Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Welcoming in the Christmas Season!

So here we are once again, my friends : ) Welcome, welcome, one and all! Happy December 1st! It is officially the first day where no one can possibly stop my Christmas merriment from beginning! It is December, the month of this glorious holiday! Let's make the whole month a holiday, shall we?

Step in, hurry, hurry! It's cold out there! With a little bit of snow on the ground, but a sharp bite to that wind, you'll freeze outside!

Now as you step over the threshold, listen to that familiar song with a modern twist : )

Right over there on the counter is a Keurig, help yourself to hot cocoa or coffee, please do! Then come snag a seat before they're all taken! *settles into a big comfy chair with my steaming cup of cocoa* Oh, forgot to mention there's dog biscuits and bowls on the counter. Fill 'em up with water for all our cute doggy friends I know will be joining us : ) Maddie's excited to have some visitors!

Now that we're all cozy by our fireplace, welcome again! I am so glad to have you join me in these festivities! I think we all know how December can get.....Ariel and Amber: you're trying to finish up school so you can actually enjoy your holiday and some family time! Jen: You lucky duck, you : ) You finished already! Ruthy: We all know you're gonna be busy with all those lil ones running around! Pep, same goes for you! Kav: I'm sure you wanna spend some extra time reading! How's everyone's shopping going? Have you all started yet? ; )

While we're starting up, I wanted to make sure to ask all of you, what are your favorite Christmas songs!? What should I make sure is on my Christmas playlist on my iPod so we can hear it? Lemme know : )

On the agenda for tomorrow: We've already got a wonderful interview with one of our friends you all know and love probably! Can't wait for you to read, should be a nice way to end your week.

Once again, WELCOME everyone! Let the festivities begin! Happy December 1st!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's ALMOST here!!!!!!!!!!

Ladies annnnnnnd gentlemen,
Are you EXCITED!? As excited as me :D

We have a fun-filled month about to start on December 1st! Do you all remember the First Annual Christmas Blogfest last year? Just to remind's some memorable posts:

Anywho, we are a mere two days away from starting up with this again! I, for one, am a little stressed lol but overall extremely excited : ) I love doing this and I hope you all are going to be big participants again this year.

What's on the agenda this year?
~ Interviews! Both Christian authors and some of my good friends : )
~ Pictures from my life
~ Memories
~ Giveaways

It should be so fun!! So tell me this:

What is one thing you are looking forward to in this upcoming season?

Just one :) That's all I need for now!

Let the short countdown begin! See you in TWO days!!

See you sooooooooooon!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Changing of the Seasons

Have you ever thought about the changing of the seasons? I mean really thought about it?

Yesterday I was stuck raking, thanks Mom lol, but it gave me a lot of time to reflect on...things...the slow methodical rhythm that comes with raking was somewhat soothing surprisingly (though it hurt later!).

There are so many pros and cons with the changing of the seasons. There are so many things to be thankful for at this time and yet it is so easy to see the downside in things as well.

Pro: It's beautiful! I am so thankful to be living and have grown up in New England, especially Vermont. Everyone knows that we are known for our foliage here. This year it wasn't as good due to Hurricane Irene messing things up around here, but we still have it nonetheless. To see the leaves change from green to red and orange and gold, it can be absolutely breathtaking. If you have never had the chance to travel here, I highly encourage it (and not just because tourism is one of our major money sources :P)!

Con: Since we do have this beautiful foliage, we pay for it. Yes, I do mean raking. We end up having a LOT of upkeep in our yards, otherwise we'd be in trouble baha. I'm sure everywhere has things to do, but between raking in the fall AND spring then shoveling in the winter....YUCK!

Pro: Leaves can be fun! Luckily it is not all work and no play when it comes to leaves and our family. Mom may not love it, but hey, gotta add some spice to life, right? Our aunt goes all out around Halloween time and makes ghosts using the leaves that are dancing around the trees in their yard. I wish I had a picture because they're really very cool! Instead, however, I have my lovely model - Maddie - our babygirl, showing how fun raking can be!

Should I help??

Wait a'd I get here?

Was it YOU!?

Oh well, mine as well have fun!

Con: But with all fun, hard work returns right? We made a mess, so had to clean it up. But it was worth it ; )

Pro: Family time. It seems that as crazy busy as everyone is, this is just about the time of year where family is brought back together. The holidays tend to do that, eh? We can certainly get in some good laughs with my family! Whether it's cracking up reading cards at Walmart, singing crazily in the car, or looking through old pictures at Gramma's, we can usually find a way to have a good time.

I challenge all of you in this season of thanksgivings, be filled with happiness. We are all blessed in one way or another. Pour out those things that you are thankful for and you will find happiness in abundance.

