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Monday, June 27, 2011

Keys to The Kingdom By Senator Bob Graham

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vanguard Press (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159315660X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593156602

A very explosive op-ed piece about the 9/11 investigation appears in the New York Times, shortly after it is published its author, former Senator and Co-chair of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Commission John Billington, is murdered near his Florida home.
Tony Ramos, ex-Special Forces operative and former aide to Sen. Billington and currently a State Department intelligence analyst. Billington has left Ramos detailed instructions for an investigation into suspected Saudi complicity in 9/11. Ramos works with Billington's daughter Laura to investigate a conspiracy that involve many countries and people. Ramos and his team race to stop the next terrorist attack. 

My Thoughts:
Political thrillers are not my thing. I normally would not pick one up.  Politics for me is like homework but with that being said I did like the book. It was fast past and very suspenseful. If you like politics or conspiracies or political thrillers then you will love this book. I found it interesting because it was written by a former senator. So he had the inside track on the political parts of the story. I did like how the book was written as I said it was fast paced and I like the writing style.

I rated this book a 3.5 out of 5. I liked it. It was nice to step outside my comfort zone and jump right into this political suspense. 

This book was provided to me free by FSB Associates  for the purpose of review. Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to read and share my thoughts on this book.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Peril in the Palace Review

I recently received a free review copy of The Imagination Station Book 3: Peril in the Palace an Adventures in Odyssey book.

The Imagination Station adventures continue in the third book of the series, Peril in the Palace, as cousins Patrick and Beth are kidnapped by Mongol warriors. Only the friendship of fellow traveler Marco Polo saves them from harm. They are brought to the Mongol palace, where the Kublai Khan dislikes both their gifts and their message about Christianity.

How do the cousins get the golden tablet they need to save Mr. Whittaker’s friend, Albert? How do they escape the city and find the Imagination Station? Enter the perilous palace and find out!

This book is a good option for the early elementary school reader who has finished all the Magic Treehouse books but is still wanting to experiecnce time travel and adventure. The book does follow many of the same story line concepts as the Magic Treehouse books: instead of a tree that whirls and takes them to another time, there is a machine. The 2 kids are cousins instead of siblings and the underlying theme is Christianity rather than magic and wizadry.

You can order Peril in the Palacefrom Amazon or request it at your local library.

***I received a free review copy of Peril in the Palace from Tyndale House Publishing for the purpose of this review.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Her Dear and Loving Husband Review

Her Dear and Loving Husband
By Meredith Allard

About the book:

James Wentworth has a secret. He lives quietly in Salem, Massachusetts, making few ties anywhere. One night his private world is turned upside down when he meets Sarah Alexander, a dead ringer for his wife Elizabeth. Though it has been years since Elizabeth's death, James cannot move on.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Click: An Online Love Story By Lisa Becker


Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1460922638
  • ISBN-13: 978-1460922637
Getting very near her 30th birthday and finding herself not married, not dating, and without even a prospect Renee Greene after being asked by a friend to join the ranks of online dating. Her friend did not want to venture into the online dating pool alone so he asked her to jump in with him. The story unfolds through a series of emails between Renee and her best friends (Mark, Ashley and Shelley) as well as the men she meets online. Renee endures her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates.

My Thoughts:
I love stories told through emails and frankly there are not enough books written this way. I enjoyed this book greatly. It was fun and fast. There is always something cool about getting to read emails. It is like getting a glimpse in to someone's private thoughts. Renee and her friends are likable characters. It is easy to relate to the characters. Most people have struggled with love and the fear of being alone. Very laid back read. I was able to read this book in a day. I love a fun fast read. The author has a wonderful voice and I hope to read more of her works in the future.

Check it out on Facebook.

This is Lisa Becker debut book.

This book is avaliable in print and as an Ebook.

You can buy this though Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes as well as most outlets for ebooks,

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chasing Superwoman Review

I recently recieved a review copy of Chasing Superwoman by Susan M DiMickele. This is an extremely honest, lighthearted, very transaparent look into a Working Mom's life. Susan DiMickele has been a trial lawyer for 14 years and mother for eight of those years.

