Archive for October 2013

A Booksneeze review of City on Fire:A Novel of Pompeii

Monday, October 28, 2013

City on Fire: A Novel of PompeiiCity on Fire: A Novel of Pompeii by Tracy L. Higley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Suggested Age: 18+
Genre: Christian, Historical Fiction

Tracy Higley is one of my favorite authors so I was very honored and excited to review this book for booksneeze!

I thought it was kind of cool that two of the characters in this book were named “Ari” and “Paris” since I have two daughters named Arie and Paris! I thought it was a funny coincidence (and not at all very important to this review other than I thought it was neat!)

Anyway, loved the book and I can’t wait to read more of Tracy’s work!

Ariella is a young girl who has witnessed the destruction and demise of her family. As she tries to flee the war torn land she is taken captive and sold into slavery. Nine years passes by and Ariella seizes the opportunity for escape—cutting her hair and masquerading as a young man she joins the gladiators.

When her troupe finds themselves in Pompeii it becomes increasingly difficult to conceal her true identity. An older Jewish man who is serving as a slave guesses her predicament and befriends her. He begins to share the gospel with her and promises to pray for her safety.

After time she meets Cato; a young man who is determined to stand for right and fight against the evil that plague the city of Pompeii. Cato finds out about her predicament and desires to help her but he is torn and doesn’t know how to help. Especially since Ari views him and all other romans as bloodthirsty killers.

Cato however turns his life over to Christ; despite the threat of death or severe punishment for aligning himself with fellow Christians. This action is the turning point in the story. In the midst of all of this terror there is finally a thin thread of hope—though, Ari is not yet aware and as true life, you only come to the morning through the shadows!

This book had some seriously dark content and I would suggest it for a more mature audience. The vile state of man in ancient Pompeii, especially by Christian standards was very depraved; if not reprobated! Details were not explicit but some may still find the debauchery hard to digest. However, I feel that revealing such depravity was historically accurate and essential to the telling of this tale.

Beautifully written and intriguing; I strongly suggest this book to readers who are fans of Historical fiction. I’ve never been disappointed in any Higley book but I think this is one of her best.
View all my reviews|Read an excerpt


Tracy L. Higley started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. She has authored nine novels, including Garden of Madness and Isle of Shadows. Tracy is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Ancient History and has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Italy, researching her novels and falling into adventures. See her travel journals and more at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

TRUly Awesome! A TruMoo Review for BzzAgent!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The taste kids want, with a look ghouls love

To kids, TruMoo® must feel like a trick — Mom’s letting us drink flavored milk again!? — but it’s really just a nutritious treat children and parents can’t help but agree on. Made with pure, fresh milk from your trusted dairy, no artificial growth hormones and no high fructose corn syrup, TruMoo® has the delicious taste kids go crazy for, now with 35% less sugar* than a leading chocolate milk brand. And this bewitching season, there's even more to treat your family to:

-Get into the spooky spirit with limited edition TruMoo in classic Chocolate and NEW Vanilla in Halloween Orange!
- Learn how you can enter to win a Goosebumps Haunted Hollywood Vacation and instantly get a $2-off coupon for any Goosebumps DVD with your next TruMoo® purchase

My Thoughts:
My little ones love trumoo! We decided to try the spooktacular recipe that was sent to use by bzzagent and TruMoo and it was a hit!

We chose the chocolate milk due to sensitivities to the food dyes present in the orange milk. My kids were a bit disappointed they couldn't try the orange flavor so that is one con that I can think of with these flavors. The chocolate however had no dyes listed. That much is a huge plus for us!

I also appreciate that this milk isn't overly chocolate flavored. My kids tend to dislike other big name chocolate milks because they claim it has too much chocolate in it. TruMoo is just right!

I received this product free from Pet Milk for being a BzzAgent! To find out more about this fantastic program and how you can get involved please visit I was not required to write a positive review. The views and opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Journey of Josephine Cain: A Litfuse Review

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Journey of Josephine Cain (American Tapestries)The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve very much enjoyed all of the American Tapestries books that I have read so far.

I think this era appealed to me less than the other eras however that is my own personal preferences.

However, the era is not why I gave this book a four star rating.

To be honest, I felt that it wrapped up entirely too fast. It felt rushed and I felt a bit cheated. Otherwise the book was pretty good and I would definitely read more by this author!

Josephine Cain is disheartened by her mother and aunt’s depression. Though she herself grieves the loss of her brother and cousin; she longs to put sadness behind her and start to live anew.

