Suz's love for COWS + Allan's work with LASERS = one unique blog name! Welcome to our blog filled with race recaps, pictures of our labs, and everything else we share with blogland!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Giveaway

Merry Christmas you guys! I know I have been terribly inconsistent with writing blog posts and staying caught on up reading your posts this year but I hope you all know that I value your friendship even if we haven't met in person yet and I hope to do better in 2015. With a year like this one I am reminded once again how fortunate I am to have the family and friends that I do and I would urge each of you to take extra time during this Christmas season to be sure those that mean the most to you know it. You don't always get another chance to share your feelings with those you love.

Now on to the giveaway! I chose several things that I have myself and thought all of you might enjoy. They have nothing to do with running and everything to do with enjoying yourself and looking forward to the New Year!



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Up for grabs is a Chevron print bag that you can use as a purse or a small tote, a gold infinity scarf, a home finance and bill organizer, a cinnamon spice candle, an owl coffee cup sleeve and travel coffee mug, and a cupcake recipe tin. I have the same infinity scarf in 4 maybe 5 different colors and I love it. It's pretty lightweight so I use it in the spring and fall as well as the winter. The bag is one of my favorites and I plan to monogram mine (and the one I got for my sister!). I can never have too many candles especially in the winter time and I believe the travel mug and sleeve will come in handy during the cold winter mornings we have to look forward to. This will be the third year we've used this home finance and bill organizer and we love it because it has pockets for each month which makes it easy to file things away and then find them later. Finally I wanted to include something sweet but with everyone having such different preferences I thought this was the perfect way to pick something anyone would enjoy! Pick a recipe in the tin and make something sweet for you and your family or friends!


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Lucky hopes you like all the Christmas gifts we picked out and along with Sasha and Rusty he would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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To enter the giveaway simply answer any or all of the following questions and each comment will earn you an entry. I did this a few years ago and really enjoyed reading everyone's answers. If you'd like to read our answers from a few years ago here's the link. Our answers haven't changed much except I think Allan is actually done with his Christmas shopping!
  • What's your favorite Christmas song?
  • Are you done with your Christmas shopping?
  • What's the best Christmas gift you've ever received?
  • What's your favorite Christmas movie?
  • What's on your list for Santa this year?
  • Do you send Christmas cards, a Christmas letter, or neither?
  • What's your favorite Christmas treat (this can be candy, dessert, eggnog, etc.)?
***Please leave separate answers to each question you wish to answer so I can use random.org to pick a winner. I want to be sure this gets shipped before the weekend so you have until 11:59 PM on Thursday, December 18, to leave your comments so I can pick a winner on Friday. Leave your email in a comment so I can contact you if you win. Thank you all and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

NEW Winner of the Workout Goodies Giveaway

Sorry it took me this long to announce the winner of the workout goodies giveaway. It's hard to blog when you don't have internet all week for Thanksgiving. While it's nice to unplug it would have been nice to have posted this earlier and for that I apologize.

Let's try this again since the first winner never responded...

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 Comment #16 which belongs to...

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Sarah who blogs at Sweet and Savory by Sarah! Congratulations Sarah! I've got your email address so look for an email from me shortly.

If you didn't win don't worry because we have a Christmas giveaway coming up very soon! I love to host giveaways and give people presents so it's a win-win for you guys and myself!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Workout Goodies Giveaway

I don't know about you but racing season is winding down and this is typically the time of the year that most people are either taking a break or gearing up for a big race early in 2015. For those who are entering the winter training season I hope these goodies will be useful to you. I wanted to go with a variety of items that perhaps any athlete can put to good use this winter!


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None of these are items that I've used personally so I don't have any reviews but they all look like winners to me! With the days getting shorter those who are still running outside in the early morning or early evening need to be equipped with reflective gear such as the reflective snap bands (think slap bracelets!) above. I like these because you can put them over a long sleeve and gloves if you are bundled up and they really do remind me of slap bracelets which I really liked as a kid. If you're biking now that temperatures are cooler here in the south then perhaps the Nathan water bottle with bike clip will be perfect for you. Finally the Nike women's workout gloves (size Medium) are a great fit for anyone who's spending time in the gym during the cooler months.


