Archive for July 2014

Montagne Jenesse Face Masks Review & Giveaway

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It's been awhile since I've had the opportunity to do a product review or a giveaway. As some of you know; I'm kicking off a new photography business and in addition to that? The masks that were supplied to me by Montagne Jennesse had been lost in the mail and miraculously some honest person actually put them back into the mail for me! Can you believe it? Honest people still exist!

Moving along...If you've not tried these masks and you're afraid of a facial that you peel and stick? Have no fear! Now, I will say that these masks are made a bit big. I had to do some tugging and pulling to get them to adhere to my face properly. I did have some issues with it wanting to fall down onto my lips. But, if you have this problem, try drying the mask just a bit by pressing while rubbing over the mask with a clean, dry towel.

If you suffer from dry skin or acne as a result of dry skin then this would be wonderful for you! My daughter suffers from extremely dry skin and has breakouts as a result. This mask left her feeling smooth and moisturized without causing irritation. There's a good reason for that! Did you know that Montagne Jenesse uses pure and natural ingredients derived from plant and mineral sources in their products? Did you know that their ingredients are grown using sustainability farming methods? This company is environmentally aware and committed to offering a quality product at an affordable price. $1.99...you sure can't beat that, right?

So, have you ever used Montagne face masks? If so, which is your favorite? We'd love to hear your thoughts! Also, feel free to enter to win a sample product below! Montage Jennesse has been super awesome and supplied us with four different masks for four lucky winners! Good luck!

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I received this product in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The views and opinions I have expressed are my own. Giveaway items were graciously supplied by Montagne Jennesse.

Review of 'Merlin's Nightmare' by Robert Treskillard

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Merlin's Nightmare (The Merlin Spiral #3)Merlin's Nightmare by Robert Treskillard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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


I was privileged and honored to get to read an ARC of this book and I waited a bit to write my review because I wanted to compare it to the published copy. The ARC was very long and daunting in a way, the published book is really great.

I struggled to know how to rate this book. Originally I had rated it a three star but I’ve since updated to a four—largely because the published version took out some of the parts I felt were unnecessary or that was just too wordy or lengthy.

My only complaint is that it ends in a cliffhanger. I’m okay with a cliffhanger sometimes but at the end of a series? I dunno, I just feel frustrated that I have to wait for another series to come out. I feel there should have been a little bit of a better conclusion or even just continue this series instead of making a new one.

Arthur, now eighteen, is missing, and Merlin must find him before a shadowy pursuer catches him first.
With the High King and his kingdom caught in a trap of sinister deceit, Merlin has to find a way out before all is lost. Having everything to fight for, and almost nothing to fight with, Merlin and Arthur must rally Britain’s warriors against three overwhelming enemies: Saxen hordes in the south, Picti raiders in the north, and a chilling new enemy that has arisen in the west. At the same time, Morgana brings Merlin’s deepest fear to life and sets a horde of werewolves loose to destroy Britain. But when the secret purpose of this nightmare is finally revealed, will Merlin and Arthur find a way to survive—without unleashing an even greater evil?

I usually don’t share the synopsis but I wanted to address several things...


Arthur is now the High King and I kind of thought it was odd how fast the two transitioned from being a father/son to Arthur calling Merlin by his name. It seemed inconsistent at times but maybe that was just Arthur’s indecision…I was unsure how to feel about that. Maybe it was because I was feeling how Merlin must have felt at suddenly being a subject instead of a father to the boy he raised.

The werewolves—I’m not sure why but they weirded me out. Yes, I just used the word weirded in a review—sue me. It also almost destroyed any hope that I had for Morgana’s redemption. Yes, I know she is bad but I was still kind of hoping…

All in all? This book kicks butt and I can’t wait to read more, even though I was a little reluctant to give a five star—mostly because of my frustration and impatience to read the next book. I guess I’m a bit like a child throwing a tantrum wanting my candy now rather than later.

Tsk, tsk on the author for torturing me so! All I can say is that the next book better be worth the wait because I’m still itching to know what the world is going on!
View all my reviews|Read an Excerpt

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Courting CateMerlin's ShadowMerlin's Nightmare

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 for being a Blink YA Street Team member. 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.”

Review of Seasons of Tomorrow by Cindy Woodsmall

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Seasons of Tomorrow (Amish Vines and Orchards #4)Seasons of Tomorrow by Cindy Woodsmall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Suggested Age: 12+
Genre: Christian, Amish Fiction

This book is exceptional. Cindy Woodsmall is never a disappointment. I have loved every single book I’ve ever read by her.

