Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This Day in History March 1, 1910

Here I am a Washington state native although I do not recall learning about any of it!  But at least I know now.  On this date in 1910, one of the worst train accidents ever occurred in Washington state.  It is also the anniversary of the worst avalanche in history.  Read on.

On February 23, 1910,  two Great Northern trains set out from the town of Leavenworth in Washington.  They were headed west, and all seemed normal.

Once they had passed through the Cascade tunnel, avalanches and snow caused the train to stop in the town of Wellington, a little town comprised almost completely of Great Northern employees.  At least, that was the plan until snow and avalanches stranded them on the train cars for six days.  And finally on the last day of February, things were looking up.  The snow turned to rain, and this was a recipe for disaster.

On March 1, "White Death" came without warning--except for a rumble.  The death toll climbed to 118 within a couple days.  Some reports say 96, but it makes no difference.  It was a horrid disaster to say the least.

This spot is now the Iron Goat Trail, named after the Great Northern corporate symbol.

For more information, check out these sites:

Chipolte Ranch Pasta Salad from Plentiful Pantry Review and Giveaway (ends 3/25) U.S (Closed).

I had the great chance to review this fantastic Chipolte Ranch Pasta Salad from Plentiful Pantry.  I had never heard of this company previously, but their website is full of fantastic quick meals, pasta, and dessert mixes.  

Here is a description of the pasta salad mix:

Classic ranch flavor with a new twist! We kicked up the flavor in this pasta salad with a little heat and a lot of attitude. Keep it simple by tossing the dressing and pasta together, or add red bell pepper, red onion, and chicken for a wonderful "South of the Border" taste.

This could not have come at a better time.  We had a church potluck coming up, and amazingly, we had everything that was needed to make this.  I did follow the simple instructions, but in addition to the chicken, milk, and mayonnaise I had to add (and some peppers, too), I added some crispy bacon to it.

It was not too spicy at all.  We could have added the little tobasco sauce that came with it, but since I was taking it to church, I tried to be mindful of the fact that not everyone likes things spicy.  My mom and I both loved it, and we didn't have much to bring home!  So I would say it was a hit, and it was so easy to make.

Now for your chance to win the same pasta mix that I reviewed.  Please  place all your entries in the rafflecopter form below by 9 P.M. Pacific Time on March 25.  And it is only open to U.S. bloggers (sorry!).  

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sponsored by

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This Day in History February 29, 1940

What a way to end Black History Month (since I didn't really celebrate it this year--I always used to when I taught regularly).  It was on this date in 1940 that Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Academy Award.  Gone With the Wind walked away with 8 Oscars, and I am so glad she was one of them!  And isn't it ironic that we just saw the second African American woman in history to get Best Supporting Actress for The Help (Go Octavia Spencer!).

I didn't realize that she was more talented than just playing Mammy.  She was the first African American singer on the radio, and she appeared in over 300 films (only received screen credit for about 80).  She was born to former slaves, and she did a lot to elevate black characters in films.  And you know, it is true.  Think about Gone With the Wind if you have seen it.  Who is smarter--Mammy or Scarlet?  I think we can easily say that Mammy was extremely quick-witted and sharp.  She often oversteps her bounds.

So for more information than I have shared here, please check out:

Virtual Blog Tour Little Did I Know by Mitchell Maxwell Book Review

Summary from goodreads: Here is the story of an unforgettable summer. Set in Plymouth, MA in the late seventies, Little Did I Know is the tale of a young man with an outsized dream – to refurbish a dilapidated but historic theater and produce a season's worth of vibrant musicals. A recent college graduate, he fills his cast and crew with people he has come to love and trust in his university life, and with others whose talents and personalities prove undeniable. Yet, while the productions drive his ambitions, a local woman drives his passions, and their romance is fateful, star-crossed, and ultimately more than either of them expected. Told with with, compassion, and the kind of insider's access to the theater that only someone like Mitchell Maxwell can provide, Little Did I Know is a novel about coming of age in the spotlight and embracing one's entire future in a single season.