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No matter the activity we always seem to use gels at our house. Allan keeps some in his gym bag and we both use them before and during runs. Allan even uses them during his soccer games! GU gels are typically the ones I use most often but Allan uses a little bit of everything. The ones included are GU strawberry banana and tri berry, Honey Stinger acai pomegranate, Hammer gel vanilla, and Pocket Protein strawberry.

We hope one of you will enjoy this collection of workout goodies to aid in your winter training. Just leave a comment if you'd like to win. The giveaway will close on Friday, November 21, at 11:59 PM. I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner and then publish a post to announce it.

**All of these items were purchased by me and not donated by any particular company.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Trail Running is Back!

Thank goodness it's been cold here because that means the snakes are gone (please don't correct me if I'm wrong on this!) and we can head back out to the trails with Sasha and Lucky. We have a great spot to run that's only a few miles from the house. There's a small wooded area with a trail that winds through and two ponds with trails that wind around them as well. The big open fields were a little muddy this time and quite difficult to run through. All four of us were sore afterward! Nothing better than waking up on a Saturday morning to go run with the dogs and then settle in for a day of college football. That's nearly a perfect day at our house as long as our Auburn Tigers win!

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Sasha is doing great after her surgery and although she has a couple of other small fatty tumors I'm certain Allan is going to keep a really close eye on them. At some point she will probably have a second surgery if they get much larger in size. She's lost a few more pounds and weighed 65.5 lbs today! She hasn't been that tiny since she was less than 2 years old. She looks so good!





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Lucky wore his tail out running trails last weekend and I do literally mean his tail. He runs with it straight up in the air and it was Tuesday before he was back to wagging it like normal. Normal is defined as swift enough to knock over almost anything at tail level. He had such a good time running and swimming in the ponds though. The arrival of cold temperatures a couple days ago have made Lucky extra cuddly which makes him even cuter in my opinion!





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Rusty is having a blast spending his days out in the backyard watching the leaves fall and then pouncing on them. Watching a breeze blow through the leaves is hilarious! Rusty chases the leaves and gets crazy eyes which sends him sprinting around the backyard. He still thinks he's acting like the dogs when he lays down next to them and plays with small sticks. So far he's a fan of the colder temperatures but I haven't been brave enough to leave him out all day if it's going to be too cold. Last night he escaped coming back inside and ran under the guest bed. That's fifteen minutes of my life I'll never get back!



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How's your fall going?
Anyone else enjoying running trails right now?

Hands Free Hipster Jogging Leash Review


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Pros:

  • Comfortable waistband
  • Ideal for small dogs
  • Ability to attach two leashes
  • Includes two zippered pouches and a mesh pouch

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Cons:
  • Leash material needs to be stronger
  • D-rings appear unable to sustain pulling from large dogs
  • Pocket for the phone is too small for my phone in its case
  • Handle for grabbing the leash is for tiny hands and could use padding to keep it from cutting into your hand
  • Water bottle holder will only hold small bottles (example: 8 oz. mini water bottle)  

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Overall Thoughts:

The Hands Free Hipster Jogging Leash is a great product in theory but unfortunately not in practice for us to use with Sasha and/or Lucky. Sasha and Lucky are too heavy for it and a slight pull sent the waistband moving. In our short walk it was impossible to keep the leash in place. It slid up and down despite my attempts to tighten it around my waist. However it was comfortable and didn't cut into me like one might think a product like this would. My greatest concern was in the ability of the leash and the ring it's attached to to hold our dogs. Lucky pulled to get closer to our fence and I saw the leash strain and it felt like the ring might pop off with a few strong pulls by either Lucky or Sasha. I wouldn't trust it for a long run. Other aspects that make this unsuitable for long runs are the small water bottle holder and the phone pocket. If I can't put my phone or water bottle in the belt then I am left to carry both or use my water bottle that has a phone holder.


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Ideally I'd like to see a product geared towards larger dogs and one whose design more closely resembles fuel belts that I use for running. They can hold a larger water bottle as well as a phone, snacks, or poop bags (since we are talking about running with dogs!) If I'm going to run with the dogs I'll have to stick to using my fuel belt and holding their leash in my hand. This leash would be a great fit for small dogs and their owners since most people with small dogs don't typically do long runs with their dogs. I believe you could easily walk one or two small dogs easily with this leash and have space in the belt for treats, baggies, etc.

