved and served God.

But after a difficult and risky pregnancy, their daughter, Mia, was born with a cleft palate―a serious condition requiring multiple cranial and facial surgeries. As their baby struggled to breathe, and Missy and Jase faced a life that suddenly looked very different than the one they’d planned, they found themselves staring down one of life’s biggest questions: Where is God in all this pain?

This is the Robertsons’ story. It’s for anyone scared and overwhelmed by a problem they can’t fix; anyone lost and searching for a way through. You’ll meet the young girl Mia who captured A&E’s Duck Dynasty viewers’ hearts, and learn how Missy and Jase have raised her and their sons to be faithful, confident, and secure in who they are. You’ll be inspired by how the Robertson family stuck by each other through the hardest times. And you’ll discover that God’s blessings are bigger than you ever dreamed―and there when you need them the most.

My Thoughts:
It is no secret that I love the Robertson family, and I was very excited to find Missy’s book in my mailbox recently. In Blessed, Blessed… Blessed, Missy walks us through the early days of her relationship with Jase, as well as the birth of her two sons. She also takes us on the journey of finding out Mia would be born with a cleft lip and pallet, and the years that have followed.

I think it is common knowledge that the Robertson family relies heavily on their faith in God, and Missy’s story just serves to reiterate that faith that gets the family through. With the trials that come from parenting a special needs child, Missy and Jase found that sometimes their relationship with God was all they had to get them through some of the toughest times in their life.

Missy tells her story in such a loving way that makes it so easy to think of her as your friend. She pours her heart out about her struggles and her fears, and it is so apparent that she loves her family so much. This book is another wonderful addition to the Robertson family of books, and a must-read for your reading list.


Missy Robertson has learned to live life in the spotlight as she plays an important part in her family’s record-breaking reality television series, Duck Dynasty. Despite the increased publicity on her family, company and personal life, she has managed to become a strong voice for morality and virtue both locally and globally.

Missy is a devoted mother of three children who focuses on having a strong, happy and loving family. She married Jase Robertson at age 19 and has supported him ever since. She has contributed heavily to the Robertson family business, Duck Commander, and has been an integral part of the success that the family and company have seen in recent years.

Missy is always the first to recognize the hand of God in her life as she continually sets a prime example of humility and consistent faith in her public and personal life. In order to show her gratitude for her many blessings, she spends a large amount of her time volunteering to give back to her community. She has worked hard as the crafts director for the last five summers at Camp Ch-Yo-Ca, a local Christian youth camp where both she and Jase spent many summers as kids. She is heavily involved in missionary work, both domestically and internationally.






October 7, 2015

Spotlight: The Cupcake Club

Sweet Victory (The Cupcake Club)
By New York Times Bestselling Author Sheryl Berk and Carrie Berk
October 6, 2015; TP ISBN 9781492620822

Book Info:
Title: Sweet Victory (The Cupcake Club)
Author: Sheryl Berk and Carrie Berk
Volume Number: 8
Release Date; October 6, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Praise for the Cupcake Club Series
“9-year-old author has recipe for success.” – The Washington Post, KidsPost
"Kids and cupcakes are the perfect recipe!"—Sophie and Katerine, stars of TLC's DC Cupcakes
“Sheryl Berk and her nine-year-old daughter, Carrie, have cooked up a delightful new series sure to be a treat.” –New York Family

Summary:
The eighth book in a delicious series by New York Times bestselling author Sheryl Berk and her cupcake-obsessed daughter, Carrie.
MVP Sadie knows what it takes to win- both on the court and in the kitchen.
But when Coach Walsh gets sick and has to temporarily leave school, Sadie’s suddenly at a loss. What will she do without Coach’s spot-on advice and uplifting encouragement? Luckily, Sadie’s got Peace, Love, and Cupcakes on her side. Her friends know what the power of friendship-and cupcakes- might be just what Sadie needs! Together, they rally to whip up the largest batch of sweet treats they’ve ever made, all to help support Coach Walsh. When the going gets tough, a little PLC goes a long way. But this record-breaking order might just be too much for the club…
Can the girls put it all together in time to score a win for Sadie- and Coach Walsh

Goodreads Link:

Buy Links:
Barnes&Noble- http://ow.ly/Simpk
BooksAMillion- http://ow.ly/SimzW
Indiebound- http://ow.ly/Sin0b

About the Authors:
Sheryl Berk, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Soul Surfer, and her daughter Carrie, a cupcake connoisseur who has reviewed confection from around the world in her Carrie’s Cupcake Critiques newsletter, have cooked up a delightful series sure to be a treat.
Social Networking Links:

