Archive for March 2014

Review of 'Guardian of the Flame' by Tracy Higley

Monday, March 31, 2014

Guardian of the FlameGuardian of the Flame by T.L. Higley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Suggested Age: 17+
Genre: Christian, Historical Fiction

Two words sum up this book. Awesome-Sauce! Never thought you’d read that word in a book review, did ya?

I admire Tracy, so much. She’s so intelligent and has a real gift and talent for capturing ancient history. I learn so much about historical facts—she really knows her stuff! Fictional characters are beautiful interwoven into a tapestry or real-life historical figures.

This book has it all, romance, adventure, suspense and a message of God’s love for us.


The year is 48BC in Alexandria, Egypt. Sophia is keeper of the great lighthouse. While her young friend, the young and newly reigning, Cleopatra, is determined to gain the interest of Julius Caesar; Sophia is determined to never love again.

That vow may be harder than she anticipated. When Bellus and his soldiers are ordered to secure the harbor and take up residence in her Lighthouse—Sophia hardens her heart against the promise of love. See, Sophia can’t even love herself and she sure can’t imagine anyone else loving her.

my amazingly signed copy!
This book deals with a lot of immorality of the day, the worship of multiple deities and also introduces Sophia of the One God of Israel. At this point we’re seeing the events leading up to the coming Christ child and we get an idea of the political situation of the day.

I think for me, I can relate to Sophia. I have felt unlovable in my life. I don’t understand how God could ever choose to love me. All I can do is choose to let him do so.

This book is beautifully written. The characters are likeable and realistic. The setting and the scenery is so intricately detailed that you’ll feel as if you’re there. Beautiful imagery and emotionally engaging, this was definitely a five-star book.
View all my reviews|Read an Excerpt


Amazon|B&N|Signed by the Author




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 TracyHigley.com

My Week in Review 3/23-3/29

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I’ve come to the point in my blogging where I want to start connecting with my readers rather than being a faceless reviewer. In this new series of blog posts, I want to start offering an update of my week, share what I’m reviewing, and what is going on with life.

If you follow my blog at all you’ll notice that it’s been a slow blogging week. Life has been rather chaotic with three doctor’s appointments with my children, therapy sessions for Kahlan (my three year old) as well as an evaluation for orthodics, in addition to violin lessons for the two older girls.

In terms of reading, this has been the slowest week for me this year due to my busy schedule. I managed to finish only one book. I started in on another but, I’ve only made it to 6% so far.

First up, Guardian of the Flame by Tracy Higley. I finished this and will put up the review soon. I simply haven’t had time!

The year is 48 BC. Sophia, a woman hurt by past loss, guards the famous lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt, in order to hide herself away from a world she deems cruel and unloving. But there is no escape. Political turmoil swells as Roman general Julius Caesar and his legion storm the city, and Cleopatra, Greek queen of Egypt , fights to retain her country against both Caesar and bloodthirsty rivals within her own household. Sophia is caught in the middle between a loyalty to Cleopatra and her maddening interest in Bellus, the Roman soldier whom Caesar has instructed to overtake the lighthouse.


Last night I started in on Gift of the Phoenix
by Donna Cook. I haven’t made it far so, I’m not yet sure how it’ll be.

A prince is murdered.

An island sinks into the sea.

A thousand-year-old ritual foretells great evil.

A nation’s fate rests in the hands of three strangers, thrust together by their common destiny to protect the Phoenix, and their world, from destruction. The Three must learn to unite in spite of what separates them, and unlock the magic of three stones that seem to harm as much as they help.

Their journey leads through unexpected doors. Along the way they encounter a cursed people, a haunting vision, a woman on the run.

It all begins and ends with the gift of the Phoenix.

Products that I’m reviewing very soon and am in the process of trying…

I enjoyed a cup today and plan to share my review as well as a favorite coffee recipe to go with it in the upcoming week.

Starbucks Blond Roast

These are decidedly mellow.

Starbucks has reimagined how to bring a lighter taste to our coffees. Our 40 year history of sourcing, roasting, and blending the highest quality coffee in the world allowed us to create a recipe that yields a great-tasting, perfectly balanced cup of light roast coffee. This is Starbucks first true light roast coffee. The name “Starbucks® Blonde Roast” reflects our roasting artistry and indicates a coffee that is light bodied and flavorful – our easiest-drinking coffee.