In this book, Susan gives us a glance into her life as a full time, very busy partner in a law firm and mom of three children under the age of 8.

Being a Mom is the most rewarding job on earth. It is a full time, very intensive investment. However, for many women, being a Mom is not the only full time job they work. Some Moms work outside the home full time, some part time, some work at home, and some juggle multiple job. Sometimes Moms choose to work and pursue a demanding career because it is personally fulfilling and they love it; other Moms have no choice - they just need a paycheck.

No matter where you fit into the working mom model, all Moms feel a constant struggle to balance time with husband, children, friends, and still give their full attention to their profession.

As I read this book, I found myself laughing as I related to Susan juggling a client call on her cell phone while listening to kids stories, filling juice cups and starting a load of laundry. I heard the frustration in her voice as she returned a work related business call on the road when the cell phone service is coming in and out and they're almost to their play date location.

Susan doesn't have all the answers in this book. In fact, she asks more questions than she really offers solutions. Susan is a Christian who struggles to find a way to live her faith in a demanding profession. She struggles with the same doubts and fears that many Moms have: Are her children and husband are getting the time and attention they need? Is she modeling the life, work ethic and balance she wants her kids to learn?

This is a great read for all Moms. Thanks Susan for letting me read this book and offer 2 signed books to my readers.

You may buy Chasing Superwomanfrom Amazon.


To enter this giveaway, go to Real Life Deals and follow the instructions

Giveaway Ends June 27, 8 PM EST.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Still Man Fights By Justin Leeper- Q&A and Review

Justin Leeper is as exciting as his debut novel. This is first novel but he is no stranger to writing. He has written three video games which also tie into fighting. He wrote the story-content for three WWE games. He is a former Midwesterner but currently (and as he says for now) hangs his hat in California with the love of his life, Kate, his wife . To go along with writing content on the WWE games he has lived a very exciting life. He has worked for the heavy metal band Gwar, reviewed games for Game Informer Magazine, wrestled as angry German Helmut Von Strauss, performed custom karaoke mash-ups in front of dozens of drunk people, choreographed fights for History Channel, and designed WWE video games. And check out the beard. He is also a very nice person to talk with and very kind to do a Q&A with me so as follows Justin and for one question Kate kindly sit through and answer all my questions.

Robin: Describe your book in 5 words.
Justin: Time passes; we make choices.

Robin :This is your first novel but you have written other things. Can you tell a little bit about what you have written?
Justin: I've always loved writing. In high school, I wrote a short story about a monk who comes upon an evil fighting tournament. My love of writing got me a job with the heavy-metal band Gwar, writing copy for their web site. Later, I spent 8 years writing reviews and features for magazines, sites, and TV shows that cover video games -- Game Informer magazine, Yahoo, and G4 TV are just a few outlets. My last gig was writing all the story-based content for 3 WWE video games (WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009, 2010, 2011).

Robin :I know from your bio you have video game industry experience. Do you think Still Man Fights would translate well into a game?
Justin: It was impossible not to bring some video-game flavor to Still Man Fights. However, the way Idle fights -- staying still until the very last moment, almost like he's in slow-motion -- doesn't lend itself too well to action games like God of War or Zelda.
Some fights did remind me of a very popular iPhone game (and no, it's not Angry Birds). In Infinity Blade, you face off against heavily-armed knights, dodging and parrying in real-time. The battles in Still Man are not dissimilar, though instead of holding a sword Idle is more likely holding a tiny baby.

Robin: Did writing for the video games help with writing this?
Justin:The video-game-writing experience definitely helped with writing Still Man Fights. That was the most creative I had been to that point. I find creativity is like a muscle: The more you use it, the stronger it gets. For WWE SmackDown vs. Raw, I had hefty deadlines, established characters I had to abide by, and several people critiquing my work. For Still Man Fights, I had a lot less restrictions. Some people find that openness imposing, but I really embraced it. Being unshackled was my motivation to write the book in the first place.

