30 January, 2017

Sweeping Historical Fiction Set At The Edge Of The Continent

*Disclaimer*
I received a copy of this book free to review. I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.



*About the Book*
After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.



When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

*My Review*
When I was younger and in (home)school having to learn about history, I didn't want to. I huffed and puffed and pouted & did everything I could to keep from reading because I thought history was so boring. I also never liked reading, though you wouldn't be able to tell now because I love reading.

Anyway, the cover of this book(mostly the Fleur De Lis') & the info about it was what made me want to read more. I love historical fiction. I am FROM Louisiana, & I also recently found out that my family on my father's side are both Canadian & Cajun French, so I love reading any and everything about the French settling of America and more recently I've become obsessed with learning about the history of New Orleans, so I think this book is especially interesting.

This was my first time reading anything by Jocelyn Green, and like always I'm nervous when reading something an Author that is new to me. I worry about if they will get historical facts correct, whether or not the characters are in depth or if they are flat and boring. Thankfully that was not the case with "Mark of the King"


Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2iKM4uj
About the author:




Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of ten books to date, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013; Widow of GettysburgYankee in Atlanta; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. A former military wife herself, her passion for military families informs all of her writing as well as her numerous speaking opportunities. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University with a BA in English and now lives with her husband and two children in Iowa.

23 January, 2017

Thousands have been wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Five have survived quadruple amputee injuries. This is one soldier's story.

*Disclaimer*

I received a copy of this book free to review. I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.

*My Review*
"As Tough As They Come" is based on the amazing and incredibly inspiring true story about SSG Travis Mills who is a quadruple amputee after being wounded during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. I don't normally EVER read books like this, but I thought that my husband(who is a Ret. disabled Vet) would like to read this as well. 

While I mostly got it for my husband, I could not put this book down. I am forever grateful to SSG Travis Mills for his courage, determination and the love he has for our country to sacrifice all that he has, as well as all of our other military members(including my husband).

This is a book that I recommend to everyone to read. It will change you.


*About the Book*
Thousands of soldiers die year to defend their country. United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills was sure that he would become another statistic when, during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, he was caught in an IED blast four days before his twenty-fifth birthday. Against the odds, he lived, but at a severe cost—Travis became one of only five soldiers from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to survive a quadruple amputation. 
Suddenly forced to reconcile with the fact that he no longer had arms or legs, Travis was faced with a future drastically different from the one he had imagined for himself. He would never again be able to lead his squad, stroke his fingers against his wife’s cheek, or pick up his infant daughter. 
Travis struggled through the painful and anxious days of rehabilitation so that he could regain the strength to live his life to the fullest.  With enormous willpower and endurance, the unconditional love of his family, and a generous amount of faith, Travis shocked everyone with his remarkable recovery. Even without limbs, he still swims, dances with his wife, rides mountain bikes, and drives his daughter to school.  
Travis inspires thousands every day with his remarkable journey. He doesn’t want to be thought of as wounded.  “I'm just a man with scars,” he says, “living life to the fullest and best I know how.”  


— Winner, 67th Annual Christopher Award



Experience The Gospels In A Way That You Never Imagined

*Disclaimer*
I received a copy of this book free to review. I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you” —Job 12:7


*About the Book*
In this beautifully inspired retelling of the Gospels, we see Jesus and his disciples in the Holy Land through the eyes of the animals—especially his intrepid and loyal dog, Eden.
With a wise, old donkey, innocent lambs, and legions of curious field mice—the animals follow their master’s journey across Galilee and onto Jerusalem, rapt with awe and wonder and bearing great tidings—even if they don’t fully comprehend the divine events they witness.

Simple, clear, and spiritually profound, Eden is for readers of all ages, this artful retelling is captivating, moving, and alive with the joy you felt the first time you opened the Bible.






*My Review*
"Eden: The Animals Parables" is a very impressive way to look at the Gospels. This is such a beautiful re-telling of the story that changed the world. This book will capture your heart & you might just catch yourself shedding a tear or two. I recommend this book to everyone!