"And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years" ~ Genesis 1:14

The seasons are a gift for us. Enjoy them, as with the seasons of life. In this time, be thankful for your loved ones, new and seasoned. Make every moment last with them even if it only a telephone call, do your part. You will be glad you did in the end.

I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday! Don't forget to smile!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

First Blog Tour: Remembering You by Tricia Goyer!! AND Win a Kindle Touch for YOU and a Friend from Tricia Goyer!

I am SO excited that I am participating in my very FIRST blog book tour :D And honestly? I don't think it could have been a better book. Without further ado, let me jump right in on everything I got for ya today!

About the book:
35-year-old Ava Andrews' dream job is interrupted by an unusual request--fulfill her 84-year-old grandfather's last wish by joining him on a battle site tour of Europe. Ava is sure her boss will refuse her request. But, instead, he gives her a directive of his own--to videotape the tour and send it back as mini-segments for the show she produces.

As if juggling these two things isn't hard enough, Ava is soon surprised again ... twice. First, Ava and Grandpa Jack arrive in Europe, only to discover the tour is cancelled. Unwilling to let down her grandfather or her boss, Ava and Grandpa Jack head out on their own. Then, while they're on their way, the pair soon meet up with Paul, her grandpa's best friend, and his grandson Dennis. The same Dennis who just happens to be Ava's first love.

Before she knows it, Ava and Dennis are swept down memory lane as they visit the sites that are discussed in the history books. And even though Ava's videotaping old soldiers, she can see their youth, their hopes and fears, and their pride in their eyes. Soon Ava learns the trip isn't just for them ... it's for her too--especially for her heart.
Read an excerpt, watch a video and find out more here.

My Review:
I will be honest, I was wary of this book from the description for some reason. However, I love history, especially historical Christian fiction. What could be better, right!? Boy, am I glad I decided to review it. I sincerely enjoyed this book from front to back. It included every element that I love to read - romance, history, religious elements, and mystery.
This story follows four main characters: Ava, Grandpa Jack (her grandfather), Grand-Paul (Grandpa Jack's best friend and Ava's second "grandfather"), and Dennis (Grand-Paul's grandson and Ava's first true love). From just getting out of a broken engagement, Ava feels she is barely able to keep up with life itself. She is a producer of a morning talk show and has been taken away from everything she knows, her family, her old friends, and God. Last minute she is offered the opportunity of a lifetime - travel Europe with her grandfather a World War II veteran. She takes up the offer, but turns it not only into a trip for her grandpa, but a trip for herself as well. She is to film their way through Europe and do a feature on the talk show everyday. Through the book revelations are made, mysteries are solved, tears are shed, and new love is found.
As I said before, I really enjoyed this book very much. I thought that Goyer had her characters spot on, their emotions were so powerful. The reader feels transported right into the story, which is always proof of a job well done! This was my first book by Goyer and I definitely want to try to find more by her. I loved her writing style. It was emotional, yet simple and easy to follow. One of my favorite sentences in the whole book was: Even with shaky steps they still walk with pride. I feel that gives you good insight to how she writes throughout the book. Though this is a 300 page book, the storyline made it intriguing and you always wanted to pick it up! My biggest critique would probably be of Ava's character. I understand part of her character was to be headstrong and somewhat stubborn, but it really irritated me sometimes. I felt that she pushed her grandfather too much on information he was not ready to tell her and pushed Dennis further away on their improving relationship as well. Dennis gave her excellent advice at one point, that I wish she would have listened to better. He preached to her, for lack of a better term, that it was not her trip, it was Grandpa Jack's trip. It was not her choice to push him with these decisions. Having grandparents of a similar age to Grandpa Jack, I can relate to how easy it is for them to tire. I just did not like the decisions her character sometimes made. On another note though that was another way Goyer caught you up in the story.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I have already recommended it to a couple people and will continue to do so. Very impressive job, Tricia! I look forward to more in the future!

~ I received this book courtesy of Litfuse Publicity Group for my honest opinion. ~

About Tricia:
Tricia Goyer is the author of thirty books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. On Tricia's weekly radio show, Living Inspired, she shares stories of inspiration and encouragement. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.
For more about Tricia and her other books

Tricia Goyer is celebrating the release of her novel, Remembering You, with a KINDLE Touch Giveaway for you ... and for the friend of your choice. Then on 11/29 she'll be wrapping up the release of Remembering You with a Book Chat Party!

During the first half of the party Tricia will be chatting, sharing a sneak peek of her next book, and giving away a ton of great stuff. Then she'll head over to her website for a Live Chat! Readers will be able to chat with Tricia via video or text.

Don't miss your chance to win a Kindle Touch for yourself ... and to "remember" a friend this holiday with a Kindle Touch for them!