Robin: From your Bio I can tell you are a man of many talents and you have done quite a few exciting things. What was your favorite work experience leading up to being an author?
Justin: I've been fortunate to get to do a lot of fun, fulfilling things in the interest of keeping the lights on. I'll go with directing motion-capture on the WWE video games as my favorite. We have about 100 minutes of cinematic scenes (cutscenes) for every game, which we record in a big studio where the actors wear light sensors that dozens of cameras then read and interpret. The stories I wrote and the scenes I choreographed came to life in front of me. We had an extremely talented team of actors, wrestlers, and crew, and I was the one who got to stir the pot.

Robin: So many authors I have spoken to listen to music or make a soundtrack to the book. Did you listen to music while writing or is there a song or songs that you think fit the book?
Justin: I love music; I almost always have a song going in my head. But when I'm writing, I need to be able to listen to myself and the characters in the scene. As a result, I usually keep things pretty silent around me. At times I'll throw on something instrumental or low-key -- some Andrew Bird or Feist -- but I'm too easily distracted to keep a soundtrack on for long. Conversely, when I'm brainstorming ideas for fight choreography, I'll crank something aggressive to set the mood.

Robin: What message are you trying to send your readers?
Justin: Two come to mind:
Many characters in Still Man Fights are very powerful, but their powers are not infinite. We don't always weigh the cost of our actions until it's too late.
Parenting is one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. That's a reason I'm not one. Growing up, I had three father figures. I also have a half-sister I was a guardian to for a spell. No parent is perfect, but children look up to and are influenced by their parents -- sometimes idolizing them. Still Man Fights has examples of good fathers and bad fathers. Their offspring don't necessarily follow that same path, but are definitely affected by the choices their fathers make. I want everyone to remember parents are human, and for parents to remember to consider their young fan clubs.

Robin : What is your all time favorite book?
Justin: If you asked this question every day for a month, I'd probably give you 20 different answers. Today, I'll say it's Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Ender is perhaps the deepest character I've ever run across; he simultaneously evokes pity and admiration. The story itself has such tension and drama, and pays off in spades.
Robin: When and why did you begin writing?
Justin: I've always written; I have examples dating back to 2nd grade. It's such a pure, simple form of expression and creativity. It's the ideal chronicle of any event or emotion you want to document. It's therapeutic for any highs or lows you experience. So yeah...writing is basically the BEST THING EVER. I'm always encouraging friends and family to write about things going on with them -- whether it's my best friend pondering retirement from pro-wrestling or my mother struggling with the death of her dad. Just writing it out puts things in perspective and can make you feel better.

Robin: How did the design come about for your book cover?
Justin: Robert Goodwin is my martial-arts instructor of 6 years, and an experienced fight guy in Hollywood. He was a big inspiration for the Idle character. When it came time to do a cover, I didn't just want a simple still-life like most e-books. After all, finishing a first novel is a big deal and should be commemorated as such!
The original thought was to have Robert/Idle standing still, holding the baby while a punch flew toward him. My friend Tim Dax is a heavily tattooed actor/bodybuilder, so I thought he'd be a great puncher. Once Tim got to the shoot, I realized I'd be a fool to only use his arm. We took a bunch of shots of these two, with Robert holding the baby and Tim menacing him. My wife had created a mock-up of The Answer, a nasty weapon from the book, and we incorporated that.
Once we finished, I gave all the shots to Zoe Flint, my talented artist friend. She waved a magic wand (or Photoshop) over everything, and it turned out cooler than I could have imagined. I've been meaning to turn the image into a poster. Or t-shirt. Or billboard. I love it.

Robin: I guess your Martial Arts Training and movie battles helped with the writing of fighting scenes. What types of fighting styles have you trained in?
Justin: I have been training in film-fighting/stage combat for over six years. Every week, we work in several styles: Kali, jeet kune do, many weapons. We're always perfecting existing fights or making new ones. Four years of pro-wrestling gave me a basis for choreography, and I also earned a red belt in taekwondo as a teen.
I worked very hard on the fight scenes in Still Man Fights. I wanted it to be possible for experienced fighters to physically act them out if they wanted, but also to allow the average reader to visualize what was going on. When Idle fights, it's like the world slows down -- though he's actually moving quite fast when he counters and strikes. I had to give proper attention to both the detail and the speed; hopefully, I succeeded.

