Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012

I am not big on resolutions.. why build such huge expectations and goals for an entire year just to struggle through the first month? I am more about each day being a brand new day from God. Each day allows grace and newness to be all that you are meant to be. Setting goals are great and I am encouraged that God allows me the wisdom to set goals for myself and family, always being mindful that He can tweek them to fit his will.
I am excited to bring some new ideas to my blog for 2012. Fantastic books that continue to roll of the presses of talented writers. Themed months to showcase some smaller businesses and their passion for what they create. Jan will be a reuse and recycle month with eco friendly companies and lots of awesome giveaways.
Feb is a huge coffee review month with mugs, coffee, calendars and some super cool businesses working for humanitarian efforts.

Looking forward to having internet again! Typing posts on a phone is a bit taxing!
Blessings to one and all as you reflect on the last day of 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Smitten Book Review

Coble, Billerbeck, Hunt & Hunter

Who wouldn’t be Smitten when reading that these 4 awesome authors collaborated together to bring us the small town of Smitten, Vermont and 4 heroines much like themselves!
The brainstorm of Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter, this Christian fiction book is romance times four.The four gals of Smitten: Natalie, Julia, Shelby and Reese, devise a plan to save their small town after the lumber company closes down. God may have even more plans for these girls while they hustle and bustle to create a great town, maybe a love interest for each?
You will love this 4 in one novel, with each author so skillfully portraying their character and melding them together into one super fantastic read.
Subtitled Love is on the Way, you will love this fiction novel for the depth of character, the interaction between each one of them, and the skillfulness of having 4 authors write one book!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Blockhead the Life of Fibonacci- Joseph D'Agnese

Do you remember back in Math class, hearing about Fibonacci Sequence? The name rung a bell with me when I heard that and was intrigued to see what this book was all about. The famous mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci, the young student amazed by and mesmerized by numbers.. much to the chagrin of his family and elders who often referred to him as Blockhead. Little is known about the mathematician, but this tale by D'Agnese takes facts that were known and creates a wonderful biography style picture book about the man who realized the wonderful natural pattern of numbers. Now D'Agnese attributes that to Mother Nature, which I understand as a book to the general public. I on the other hand contribute it to God of Heaven and Earth who designed the pattern. I find it fascinating that Fibonacci was able to use his mathematic ability to realize such a pattern.
The book has beautiful and detailed illustrations of the places and things Fibonacci  saw, all incorporating the spirals that are a symbol of the pattern. The end of the book has a Can you Find section that sends the reader back through the book looking for details in the illustrations.
Loved this book for the uniqueness in subject matter, a figure in ancient history that I am enjoying having my young children learn about!

I received a copy of this book from MacMillan publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Christmas Journey Home - Kathi Macias

Two stories intertwined to bring the true meaning of Christmas alive in this holiday story. The first, a recently widowed Miarian, depressed and lost in her own anger of her husband being killed on the border by smugglers. The second, Isabella, a mexican citizen being smuggled into the US to find refuge for her unborn child.

See where we are heading with this one? Kathi Macias does not write drivel. Intense emotions, raw with hurt, can God work his redemptive powers?  A novel that gets to the heart and generosity of Christmas. The looking beyond our own pain, and realizing that there are things that still need to be done in the world.

Don Alfredo, Isabella's grandfather was one of my favorite characters. A dutiful prayer warrior despite all he had lost in raids in his city. Awakened by God to pray for his grandaughter, he was so willing to follow the call of the Holy Spirit, though his weary bones longed for sleep. To be like Don Alfredo in our praying for others!

Not an easy, light hearted read as many of the Christmas stories I have read this season. A truly beautiful and emotional story that you will want to reread yearly.

I received a copy of this book from Kathi in exchange for an honest review, and I have been blessed.
You can pick up a copy of this book at Amazon and other book sellers

Pookster and the Unloose Tooth- Rhonda Funk

Do you struggle with patience? Who doesn't right? Well how do we get children to understand the character of being patient when they are generally anything but patient? Rhonda Funk addresses the lesson of  patience in her book about brother sister duo, Pookster and Bubs. Bubs is one of those rare kids who doesn't mind waiting for things, say like loose teeth to fall out. Pookster has loose teeth out of her mouth in 45 mins from the time if first wiggles! Pookster certainly doesn't understand Bubs patience with such important things like loose teeth.

Pookster wants her 2 front teeth gone for Christmas so she can sing the famous song and mean it!
Will determination to succeed be what Pookster had wished for? Patience is going to sneak in there somewhere and probably when Pookster leasts expects it!

Rhonda records the book on cd for children to go the old fashioned way of listening to books on 'tape' and changing the page at the tone :) But.. it wont be necessary to use that because parents are going to want to read this book. It is humorous and has lots of AHHH moments for Mom and Dad to share with the kiddo's.
Great job Rhonda! Looking forward to more of Pooksters antics in upcoming books!!

For more on Rhonda and her work as an author, singer and publicist you can visit her at

Get your copy today!!

I received a copy of this book from Bring it On Communications in Exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fifo '50' States - Hayley Rose

As part of our homeschooling this year I thought it would be fun to take a 'tour' of each state. We have utilized various resources to find facts, recipes and the history of each state. I have read numerous picture books to the kids of the various states. Fifo '50' States incorporates fun information into each of the states in kid friendly, rhythmic prose. Hayley Rose mentions the capital, state bird, flower and and tree for each state that Fifo visits.