Read what the reviewers are saying here.

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Brand New Kindle Touch and a Kindle Touch for a Friend (winner's choice!)

  • A copy of Remembering You by Tricia Goyer for each

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on November 29th. Winner will be announced at Remembering You Facebook Party on 11/29. Tricia will be hosting an author chat (on Facebook and Live from her website) and giving away copies of her other WWII books and gift certificates to Starbucks and So grab your copy of Remembering You and join Tricia on the evening of the 29th for an author chat, a trivia contest (How much do you know about WWII?) and lots of giveaways.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!

Hope I did this okay! LOL! Posting a little early, but I think that's perfectly acceptable : ) Have a great Thursday, y'all! Almost the weekend! Muah!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: The Encounter by Stephen Arterburn

Hey all!
Having grabbed my bowl of Lucky Charms (never get these!), a mint chocolate chip muffin that is even dyed green, and cup of cranberry juice, I make my way to the back table by the window that is my table on the meals I eat alone at : ) I arranged myself and since I didn't have the book I'm currently reading with me, I pulled out The Encounter by Stephen Arterburn that had yet made it out of my bag. I never expected that in the next forty-five minutes I would plow through the 159 page book from start to finish, but that alone should indicate that it was a good read!

Back Cover Blurb:
The past often holds secrets that are too painful to be revealed, too deep to confess.
A wealthy businessman travels to Fairbanks, Alaska, to learn why his mother abandoned him when he was a child, and in the process learns that not everything is as it appears to be.
The Encounter, the unique new book from best-selling author and counselor Stephen Arterburn, is a moving parable involving Jonathan Rush, a wealthy and famous entrepreneur, who is tortured by bitterness toward his mother who abandoned him when he was four. He travels to Alaska to find her but instead meets an enigmatic old woman known only as Mercy. Mercy has the information he needs but is strangely reluctant to talk to him. Somehow Jonathan must find a way to persuade a frightened woman to unlock the secrets of his past.
The book includes an invitation to the readers to verify the facts of their own stories, to accept the reality of their existence, especially the most painful ones, and to live in forgiveness. The end result is a healthy new way to look at life with an ability to share hope with others for the future. Healing is possible but requires truth, acceptance, and forgiveness, including of oneself.

My review:
I will be honest, I was wary of asking for this book because the description didn't completely capture my attention. However, I really wanted to try out BookSneeze's system since I am new to it, so I requested it. But, boy, when I started reading it there was something about it that just compelled me to keep reading.
This was my first book by Stephen Arterburn, never heard of him actually, but now I might try and look into his other stuff or at least keep an eye out for new books! I really enjoyed his writing style. It was simplistic, yet descriptive enough you could picture it quite clearly.
From the beginning of this book, you are being jetted off to the beautiful land of Alaska. This is some place I've never been before, but the things I hear about it sound magnificent. Arterburn definitely shows strengths in descriptions and his characters. I felt like I knew exactly who the people were. They were relatable in their flaws and strengths, which sometimes can be a problem in fictional writing. I would have liked to see Jonathan and Erica's relationship evolve into something more. He simply implies that in the future they will become a couple.
I really enjoyed reading the parts involving Mercy. Her character intrigued me thoroughly. Mercy, meaning 'compassion' as a name, is a mystery in and of herself, I would venture to say. I think anyone who reads this book will be somewhat surprised with how her story turns out.
My biggest criticism of The Encounter is if Arterburn had maybe made it a bit of a longer book, he could have thickened the plot more. There were mysteries, there were twists and turns, but they were not very well developed. I felt like I had just begun to figure out that something was even supposed to be a mystery when they would give me the answer to it lol. So that is my biggest criticism for sure.
Overall, I did enjoy it and I do feel it's worth a read. It won't take you long at all, so why not try it? Who knows? It might resonate really well for you!

~Thanks to BookSneeze for providing me a copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.~

More book reviews coming, peeps!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Winners from the Mini Halloween Blogfest!

Hey all,
How's your week going? Good I hope :)

Well, I have the winners from both giveaways!! The three winners have been emailed already so just waiting to hear back to ship their stuff out! Without further delay, the winners!

Drumrooooooooooooooll, please!!!!


Caramel Apple Giveaway


First place winner of the Mystery Book Giveaway


Second place winner of the Mystery Book Giveaway


WOOHOOOOOOOO!! Congratulations, ladies! Thanks again to everyone who stopped by. I am currently hard, yes, hard at work on the Second Annual Christmas Blogfest!! Currently we'll have at least five authors and three friends stopping by for interviews and giveaways :D Who's as excited as me!? Last year was SO fun!!!! Anyway, have a great rest of your week!

Happy November!!!
Until next time,