I was a little sad that this book wrapped up the Amish Vines and Orchards series because I really enjoyed the main character, Rhoda. I think I could have read a few more installments at least. She’s just so quirky but also has that sad and mysterious side to her that makes me feel protective of her even…can you feel protective of a book character? I hope so, because I can’t help how I feel!

I was very pleased with this book, even if my heart nearly stopped a couple of times out of fear and anticipation. Cindy definitely knows how to work my emotions! I suppose that is one reason I enjoy reading her books so much!

Rhoda is still feared by many of the Amish for her unique gift of insight. It doesn’t help that she’s also fallen in love with Samuel, choosing to let go of his brother, Jacob. It makes for a sticky situation and people are just so quick to judge.

Further, Leah is struggling with her faith and with her desire to commit to the Amish church and community. Of course, blame seems to fall back on Rhoda, even though she’s done nothing to encourage Leah to leave the faith.

In the midst of everything else going on, there’s also the little fact that Jacob is so very hurt and he feels betrayed by Rhoda and by Samuel. Rhoda and Samuel both struggle to know if they should deny each other their love out of respect for Jacob. A good part of this book is all about forgiveness and also with being able to look back on situations and in great wisdom know that things have worked out for the betterment of all the parties involved.

Amish Vines and Orchards is a unique story that will pull you in and make you fall hopelessly in love with each and every character. They are solid and very genuine characters that don’t feel like silly ole book characters. They feel real and for me…that’s a book that is a hit!
View all my reviews|Excerpt

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A Season For TendingThe Winnowing SeasonFor Every Season
Seasons of Tomorrow

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 Seasons of Tomorrow as a complimentary gift in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review. My comments and opinions are my own.

A Review of 'The Last Bride' by Beverly Lewis

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Last Bride (Home to Hickory Hollow, #5)The Last Bride by Beverly Lewis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Suggested Age: 14+
Genre: Christian, Amish Fiction

Oh my goodness!!! This book was one of my favorites in the series. My only complaint was that there weren’t quite as many visits with Ella Mae as I like. I just adore that little old lady and I do wish I’d had a few more sips of tea with her this time.

I thought this story was a bit more unique than your humdrum Amish tale. It wasn’t a teen pregnancy story or even a very atypical forbidden romance. Nope, this story had twists and turns and situations that were more than meets the eye. There was depth to the story that is lacking in a lot of Amish fiction. So many other books seem to be the same old story over and over. This one was different.

Tessie Miller is madly in love with Marcus King. Her father has forbidden the union without any explanation whatsoever.

So, Tessie and Marcus elope to the English world and then they return to Hickory Hollow. No one knows of their secret union…

How long can Marcus and Tessie keep this a secret? Then, the unthinkable happens. Tessie finds herself in serious trouble with the church and with her family.

Will she ever find forgiveness or will a simple mistake cost Tessie a lifetime of pain and regret? I have to say, when I read the term, “the unthinkable” in the synopsis? I honestly had very different thoughts about what was going to happen. I was surprised! I mean…I totally wasn’t suspecting what happened to have happened!

I know if you all have read the synopsis that you probably think you’ve got it all figured out but just give the book a chance. Your jaw will drop in that, “dun dun dun” moment and you’ll say, “Wait, what just happened?!”
View all my reviews|Excerpt



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The FiddlerThe BridesmaidThe Guardian
The Secret Keeper The Last Bride

Beverly Marie Jones (Lewis) was born in the heart of Amish country—Lancaster, Pennsylvania. At the tender age of nine, she began writing short stories and poetry.

Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, The Heritage of Lancaster County, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and spending time with their family. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."

You can find out more about this author by visiting her website at http://www.beverlylewis.com/
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

A Review of 'A Mother's Secret' by Amy Clipston

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Mother's Secret (Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel #2)A Mother's Secret by Amy Clipston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Suggested Age: 12+
Genre: Christian, Amish Fiction
I'm going to be honest. I was not overly fond of the first book in this series. I was upset that Hannah left her child because I had became emotionally invested in the characters. I suppose this is both a good and bad thing.  It is good when an author can pull a reader in and play on their emotions.

Despite being upset with Hannah, I wanted to see how the rest of the characters were faring. That emotional tie to the family that was left behind left me wanting to make sure they were at least...okay.


Well, I’m really glad that I gave this second book a chance. I really enjoyed it!  I found the  characters to be pleasant and enjoyable to spend time with. I was eager to see how they would work through their differences and their circumstances.

As I mused on all of this, I will admit that I felt a little bit silly to have a grudge against Hannah but I suppose that just makes me a bit more of a booknerd than I thought I was.

If you were like me and thought the first book was upsetting, read this one. I am very pleasantly surprised and it does make me rethink my initial reaction to the first book!