Then, my daughter is testing Hazelaid Dark Cherry and Turquoise Baltic Amber. She was recently diagnosed with Asthma and I’d heard that the cherry and turquoise relieves asthma symptoms. I’m also pleased to announce that in the upcoming week, I’ll be hosting a giveaway with Hazelaid and sharing coupon codes with my readers!

USE: Effective for teething, drooling, and other pain relief. Must be placed directly on the skin. We recommend moving necklaces to the upper leg during naps and at night for very young children. Baltic amber is meant to be worn, NOT chewed!

As far as life goes,

I’ve spent my week working in our home. We’re in the process of listing our current house and we think we’ve found the home we want to make an offer on. With six kids, we’ve simply outgrown our current home.

 Remember all the doctor visits I mentioned? Well, my eight year old, Prue, has had pneumonia for ten staggering weeks! While we’ve seen an improvement, she still has residual pneumonia. We have to drive a couple hours away to see a Pulmonologist in the upcoming week or so.

Arie had a wellcheck this week. Since we don’t vaccinate (due to reactions in two of my other children), we haven’t been in a while and my doctor is fine with that. We space out the visits as to not expose her to unnecessary germs. Little miss is six months old. She is up to 27” and is 14lbs 8oz. She’s a little thing! Long and skinny but perfectly healthy! She’s learning to crawl, enjoys bathtime, is still exclusively breastfed and recently learned to say, “Hi.”

Kahlan had an evaluation for orthodics this week, in addition to her therapy. She had club feet when she was born, we were told that it would correct itself but she has turned to severe intoeing which results in her falling...a lot. In a recent evaluation we were told that she has the physical capabilities of a 33month old, despite being 43 months of age.

I'd hoped for better news but was told that she needs the orthodics and continued therapy to correct the problem. Her problem is quite severe and they hold out hope for about a 50% improvement. The hope is to correct her clumsy tendencies and improve her quality of movement.

In addition to everything else I have going on, I’m learning a new skill—photography. I got my very first DSLR in December and my good friend from Danielle Cordeau Photography has been encouraging me as I learn to work the manual settings. I’ve a long way to go but I am getting more comfortable with it!

That was pretty much my week. If you made it through this long post—thank you! I would love to hear about your week!

My Little Pony: 12-Piece Board Book Set Review

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My Little Pony: 12-Piece Board Book Set
My Little Pony: 12-Piece Board Book Set by Publications International Ltd.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

These books are really cute and I thought that my two youngest daughters would enjoy them.

With six girls living in this home—I’m sure you can imagine that MLP is pretty popular around these parts. Of course, we had to get the baby something to show our MLP pride—plus, she loves books!

The artwork is super cute and the books come in a very handy box with a handle, making it easy to carry these books with us.
Ink has faded on her cheeks!

Each book is filled with glossy artwork, and bright colors that grabs the little one’s attention.

To be honest, I would love everything about these books except for one reason—the ink fades! After a few minutes of playing—my baby’s hands and face have ink on them.

Now, granted she’s only going on seven months and the box does claim to be for 10+months. The problem is, even a 10 month old will mouth their board books.

This is a unique problem that I have never encountered with other board books. It’s a given that board books and baby books will be chewed on at times. The ink should not be coming off on her face and hands.
View all my reviews


Amazon


A Simply Enchanted Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner Review

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Basil Countertop Spray -- 16 oz
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day®
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day® believes in a better way to get a good clean. Chock full of plant-derived ingredients and essential oils, our household cleaning products are powerful against dirt and grime. Garden-fresh scents uplift your mood while adding a little spring to your step.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Ingredients are at least 98% naturally derived.


I was very excited to try this product. I have heard so many raves about it as it is advertised as a 98% naturally derived household cleaner.

In terms of cleaning—I was very pleasantly surprised at how well this cleaner actually cleans. A lot of the more naturally derived cleaners simply can’t cut the dirt and grime that certainly builds up with six busy children living in my home. I usually opt to clean with steam but it's nice to have a natural alternative when I'm busy and need to reach for something fast.