Thank you to the makers of the Hands Free Hipster Jogging Leash for providing me with this product to review free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Where Treetops Glisten

When I first saw that this book was coming out this fall I knew that it was one I wanted to read. As most of you know I love World War II fiction! If you're like me and you love WWII fiction then you know these three authors are some of the best out there. Where Treetops Glisten is a novella collection of Tricia Goyer's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Cara Putman's White Christmas, and Sarah Sundin's I'll Be Home for Christmas.

Their heartwarming and at times heart wrenching tales center around a time period that defined a generation. The Turner family could easily have been many families around the country and I can only hope there are people out there who will read this and connect with it as I have. I'll always think of these stories when I hear the Christmas songs they share their titles with. Most people probably don't realize that all three of these songs debuted during the years of WWII. I love that the authors tied that in!

The most interesting and one of the most enjoyable aspects of this book is that it tells the story of three siblings and weaves their stories together over a three year time period. Most novella collections center around friends which I feel are much easier to tie in than family. I can only imagine the work it took Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, and Sarah Sundin to stay organized and put this collection together. Where Treetops Glisten is a book I can't wait to share with family and friends and I hope all of you love it as much as I do!



Book info

About the book: 

The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime
Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonder of Christmas
Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America's involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.
In Cara Putman's White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements---until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.
Abigail's brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin's I'll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete's friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he's no longer the bully she once knew?
In Tricia Goyer's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, "Merry" to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that's precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.
The Turner family believes in God's providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ's birth and His plan for a future?

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/BwVP9

About the authors: 


TRICIA GOYER is a prolific author of nearly forty books, including Chasing Mona Lisa, and a speaker and blogger. 

CARA PUTMAN is the author of twenty books including Shadowed by Grace. She is the winner of the 2008 Carol Award for historical fiction. 

SARAH SUNDIN is the critically-acclaimed author of the Wings of the Nightingale series, the Wings of Glory series, and the forthcoming Waves of Freedom novels.

 Blog Tour Schedule



I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.

A Matter of Heart by Tracie Peterson

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A Matter of Heart by Tracie Peterson is the third book in her Lone Star Brides series. I have not read the first two but I would assume that you would gain additional back story on some of the characters without taking away from each book's stand alone value. Let me start by saying that I liked this story but disliked the main character (Jessica Atherton) from nearly start to finish. I began to warm to her just as the story drew to a close. All the references to her selfish and shallow ways were a bit much. I don't believe anything she did or didn't do in this novel were very selfish but it seems as though sometime between the end of her schooling (1893) and her current age of twenty-one (1896) she behaved in a way to where she felt herself to be shallow and selfish and thought others viewed her as such. Perhaps more back story to fill in this time period would have enhanced this aspect of her character if the reader is to assume that she's rich, selfish, and shallow but trying desperately to change herself into a better person.

Although I found myself being critical of her character I enjoyed the story and how her friendship with the two suitors (Harrison Gable and Austin Todd) developed. Austin was my favorite character in the story and the way his story was written made his pain nearly palpable. I couldn't stop reading because as bit by bit of Austin's character was revealed I became interested in learning more. What had happened to his family? Why did he move so far from home? Harrison had the complete opposite effect on me and I immediately disliked him and wondered what was wrong with him. Even on paper I felt him to be untrustworthy. The other characters added so much to the story and it was easy to feel the love and gentleness of both Jessica's mother and father. They obviously adored her and wanted her to have nothing but the best in life. I wish we had gotten to "meet" Jessica's brothers. Since I haven't read the first two books I don't know if they make an appearance in those. If not I hope the author will share their stories with us in the future!

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Meet Rusty Cat!!!

On August 16 we became a family of 5 with the addition of Rusty Cat to our family. Growing up on a farm means I've had cats my entire life. They've always been outside cats and that's our plan with this little guy. So far Rusty is in love with the backyard and all the trees. We've been crate training him like a dog (yes, you read that correctly!) and he's learning to go outside and come back inside like the dogs. Surprisingly Lucky and Rusty get along the best of all even though Sasha tries desperately to get the kitty to love her. I'll be the first to admit that I was a little worried when we got Rusty that Lucky wouldn't like him and that could lead to very bad things if you get my drift. Thankfully they are both respectful of each others space and seem to be good friends most of the time. Lucky is still adjusting to Rusty's erratic, catlike behavior that sends him flying across the yard chasing bugs and leaves.