Little Did I Know: A NovelLittle Did I Know: A Novel by Mitchell Maxwell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It is with a bit of reluctance that I give this book the rating that I did.  I generally reserve 2 stars for books that did not interest me nor connect with me on any level.  I wish I had the option to give it 2 1/2, but enough about all of that.

The premise and the story behind the book are indeed right up my alley.  I love musical theater with a passion, and I used to dream about being in musicals mentioned in the book.  I could actually relate to singing, dancing, and the show business scene.

I also found much of the story intriguing. Other than the fact that I could have done without the fairy-tale elements (especially at the end), I found that I cared about the story and the characters.  There were even some plot twists and turns that kept me guessing from time to time.

So why the low rating?  I am one who can overlook sex, violence, and profanity to a degree.  Even drug use.  However, this book is filled to the brim with profanity and drug use.  While I am sure that many artists do smoke "weed" and drink indiscriminately and only care about "getting laid," I do not believe that all of them are, and I do not think it should be portrayed as the norm.  I realize the book takes place in the 1970's, but I think that this could have been toned down.

I think what bothered me the most was the rampant use of the "f" word on about every other page.  If it had not been for the fact that I agrred to review the book, I would have stopped reading after the first few pages. It bothers me greatly to see profanity used indiscriminately in this way.  I would have elevated this book's rating at least by another point if the profanity had not been so constant.

I was also displeased to see so much vulgarity concerning sex. No real bedroom scenes, mind you, but way too much coarseness in this area in my opinion.

Perhaps what I struggled to reconcile was the obvious intent of Sam to do the right thing--he often spoke of God and the Bible--but we see him drinking, doing drugs, jumping into bed with women, and dropping thr F-bomb like it is nobody's business.  The sad thing is that I liked him, and I wanted him to succeed.  I just wished he would clean up his act.

If what I have mentioned does not offend you, then by all means, read the book.  It is well-written and quite entertaining.  Otherwise, I would caution you against it.

I was provided with a copy in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

View all my reviews

About the author:  (from his official site)

Mitchell Maxwell is an accomplished producer, director and 35-year veteran of the entertainment industry, known for his ability to spot the next theatrical innovation. He is the visionary producer behind the percussive theatricality ofStomp!, the rollicking Broadway revival of Damn Yankeesfeaturing the legendary Jerry Lewis – which was nominated for multiple Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical – and the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Dinner with Friends.  He has produced the Broadway musicals Play On!, Bells are Ringing (Tony-nominated for Best Revival of a Musical) Blues In The Night Tony Nominated as Best Musical) and Brooklyn.
Maxwell’s productions have been honored with nominations for 10 Tony Awards, 6 Olivier Awards, 15 Outer Critics Circle Awards, 9 Drama Desk Awards and 3 Obie Awards and have won in each category.  He directed the critically acclaimed Angry Housewives on London's West end and later off-Broadway, and produced the motion pictures and off-Broadway performances ofJeffery and Key Exchange
Off-Broadway he developed Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy, and produced David Mamet's Oleanna, Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told and Scott Mc Pearson's Drama Desk winning Marvin's Room, - total 7 Broadway shows, more than 30 off-Broadway and regional productions, 4 National tours, 3 West End productions and 6 major motion pictures.  He has directed in New York, London and regionally, built 5 entertainment companies, and for over twenty years, owned and operated 3 off-Broadway theaters.  
Maxwell attended Tufts University, where he later served as an adjunct professor, and has been a guest lecturer at Columbia and New York universities. He is the author of LITTLE DID I KNOW (Prospecta Press; October 2011) a novel in the classic roman á clef tradition that brings to life the glory days of summer stock.

Buy the book:

Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop (Ends 3/5) WW

Celebrate Leap Day by Joining in a Hop!

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop

February 29th to March 5th

To make this as easy as possible, I am not going to say much except that there are two giveaways.  You might remember the promotion I did earlier this month for For Love & Liberty E-book.  The promotion is still going on.  I will be reviewing this book eventually, but for my U.S. readers, you can win a hard copy of this book!