Excerpt from Sweet Victory (The Cupcake Club)
For a few minutes, the room was silent as the girls thought hard.                                                                              “Feet!” Lexi suddenly tossed out. “Or maybe socks? Isn’t that what you wear to jump on a trampoline?”                                                                                                                                                                                       “Flies,” Sadie added. “They’re always in the air. And little boys love bugs, right?”                                       “Falling,” Jenna grumped. “As in splat on your face or butt. Which is what I would do on a trampoline.”                                                                                                                                                                                                         “Um, I’m not seeing any of those things on a cupcake,” Kylie tried her hardest to envision their suggestions, but all she could see was Jenna flopping on a trampoline face-first. As cupcake club president, Kylie had the power to veto an idea-and smelly feet and flies didn’t sound particularly appetizing.                                                                                                                                                                                                      “What about balloons-balloons go up, up, and away if you accidentally let them go,” Delaney suggested.                                                                                                                                                                                                        “And they’re pretty and colorful-and every birthday party has them.”                                                                               “That’s just it,” Sadie jumped in. “Cupcakes with balloons on them are so ordinary. We’re PLC. We can do better than that.”                                                                                                                                                                               “Lexi too out her sketchbook. Designing cupcake decorations was her job. “Sadie’s right. What if we did something like this…” She drew a cupcake with blue piping around the edges and a black fondant top to represent the trampoline. In the middle of the cupcake was a small figure of a boy bending his knees with his arms in the air.                                                                                                                                                                            “Ooh, that is amazing ,” Kylie said, watching as Lexi used her colored pencils to bring the cupcake to life on the page. “We could use fondant to mold the little jumping guys.”                                                             “And no boring vanilla or chocolate flavors either,” Jenna insisted. As the official taste tester, it was her job to make each cupcake delectable. “I’m thinking chocolate-chocolate chip cake filled with marshmallow and churro cupcakes with a hint of cinnamon to give the vanilla a kick.”                                                          “Nice.” Sadie high-fived her. “Do you suppose we’ll get to try out those trampolines when we make the delivery?”                                                                                                                                                                                    “Tu major que yo- better you than me!” Jenna said. “I get motion sickness if my little brothers bounce on the couch.”                                                                                                                                                                                         “Then I’d say we have a plan,” Kylie said, taking notes in her binder. “Let’s get jumpin’ on those cupcake recipes.”

Also by Sheryl and Carrie Berk:
Fashion Academy
July 7, 2015; TP ISBN97814926016233
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Summary:
Fashion-forward MacKenzie “Mickey” Williams is thrilled to be accepted to FAB Middle School (Fashion Academy of Brooklyn), a school that serves as a training ground for the fashion designers of tomorrow. (Their motto: “We are SEW FAB”). But when her daring fashion looks get laughed at by some of the FAB A-listers, Mickey wonders whether standing out is such a great idea. So when friendly classmate JC comes up with a plan to help Mickey fit in, she decides to take the ultimate fashion risk-ditch her personal style for good.
One mega makeover later, pink-haired Mickey Williams mysteriously disappears, and the trendy, blond “Kenzie Williams” shows up on the FAB scene, blending with the other students in a way Mickey never could. But when Mickey starts to lose herself “Kenzie,” she’s not sure that fitting in is worth cutting herself down to size…

Goodreads Link:

Buy Link:
Barnes&Noble- http://ow.ly/Sir33
BooksAMillion- http://ow.ly/Sire4
IndieBound- http://ow.ly/SiryQ

Runway Ready (Fashion Academy)
January 5, 2016; TP 9781492604365
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Summary:

Project Runway meets Fame in a trendy new series from the authors of The Cupcake Club

1.         Balloons
2.         Spaghetti
3.         Rainbows

If you were to ask Mickey Williams, these would not be her top points of inspiration for designing a party dress. But in fashion, the client is always right…and Mickey’s client happens to be fashion legend Victoria Vanderweil’s five-year-old granddaughter. Even though it’s the  toughest assignment Mickey’s gotten during her time at the Fashion Academy of Brooklyn, she can’t pass up the opportunity to impress a top designer like Victoria.

But when Cordy turns out to be a tiny terror with non-stop demands, the assignment goes from hard to impossible. Not only that, but Victoria wants Mickey to babysit Cordy during NYC Fashion Week! Can Mickey pull off her project and pass, or will it fall apart at the seams?