Overall I thought this product was okay and I would probably buy it again but in a different scent. My daughter was recently diagnosed with asthma and when I clean with this product she does cough which made me question the fragrance that is used. I do know that essential oils do not cause her to cough but some synthetic fragrances will trigger a coughing spell. So, I thought I should note that I found this on the ingredient list online

Fragrance: mixture of natural, high-quality essential oils and safe synthetic fragrance ingredients

The smell dissipates quickly so I still use the product on my kitchen counters and my bathroom, but only when she’s safely in bed and cannot smell it. In terms of cleaners, this is still better than a lot of other chemical laden sprays and I would have no qualms using this on a regular basis if it were not for the cough. I simply have to be a bit more cautious due to my daughter’s coughing. If there was one thing I could change about this product, it would be that it used essential oils and no synthetic fragrances at all.


I received this product free from Smiley360! To find out more about this fantastic program and how you can get involved please visit theMrs. Meyer’s Clean Day® Mission I was not required to write a positive review. The views and opinions I have expressed are my own.
A Simply Enchanted Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

Introducing Amara Starling: Author of Children of the Eclipse

Friday, March 21, 2014


Children of the Eclipse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Suggested Age: 18+
Genre: Fantasy

It is my pleasure to introduce friend and author, Amara Starling! I have had the honor of being an early reader for her brand new book, Children of the Eclipse. Before I post the synopsis, I want to take the time to share a few of my thoughts about the first book and what I enjoyed about it.

Everyone knows that I am not the biggest fan of books written in first-person. There are only a handful of books that I have read in first person perspective that really grab my attention. Usually I feel awkward—as if I am an unwanted invader in their mind. Few authors can smooth over that awkwardness for me and Amara is one of them. For me to say this is an immense compliment as often as not—I won’t even read this perspective.

Though the story is a fantasy, the characters are realistic and intriguing. Often in first person—I feel that I do not get to know the rest of the cast. I feel that Amara has done an adequate job with making sure that you know each of her characters. She doesn’t neglect them in favor of her narrator.

I would really love to do a full review for this book—that is an honor I am going to hang on to until this fantastic tale has been published.

This is an author that I would love for you all to connect with, especially if you are interested in fantasy, dragons, action, and deliciously handsome characters for you to fall in love with.

When discovered by her enemies in the dragon city of Acariya, Symphony Ryelle is forced to face her greatest fears and the secrets of who she is.

Every two-thousand years on the continent of Orivnea, the two moons align for a rare double eclipse, leaving any child born beneath it with the endowment of immortality. Symphony is the last Eclipsian, and despite her meticulously cautious lifestyle, there is one man who hunts her, and his desire to have her unusual gift knows no bounds. Luckily, Symphony is in good hands; or so she thought.

Graggerden, the great King of the Council dragons has vowed his protection over the much sought after Eclipsian, but when he signs an alliance treaty with the Sainai Faction on Mylos, he doesn’t realize he’s made a deal with his adversaries; even worse is the guilt he must deal with when he sends Symphony there for her protection, and inadvertently ends up pushing her into the arms of her oppressors.

With the love and devotion of a patient King, a war-laden General, and her dearest friend, Symphony will defend herself and the integrity of Acariya in a heroic battle that will lead to the discovery of a much deeper revelation.

Amara Starling is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and has a background in pre-kindergarten education. She began writing short stories and poetry at an early age, and later, with the encouragement of her college English professor, Amara chose to pursue a career in writing. She also enjoys reading, crafting, and spending time with her children.

Learn more by visiting  her fanpage at https://www.facebook.com/AmaraStarling

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Author. 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.”


The Bzzz on GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping

Monday, March 17, 2014

GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Stop wasting time sifting through spreadsheets, searching for receipts and tracking invoices. GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping connects all your accounts in one simple online tool so you can get back to business:

Within a few clicks, connect all your business accounts – such as bank, credit card, PayPal – to import and organize data without the hassle of manual entry
  • Tackle your taxes in minutes with a pre-populated Schedule-C worksheet
  • Accept payments online via credit card, PayPal or directly from your client’s bank account, and sync up your eBay, Etsy and Amazon accounts
  • Easily establish and schedule recurring invoices in under 5 minutes
  • Never lose a billable hour with time tracking
  • Check your business finances anytime on your laptop, tablet or smartphone
  • Rest assured knowing GoDaddy uses the same security measures as major US banks

I wanted to take the time to put in a quick bzzz about this product. As a small business owner, I was very excited to take part in this campaign. However, so far I am going to give this product 1 out of 5 stars simply because I have been unable to download the program!