From Amazon:
For all Americans who believe in liberty and wish to bequeath its blessings to posterity In his provocative, page-turning saga, For Love & Liberty, Stephen M. Grimble skillfully interweaves early American history with a poignant love story. He pays homage to the Founding Fathers' sacred trust - to secure the blessings of liberty to posterity - through the actions of six distinguished citizens who, out of concern for America's future, form the Madison Committee, named for the Father of the Constitution, James Madison. Reb McCoy, retired business executive, decorated Vietnam veteran, and philanthropist, agrees to chair the committee, whose charter is to determine what can be done to restore America to its founding principles: limited government, individual liberty, and fiscal solvency. The Madison Committee proposes seven constitutional amendments known as the Second Bill of Rights, designed to curb the ever-expanding federal government and its runaway spending. Acknowledging that Congress would never approve these amendments, the committee sets out to secure two-thirds of the state legislatures to petition Congress to call a constitutional convention, the first since 1787. The committee realizes it must become actively involved in politics to have any chance of accomplishing its agenda. With his beautiful wife Marlenna's blessing, McCoy runs for governor of Texas in 2014 and wins. He convinces many fellow governors to urge their state legislatures to petition Congress for a convention. Unanticipated events draw McCoy reluctantly into the 2016 presidential election. By the time the election is decided, more than two-thirds of the states have petitioned Congress to call a constitutional convention, but, fearing the loss of power, it fails to do so. In response to this breach of the Constitution and other usurpations by the federal government, three states seriously consider seceding from the United States and forming a new constitutional republic. Read how McCoy and his colleagues try to ensure that the current generation of Americans honors the Founders' challenge to secure the blessings of liberty to posterity. For Love & Liberty is a timely and cautionary tale, full of drama, romance, and a perspective on history rarely found anywhere.

For my international readers, you may pick one book that is $10 or under.  Depending on where you live, it will come from Book Depository or Amazon or the like.

So all you need to do is enter in the rafflecopter form by 9 P.M. Pacific Time March 5.  And don't forget to hop on to the other blogs for more amazing chances to win!

Welcome to the blog tour for Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble!

Kindle Giveaway and More! Save the Date - 3/13!

About the book:
Book Number One in the Under Texas Stars series

A love like Lucy and Nate’s only comes along once in a blue moon . . .

Lucy Marsh's worldly resources are running out, but she's fiercely determined to care for her younger brother and sister. When she discovers that their father's recent death was no accident, Lucy is eager to leave town. She accepts a proxy marriage she believes will provide safe refuge. But trouble follows her to Texas where her new husband is surprised to suddenly have a wife and children to care for.

Nate Stanton always hoped he'd marry someday, but running the family ranch meant he had no time for romance. When his father deposits Lucy Marsh—a city girl—on his doorstep, with two siblings in the bargain, he expects ranch life will send her running on the first train out of town. But Lucy is made of tougher stuff than Nate imagined. When danger moves in, Nate finds he'd give anything to protect Lucy and the children he's grown to love. Even if it means giving up his ranch.

Blue Moon PromiseBlue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I knew from the beginning that this book was going to be right up my alley, but I have no idea just how good it would be! I have never read any books by Colleen Coble, but I can safely say that if this book is indicative of her writing, I plan to read many more books by her!

I am a sucker for a sweet, romantic, historical novel, and when faith in Christ is woven so expertly into the framework of the story, I am hooked.  The author also added in a little mystery and potential danger.  The book's conclusion even took me by surprise to a degree.

The characterizations in the book were fantastic.  LI ucy captured my heart along with Jed and Elaine.  I can identify with her to a degree.  I often expect way too much out of myself, and I sometimes feel like I have to prove my worth.  There are times that I get into that mistaken way of thinking, and I expect more of myself than anyone around me does.  Including God.  Ned was a great character to get to know, and it was so wonderful to see how God changed all of them in miraculous ways.

I am racking my brain, trying to think of something that could have improved this book.  Perhaps the conclusion was a little briefer than I would have preferred, but who knows?  Perhaps the author will write a sequel.  You can always hope!