Robin: Who are some of your writing influences?
Justin: Frank Herbert's Dune is such a great piece of literature; he melded a unique world, great characters and this kind of mystical essence together and threw in some satisfying action. Those are all things I was shooting for.
Steve Perry's Matador trilogy is one of my favorites, and he really uses his martial-arts background to thrilling result. As a long-time martial artist, I wanted to emulate that.
I love how Orson Scott Card wrote the children of Ender's Game, because they weren't merely dumbed-down adults. Children play a big role in Still Man Fights, so I wanted to pay them the same respect.

Robin: I noticed the cover reads "A NewHome Novel," which leads me to believe that there will be more. Will you revisit characters or will it just be set in the same world as this one?
Justin: Those who make it out of Still Man Fights -- both characters and readers -- will see the opportunity to do more in NewHome. As this story is so character-driven, I think it'd be nice to expand upon the world itself in another book. We'll see if readers agree.

Robin: I like how you wrote accents. Was that to show just how diverse newhome is?
Justin: One of the aspects of creating characters is establishing their ancestry. Since everyone on NewHome is only three generations removed from Earth, they have ties to various Earth locations. For example, I gave LJ and his area a Brazilian influence. The rural town where Idle lives is more Southern US. But of course, the people of NewHome have their own phrases and pop culture that has evolved over the years.
You may notice some of the more paternal, authoritative characters speak in very proper language, rarely using contractions. That's my way of showing them as more powerful, or at least them trying to give off that aura.

Robin: I have also heard that you are super good at karaoke. What is your fave song to perform?
Justin: Karaoke is a passion of mine. I'm an abysmal singer, so I've come to perform custom mashups where I perform hip-hop songs to the music of other songs. It's a lot of fun -- not only to perform, but to watch the faces of people when they figure out what's going on. First they prepare themselves for the song that comes up; then they're confused why I'm rapping different words; then they may or may not get it. It adds some creativity to karaoke. My favorite mashup is probably doing Beastie Boys' "So Whatcha Want" to Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song." If you search "Justin Leeper Karaoke" on YouTube, you'll come across a few videos.

Robin : Two Part questions, one for you and one for your wife if she is willing: In the acknowledgments you thanked your wife Kate. When you decided to start writing this what did she say and how did she encourage you along the way? For Kate: What was the best part of taking this journey with him?
Justin: I am blessed to have the best wife I could ever hope for. She's been nothing but encouraging throughout, as she has with everything in our 9-year relationship. I think she felt some uncertainty at times -- as did I -- but she was instrumental in helping me every step of the process.
Kate: For me, the best part of taking this journey with Justin was in getting to know these characters he created. Through conversations with Justin over the last several years, I started to know these people (characters) in ways that aren’t even represented in the novel, but the plot was still very much unknown to me until I read a close to final draft. So it was exciting to see what happened to the characters and how they dealt with different situations.
I think too, as an avid reader, it was the first time that I really saw the writing process and it had me thinking about fiction in a different way… the choices an author makes about character development, character choice and especially plot. How deliberate and yet unwieldy the process can be. I found myself wondering, with awe “How does the writer know how to progress the story?” So in the end, this journey not only deepened my appreciation for my husband’s abilities, but also deepened my appreciation for literature.

Robin: What inspires you?
Justin: I am inspired by creativity. Let's face it: Our country is having some troubles. People are losing their jobs through no fault of their own. Money is tight all over. But some people take the risk of going outside the box, doing creative or artistic things, and hoping others will appreciate and embrace what they do. Risk and hard work are the two paths to reward. I am inspired by those who tread either path.
I am hoping people will risk $2.99 to sample my creativity with Still Man Fights. If they do, I would love to hear what they think. Still Man Fights has its own Facebook page, and my Twitter is @StillManFights.

Thanks so much to Justin for answering my questions. I had a blast talking with him about his book and his life.

Synopsis: Idle, a decent man in a lawless world, made up of Earth's cast offs finds an abandoned baby in a cave. Taking it upon himself to care for her he takes her with him and together start on a journey together. Idle not sure what the future or destiny holds other then that he knows there is something special about this child. This is also the story LJ, the son of the biggest crime boss on the planet who has a power that he is sure makes his destiny great. There world collides in ways no one can foresee.