Keith Korman’s ‘Eden’ Kindle Fire Giveaway

Return to the story of Jesus and read it from a new perspective in Keith Korman's Eden: The Animals' Parable. In this beautifully inspired retelling of the Gospels, we see Jesus and his disciples in the Holy Land through the eyes of the animals—especially his intrepid and loyal dog, Eden. Simple, clear, and spiritually profound, Eden is for readers of all ages, this artful retelling is captivating, moving, and alive with the joy you felt the first time you opened the Bible.

Settle in for some winter reading and enter to win a copy of Keith's book and a Kindle Fire!

 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Eden
  • A Kindle Fire
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on January 24. The winner will be announced January 25 on Keith's blog.

Reunion Tower in Dallas, Tx

*Disclaimer*
This post is sponsored by U.S. Family Guide & Reunion Tower. I am not paid for this post, but I will receive tickets for myself and my family in exchange for my honest review. 


From 470 feet up you'll experience breathtaking 360-degree panoramic views, high-definition zoom cameras, interactive touch screens, telescopes, photo ops and an indoor/outdoor observation deck that lets you see for miles in any direction.

The journey begins in our PIX photo experience at the bottom of the tower. Guests are able to take their photo in front of a green screen and change their backgrounds to one of six images of the Dallas skyline. Next, guests board the elevators that are ready to usher them 470 feet in the air in 68 seconds to the GeO-Deck.



This indoor/outdoor observation deck lets guests explore the city unlike anywhere else. Step up to the interactive touch screen Halo and with just one swipe discover local hidden gems, historic landmarks, museums, parks and much more. 

Ready for a different view? Head outside for a lap around the exterior deck and feel the wind in your hair as you stand 470 feet on the outside deck! Day or night, make the iconic Reunion Tower your first stop to explore interesting things to see and do in Dallas.
$3 off General Admission to Reunion Tower's GeO-Deck - Receive $3 off an adult general admission ticket to Reunion Tower's GeO-Deck when you present this coupon or mention code "USFam"!


For more information visit reuniontower.com
http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=13203&dealid=3129 .@usfg

19 January, 2017

SmitCo LLC - Fun products for girls ages 2 - 12!

*Disclaimer*
This post is sponsored by U.S. Family Guide & SmitCo. I am not paid for this post, but I will be considered to review a product of my choice in exchange for my honest opinion.



More Information About The Brand:
Quality, affordable gifts for girls ages 2 to 12. SmitCo has several different diaries with lock and keys and diary sets for girls in Emoji and Diva themes, as well as several different nail art sets to provide hours of fun.









A huge hit is the brand new Mermaid themed scrapbook kit as well as 3 unique princess dress up sets. 







SmitCo products also include rose gold, gold or rhodium plated jewelry and sets, as well as very popular stretch sets for little girls - all packed in cute gift boxes. 






Find all the great products here:
https://www.smitcollc.com/

16 January, 2017

Moving from Broken to Beautiful through Forgiveness

*Disclaimer*
I received a copy of this book free to review. I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.



*About the Book*
Since we don’t have alligator skin and a heart of stone, people will hurt us especially those closest to us. We also make mistakes in life and hurt others. Yvonne uses personal anecdotes and the timeless truths of God to help women trade shame and guilt for God’s grace to forgive themselves, to overcome anger and bitterness and with God’s power forgive others, to break free from the prison of the past, and gain the peace and freedom of forgiveness. With forgiveness comes living life to the fullest. This is book three in the series, Moving from Broken to Beautiful®.
















*My Review*
This was my first time reading anything by Yvonne Ortega, but I was very pleased with this book. "Moving from Broken to Beautiful through Forgiveness" is simple yet powerful at the same time. 

The thought of forgiving someone who has severely hurt us is never easy and many time we are left feeling guilty because of our lack of wanting to forgive.
Ortega gives us the answers to the truth behind forgiveness, while skillfully using Scripture to reinforce her points. She explains what forgiveness really means, & most importantly outlines what forgiveness is not.