She longs to go out west where her father is in charge of laying the railroad. She wants to have adventures—see the world.
Honestly though, I felt there were a lot of times when she acted very spoiled and entitled. That character flaw kind of annoyed me a bit. She always seemed to get what she wanted even if she had to pout and throw a tantrum for it.

I started to notice a bit of a change in her towards the end of the story. She seemed to mature and become a little less whiny and a bit more self-sufficient rather than demanding and entitled.

It was with the changes that I noticed in her that I began to appreciate the story a bit more but just as I became interested the story wrapped up. That was disappointing to me. I felt like there was a huge leading up to this major event and it just blew over.

I wish less time had been spent with Josephine’s dillydallying about with random things and more character building with her love interest(s) and I wish the conclusion had been played out a bit more satisfactorily.

Overall this was a pretty good book. I just think it needed a more satisfying ending
View all my reviews


NANCY MOSER is the best-selling author of more than twenty novels. She is a winner and two-time nominee of the Christy Award, and her latest novel was named to Booklist’s “Top 10 Romance Novels of 2011.” Nancy and her husband have three grown children and three grandchildren, and they live in the Midwest.

I received this book free from the publisher through a fantastic program called Litfuse Publicity. I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts and opinions I have expressed are my own. To view other reviews and learn more about this tour please visit the Litfuse group by clicking here

Win a ‘Bargain Bundle’ from Stephanie Reed!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stephanie L. Reed is celebrating the release of The Bargain, the first book in her new series, Plain City Peace, with a Kindle Fire 'Bargain Bundle' giveaway!


One winner will receive a 'Bargain Bundle':

  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Bargain by Stephanie Reed
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 27th. Winner will be announced at the Litfuse blog on October 28th.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by the Litfuse blog on the 28th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to their blog {enter your email in the blog sidebar} and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox)!

The Bargain-A Litfuse Review

Friday, October 11, 2013

The BargainThe Bargain by Stephanie Reed

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book piqued my interest as it was set into an era that I honestly know very little about. Having read this book now I’m not sure that it appeals to me.

From watching movies I know that people may have talked this way but I felt like I was watching an episode of Scooby Doo and I just had a hard time taking it seriously.

I think I also felt that everything was just so over-the-top and hard to believe at times. For example, Betsie is working for this family in the harness shop but it seems she hardly ever actually worked there. Why didn’t the just hire her as the housekeeper because she didn’t do much else!

I think I’m just not down with my groovy self because I just couldn’t jive with it. The storyline itself was pretty good I just think the era was not well suited for me!

Betsie Troyer’s parents have abandoned the Amish faith (which she is trying to keep a secret from her community) and have left their family to go live among the English.

Betsie takes a job with another English family in their harness shop until her cousin returns from serving out his time as he was drafted. The family she is working for is a family on the brink of destruction. Between the overbearing dad and the mom that had her head in the clouds—I almost felt depressed to read at times.

The book is obviously part one of a series so it concludes without resolving any issues so I’m left with just a bit of frustration—mostly because aside from the salvation plan the entire set of characters have no other glimmers of hope.

I truly think that others would probably “dig” this book but I’ve just surmised that the seventies is an era that doesn’t hold much interest for me. I guess you just had to be there because to me that type of language just sounds comical. Chalk it up to learning that you will not be drawn to all era settings in historical fiction!
View all my reviews


Stephanie Reed lives on the outskirts of Plain City, Ohio, site of a once-thriving Amish community. She gleans ideas for her novels from signs glimpsed along the byways of Ohio, as she did for her previous books, "Across the Wide River" and "The Light Across the River."

I received this book free from the publisher through a fantastic program called Litfuse Publicity. I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts and opinions I have expressed are my own. To view other reviews and learn more about this tour please visit the Litfuse group by clicking here

A Christmas Gift for Rose -A Litfuse Review

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Christmas Gift for RoseA Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Looking for a book to ease into the holiday season without feeling as if it slapped you across the face and made you feel like you needed to start writing your list and checking it twice?

This book is a holiday novella but it isn’t overly christmasy!

I promise you won’t find yourself humming jingle bells or have an overwhelming desire to go trim your tree.

What you will discover is a sense of peace that is often easier to find during the holiday season.

Rose imagines that her life would have been different. Perhaps she should already be married but the love of her life forsook the Amish way when he volunteered for the military.