My Thoughts : For honesty's sake I will tell you I was a bit intimidated by this book. The cover itself told that it was going to have some serious fighting in it and I am not a huge fight fan but It is easy to get into the fights. They are exciting and descriptive and you sort of hang there with Idle as he fights. I love how he mentally keeps track of the fight. It is an amazing device to bring you closer to the event. But really there is so much more to this book then fights. Intertwined is the story of Idle the man and the story of Dahl and how he became the man Idle.  The glimpses at the past really make you understand him so much more.
Idle is smart, fast thinking and caring and quite witty at times. He makes you root for him. He makes you smile. He is a character you genuinely can like and can almost feel his sadness. happiness and conscience pouring out. Who could not love a Hulking warrior that literally pours his heart and soul into caring for a Child that has no one else. The trials and adjustments he makes for this Child is priceless.  Idle's beliefs and values are a nice addition to the story and sheds light on who he is.
The book itself was a nice blend of Action, humor and humility. Idle is witty and wise and there were some awesome lines like  "Best to make weapons of your body and mind, which none can strip from you." "It was working about as well as putting a bonnet on a grizzly bear."  "It was as though she was a human slot machine: either needing to be fed, cleaned up, or just paid attention to at random." "Get caught up on the past, and someone may steal your future." Were among some of my favorites.
There was actually several scenes where I was so surprised I gasped out loud. I love a story that makes me cry, sit on the edge of my seat and care about the fate of characters and this one was able to do all three. I found myself with tears in my eyes and rooting for the characters I had come to like.
This story as much as it is Idle and the baby's story it is also Julio Muerta III, LJ for short, story who despite being young he has been through quite a lot especially being the Patron (NewHome's Most powerful crime boss) son's and finding he has a power that he is not quite sure what to do with. His story intermingled among Idle's brings this character to life.  He is a true troublemaker but maybe there is more in store for him then the people in his life would think.
When the two stories, Idle and LJ come together the action and story get intense and exciting. There are twist and turns and unexpected events that will leave you wanting to continue on with the characters.
The author has done an amazing job creating characters and bringing them to life. The descriptions of the world and people are mesmerizing. I look forward to more books in this world NewHome.  I think there are many more adventures  to tell. I would love to see the story of Shadow Walker or the Ship that began this new world to explore. I would recommend this not only for people that like fantasy and action/adventure but also for people who enjoy a story filled with love, compassion and hope.

Where to Buy: This is available as an E-Book in many different formats for just $2.99.

Barnes & Noble

Author and Book Information:
Justin Leeper
Still Man Fights
Twitter @StillManFights

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hearts on the Run Review

Hearts on the Run
By Bonnie Humbarger Lamer

About the book:

Jack has a broken heart but that's the least of his problems. Someone wants him dead by Monday.

Abby just found out her boss/boyfriend is a two timing sleaze.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Haunted Review by Samantha Stroy