If you are looking for a Christian historical novel that will renew and confirm your belief that God loves us just as we are and He cares about everything in our lives, this is a book for you!

I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated in any way, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

View all my reviews

About Colleen:

Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA’s RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.
For more about Colleen and her other books visit

Buy the Book 

About the party: 
Blue Moon Promise is a story of hope, romance, and suspense . . . immersing the reader in a rich historical tale set under Texas stars.

To celebrate Colleen is teaming up with her publisher Thomas Nelson for a "Blue Moon Promise" Facebook Chat party where she will giveaway a KINDLE Fire and a Texas-sized gift basket (fabulous Texas treats and fun Lucy-inspired housekeeping products)!

Click the banner, RSVP today for the Facebook Party and mark the date on your calendar!

Invite your friends and don't miss Colleen's evening of chat, trivia, prizes, and more.

Kindle Giveaway and More! Save the Date - 3/13!

Monday, February 27, 2012

This Day in History February 28, 202 B.C.

It has been a while since we ventured into the B.C. history, and tonight is a pretty important one.  This date in 202 B.C. was the coronation of Emperor Liu Bang or Gaozo of Han.  He was the first emperor of the Han dynasty, and he ruled China from 202 B.C. to 195 B.C.  It is amazing to note that he was born into a peasant family.  He fought against the Qin Dynasty and eventually took over in 202 B.C.

As I read about him, it would seem that he did a lot to help the economy of China after the overthrow of the Qin Dynasty.  He reduced taxes, and he developed agriculture.  He even restricted spending.  Something tells me that the U.S. could take a lesson considering our current economic situation!

He was mortally wounded during his Ying Bu rebellion.  He refused any treatment till the very end.

For more information that I can begin to list here, check out:

The Second Son by Elise Marion Virtual Ebook Tour: Review and Giveaway (Ends 3/25) WW (Closed)

Tour Schedule - The Second Son (Kings of Cardenas, Book 2)
Feb 23: Practical Frugality (Review/Giveaway)
Feb 24: Sandra's Blog (Giveaway/Guest Post)
Feb 25: Sapphyria's Book Reviews (Giveaway/Guest Post)
Feb 26: Always a Booklover (Review/Giveaway)
Feb 27: Curse of the Bibliophile (Review/Giveaway)
Feb 28: My Devotional Thoughts (Review/Giveaway)
Feb 29: House Millar (Giveaway/Guest Post)
Mar 1: I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read! (Giveaway/Guest Post)
Mar 2: Close Encounters with the Night Kind (Giveaway/Interview)
Mar 3: Love to Read Romance (Review/Giveaway)


Title:  The Second Son (Kings of Cardenas, Book 2)
Author:  Elise Marion
Publisher:  Self
Length:  105,000 words
Sub-Genres:  Historical, Mystery/ThrillerVBT Dates:  Feb 23-Mar 3 (immediately following Book 1)



Princess Isabelle has spent her entire life bending to the will of those who have planned her life out for her. Sent into hiding when she was just an infant to protect her from the rebellion in her own homeland, Barony, she was betrothed to Prince Lionus from the neighboring province Cardenas when she was just an infant. Despite the forced engagement, Isabelle has loved Lionus all of her life. When a devious plot against the royal family results in her husband’s death, Isabelle is left with a broken heart and an uncertain future. Only one year after his brutal murder, she has no choice but to choose a new husband and return to her homeland to take her place as queen and repair the war-torn land.
Prince Serge has secretly loved Princess Isabelle his entire life. The fact that she was promised to his brother has brought him no end of pain and suffering. The second born son of the king, he has resigned himself to a life of living in his brother’s shadow. After a deadly plot against the royal family leaves Serge hovering on the edge of death, he awakens from a coma one year later to find that his older brother has died and his youngest brother has taken the throne in his stead. His future is now uncertain, but Serge is determined to find his own way in the world now that he has been given the gift of new life. When it is suggested that Princess Isabelle take him as her husband, Serge begins to hope that all of his most secret dreams will now come true.
Despite unexpected spark of desire between them, Isabelle resists the new path her heart is taking as she clings desperately to Lionus’ memory. Can Isabelle let go of her past and learn to Serge return, or is she destined to a life tied to one man as she still mourns the other?
Once united as king and queen, Isabelle and Serge face the monumental task of rebuilding her broken homeland and rescuing it from the clutches of those seeking to destroy it. Can the pampered princess find the strength to stand beside her husband and fight for her people? Will the second son of a king finally get the chance to prove his worth? Can either of them learn to let go of the ghosts of the past and find love?
Set in a world of kings and queens, palaces and royal courts, warriors and battlefields, book two of Elise Marion’s ‘Kings of Cardenas’ family saga continues with a story of love, passion, and destiny. 