Goodreads Link:
Pre-Order Links:
Barnes&Noble- http://ow.ly/SiwwT
BooksAMillion- http://ow.ly/Siwmi
IndieBound- http://ow.ly/Siw3E
Social Media Links:

Excerpt from Fashion Academy Sheryl Berk & Carrie Berk:

After spending the weekend with her aunt, Mickey concluded that Olive wasn’t that bad—at least not as bad as her mom made her out to be. She was just a bit uptight. It was hard for Mickey to understand how she and her mom could be sisters, much less fraternal twins. They had the same curly strawberry blond hair, though her mom highlighted hers and wore it long and loose and Olive pinned hers back in a tight bun. She recognized her aunt’s eyes as well—they were emerald green, just like her mom’s. Too bad she hid them behind thick tortoise shell glasses. Then there was her style: Olive looked like she had stepped out of a time warp. She wore a ruffled pink blouse, long pearls, and an A-line brown skirt. Maybe she was going for a retro 50s vibe? It was the opposite of her mom’s ripped jeans and vintage rock tee shirts. Maybe there had been some mistake and they were switched at birth? Maybe her Granny Gertrude got confused and accidentally picked up the wrong baby in the park one day?
Olive was also a neat freak who insisted that everything be “spic and span” and in its place.
“Mackenzie, clean up after yourself!” she scolded when Mickey left her sketchbook and colored pencils on the kitchen table. No one called her Mackenzie; her mom only used it when she was mad at her. It was a name she barely recognized or answered to. But as many times as she corrected Aunt Olive, she insisted on calling her by her “proper name.”
“Mom calls me ‘Mickey’ and I call her Jordana sometimes,” she tried to explain.
“I don’t care what you call your mom or she calls you. And you call me Aunt Olive out of respect,” she warned her.
Mickey wrinkled her nose. “Really? Mom says she called you Olliegator when you were little. I think that’s cute.”
Olive pursed her lips. “I’m an adult,” she replied sternly. Aunt Olive was an executive assistant at a big law firm, and she took everything very seriously. “Your mother needs to grow up.”
But that was exactly what Mickey loved about her mom—how she was such a free spirit and never cared what anyone thought or said about her. Mickey tried her hardest to be that way, but sometimes it was hard.
For the first day of FAB, she set her alarm for 6 o’clock so she would have time to style her outfit properly. She was proud of how it had all come together. She’d taken a beaten-up denim jacket from a thrift shop and dyed it black before adding crocheted doilies for trim at the collars and cuffs. It said exactly what she wanted it to say about her: “I’m edgy but feminine.” And wasn’t that what fashion was all about? Not just a trend or a style, but a reflection of who you are and how you’re feeling? That was what Mickey loved about designing the most, and what she had written on her FAB application:
“I love how you can speak volumes with a single stitch. Fashion should be fearless! I want to be a designer who always colors outside the lines and thinks outside of the box…”
She was pretty sure Aunt Olive didn’t see it that way. Her idea of taking a fashion risk was wearing a skirt that was hemmed above the knee.
“Does it really go together?” she asked, noticing how Mickey had paired her jacket with a white tank top and bike shorts, both of which were splatter-painted with green and yellow drips.
“It isn’t supposed to go,” Mickey told her. “It’s supposed look creative, which is what FAB is all about. Pushing the envelope!”
She added a pair of green cat’s eye sunglasses.
“Well, it’s colorful,” her aunt sighed. “I’ll give you that. And so is your hair. Good heavens!”
Mickey had created green stripes in her long, wavy blond hair with hair chalk.
“Now for the finishing touch!” she said. “No outfit is complete without accessories!” She slipped her feet into a pair of black high top sneakers, tied the yellow laces, and grabbed her bag.
“What is that?” her aunt asked, scratching her head. She squinted to make out the words on Mickey’s tote.
“It used to say ‘Louis Vuitton’—it’s a bag you keep a really fancy expensive bag in. Which if you ask me, is pretty silly,” Mickey explained.
Olive seemed puzzled. “You mean a dust bag? You made that out of a dust bag?”
Mickey spun the tote around. “Two of them, actually!” The other side read, “PRADA.”
“What? How? Why?” Olive asked.
“Well, it’s perfectly good flannel,” Mickey replied. “And don’t you think it’s kinda funny? A statement about recycling? I used two leather belts for the straps and jazzed it up with some studding at the seams. It cost me about $4 total at the flea market!”
She threw the bag over her shoulder and glanced at the clock. It was 8, and the school bus would be along shortly to pick her up on the corner.
“Your breakfast is ready,” Olive said, handing her a glass of green sludge. This was worse then yesterday’s quinoa and fruit concoction! She missed her mom’s breakfasts of left over Chinese Take Out omelets or cold pizza. But Aunt Olive insisted she start the first day of school with “something healthy and nutritious.”
“Do you have any chocolate milk?” she asked, getting up to check the fridge for something edible.
“This is better for you. It’s fresh kale, celery, cucumber, ginger and a touch of agave. It’s delicious.” She took a big sip of her own glass and licked her lips.
Mickey wrinkled her nose. It didn’t look or smell delicious. “I think I’ll grab something in the cafeteria,” she said, pushing the glass away. “I’m too nervous to eat.”
It wasn’t entirely a lie. She was pretty terrified for her first day at FAB. Just then, Mickey’s phone rang.
“All ready to conquer the world?” her mom asked.
“I think so, Jordana,” she replied.
“Ah, I see. We’re trying to sound very mature this morning. Send me a picture of the first day outfit and call me tonight. I want to hear all the deets.”
Mickey smiled. Her mom was trying to sound cool. “I will. Love you.”
As the bus pulled up to the corner of Columbus Avenue, Mickey took a deep breath. This wasn’t just the first day of FAB. It was the first day of the rest of her life. The first day of everything.