This is a really short read & is one of the most direct and powerful explanations I have every read about a hard topic, especially for Christians who are struggling with forgiveness.
Ortega uses her own personal story of abuse, & goes on to talk about the emotional difficulty that forgiveness can bring to those of us who feel that forgiveness is allowing people to get away with their wrongdoing. 

As a Christian, I myself have had difficulty forgiving even though I understand what the Bible says about forgiveness, but thanks to this book I am working on it daily.

This book has exercises to make you think and to help you with the process of forgiveness & gain the peace of mind we all deserve. 

This is an amazing book, and I encourage everyone to read "Moving From Broken to Beautiful Through Forgiveness".

12 January, 2017

Soup’s On In The Medieval Times Kingdom! Enjoy A Castle Favorite, The Tomato Bisque, & Help Dallas Life With Food Donations.

*Disclaimer*
This post is sponsored by Medieval Times(Dallas). By sharing about the food drive for Dallas Life I will receive tickets to Medieval times for myself and my family.
Winter's chill is taking hold of the kingdom this January and

February, and what better way to warm up than with a hot, delicious bowl of soup! Known for

their famous tomato bisque, Medieval Times is partnering with non-profit Dallas LIFE to help

those in need create their own healthy soups by tackling hunger in North Texas with a food

drive and by releasing the bisque recipe for all to make.

To donate, bring any non-perishable food item to the Dallas castle and receive 45% off adult

admission for a Thursday, Sunday or the 2 pm Saturday show through February 12 th. Suggested

food items include the makings for soups including tomato sauce, beans or peas, broths or

stocks and canned vegetables.

The history of soup is as old as the history of cooking. The act of combining various ingredients

in a large pot to create a nutritious, filling, easily digested, simple to make/serve food was

inevitable. This made it the perfect choice for both sedentary and travelling cultures, rich and

poor, healthy people and invalids. Soup (and stews, pottages, porridges, gruels, etc.) evolved as

dictated by local ingredients and tastes. There was no tableware, so soup was drunk right out of

the bowl, as was any type of stew.


Soups are a great option nutritionally, they provide us with lots of important nutrients including

vitamins and minerals for relatively few calories. Soup can be a simple addition to any meal and

a great way to make sure that you and your family get the essential servings of whole grains,

vegetables and protein in one bowl.

“There is no secret to creating an amazing soup,” said Frank Dameron, Director of Food Services

at Medieval Times. “It’s all about the ingredients. The best herbs and fresh produce will help

keep even the coldest Dallas/Fort Worth winter days at bay.” 


MEDIEVAL TIMES TOMATO BISQUE (home version)

2 tbls. canola oil

2 ea. medium carrots, peeled

1 ea. celery stalk, cleaned and trimmed

½ ea. medium onion, peeled

1 tsp. garlic, minced

2 ea. 6 oz. cans tomato paste

1 ea. 15 1/2 oz can tomato puree

5 cups water

1 tsp. paprika

3 tbls. sugar

2 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper

Pinch Italian seasoning

½ ea. lemon, for juice


1. Cut the carrots, celery and onion into small pieces about ½ inches. Place the carrots,

onions and celery into a food processor fitted with the knife blade and pulse until they

are finely minced, almost pureed.

2. Heat the canola oil in a 5 – 6 quart stainless steel sauce pan or pot. Add the finely

minced carrots, onions and celery and cook until vegetables are soft but not browned,

about 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

4. Add the tomato paste and stir into the vegetables to combine well and cook for another

2 minutes.

5. Add the tomato puree, water, paprika sugar, salt, ground pepper, Italian Seasoning and

juice from ½ lemon.

6. Bring soup to a boil while stirring frequently. Once soup comes to a boil, reduce heat to

a simmer and continue to simmer for 20 minutes, while stirring frequently to prevent

soup from scorching.

7. When soup is finished cooking, remove from heat, taste and adjust seasoning if

necessary. Serve immediately.



*ABOUT MEDIEVAL TIMES*

The pageantry and thrills of an authentic jousting come to life inside Medieval Times Dinner &

Tournament. Based upon the true story of a noble family with documentation dating back to

the 11 th century Spain, the walls of King Don Carlos’ castle come to life when six armor-clad

knights on valiant horses seek the title of champion.