This book follows along with some of the same characters as book one. Pretty much the only character I really liked from book one was Joshua. So, I was eager to get to know more about him.
When Joshua meets Carolyn Lapp, it seems like there’s an instant attraction but Carolyn has a secret and it could destroy their budding friendship and relationship. This isn’t a little secret, it’s a pretty big one, one that brings shame to not only Carolyn but also to her family and potentially to the man that chooses to marry her.

I thought this book had some great themes of forgiveness, both the forgiveness we find in Christ but also in forgiving ourselves. So many times we ask for Christ’s forgiveness and though he grants it…we beat ourselves up and live in constant misery because of one little mistake.

Overall, this book is great and I have a sneaky suspicion that Josh and Carolyn’s story may not yet be over and will continue in book three. The author pretty much dangled a bone, a juicy and potentially drama-filled bone right in front of my face. I went from disliking book one to being scared to read book two…all the way to being downright hopeful and eager for book three!!! Sometimes you just have to trust the author on these things because now I view the first book in a completely different lightView all my reviews|Excerpt

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Amy Clipston is the best-selling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple best-seller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. She and her family live in North Carolina.

Find out more about Amy on her website at http://www.amyclipston.com

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.”

A Litfuse Review of 'Four Weddings and a Kiss'

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Four Weddings and a KissFour Weddings and a Kiss by Margaret Brownley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Suggested Age: 14+
Genre: Christian, Historical Fiction

It took me a bit to get into this book…I’m not sure why because once I got started, I really enjoyed it. I thought the book had a pretty fast pace to it but I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I’d hoped. I think maybe because the four stories were nearly stand alone and were only tied together by the prologue and epilogue. That’s the only thing I would have changed about this book. I would have made the story flow a bit better together.

Spitfire Sweetheart by Mary Connealy
Maisy MacGregor’s reckless ways injured rancher Rylan Carstens, endangering his livelihood. So she signs on as his caregiver – but just until he’s well enough to run his ranch. Maisy’s tender care soon has Ryan falling hard and fast. Can these two willfull souls give up their solitary ways to embrace love?

My thoughts: I am not sure why but this one bugged me. I felt like Rylan was a bit too overbearing and only changed his ways to get what he wanted, Maisy. The story was well written but I found Maisy and Rylan both to be a bit overbearing

A Love Letter to the Editor by Robin Lee Hatcher
Molly Everton writes the most popular features in her town’s newspaper. When newcomer Jack Ludgrove is named the new editor, Molly is flabbergasted. She wants the position for herself and will do what it takes to get it. But Jack is not easily intimidated. He’s determined to change Molly’s mind about him – and win her heart too.

My Thoughts: I thought this story was okay, a bit rushed but I really liked Molly and Jack. As it is a short story, I understand why it felt so rushed but I really wanted to slow things down and get to know these likeable characters a bit more.

A Cowboy for Katie by Debra Clopton
Katie Pearl must rebuild her ranch after the tornado, but she can’t do it on her own. Treb Rayburn is a cowboy with a serious case of wanderlust. He signs on to help Katie so he can afford a new horse. But once Treb gets to know Katie, will his desire to stay drown out the call of the open road?

My Thoughts: This one was my favorite! I really enjoyed this story and I nearly wish it’d been a full novel. I felt so much for Katie and I appreciated that Treb was willing to take care of her without wounding her pride. Wonderful plot and story.

Courting Trouble by Margaret Brownley
Grace Davenport is a young widow in a heap of trouble. When her son asks attorney Brock Daniels to take on her case, Brock wants to say no, but then he meets the lovely Grace. As Brock and the boy work to free Grace, Brock discovers that her arrest may be the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

My Thoughts: I know, I said that ‘A Cowboy for Katie’ was my favorite but this one is a very close tie! There was a bit of humor and just a sweet simple romance. It didn’t really read like a cowboy tale like the rest of the stories but it was a very pleasant read.

Overall: A very solid 4 star
View all my reviews

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**Margaret Brownley is a NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author and has penned more than thirty novels. Her books have won numerous awards and has written for a TV soap opera. @margaretbrownley

**Robin Lee Hatcher is a Christy and RITA award-winning author. She is the author of over seventy novels and her work often appear on bestseller lists. @robinleehatcher

**Mary Connealy is an award-winning author of romantic comedy with cowboys. Mary and her Nebraska rancher husband have four grown daughters and two spectacular grandchildren. @MaryConnealy

**Debra Clopton is an award winning author of sweet, heartfelt, western romance that face life with a smile. With over 2 million books in print, Debra's first book-to-movie aired on ABC Family and starred LeAnn Rimes. @debraclopton
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 the blog tour for 'Four Weddings and a Kiss' please visit the Litfuse group by clicking here

About Me

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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.