Something bigger than Jonathan leaving her gnaws at her though and she can’t quite figure out a reason for her discontentment and the constant nightmares that plague her. Feelings of abandonment and a fear of loss seems to reach into the recesses of her mind and torment her for reasons she cannot fathom.


When Jonathan returns home from the war she is confused about how she feels about him. She wants to give them a chance but she worries that his time in the world will take him away from her and once again she finds herself questioning feelings that she can’t explain. Why does she feel so alone?

When a “secret” is revealed, Rose is more confused and lonely than ever. She feels as if her world has been crumpled and that she doesn’t belong anywhere. A still small voice keeps reminding her of His love for her but will she overcome her sadness to listen? Will she stop and recognize the message?

This book was a fantastic book about the love that a mother has for her daughter and the special love that goes into raising a child that God has trusted you with.
View all my reviews|Read an Excerpt


About the Author:
Tricia Goyer is the author of thirty books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

I received this book free from the publisher through Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own
I received this book free from the publisher through a fantastic program called Litfuse Publicity. I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts and opinions I have expressed are my own. To view other reviews and learn more about this tour please visit the Litfuse group by clicking here

Remembering and Making a Difference!

It is October again and once again I am taking the time out to honor and remember my little angels.

 In the past year since my missed miscarriage I have had the opportunity to meet many women who have endured similar losses or even worse; they have endured third trimester losses.

 I have listened to their stories and they have comforted me as I dealt with mine. I also had an opportunity to share my thoughts on how to respond to others who are dealing with a loss.

My journey has also caught the attention of other bloggers who shared information with me about a public awareness campaign called Count the Kicks and it is my hope to not only provide some comfort and do something good for a much needed organization but to also share some news that may save lives!!!

In 1988 President Ronald Regan proclaimed October the month to bring awareness to Pregnancy and Infant loss.

October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day passed by the United States House of Representatives on September 28, 2006. In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, it is suggested that grieving parents light a candle at 7 p.m. in their respective time zones to create a wave of light around the world in memory of babies lost to pregnancy and infant loss.

In 2009 I experienced my first loss. I was right at 6-7 weeks pregnant and the loss was devastating. In August of this year I once again found myself the mother of an angel. I delivered my Evenstar on August 27th at 16weeks 3 days. His or her heart had stopped at 12 weeks. I will always love and cherish all of my children, including the ones that have went on to heaven before me.

I am sharing these little sculptures in honor of my babies and in honor of all the lost babies and their families. 100% of the proceeds from these sculptures will be donated to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (nilmdts). A ministry to provide remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture.

These little babies are 100% handmade. Therefore they may slightly vary from the picture shown. You may choose to have the baby mounted to an alligator clip for little ones that desire to remember their lost sibling or I can mount it to a lapel pin. Clips will be fully lined and a slip grip for fine hair can be added at no additional charge. Please leave a message for me via buyer's comment if you would like the no-slip grip attached.

Your sculpted baby will come packaged in a jewelry box to protect it during shipping.

You can purchase and support this cause by clicking here

**Babies with a gender neutral blanket will be added soon as well as more skin-tone selections**

October 15th, 2013 officially marks International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, a day of remembrance for pregnancy loss and infant death which includes miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or the death of a newborn. The National Institute of Health estimates 26,000 stillbirths out of the 4 million births per year in the United States, meaning one in every 160 births results in a stillborn. These statistics can change dramatically with your help!

After learning that Norway had effectively reduced its stillbirth rates by one-third by conducting a public health campaign on kick counting, five Des Moines-area moms who each lost babies to late-term stillbirth or infant death founded a non-profit organization called Healthy Birth Day with the goal of preventing stillbirths and infant deaths through research, education and advocacy. In 2009, the non-profit launched a statewide public health campaign in Iowa called Count the Kicks to prevent late-term birth complications and stillbirths, urging parents to contact their health care providers immediately if they notice significant changes in their babies’ movements. Scientific studies indicate kick counting (a daily record of a baby’s movements, kicks, rolls, punches, and jabs) during the third trimester is an easy, free and reliable way to monitor a baby’s well-being in addition to regular prenatal visits.

Stillbirth and infant death may be a sensitive subject, but spreading awareness WILL help prevent the loss of more lives. To join the movement, start by visiting and liking the Count the Kicks Facebook page:

A Christmas Gift for Rose | Win a KINDLE HDX for you AND a friend!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tricia Goyer is celebrating the release of her first Christmas novella, A Christmas Gift for Rosewith a Christmas Gift giveaway! 