While witnessing almost two hours of jousting, swordsmanship, thrilling hand-to- hand combat,

displays of extraordinary horsemanship and falconry, dine with King Don Carlos and his royal

court during a four-course meal which includes garlic bread, tomato bisque soup, roasted

chicken, sweet buttered corn, herb-basted potatoes, the pastry of the Castle and select

beverages. Vegetarian meals and special allergy accommodations are available upon request.

Medieval Times began with two dinner/entertainment complexes located in Majorca and

Benidorm, Spain, and have since grown to nine locations in North America. The first North

American castle in Kissimmee, Florida opened in December 1983. The Dallas castle, located off

Stemmons Freeway in the Dallas Design District, opened in June of 1992.

For more information, visit MedievalTimes.com.

2021 North Stemmons Freeway

Dallas, TX 75207

1-888- WE-JOUST (935-6878)



*ABOUT DALLAS LIFE*

Dallas LIFE reaches out to homeless men, women and children with food, clothing, shelter,

education - and a proven path to recovery and self-sufficiency. It is the largest homeless shelter

in North Texas, housing up to 500 people per night.

Dallas LIFE welcomes the needy. Whether it is a homeless man, a single mother with children,

or an entire family, Dallas LIFE is a safe place to recover from the trauma of homelessness.

Some come beaten and bruised; others addicted and confused. All need a fresh start and a

loving hand-up. At Dallas LIFE, these needs are met every day! For more information, visit

DallasLIFE.org.

11 January, 2017

31 Verses to Write on Your Heart | Let His Truth Find a Home in Your Heart

*Disclaimer*
I received a copy of this book free to review. I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.



*About the Book*


Here are the words of hope you’re looking for when your faith needs a boost or a friend needs encouragement. Chosen by more than a thousand women as their favorite verses in the Bible, each one is worth learning, worth sharing, worth remembering,



You’ll find verses you already know and love: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13)Others may be less familiar but are no less powerful: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25). All of them capture the truth of God’s goodness, mercy, and love for His own.




Best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs invites you to experience—

* a deeper, richer understanding of thirty-one treasured verses.

* a fresh look at how these timeless truths can impact your life. 

* a new passion for memorizing Scripture, verse by verse.

* thirty-one creative ways to keep them in your heart forever. 




With a study guide included, 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart is a daily devotional and a small-group Bible study, wrapped in a lovely gift book overflowing with joy!

*My Review*

I've never read anything by Liz Curtis Higgs, but I love the way she walks you through each verse word by word. 

"31 Verses to Write on Your Heart" is a great way to memorize scripture. It also serves as a study guide. Liz encourages her readers to read the book in what way works best for them. 


This could mean reading a chapter or verse a day. This book would be great studied in a group or alone during your quiet time.

04 January, 2017

20 Years Of Bottled Up Tears Finally Released


24, Dec. 2016 

9:00(ish) AM 
My Grandmother's headstone. I marked off her name for privacy reasons.

It's been an emotional 2 hrs! Clay and I got 6(fake) red roses & drove out to the cemetery(I drove bc we were in my old stomping ground). 

The closer we got to Gueydan(GAY-don, or GAY-Dun)...the worse my anxiety. I hadn't been out there to "see" my Mamie since we were there to bury her when I was 12 yrs old. I've been over the years to bury other family members, but after the ceremony was over we left and I never had the chance to go over and see her grave. 

I've been wanting to see her for many years now, but wasn't sure where she was buried...but had an idea, so I parked near that area and just started walking. 

This is the part that seemed weird to me. While I was walking around, I felt as though I wasn't myself. I can't really explain it, but I've only felt this way one other time. 

The more I walked around these graves the more my anxiety hit...I wandered around like a lost little puppy. I was sobbing the whole time, I'm sure it was a pitiful sight to see. I started crying out to God to please let me find her grave because I didn't know when I would be out there again.

I had walked around that one whole section and looked in another section and felt the need to talk to my Mamie. 