Rafflecopter Giveaway Link to Complete Cupcake Club Collection Books 1-8 (Runs 9/17-11/1, US and Canada only)

Wee Read Wednesday: GIVEAWAY Win or Lose I Love You {Lysa TerKeurst}

Wee Read Wednesday: GIVEAWAY Win or Lose I Love You {Lysa TerKeurst}
Win or lose, one thing that’s true . . . No matter what, I love you!
Competition can bring out the worst in us, but it can also be an opportunity to learn impactful life lessons. That’s why it’s so important for kids to understand how to handle winning and losing!
Join Lulu and Max as they help Bear-Bear, Goosey, Coyote and the rest of their animal friends in the Field Day contests determine who will be the leader of Lulu’s forest.
But as the animals soon find out, not everyone can win. Sore losers, unkind winners, flaring tempers, and a few tears are taking the fun straight out of Field Day!
Just like Lulu and Max help the animals navigate the ups and downs of the day, with Win or Lose, I Love You parents will be equipped to help children:
·         Replace the selfish characteristics of competition with an understanding of how to treat others fairly
·         Overcome the tendency to display poor sportsmanship by using Biblical truths to develop a Christ-like attitude
·         Reject the labels of winning and losing and embrace that they are loved no matter how they perform.
Win or Lose, I Love You will show your child that, no matter what, their value is tied to who they are, not how they play!
  
My Thoughts:
We live in such a competitive world, and it seems like our kids are under so much pressure to always be the best. Unfortunately, parents have only fueled the fire of being perfect all the time. We have pushed our kids to be number one, and have somehow forgotten that so many times it is more about having fun that just winning.

When our kids don’t win it can be hard to still be positive and encouraging to them, but Winor Lose I Love You is a great book for teaching kids that even when they don’t win, we still love them no matter what.

Throughout this book kids get to learn the proper way to both win and lose, but they also get to see what being nice and working together can accomplish. This book emphasizes the simple truth that we always love our kids, even when they aren’t in first place.

My kids had so much fun with this book. Not only did they enjoy the story but I also found them working through their own version of the forest games. I know they are going to enjoy this book for years to come.
   
About the Author:
Lysa TerKeurst is the New York Times bestselling author of The Best Yes. She is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and writes from her sticky farm table in North Carolina where she lives with her husband, Art, five kids, three dogs, and a mouse that refuses to leave her kitchen. Connect with her at www.LysaTerKeurst.com.

Giveway:

Tommy Nelson is giving one of my readers their own copy of Win or Lose I Love You. Just use the widget below to get entered. Giveaway will close Monday, October 12th at 5:00pm CST. Good luck!

October 5, 2015

Love in the Details {Becky Wade}

love in the details becky wade
When Josh returns to his hometown of Martinsburg, Texas, to help his best friend get married, he didn’t intend to run into church wedding coordinator—and ex-girlfriend—Holly. He can’t help but pine after the girl he never got over.

Holly broke up with Josh years ago in an attempt to ensure his future success. But she loved him then and still loves him now. As she helps him plan his best friend’s wedding, she can’t help but feel horrible for the pain she caused him. And even though she longs to be with Josh, she doesn’t feel worthy of his big-time lifestyle when she is more comfortable in her small town world. Will Josh and Holly be able to keep things as they are when their true feelings threaten to surface at every turn?







My Thoughts:
Becky Wade wraps up the Year of Weddings 2 series in true Texas love story fashion. This book is the perfect ending to an amazing series.

Holly and Josh fell in love young, and she broke his heart in an attempt to do what she believed was best for him. That alone took a tremendous amount of love and courage for a college girl, and started this book out by proving just how much she truly loved Josh.