Isabelle dipped her hands in the cool water of the stream, grateful to be out of the carriage after a long day of riding. They were only a few more days from Barony and she would be ecstatic when they finally reached their destination. For the first three days there had been nothing but dirt, rocks, and the occasional tree to look at through the carriage window. Today, the bordering mountains between Cardenas and Barony finally came into view, signaling the half-way point of their journey. Isabelle splashed some cold water on her face and turned back toward camp which was only a few feet away through a line of trees.
As she made her way up the embankment, she saw Primus coming toward her.
“I trust that the journey was not overly hard on you, my lady,” he said as he approached.
Isabelle smiled. “I found myself a bit restless being stuck inside the carriage all day. Do you think it would be all right for me ride a bit tomorrow?”
Primus frowned. “I do not think that would be a very good idea, Princess. We could encounter danger at any moment and I believe that His Grace will agree with me in saying that it will be much safer for you inside the carriage.”
Isabelle nodded reluctantly. “I suppose you’re right.”
Primus glanced pointedly at Francis, who stood guard a few feet away. “A few moments alone, my lady?”
Isabelle turned to Francis and waved him off. “I’ll be perfectly safe here with Lord Primus, Francis,” she assured him.
Once he was gone, Primus turned back toward her with a smile. “I was hoping we could discuss the subject of husband hunting while we have a few minutes alone. Have you given any more thought to your possible candidates?”
“I can assure you I’ve been considering the matter very carefully. I hope to have made a decision by the time we reach Barony.”
“If I may be so bold I’d like to offer a suggestion.”
“It certainly couldn’t hurt.”
He paused for a moment. “Me,” he said quickly, as if trying to get the words out before he changed his mind. Isabelle felt as if the ground had fallen out from under her. He held a hand up to silence her before she could respond. “Allow me to plead my case before you say no.”
Isabelle forced a smile despite the uneasy feeling at the pit of her stomach. She wasn’t sure how she felt about Primus proposing to her. “I wasn’t going to say no,” she assured him. “Please continue.”
“I hope you know how much I admire you,” he said, grabbing one of her hands in both of his. “I hope that you at least feel the same for me.” She nodded, which only encouraged him to continue. His thumb was drawing slow circles against her hand and he was moving closer with every word. Isabelle held her breath and waited. “I know I could make you happy, my lady, and I know that I could rule Barony well.”
“I have no doubt of that,” she said, finding her voice finally. “You have been doing so these last twenty years.”
 “Please do not think that this is an attempt on my behalf to gain the crown. I really feel that we could be good together, Isabelle,” he said, using her given name for the first time. “I care for you very much, and in time I hope you could come to care for me too.”
Before she knew what was happening, he was tugging her hand until she was in his arms and kissing her gently. Rather than fight him, Isabelle allowed him to kiss her and attempted to participate in the kiss as well. If she was going to consider him for marriage, she might as well see whether or not she could even be attracted to him.
The kiss was nice enough. His lips were soft and gentle, and while she had been worried that his mustache and beard would tickle her, they did not. His hands rested respectfully on her shoulders and his mouth opened only slightly. When it was over Isabelle felt fine. Not good, not bad. Just fine. She couldn’t help but compare the experience to another kiss and hated herself for it.
“Primus,” she began, “I am very flattered but I-“
“What the devil is going on here?”
Isabelle turned in Primus’ arms to find Serge standing a few feet away, his hands balled into fists at his sides, his expression murderous. Isabelle stepped away guiltily.
“The princess and I were having a private conversation,” Primus said, grabbing her hand possessively.
“I did not hear very much talking,” Serge countered, stepping closer.
“I hardly see how it is any of your concern.”
Isabelle looked back and forth between the two of them, certain she had been all but forgotten in this little drama.
“As Isabelle’s brother-in-law, I would have to say that it is my concern. I hardly think your advances are appropriate considering that she is to be choosing a husband soon. Have you no care for her reputation?”
“How dare you insinuate that I would sully my lady’s character?”
Isabelle, who at this point was quite annoyed at having been accosted by both these men in the last few days and then having to watch them fight over her like two rutting stags, growled in irritation. “For God’s sake, both of you shut up!”
They both grew silent and Isabelle inwardly smiled in satisfaction.
“Primus, I will most certainly consider all that you have said. I hope you will excuse me for a moment so that I can have a word with my brother-in-law.”
Primus, still glaring at Serge venomously, left reluctantly. Isabelle turned on Serge the moment he was out of sight.
“What on earth is the matter with you?” she practically screamed, poking him in the chest with her index finger.
“Me?” he shouted back. “What about you letting that fool kiss you? How long has that been going on?”
“Why should it matter to you?”
“You know why!”
“I never agreed to marry you!”
“You damn well will, mark my words,” he said, taking a step closer and lowering his voice.
“Your arrogance is astounding. You certainly are sure of yourself.”
“Does he make you tremble the way I do, Isabelle?” he said softly, reaching up to stroke her cheek. “Did you kiss him like you kiss me?” His fingertips traveled down to her throat and he lowered his head until his lips hovered inches from hers. “Do you want him like you want me?”
Isabelle swayed and fought to keep her balance. Her lips were tingling, and she was but a breath away from leaning into him. His scent enveloped her and his towering presence weakened her. Her lips parted. “I don’t want you,” she said hoarsely against his mouth.
His lips brushed her lightly. She trembled. “Liar,” he whispered.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the second book in this historical fiction series by Elise Marion, and this book does not disappoint. It continues the story of the kingdoms we discovered in her book The Third Son, but the focus shifts to Serge and Isabelle. While this book probably can stand on its own, I highly recommend reading the first before reading this book because you will appreciate the story line much better. 