*note*
Now, what I'm not saying that what was said next(not do I actually believe this was why I found her grave) was what led me to find her grave. But, it did help me feel a little better and I even got a chuckle out of it.

I was blinded by extreme anxiety and grief while walking through the cemetery that I overlooked her grave.(I never really grieved over the loss of my grandma). 

I said "you know, you always were a stubborn woman. So, guess what...I'll have another daughter and name her after you...like you told me to NEVER to do...so come on already & show me where you are already!"

Not 5 seconds after I said that,  we got to the end of the other section and I crossed the road within the cemetery & I saw her grave....I was like  "really...😐seriously?! I JUST walked by here about five times!"

So I sat by her and "talked" to her. Cried, sobbed, told her I was sorry that I've broken her promise to her by crying(She always told me to NEVER cry over her death because she was better off). I Told her I missed her & that I tried to bring her yellow roses because I knew she loved them, but I couldn't find them...so I got red ones. 

I also told her that I hoped she would be proud of who I have become and of the man that I married. I also told her that I knew she would just love her 3 great-grand-babies & that I know she is loving on our 3 angel babies up there in Heaven.

When we was time to go, clay cleaned up some of the old nasty dry rotted flowers that had fallen on the ground, picked up an old tattered flag for a WWII Veteran that was buried behind my Mamie, he carefully rolled it up & placed it on his grave, then I walked hand in hand with my husband and we drove away. 

I'm thankful for my husband. He is my rock. My love. My Hero. My best friend. I'd be even more of a wreck if he hadn't of gone with me. 

I'm ashamed of how horrible the family has let her grave get. It's an insult to my Mamie and I hate it. I will be going back out there sometime this year to give her a new pretty flower arrangement, and to clean the grave up a bit. 

After we got back into Gueydan, I drove down Main Street, down to where mom and I lived when I was little and drove past where grandparent's house used to stand. 

It felt so weird to be back there, so many memories(both good & bad) in that town, but it was a burden that needed to be lifted. Not all of it was but it was enough to help me carry on lighter emotionally. 

I recently saw a quote that I loved & I will end by saying this; Today I close the door to the past, open te door to the future, take a deep breath, step through it & start the new chapter in my life....


02 January, 2017

A Shadow Bright and Burning | (Kingdom on Fire, Book One)

*Disclaimer*
I received a copy of this book free to review. I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.


*My Review*
I was super excited after I read the snippet for "A Shadow Bright and Burning". I quickly requested it for review. Not for myself, but for my 13 year old who LOVES to read. She especially loves these types of books that involve "sorcerers", "monsters" & "bloodthirsty demons". When the book arrived in the mail, I fell in love with the cover because, it is absolutely beautiful.


I decided that I would read the book myself to make sure that it was appropriate for my daughter to read since I have never read anything by Cluess before or even heard of her.


Even though i requested this book for my daughter, I really enjoyed reading this book myself. I read this 4004 page, 32 chapter book in about 5 hours(which RARELY happens). I stayed up later than I should have at night because I just could not put this book down. 

My daughter is now reading this book. I know she will love it just as much as I did. This will be a book she reads over and over again. I am super excited to see what happens in book 2!


I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer in hundreds of years. The prophesied one. Or am I? 


*About the Book*

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. 
Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she's shocked when instead of being executed, she's invited to train as one of Her Majesty's royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.

But Henrietta Howel is not the chosen one. 
As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?
 
Exhilarating and gripping, Jessica Cluess's spellbinding fantasy introduces a powerful, unforgettably heroine, and a world filled with magic, romance, and betrayal. Hand to fans of Libba Bray, Sarah J. Maas, and Cassandra Clare.




*About the Author*


Jessica Cluess was born in Los Angeles, moved to Chicago, and then moved back when the weather became too weather-y. She wrote her first book, A Shadow Bright and Burning, while working at a coffee shop and selling lattes to the rich and famous. A graduate of Northwestern University, she uses her education to study the vast intricacies of the Victorian era before slapping sorcerers and monsters into the whole mess. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.