When Josh returns to town, it is obvious that he has never stopped loving Holly. I applaud him for having the courage to put himself out there and see where his relationship with Holly could end up if they spent some time together.

I thought these two characters were perfect for each other, and even more perfect as the selection to round out this series. If you haven’t had a chance to read the Year of Wedding series, I suggest you add it to your reading list today.

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She's been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky's passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances with Avon Books, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her three kids, then recently returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. She felt led to move to the genre of contemporary Christian romance and couldn’t be more thrilled with it. 

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.


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October 3, 2015

We're Growing!

This little review site started by accident for me, but has turned into a fun blog that I enjoy so much. It has grown by leaps and bounds, and I have you - my readers - to thank for that.

I always said that if, and when, my book blog matched my main blog in readers I would create a Facebook page. That day has come! So I invite you to click on over and "Like" and "Follow" Ting's Mom Books on Facebook.


Remember - the only way to ensure a page shows up in your feed is to "follow" that page, as well as interact with it. I want to build a reader community over there, so be sure and say Hi.

October 1, 2015

All Is Calm/All Is Bright {Colleen Coble}

all is calm all is bright colleen coble

All Is Calm

Brendan Waddell needs a place to recuperate. Lauren Everman needs a place to hide. It's going to be an unexpectedly romantic Christmas at Bluebird Ranch.

Brendan Waddell has always considered Bluebird Ranch a little piece of heaven: an idyllic ranch that pairs abused children with abused horses, run by one of his old Marine buddies. Now, recovering from an on-the-job injury, Brendan thinks the ranch is the perfect place to spend Christmas healing up.

When Lauren Everman was a seventeen-year-old foster kid, Bluebird Ranch was the safest place she knew. Now it's the perfect hideout for a woman on the run. As the witness to a murder, Lauren needs somewhere to lie low, and her skill with horses means she'll be able to lend a hand with the troubled kids at Bluebird—without answering too many questions.

Lauren's rich hair, high cheekbones, and dark eyes immediately get Brendan's attention—but so does her secretive behavior. This Special Ops Intel man knows a woman on the run when he sees one, and he's not about to let her put Bluebird Ranch at risk.

But as Brendan and Lauren get to know each other, their suspicions evaporate and romance starts to sizzle. But this would-be couple has more to worry about than each other—there's a killer on the loose who wants Lauren kept quiet.

My Thoughts:
Oh, I loved this story. Lauren and Brandon's story is full love love, suspense, tragedy, and surprise. Watching the two of them fall in love brought all kinds of happiness, and I was cheering for them from the very beginning. This story also has some serious suspense and twists and turns that had me on the edge of my seat. I loved the way their story ended, and would love to see a full-length follow-up to this story.

All Is Bright

A romantic, Christmas wedding at her seaside hotel gives Delilah a chance to shine with her unique gifts. But will her light be snuffed out before the bride and groom say “I do”?

As manager of the Tidewater Inn, Delilah Carter has been planning a spectacular Christmas wedding for her friends at the grand hotel overlooking the ocean. While picking up still more twinkly lights and some last-minute groceries for the reception dinner, a huge truck runs her off the freezing, wet roads into the dark night. Her car stops just short of an enormous tree and the truck speeds off into the night. Delilah escapes with her life and has almost convinced herself the whole thing was an accident, but then she begins to receive threatening phone calls. With the wedding just hours away, she's distracted and anxious. Then Sheriff Tom Bourne stops by the inn and volunteers to help.

Tom has always had a soft spot for Delilah, and he's determined to protect her. But he is pulled away by a bizarre Christmas stunt that has the neighborhood reeling, and Delilah is attacked again.

Will Delilah have to cancel the Christmas wedding at Tidewater Inn? And will Tom's protection be enough to save Delilah from the shadowy figure looming in the background?

My Thoughts:
Wow! This story is so full of suspense from the very beginning that I simply could not put it down. It was a fast read, but I felt like I had been through a full-length suspense movie when it was over!

Tom and Delilah have such an amazing story of protection, second chances, and love. Each of them shows just how much they care for each other through various actions throughout this story. When Delilah finds herself in trouble, it becomes apparent that Tom is sticking around for the long run.

I’m not sure how I managed to go this long without experiencing Colleen Coble, but these stories have made me an instant fan. I love her writing style, and her ability to engage you through every detail of the story. I can’t wait to get my hands on more of her books.


USAToday bestselling author Colleen Coble lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana. She is the author of dozens of novels including the Rock Harbor Series, the Aloha Reef Series, the Mercy Falls Series, the Hope Beach Series, the Lonestar Series and two Women of Faith fiction selections, Alaska Twilight and Midnight Sea. She has more than 2 million books in print.