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Rusty's birthday is April 21 which is kinda neat because that's the day we got engaged in 2008 and it's the day after Allan's birthday. In case you're curious Lucky's not the only one that's become fast friends with Rusty Cat. Allan likes him and dare I say might even love him a little bit. They're quite the pair playing Destiny on the PS4 with Allan holding the controller and Rusty leaning over the controller watching what Allan's doing. We also lucked out with a cat that loves riding in the car like a dog. By some miracle we survived a 3-hour car ride with Allan driving, me riding shotgun holding Rusty, and Sasha and Lucky riding in the back. Road trips won't be lacking for entertainment anytime soon!


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So there you have it. We are officially cat owners!

Tried and True by Mary Connealy


Tried and True by Mary Connealy is the first book in her new Wild at Heart series. While I didn't do this on purpose this book also centers around women who fought in the Civil War disguised as men. The Wilde sisters (Bailey, Shannon, and Kylie) fought for the Union and after the war headed west to homestead. It was their father's urging that sent them all into battle and then out West. This first book introduces us to the Wilde family but centers around the youngest sister, Kylie. As it turns out Kylie is the most feminine of the three girls and has no desire to cut her hair short and continue to dress like a man. The way she sees it is that no one is going to venture out to her land anyway so why worry about hiding who she really is. That all changes when Aaron Masterson, the local land agent, stumbles upon her cabin just in time to catch her as she's falling off the roof in a dress and not looking at all like a man. This begins a whirlwind romance between two people who couldn't want more different futures. Kylie wants to put in the rest of her time required to homestead, sell her land to her family, and head back east to live in a civilized city where she can wear bonnets, serve tea, and be a lady. Aaron, however, intends to fulfill his commitment as land agent until the land rush settles down and then he plans to find a spot in the mountains where he can live in peace.

Not to worry this isn't a cut a dry love story. Things don't seem to go quite as either Aaron or Kylie planned and when danger strikes they both discover the depth of their feelings for one another. In my opinion the depth of all the characters is what makes this book so well-written. This book was a quick, easy read and one that I enjoyed. I can't wait for the next two books in the series so I can read more about Shannon and Bailey!

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

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Civil War-era historical fiction has always interested me and this was based on a topic I knew very little about. I had no idea that so many women dressed themselves as men to fight for both the North and the South. In I Shall Be Near to You, Rosetta follows her new husband after he leaves in the early morning hours to join the Union Army. Jeremiah assumed that leaving without saying goodbye face to face would be the easiest thing to do but instead his letter of goodbye drove Rosetta to cut her hair, sew clothes for herself that would allow her to masquerade as a man, and change her name to Ross Stone. Growing up as the eldest daughter of a man who wanted nothing more than a son Rosetta learned how to work just as a hard as a son would have. It wasn't in her nature to sit at home praying her husband would return someday. She knew should could march, fire a gun, and help watch after Jeremiah while earning her pay as a soldier. What happens once Rosetta catches up to Jeremiah and their friends and he discovers what she's done begins a cascade of events that made me keep reading and reading. If you enjoy historical fiction you'll love this book!


If you'd like to read more about the book you can do so here and if you want to get to know Erin Lindsay McCabe better you can do that here!

I received this book free of charge from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sasha Is Having Surgery

Sasha is having some minor surgery tomorrow to remove a lump. We noticed some lumps earlier this year and took her to the vet where they examined her and drew some fluid out to determine that they were just fatty deposits. One of the lumps has gotten larger recently so Allan took her back to the vet last Friday. When they took a sample they noticed some abnormal cells and wanted to remove the lump and have a biopsy sent off for testing. We are praying that this is nothing serious and the biopsy will bring good news. Please say a prayer for our little Sasha girl. On a happy note, she weighed 67 pounds at the vet so she's lost 20 pounds in the last year or so!


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Always on alert when there are snacks involved!