The godaddy website will not accept any username that I try with no explanation for the rejection. This has been a cause of great frustration to me and my initial thought is that it simply isn’t worth the hassle of trying to get it to work.

However, as I have yet to be able to test the product I do want to say that I am contacting the godaddy website and I will be updating this blog as I try to work out the problem.

From a “techy” stand point I can say that as of this moment I have cleared cache, tried firefox and Explorer and even tried restarting my computer to see if that made a difference. I have disabled firewalls and turned off my virus protection but the website simply won’t accept any screen name. I’ve inserted a picture of the problem which you can view below.


Keep an eye out for updates as I try to get this product to work!


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

Here's the Bzzz on Tone Body Wash!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tone® Body Wash and Bath

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Give your skin an inspired experience

Tone® moisturizing body washes are made with spa-inspired ingredients that transport you beyond your shower with invigorating scents, leaving you with irresistibly soft skin. You’ll fall in love with the naturally smooth feel after the first wash, while you indulge in intoxicating aromas from the whole line:

  • New! Petal Soft with Pink Peony & Rose Oil
  • Mango Splash with Cocoa Butter
  • Daily Detox with White Clay & Pink Jasmine
  • Soothing Oatmeal with Shea Butter
  • Ocean Therapy with Deep Sea Extracts & Pearl Essence
  • Fruit Peel® with Alpha-Hydroxy Fruit Acids

Don’t let the luxurious experience stop with Tone® Body Wash – there’s a full line of pampering Bath Bars and Foaming Hand Wash to keep your skin fully fabulous, too.

I'm a huge fan of handmade soaps (I make them myself) so it's no surprise that I often compare between the two. One of the big things with a lot of commercial body wash products are that they leave my skin feeling sticky. However, I do love to occasionally settle down into a tub of hot water and relax in bubbles and use a soap that I didn't slave over the stove making. When I was asked to test Tone Body Wash, I was very excited because a friend of mine had recently raved to me about the lather and the scent. I got Petal Soft and the minute I opened the bottle, I was in love with the smell.

Not only does this body wash smell great but it rinses clean. No gross feeling residue that makes me feel as if I still have remnants of soap stuck to my skin. My skin was fantastically soft, there was no irritation and I love how the fragrance lightly caresses the skin so that I can smell it throughout the day. The smell isn't overwhelming though, which is a huge plus!

Tone Body Wash also bubbles wonderfully. Just a small drop and you can soak in luxurious bubbles! A little goes a long way with this product and it'll definitely be my go-to when I want to feel pampered.

You can find this product at any large retail chain such as Target or Walmart and it is an affordable spa experience! Light a candle or two and soak away the stress of your day!!!


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

Review of 'The Realm Beyond' by Donita K. Paul

Thursday, March 13, 2014

One Realm BeyondOne Realm Beyond by Donita K. Paul

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Suggested Age: 11+
Genre: Christian, YA, Fantasy

Cantor D'Ahma waited his whole life for this day. Born with a gift to jump between worlds, the young realm walker is finally ready to leave his elderly mentor and accept his role as protector and defender of the realms.

But mere hours after he steps through his first portal, Cantor discovers that his job will be more dangerous and difficult than he ever imagined. The realms are plagued with crime and cruelty, and even members of the once-noble Realm Walkers Guild can no longer be trusted. To make matters worse, his first assignment—finding a dragon to assist him on his quest—has led him to Bridger, who is clearly inept and won't leave him alone.

With the help of his new friends Bixby and Dukmee, Cantor must uncover the secrets of the corrupt guild before they become too powerful to be stopped. But his skills aren't progressing as fast as he would like, and as he finds himself deeper and deeper in the guild s layers of deceit, Cantor struggles to determine where his true allegiance lies.


I really wanted to like this book but it starts out so slow that I just couldn’t ever get into it.

I never skim read but I found myself starting to skim after spending almost a week on the first 100 pages—also something that never happens.