Some of the complaints I had in the first book do carry over to this one as well, but they are quite minor. I do not like intimate sexual encounters between unmarried people, but this book had a smaller amount of those. The mild language was about the same, but I think I still could have done without it. I also would have loved to see a couple of the female villains (Davinia especially) come back and wreak some havoc within the story, but that is just me. 

As with the first book, it took a little while for me to get into the story. I was somewhat disenchanted with the love story between Isabelle and Serge.  Perhaps I just could not relate to it. And I felt that everything was too nice for a lot of the beginning.I feared that nothing bad would even happen.

I was pleased when the female soldiers entered the stage.  That was so exciting!  I love the way that the author truly elevates women in these books.  It is nice to see a queen who does not want to live a pampered life (though it seems like Esmerelda has succumbed to that kind of life).  I love the fact that the author did so much research on female soldiers.  I had no idea that this was actually true--I figured she had imagined it.  

I grew to love Isabelle and Serge as their characters were developed.  By the end of the story, I was so touched by them--probably even more than I was with Damien and Esmerelda in the first book.  In fact, I found those two characters rather dull and uninspiring in this book.  But then again, they were not the focus.

About a third of the way into the book, I became so interested in the story that I just had to finish it!  And it is one of only a handful of books that have made me cry.  I was glad to see the author's humor return in the book.  I did not see much of that in the beginning.  Her descriptions, however, were just as fantastic as they had been in the first volume.

I may sound more critical of this book than I was the first book.  I do not intend to.  If anything, the ending of the book touched me more than the first book could have dreamed of.  I think the author is finding her voice, and I definitely would love to read the next book in this series when it comes out in the summer.

I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are 100 percent mine and I was not financially compensated in any way.