When I Fall In Love by Susan May Warren

When I Fall In Love is the third book in Susan May Warren's Christiansen Family series. I haven't read the first one but I did review the second one earlier this year and you can read both books as stand alone novels. It did help to have the back story on some of the characters and be more familiar with the family but it's such a well-written story that you don't need the background the enjoy it. This book mostly deals with Grace Christiansen and Max Sharpe, a former hockey teammate of Jace Jacobsen and Owen Christiansen who were main characters in her second book in the series. Grace's family surprises her with a trip to Hawaii which would make most people jump up and down with excitement but not Grace. She rarely leaves home and the thought of flying all the way to Hawaii leaves her in a panic and makes for a rough flying experience. That is, until she meets the occupant of 9B who takes the time to distract her with a crossword and conversation and even takes care of her when she gets sick on the plane. What I found really funny was that they both mentioned a guy/girl they were not looking forward to meeting up with in Hawaii and as it turns out they were each talking about each other. That would definitely happen to me!

Having also had the privilege of getting sick on an airplane I can attest to the fact that it takes a special guy to take care of you when you're sick on a plane. Once they land in paradise she tries to let him off the hook but there's something about her that makes it difficult for Max, the never date a girl more than once and don't get serious guy, to leave her alone. Their three weeks in Hawaii show that they have more in common than a love for cooking and make great teammates in the kitchen. There were several points in the book where Grace's prayers seem to mimic ones that I believe most people can relate to. It's difficult to wrap your head around truly letting go and letting God and both Grace and Max struggle with this in very different ways. I'm already looking forward to the fourth book in the series and planning to read the first book as soon as I can get my hands on a copy of it!

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I received this book free of charge from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sasha and Lucky's Summer

If you're curious about what Sasha and Lucky have been up to this summer then this post is just for you! Sasha got a "big girl haircut" as we like to call it at our house and she is loving the shorter hair. Allan always cuts her hair himself so we spent a couple of hours in the garage with her using our homemade grooming table (the ramps we use for oil changes, concrete blocks, and plywood) and got the job done.




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I swear she makes a sad face EVERY time I try to take her picture!
Not to say that it wasn't a mess and she wasn't a complete diva. It took an entire box of treats to survive her "spa day".

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Go figure that she looks pretty happy in this one
Lucky doesn't get hair cuts so he felt a little left out since Sasha got her hair cut and her toenails cut. I was able to make up for that by cutting his toenails and brushing him. He looooves being brushed but he doesn't like to stand still for it so I'm sure I looked like an idiot walking beside him in the backyard brushing him and talking to him!

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Allan's backpack is a perfect pillow apparently
Both dogs have been a little extra clingy this summer since Allan's been going to work earlier and has had softball games in the evenings at least 1 or 2 nights a week. I've spent a couple of weeks with the 11-year old boy I nanny for occasionally so the dogs had to spend the day in their "nite nite room" AKA the laundry room. It must be tough spending the day sleeping in an air conditioned room with a big bowl of fresh water. Needless to say it made both of them want to be right next to us as soon as we would get home.

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On this particular day they were on the front porch with me waiting for Allan to get home from work
We've also been working with both of them off-leash. They both mind really well when they are on the leash and if we are running with them off-leash they also do great but I wanted them to be able to spend more time on the front porch and in the front yard with us. Sasha goes out with me to check the mail every day and Lucky goes to get the newspaper in the morning all by himself. He seems to know what days the paper is delivered and he's always so excited to run out and get it and then take it to Allan. Of course there are still days where he gets the paper and then tromps across the street and proceeds to pee on everyone's mailbox but we are getting there!

Hope you and your pets have had a great summer!

Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble

 


Book Description

Seagrass Pier is the perfect place for Elin to hide from a killer, but an old love's ability to see her true heart could be her undoing.
When Elin Summerall contracted a virus that damaged her heart, she was lucky to get a transplant. At first it was an overwhelmingly good gift. But then she began to remember a murder she never witnessed—the murder of her heart's donor.
When she reveals what she knows to a disbelieving police officer, she's exposed as a witness and must flee for her life to a remote cottage on Hope Beach.
Fearing what might happen to her daughter and mother, she asks Marc Everton for help, though she hasn't seen him since the night her father died. She remembers that night with shame, and she never told Marc about their daughter.
Marc is less than convinced that Elin's "memories" are real. He is blindsided by the news about his daughter, but for her sake, he agrees to help. Then he begins to notice the small ways Elin is different. She now likes coffee, her musical tastes have changed, and she's ditched her jeans and sneakers for dresses and high heels.
As Elin tries to stay alive and bring the killer to justice, she begins to doubt her own identity. Did her new heart save her life only to cause her to lose herself? And if she's really changed, why does her new heart love Marc just as much as her old one did?