    " The Haunted" by Jessica Verday
Book Two in The Hollow Triliogly
  The back of the book says:
  After months spent reclaiming her sanity and trying to forget the boy she fell in love with------- the boy who must not exist, cannot exist, because she knows he'd dead_____ Abbey returns to Sleepy Hollow, ready to leave her ghosts of her past behind. She throws herself into her school-work, her perfume making, and her friendship with Ben, her cute and  funny lab partner, who just might be her ticket to getting over Caspian once and for all.
  But, Abbey can never get over Caspian, and Caspian has no choice to return to her side, for Caspian is a Shade, and Abbey is his destiny. They are tied not only to each other , but also to the town of Sleepy Hollow and the famous legend that binds their fates----- a legend whose dark truths they are only the beginnning to guess....
My review-
    The second novel to " The Hollow Trilogy," was just as good as " The Hollow" in my opinion. Another page turner that kept wanting more.
In this novel, we fine out who Nikolas and Katy are, what happened to Kristen and who killed her, along, with why Abbey and Caspian can't stand to be away from each other.
One word to describe " The Haunted," is Amazing!
To me each chapter kept me in suspense and I just was dying to read more. As much as I want to tell you what happened to Kristen, I won't. Only because I don't want to let it spoil it for you. Let that be the reason for reading the book.
It starts off with Abbey returning to Sleepy Hollow., and she has to give a speech about kristen at the new bridge ceremony.
The, Abbey slowly makes her way to the cemetary many times in search for answers. At first, she was confused but simply got over the feeling
I found myself literally laughing out loud in many parts of the book because Caspian is trying to be a cute, wise-guy, jealoys and loving guy her is, couldn't stand Abbey gettingf help from Ben for her science class.
So, because no one but Abbey ( that's human) can hear or see Caspian, he made some really funny comments. I couldn't help but laugh.
For all the hopeless romantics such as myself, we find out how it feels to love someone and feel complete in our hearts after reading this.
A lot of Caspian's personality reminds me of my husband and how he won my heart over fourteen years ago.
Overall, this novel is Amazing. I look forward to the last novel in this trilogy " The Hidden" which comes out September 2011. We will then hopefully find out more about Abbey and Caspian's love for each other and I honestly can't wait.
 For all those of you who believe in Soulmates, and eternal love and devotion can complete you, then you have to read this trilogy.
I haven't read a good series since I finished " The Twilight Saga," by Stephanie Meyer and I fell in love with all the cheesy romance and pick-up lines.
In conclusion, if you love the paranormal romance or think it isn't real, in my heart it is quite possible to find your soulmate.
This book will find you happy, sad, laughing out loud, smiling, at the edge of your seat, blushing and teary eyes all at once.
Thank you to Jessica Verday for being a great writer and answering some of my questions via Facebook that I have asked since I read " The Hollow" almost two years ago.
For Eternal Love and Devotion,
Happy Reading!


Monday, June 13, 2011

If God Is Good Review

Recently I received a free review copy of If God is Good:Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn from Kingsley Press.

This is a hardback back, 500 page book that explores the idea of how a good God can allow suffering and evil in the world.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God—Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

In this book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

At one point, Alcorn compares this question to the way we sometimes relate to small children. As parents we tell them no more sweets or take away a favorite pet if it is causing them to be sick because of allergies. We know this is for their good, but the children cannot understand that. So God sometimes allows things to happen that we will not understand until we reach Heaven.

Here is a video clip intereview with the author Randy Alcorn.

Alcorn has a way of breaking deep thoughts down and addressing them in a way that you can understand and relate to.
Kingsley Press Facebook
Kingsley Press website

***I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This video clip is used from the Kingsley Press website.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Breathless Book Winner

The Breathless Book was a joint giveaway promotion running on Bees Knees Reviews and Real Life Deals. There were 44 joint entries. I put the Bees Knees comments first, then Real Life Deals and let choose a winner.

The winner chosen by is #36 - Camiele (posted on the Real Life Deals site).

MicroBusiness For Teens Review

Recently I received a free review copy of the book Starting a Micro Business for Teens by Carol Topp. I have to admit that at first look I thought the book would be dry. But after reading it, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is very helpful book for parents and teens who are ready to earn some money without going the traditional route of fast food.

The book helps teens discover their personal strengths and then offers practical suggestions of how to turn their hobbies and strengths into money making opportunities.

Micro Businesses offer teens short term jobs that require little or no start up money and opportunities to learn about how to manage time, money and people skills.

Several examples of micro businesses for teens include teaching young children how to play a musical instrument, mowing lawns, giving private tutoring to local adults on itunes, facebook and internet, cleaning neighbors garage, weeding and cleaning up gardens.....

This book helps the teen learn how to set up a basic business plan and run their micro business.

I really feel that children and teens need to learn how to manage money while they're young so they won't make the same mistakes we made. Great read!