As a child I always had my nose in a book. From R.L. Stine to Chronicles of Narnia to The Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High, I read it all. When I started Junior High and found out that the school library had over 400,000 books, my goal was to read every single one! Of course I didn't achieve that particular goal, but I sure had fun trying!
In high school I developed a talent for writing and discovered romance. Needless to say I combined my love for both and am now a published Indie author. After almost a year of peddling my book from agent to agent with no success I decided that my work was good enough despite the constant rejection. That's when I discovered the world of indie publishing through e-books. I couldn't have made a better decision than stepping out on faith and doing something for myself instead of waiting around for someone else to do it for me.
A litle bit more about me: My husband Kevin and I have been married for 4 years and have two beautiful children, Haley (4) and Gavin (4 months). We are a military family, which means I spend a lot of my time alone with two children. People often ask me how I deal with the military life. I simply say, someone's got to do it, right? I am proud of my husband for serving his country.
When I'm not reading (which is almost always) or writing (I try to every day), I am watching movies (which I love), cooking (which I love even more) or watching someone else cook on TV (love me some Paula Deen). I have been singing my entire life and enjoy being my church's choir every Sunday. My large, extended family is close and means the world to me.


I did mention a giveaway, didn't I?  One of my my wonderful readers will win a PDF copy of The Second Son.  Since the book is digital, this is open worldwide. All you need to do is enter using the rafflecopter form below by 9 P.M. Pacific Time on March 25.  Best of wishes to you!

Nail Art Stickers Review stocks a fantastic range of nail art stickers. Each sheet contains between 30 and 60+ stickers so this means that you can complete mutliple manicures or share with friends. This product is extremely affordable at only £1.25 each. 

Nail art stickers are easy to use and create a professional looking manicure which ends up costing pennies. 


This was a new experience for me.  I had never used nail art stickers, or nail art of any kind before.  So I decided to let my little fashion queen review them!

She loves doing things like this, and she is almost 9.  So if she can do it so can you!  One of our only complaints about this product is that the stickers were so small that they were somewhat difficult to use.  It does require some patience, but my daughter made some neat designs on her nails.  And her best friend thought they looked pretty neat, too.  They are temporary, so they will not last much past the night, but if you are looking for something a little different, I encourage you to check these out!  For a small price, you can look quite chic!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Music Monday--Some Random Music Videos

Well, I should be doing a CD review.  I do have a couple waiting in the wings, but I decided I didn't feel like it.  I happened to check out Taylor Swift's new music video featuring a song from the upcoming film The Hunger Games. Martin did not like it all that well, he told me. And I didn't when I first heard it.  But now that I have watched the video, I can appreciate the significance of it.  And she looks really good.  Her voice is different, and I am going to post it here.  Enjoy!

Safe & Sound - New Broadcast Version/Closed-Captioned/The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 And Beyond

Taylor Swift | Myspace Music Videos

Moving on, there has been a country song that I heard a couple months ago, I think, that I loved the first time I heard it. I had been meaning to look up the video, but I just didn't think about it.  Dierks Bentley is not someone I really tend to like.  He has a big head, and most of his songs do not resonate with me.  But once in a while, he releases a song that just captures something within me.  And his current single Home does just that for me.  If you don't like country, still give this one a try.  I think that if you are an American, this will remind you of why you are proud to be one.

And finally, this weekend, I overheard that Lauren Alaina (whom I knew was touring with Jason Aldean) sings Don't You Wanna Stay with him in the concert.  This is in lieu of Kelly Clarkson.  Now, while I cannot say that she is the absolute best fit for this song, I think that she is in the process of making it her own.  I would like to see her even do more with it.  And the redneck girl they have to escort off the stage in this video is pretty interesting.  Enjoy!

Blogger Opportunity: Just For Men Review and Giveaway

I have a great opportunity to share with my blogger friends today.  If you have never heard of Smiley 360, you are missing out big time!  This site is not only for bloggers, so be surer to check it out.  But for my blogger friends, Smiley 360 is working with Just for Men ® AutoStop™ hair color, the foolproof way to get rid of gray hair.   Unfortunately, I don't have a guy in my life that could use this product.  I am hoping some of you do.  They are willing to send out a sample pack of all the shades for review and another for a giveaway.  They said there is a lot of room in the mission, so if you are interested, be sure to contact Joe at  No need to say that I referred you unless you would like to.