Enter to win a NEW Kindle Fire HDX for you AND one for a friend!


One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX and one to give away to a friend!

  • A Christmas Gift for Rose, by Tricia Goyer for you and your friend!

Four second place winners will receive:

  • A Christmas Gift for Rose Christmas pack (includes a recipe card, bookmark, a signed book plate, discussion questions, and a Gathering & Giving handout!)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. All winners will be announced October 21st at Tricia's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Tricia's blog on the 21st to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

The Courier of Caswell Hall-A Litfuse Review

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Courier of Caswell Hall (American Tapestries)The Courier of Caswell Hall by Melanie Dobson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the best books that I’ve read this year!

I enjoyed immensely—it was every bit as good as the last book that I read in the American Tapestries series.

As a matter of fact; The Queen of the Waves made it into my top ten books of 2012 and The Courier of Caswell Hall will most likely be in my top ten for 2013.

American Tapestries is an excellent stand-alone series that I suggest for fans of historical fiction.

Lydia Caswell is a young girl wanting to choose her own political stance but is torn between pleasing her father and following her heart.
When a young man washes up on the banks near her plantation home; she makes a bold and risky move by hiding him on the property until he has recovered. With the help of two of her father’s slaves, Nathan is nursed back to health.

After a short time her sister becomes suspicious and to further complicate matters—the British troops have shown up and pretty much taken over the plantation. Nathan makes his escape with the help of Elisha; the Caswell’s driver.

Enter to win 1 of 5 copies of the book!
Lydia finds that she is very disgusted by the manners and actions of the troops that have taken over her home but she is torn because she has seen equally disgusting behavior from the patriot troops.

Nathan has encouraged her to look past the actions of a few and choose from her heart the side that she wishes to support and is after the home of her childhood friend is burned by the British that Lydia becomes a courier for General Washington. She is determined to find freedom, independence and safety for her family. She also finds love with the young man she rescued.

This book was so bittersweet. The prologue and epilogue take place many years in the future and at the end of Nathan’s life. I found myself misting as I read the epilogue. I didn’t want to see the end of such a beautiful life and love. Fantastic love story but also bittersweet and sad towards the end!
View all my reviews|Read an Excerpt


Melanie Dobson is the author of twelve novels; her writing has received numerous accolades including two Carol Awards. Melanie worked in public relations for fifteen years before she began writing fiction full-time. Born and raised in the Midwest, she now resides with her husband and two daughters in Oregon.

I received this book free from the publisher through a fantastic program called Litfuse Publicity. I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts and opinions I have expressed are my own. To view other reviews and learn more about this tour please visit the Litfuse group by clicking here

For Every Season: A Blogging for Books Review

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

For Every Season (Amish Vines and Orchards, #3)For Every Season by Cindy Woodsmall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Suggested Age: 12+
Genre: Christian, Amish Fiction

Another fantastic hit! I adore Cindy Woodsmall and I have never read a book of hers that I have not liked.

This series is absolutely fantastic and I’m so glad I’ve had a chance to review this book.

The characters in this series are so wonderfully written that I can’t put the book down once I’ve picked it up.

If you haven’t read the first or second book in this series I would suggest that you do so or you will be very confused. These are not stand-alone books like some series books within the Amish genre.

Rhoda finds herself torn between two brothers. She connects with each bother on a different level and the awkward situation threatens to tear apart the new Amish community and business. I think when I first started reading the series I liked Jacob more but at this point I’m also torn but leaning more towards Samuel for Rhoda.

As the story progresses, Rhoda has to work out her feelings for Samuel and for Jacob and determine whether she should follow her heart or fulfill a sense of duty and obligation that she has for Jacob. Amish love triangle—interesting!
Coming April, 2014!

Rhoda still struggles with seeing the apparition of her sister and flashes of visions that the Amish consider to be witchcraft or a gift given from Satan. You can nearly feel Rhoda’s frustration at times and I think this makes readers connect with her on a personal level.

I enjoyed this series immensely and I’m curious as to how everything will wrap up for everyone. I’m invested in every single one of the characters in this series. Even the new characters have piqued my interest and I can’t wait to pick up book four which is coming sometime in April of 2014!
View all my reviews|Read an Excerpt


A Season For TendingThe Winnowing SeasonFor Every Season

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written six novels, three novellas, and Plain Wisdom, a work of nonfiction coauthored with her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud. She’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life.
I received For Every Season as a complimentary gift in exchange for an honest review from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. My comments and opinions are my own.