About the author:

Carol Topp, CPA advises teenage business owners though her Micro Business for Teens book series. Carol’s day job is accountant to business owners, and she enjoys teaching teenagers to succeed beyond their dreams. Students appreciate how she shares what they need to know in clear and helpful lessons. Visit her website here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Friendship Bread By Darien Gee Review and Giveaway-Closed

Julia Evarts and her five-year-old daughter, Gracie, come home to find on the front porch: a homemade loaf of Amish Friendship Bread and a simple note: I hope you enjoy it. Along with it came a bag of starter, instructions on how to make the bread, and a request to share it with others.
Still  stung by personal tragedy Julia remains at a loss as to how to move on with her life. She’d just as soon toss the anonymous gift, but to make Gracie happy, she agrees to bake the bread.
When Julia meets two newcomers to the small town of Avalon, Illinois, she sparks a connection by offering them her extra bread starter.  Madeline Davis is laboring to keep her tea salon going while Hannah Wang de Brisay, a famed concert cellist, dealing with her career and marriage both of which are abruptly changing. In the warm kitchen of Madeline’s tea salon, the three women forge a friendship that will change their lives forever.
In no time, everyone in Avalon is baking Amish Friendship Bread.
My Thoughts:
I felt extremely lucky to be chosen to read an early copy of this amazing book. I find Darien Gee to be a masterful storyteller. She takes a group of people and makes them real and makes us care and love them. She weaves together lives in a heartfelt way. I love the prologue, Leon is an amazing character and shows how one person can touch the lives of so many and never ask for anything in return. I love Madeline, Livvy and Julia, Hannah and they did not even realize what they needed until they found it.  One of the best characters in the book is little Gracie. I love the way she looks at the world. Loss and regret is something she has always known. Leon's simple gift of Amish Friendship bread for a family that had known so much sadness was not just the event that brought them all together but the bind that held them together so they could find love and friendship again.

Friendship Bread is a wonderful book that will have you laughing and crying. It is simply beautiful.

The recipes in the back were added bonus. Amish Friendship Bread is fun and tasty. I was even able to adapted the recipe and make gluten free Amish Friendship Bread.

I recommend this book to everyone. Those in love, out of love, hurting, grieving. This is one of those books that will touch your heart. 

If you would like to read more by this auther she also writes under the name Mia King.
Where to buy:
Learn More:
See her other books:

16PK @ Knee Deep in Grace said...
    I left a comment on your Room: A Novel Review. Quite a stretch from Darien's Friendship Bread, but it sounds interesting.
    Continued blessings,
    June 7, 2011 7:00 PM  

The winner has been contacted. Thanks to everyone for entering.

Now the fun part as I said I was lucky to get an early copy of this and along with the Book Darien Gee sent an Audio Copy of the book and I would like for someone to get this Audio Book so they can enjoy this book as well. If you would like to win this Audio Book you can enter by leaving comments below.You have a few ways to enter.
1.) Head over to The Friendship bread kitchen and tell me what recipe you would try if you has some starter.  
2.) Like Darian Gee on Facebook and if you like you can tell her Robin Blankenship @ Bee's Knees Reviews sent you. She is a great lady.
3.) Become a Google Friend Connect Follower of Bee's Knees Reviews.
4.) Check out one of the other reviews on the site.

Post each entry in a separate comment and be sure to leave me an email so I can contact you at if you win and on June 14th at 8 PM EST, the giveaway will close and I will choose a winner via Thanks for reading and good luck.

Robin B.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Breathless Review & Giveaway - Closed

No spoiler warning needed! (I love reading a good book, and hate knowing the outcome, so this is not a spoiler!)

Recently I received a free review copy of Breathless from Scott Prussing.

Leesa Nyland is ready to start a new life as a college freshman in Connecticut – the city where her mom claims to have been bit by a one-fanged vampire 18 years ago, and the city from which her brother has just disappeared. Leesa is determined to find out what happened to her brother, even if she has to make a life altering decision to save him.

Although she has seen her Mom’s erratic behavior her whole life and heard the stories about the vampire, Leesa isn’t quite sure she can believe. But after meeting Stephan and Rave and attending a class on Vampire Science, maybe the stories she has heard are actually more truth than fiction.

Family Values: Leesa shows admirable family loyalty, care and support for her family members. It’s refreshing to find a main character with such love, devotion and loyalty for her mother and brother.