Aside from the slow pace, I found that the main character acted more like a young child than a grown man; he was very rude to the dragon, Bridger. He was so negative that I really didn’t have the patience to read most of his dialogue.

I also thought a few of the descriptions were odd, like this one, “The farmers obeyed to the point that they scarcely moved to breath. For a moment, the healer noticed the acrid scent of anxiety surrounding the two men, underpinned by the earthy smell of determination.” I never ever realized that anxiety or determination had a scent? I don’t know, I just didn’t enjoy the book. It wasn’t poorly written but it didn’t appeal to me.
View all my reviews

Amazon|Barnes&Noble|CBD


Donita K. Paul retired from teaching and took up the mantle of grandma. She loves her new career as author of stories her grandchildren devour. Winner of multiple awards, she lives in Colorado, enjoying friends and family, Pets, and beautiful scenery. Her favorite part of writing is the readers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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.”

Love to read? You're invited to the Twitter Fiction Festival!

You are invited to the annual Twitter Fiction Festival!

What is the Twitter Fiction Festival and Who will be there?

I'm glad you asked! The Twitter Fiction Festival is a five day event (March 12th – 16th) where authors of all types and genres will be chatting about fiction on across social media.

How can I participate?

Simply follow the #TwitterFiction hashtag! As this is the first year that Christian authors are participating, make sure to look for the #chrific hastag as well!

What's in it for me?

As a reader when you tweet and/or retweet with the hashtags #TwitterFiction and #chrific you’ll be entered to win over 15 books from across multiple publishers!


Many thanks goes to NovelCrossing for sharing this information! I would love to see you online! Make sure to follow my twitter and I'll be looking for your tweets!!!

Review of 'Merlin's Shadow" by Robert Treskillard

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Merlin's Shadow (The Merlin Spiral #2)Merlin's Shadow by Robert Treskillard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Suggested Age: 12+
Genre: Christian, YA, Fantasy

Wow! WOW! WOW! I’m not given to throwing fangirl reviews out there but this book deserves a few wows!

First off, the cover is absolutely stunning. This is definitely one of the nicest covers I’ve seen in a very long time! It perfectly captures the essence of the book.

Secondly, the story is action packed and intriguing from the start. I actually thought this book was better than the first! I’m very eager for the third installment, Merlin’s Nightmare.

Pursued by evil and captured as slaves—Merlin has lost his faith. Where there is no faith there is no hope and Merlin is approaching the point of utter desolation.

This book is fascinating. I literally sat on the edge of my seat as I read. Gana’s story was particularly fascinating, and heartbreaking. I kept hoping for her redemption and a part of me still holds out hope for her in book three.

With hope fast diminishing, Merlin sets out on a quest to free Arthur from an ancient ritual that would see his blood spilled. The plot is much darker than the first book—it becomes very evident of how evil can snare a person by promising them the desires of their heart.

Expected publication: May 13th
If you’re a fan of Arthurian lore then I would suggest this series. However, it is very much a Christian book and the teaching of Christ as being the way, the truth, and the life is very much evident. For this reason, this is a unique rendition of the ever popular lore and myth.

As Christians we have to be careful what we read and many times the fantasy genre or those that deal with lore can take us down a dark path that we would do better to avoid. This series definitely holds to the teachings of Christ and I’m very impressed with the author’s ability to weave it in seamlessly with popular Arthurian lore.

I would definitely suggest this book to fans of Christian fantasy!
View all my reviews|Read an Excerpt

Amazon|Barnes&Noble|CBD

Merlin's BladeMerlin's Shadow

Robert Treskillard is a Celtic enthusiast who holds a B.A. in Biblical & Theological Studies from Bethel University, Minnesota. He has been crafting stories from his early youth, is a software developer, graphic artist, and sometime bladesmith. He and his wife have three children and are still homeschooling their youngest. They live in the country outside St. Louis, Missouri.

Learn more by visiting his website at http://www.KingArthur.org.uk

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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.”

About Me

My photo

I'm a stay at home/work at home mama and I love to read. I have six beautiful daughters who inspire me to be a better person and to pursue wisdom.

When I'm not busy reading and reviewing books or spending time with my daughters I am busy crafting for two online businesses. You can find handmade bath and body items at  A Simply Enchanted Life and handcrafted jewelry at Sapphire Haven.