I know I don't usually send opportunities like this along, but honestly, this is the first time I have been contacted by a company that is offering something that I cannot use.  And I was encouraged to let people know.

If I hear of any more opportunities, I will be more than happy to do let my wonderful readers know about them!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

This Day in History February 27, 1700

I have to admit that I have never heard of New Britain, as far as I know, but it was discovered by William Dampier on this date in 1700.  He named it Nova Britannia.  It sounds a little sketchy, but he does appear to be the first European to set foot on it.

Where is New Britain, you may ask?  It is the largest island in the Bismark Archipelago of Papua, New Guinea.  It is an island comprised of volcanoes, and there are several active volcanoes on the island.  It is the 38th largest island in the world.  In fact, in 1994, East Great Britain was destroyed by a volcano and mostly still lies under ash.  In 2010, its population was 493,585.

There is a lot of information--I had no idea that such a small place has such a history, and for that information, please check out:

I do realize that wikipedia is one of the main sources, but from what I can tell, it is right.

Meal Plan Monday (2/27-3/4)

Last week was fairly successful.  This week I am back online.  So here goes--quick, low-fat dishes.

Meal 1:  Main Dish Chicken Salad  (I do plan to substitute a few things--craisins, raisins, etc.)

Meal 2:  Low-Fat Pasta Primavera I plan to add some turkey kielbasa to it.

Meal 3:

Chicken-Fried Steak with Sausage Gravy (Yes, I know.  This one is not the healthiest, but I don't mind an occasional splurge.)
Green Beans
Mashed Potatoes

Meal 4:
Buttered Noodles

Mom Bloggers for Social Good--600 Members Strong!

I have blogged in the past about Mom Bloggers for Social Good--in fact, I am a founding member.  As of the 22nd of this month, they hit the 600 member mark!  The more members, the more impact this group has on the social media space.  They have all sorts of partners and action campaigns on a regular basis.

I would invite you to check them out.  Here is some information about them.

Mom Bloggers for Social Good is a global coalition of mom bloggers who currently span fifteen countries –United StatesCanadaUnited Kingdom,IndiaSpainNigeriaSingaporeNetherlandsPakistan, MalaysiaAustraliaNew ZealandBulgariaJamaica, and the Philippines   – who care about spreading the good news about the amazing work non-profit organizations and NGOs are doing around the world. When our partners need to reach the masses about new initiatives, advocacy campaigns, or fundraising efforts we work voluntarily and collectively to spread the word through social media and blogging.

Want to join?  Check it out!

Mixbook Custom Thank You Cards Review

I was so excited to get the chance to review cards from mixbook again!  I know that whenever I order anything from this company, it will always be quality!  Here is information about the company from their site:

Mixbook is a leading photo products company that helps people create custom photo books, cards, and calendars. Whether starting from scratch, or using one of our thousands of professionally designed templates, every Mixbook product is 100% customizable. With Mixbook, you can truly Make It Yours™

The thank you card that I chose is pictured on the right.  I had so much fun--I was able to upload four pictures of featuring my daughter and me, and I even got to change one of the icons on the card.  It was as easy as could be.  I think it took me about 20 minutes to create the cards and officially order them.  And when they came, both my mom and my daughter were impressed with the high quality of the product.  Needless to say, I was impressed as well.  

When you are looking for photo cards and/or thank you cards, I can't recommend mixbook enough.  What I neglected to say was how quickly the cards arrived.  It was less than a week from the time that I ordered that they arrived.  I love the fact that envelopes are included with each order.  It may seem like it would make sense that envelopes would be included when you order cards, but I have seen companies that charge extra for that service!  Not so with mixbook.

Be sure to like mixbook on facebook and follow them on twitter in order to keep up with this fantastic company!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
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