Sexual Content: Due to the nature of some of the characters, the sexual content of the book is restricted to holding hands, an occasional kiss and dressing on the edge for special parties.

Language: There is very little use of language.

Even though the subject matter seems dark (vampires, volkaanes, and fangs), Breathless is able to stay a nice light summer read. I enjoyed reading the book. The fact that I was still unsure of the outcome of the book when I was 8 pages from the end tells me this was well written.

Thanks to the author, Scott Prussing for sending free review copies of this book for the purpose of my review and giveaway.

This giveaway is being hosted by Bees Knees Reviews and Real Life Deals.

If you would like to win a copy of Breathless, you have 4 options:
1: Visit the Breathless website and tell me how old Leesa was when she first became fascinated by vampires.
2: Like Breathless on Facebook.
3. Become a Google friend on Real Life deals
4. Become a google friend on Bees Knees Reviews

Giveaway will end June 12, 8 PM EST.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

Review by Samantha Stroy

The Hollow by Jessica Verday
    When Abbey's best friend Kristen vanishes from the bridge near Sleepy Hollow
cemetery everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead... and the rumors
fly that her death was no accident.
Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend but privately she refuses

to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous boy and
mysterious boy who shows up at Kristen's funeral out of no where and keeps
reappearing in Abbey's life.
Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel

normal again... but also special.
Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that

makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could
Kristen keep silent about so much? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal,
she clearly uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her---- one that will
challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.
( Taken from the back of the book)
My thought's on the book--
  I enjoyed this book. It starts off getting you hooked on how Abbey's best friend Kristen
died mysteriously . Abbey went to the cemetery every day to grieve. Always stopped by
the founder of Sleepy Hollow which is where the town is based on. A story based on a
headless horseman that rides along the bridge in the middle of the night and only some
people can see him as he is a ghost and scares people.
After awhile Abbey meets Caspian by the river where Kristen supposely died. He fell in

love with Abbey and she fell in love with him too. He would always be at the river
drawing pictures of her. He made her a beautiful blue sapphire necklace with a cute
nickname for Abbey named after a star in the sky, "Astrid."
I felt the love in this story. It kept me wanting to read more and not put the book down.
Caspian is described as the dreamy popular boy type.
Turns out he was a ghost and he had one day to be human and be able to feel againn

and he kisses Abbey. as she is the only one who can see him.
She found out he wasn't real when she was invited by an elderly couple into their home.

They warned her to stay away from Caspian but never said why.
At Kristen's wake, Abbey went to her room and found a diary that was about normal

stuff, and then a hidden one behind her bed taped which makes me think she fell in love
with Caspain too and somehow I think he has something to do with her diappearance.
Abbey has this obsession and is very good at making perfumes. She made a special one

for Kristen and holiday's.
She would get different signs from kristen trying to tell her what happened but Abbey

would always wake up before she found out anything.
I really like how Jessica Verday wrote this book. It was a page turner from page one. I
do recommend this book to anyone who loves a paranormal romance and likes a little
mystery in between.
It was romantic and Caspian felt Abbey's void of losing her best friend.
The next book in " The Hollow trilogy" is called " The Haunted," which I am currently

reading. It is also a page turner so far. Stay tuned for the next review in the triliogy
from me.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dave Ramsey Money Answer Book

I recently received a free copy of the Dave Ramsey Money Answer Book for me to review. 

I enjoyed reading this book alot.  It is set up as a series of question/answers.  This makes really easy reading especially if you are running in circles with small kids.  I appreciated the straightforward way the book addresses each question and money issue.
I have to admit that I really didn’t know much about Dave Ramsey’s philosophy toward money. I occasionally listen on the radio and have heard a few things in church bulletins, but this was really my first in depth look at his money tips.
I love his concept of how to use money -  “save some, give some, spend some”. He feels very strongly that all credit cards are bad. For me personally, we owed the credit card companies so many years that I love the fact that those credit card companies are now paying us when we get points. 
This book reiterates the importance of teaching kids at a really young age about how to handle money. 
Great book – easy reading! Well worth the time!
You can order The Money Answer Book from Amazon.


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