MY REVIEW

It's no secret that I am a big fan of Colleen Coble and have reviewed several of her books including the first two in this Hope Beach Series (Tidewater Inn and Rosemary Cottage). With that said it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed this one as well. I will say that it was much better than I thought it was going to be. The book starts off giving away so many big things that I couldn't imagine where the story could go from there that would be just as or even more interesting. There were twists and turns I never saw coming and the author did a beautiful job of weaving everything together to create such a well-written book. While it's easy to see from the beginning that Elin and Marc will end up rekindling their past the predictability ends there. I felt that every other aspect of the story surprised me and turned out completely different than how I would have imagined. Elin's struggle to find her heart donor's killer and the suspense surrounding that swept me up and made it impossible to stop after "just one more chapter".  I'd love to see Colleen Coble continue this series and I can't wait to read what she writes next!

I received this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Saying Goodbye to My Brother


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Two months ago yesterday my brother passed away and as time passes the pain will lessen but he will remain in my thoughts and my heart forever . Memories of those I've lost resurface in the most unlikely places and I'm not ashamed to admit that when they do I have a good cry and thank God they were a part of my life.

I posted the above last night on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It's taken me awhile to figure out if and how to talk about losing my brother and even now I'm not sure my thoughts will be very coherent. I felt like it was time to put it out there and to continue the healing process. His passing brought with it a myriad of emotions and some of those I'm still sorting through. I have a lot of regret and while my head knows there's nothing I can do to change things now, my heart still breaks for what might have been.

If I have learned anything from this it is to tell the people you love that you love them. Don't put things off to another day because that day may never come. Don't feel pressured to move on or to speed up the grieving process. Every loss is different and you know better than anyone how long it takes your heart to mend. I have also been reminded to trust the Lord to hold you up and see you through the rough days.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Daisies Are Forever by Liz Tolsma



World War II is one of my favorite time periods to read about. Daisies are Forever takes us on a journey from Prussia to Berlin as Gisela escapes Prussia with her nieces, befriends an English POW, and reunites with her mother. It's what happens on the way to Berlin and once they arrive that molds a wonderful story. When Gisela hears Mitch (an English POW parading as a SS officer) speaking with a German woman questioning why he isn't off fighting in the war she detects an English accent. In order to save Mitch from being reported she pretends he is her husband and in turn takes both he and his friend under her wing. As her journey to Berlin continues her traveling party grows in size as Kurt (a wounded German solider) joins her party as well as Audra, a German woman who has her sights set on getting out of Germany and making a better life for herself. Perhaps my favorite part of the story is the two older Holtzmann sisters that unfortunately have dementia but their comments about where they think they are and what they think is going on is hilarious. They certainly provided a much needed comic relief in what is otherwise a very grim and serious situation at times.  The relationship between Gisela and Mitch is interesting and often complicated as Kurt and Audra try to interfere. I really don't want to give away the meaning behind the title of the book because I feel as though that is truly the heart of this story so I encourage you to read this one and find out for yourself why daisies are forever. This is the second in a series but I haven't read the first one and I had no problem reading this one without having read the first one.


Book Description

Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country.
Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.
However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch’s identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her “marriage.”
Their journey to Gisela’s mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella's daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.
In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.

I received this book free of charge from BookLook  Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade

Becky Wade is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her books continue to suck me in from the very beginning and I have a difficult time getting to a "stopping point" or merely finding a spot where I can manage to close the book and do anything else. From the very beginning of the book my heart went out to Celia. Clearly she had loved Ty for years but unfortunately they were not on the same page even after finding themselves married in Las Vegas. What started out for Celia as a girl's weekend in Las Vegas (during which they saw Ty bull riding) turned into a weekend that changed her life. Years later when he shows back up into her life she's quick to guard her heart against that kind of pain. As they get to know each other all over again it's amazing to see how both Ty and Celia have changed and continue to change as their lives take another twist. Can they both achieve their dreams and find a way to be together or has too much time passed for them to stand a chance of being together?

I really enjoyed this book and even if you haven't read the first one in the Porter series you won't have any trouble keeping up with what's going on in this one. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will get to read Jake's story in Becky Wade's next novel!

Book info

About the book: 

Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school---irresistible. When their paths cross again after college---still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.
The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia's ready to be Ty's wife, but Ty's not ready to be her husband. He's a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he's long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he's known since childhood.
Five and a half years pass. Celia's buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty's achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn't forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.
How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia's trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/x1YKE

About the author: 

Becky makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her CBA debut, My Stubborn Heart, was a finalist in both the RITA and INSPY awards. Undeniably Yours kicked off her Texas-set Porter Family series. Her newest contemporary romance, Meant to Be Mine, has just hit shelves!

Becky can be found at: website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

 Blog Tour Schedule

Becky Wade's latest novel, Meant to Be Mine, is a keeper! 

Celebrate with Becky by entering her "Dream Come True" $200 Visa cash card prize pack giveaway and RSVP for her June 10th Facebook party!

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  One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card
  • Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 10th. Winner will be announced at the Meant to Be Mine Facebook author chat party on June 10th. Connect with Becky for a fun evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Becky will also share an exclusive look at her next book and give away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Meant to Be Mine and join Becky on the evening of June 10th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 10th!

I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Up Side

Up Side is our way of looking at the positive parts of possibly having to redo our shower and tile our bathroom. The up side is that I got to look for some great ideas on Pinterest. Allan and I are going to get to spend lots of quality time together working on this project. More likely than not, my sweet Daddy is hopeful going to help us and not least (but last) I am extremely grateful that we have two guest bathrooms to use while ours is out of commission.

I'm off to wake up the dragon Allan for another day of ripping things out of the bathroom. It should be fun!

Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter

I always enjoy Denise Hunter's books and this one is no exception. She finds a way to tell Jade and Daniel's story so anyone can relate even if you haven't been in their exact shoes. People don't often comment on the cover or title of the book but in this case I want to take the time to say how much I love both. If you've ever spent a summer night running around catching fireflies and taken a moment to appreciate how beautiful a night like that can be then you can't help but love the title and cover chosen for this book. Then you read this amazing story and it's impossible to find anything short of wonderful!

After reading and reviewing Barefoot Summer I have been patiently waiting for this book to come out! While this is the second in her Chapel Springs Romance series you can read this without having read Barefoot Summer but I'd encourage you to check out that one as well because it's a great read. While this book does cover some sensitive issues I believe Denise Hunter did a wonderful job handling it. I will say that I am a sucker for a story in which the guy has been in love with the girl for years and instead of telling her he continued to act like a brother. Thankfully guys/boys grow into men and usually gather the courage to admit how they've felt all along. I hope you all enjoy Jade and Daniel's story as much as I did and I can't wait to see what Denise Hunter has in store for us next!


Book Info

About the book: A Chapel Springs Romance

Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.

Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she'd never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.
The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He's loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she's back, his feelings are stronger than ever.
As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she's hiding secrets from her family, and she's strangely attracted to the man who's always called her "squirt." Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/uJ6OD

About the Author: Denise Hunter is an internationally published best-selling author. Her books have won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and was a RITA finalist. In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all of her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps, too. When Denise isn't writing, she's busy raising three heroes-in-the-making with her husband.

Learn more about Denise at: http://www.denisehunterbooks.com

 Blog Tour Schedule


Don't miss Denise Hunter's latest Chapel Springs Romance, Dancing with Fireflies. Reviewers have already labeled Dancing with Fireflies "swoon-worthy" and "the perfect love story." 

Join Denise in celebrating the release of her new book by entering her Kindle HDX giveaway and RSVPing for her April 10th Facebook party.
 
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One winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX
  • Dancing with Fireflies and Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 10th. Winner will be announced at the Dancing with Fireflies Facebook Party on April 10th. Connect with Denise for an evening of prizes, book chat, and an exclusive look at the next book in the series.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN on the event page. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 10th!

I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.