The illustrations incorporate all of these facts and show Fifo on a grand adventure in each state. Kentucky for an example has Fifo riding a horse in the Kentucky Derby!

Fantastic reference book for homeschoolers and teachers. Add it to your library and suggest to your local public library to add Fifo '50' States to its offerings.

Many thanks to Hayley Rose for providing me with a review copy of this book. It has been well loved and treasured all ready.

Visit Fifo at his website and find some fun activities to go along with the book. While you are there check out Fifo's first book  "When I grow up".

40 Days to Better Living- Depression

40 Days to Better Living by Scott Morris
Distributed by the Church Health Center

Seasonal Affective Disorder, darker days, cooler weather, let down of the holidays.... the season for depression is heavy upon us.
Scott Morris has written a bimonthly series of books on new ways of wellness from aging to weight control to depression. This specific book targets the depression that is so incumbering to so many.
This daily digest book spends 40 days helping you choose ways and habits to help improve your depression.

Depression is a multi-facetted illness that the author attacks in a 7 step model. Daily aspects of your faith, physical health, exercise, work environment, emotional well being, relationships with friends and family, and your nutrition are all addressed with either an activity to do, a thought to mull around, or a journalling activity.
These 7 steps are encapsilated by a morning relflection and an evening wrap up, to give you a full days worth of good health ideas.

Not just a typical self-help book, I love how it has the reader interact and actually do something about their depression. I love how it reads like a digest or magazine rather than a book. I enjoyed the personal testimonies of clients from the health center.
I appreciated the holistic approach to wellness rather than just tackling one or two of the areas as many depression books seem to do.
Well done and I would enjoy reading more in the series.
I received a copy of this book from B & B media in exchange for an honest review.

Facebook Page and upcoming themes

Trying to get on the wagon with all this technical stuff, and as I work on having help on my blog, just wanted to pass along my Facebook page to you all. I am excited about upcoming themes for 2012!!

Late Dec to early Jan I will be showing you calendars, devotionals and planners to get your year started out on the right foot.
Mid Jan lets look at making some green resolutions. Starting small and looking at eco-friendly and reusable resources.
Then February is the Coffee Revue where we will have 2 weeks of all things coffee!!

I will have a coffee revue button shortly that you can put on your blog.
Lots of giveaways and fantastic products!!

For now though see if this link will take you to my FB page :)!/pages/A-Year-of-Jubilee-Reviews/318204448204087

Coming soon..Deadline the Film

I am not a movie buff by any stretch of the imagination. I rather READ!! But.. when I hear that there is a great family movie going to be released I stand in line at the theater to support it. The only time I go to the theater, I typically wait a few years for it to be on Netflix (I am cheap!). Based on a true story this movie looks to be full of suspense, intrique and as typical in family friendly films, REDEMPTION. Here is just a quick blurb of the movie to come out in February 2012 so be sure to look for it, and get in that movie theater line!

Steve Talley and Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts star in Deadline, the story of the murder of an African American youth in rural Alabama that has gone uninvestigated, unsolved and unpunished for almost twenty years. But that changes when Nashville Times reporter Matt Harper meets an idealistic young blueblood bent on discovering the truth. Harper undertakes the investigation despite the opposition of his publisher, violent threats from mysterious forces, a break-up with his fiancĂ©e and his father's cancer diagnosis. Deadline is a story of murder, family, race, and of redemption — for a small Southern town and for Matt Harper.
Inspired by a true story, Deadline is adapted from Mark Ethridge's novel Grievances. Ethridge is a former managing editor of The Charlotte Observer. Deadline will be released in theaters nationwide in 2012.
"Mark Ethridge has captured the South in a way that is every bit as evocative as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and he has told a story as riveting as the best Grisham courtroom thriller. But Grievances is no mere thriller. It is a story of the heart that will resonate with readers long after they have turned the final page."
~ Pat Conroy, Author of My Losing Season, The Great Santini and The Prince of Tides

Sign up at for updates on the release and also you can watch the movie trailer!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Green Resolutions Giveaway Hop signup for bloggers

I have participated in several giveaway events over the past few months, and have had so much fun discovering new blogs to follow and connecting with some fabulous women that I decided to team up with Mama Chocolate and Purposeful Homemaking to host the Green Resolutions Giveaway Hop!
We decided on this theme because so many people make resolutions every January, and we want to help them reach their goals of being more green and living more naturally!
If you’re a blogger and would like to participate, the event will run from January 16-30 – and is completely free to participate in!

Simply visit Happy Mothering at this link and get signed up to join in the fun!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Triple Dog Dare- Jeremy V. Jones

One year of Dynamic Devotions for boys!

What an exciting book for boys to delve into the word of God without all the complexity that some devotions for adults have. Totally geared toward 9-12 year old boys who long for adventure. Taking the famous stories of the bible and bringing them to the young mans level, and encouraging action on his part to mimic the bible heroes.

Each day begins with a scripture to read and then takes that and forms a Truth from God's Word. A relevant story for that scripture for the boys is followed by a triple dog dare; 3 ways the boy can take action and have a hands on experience from what he has read. Mission Accomplished gives the boys a place to journal what they learned, and did for that day.

Innovative and contemporary boys will enjoy doing these daily devotions as they aren't just reading, but actually doing!!
With the new year coming this would be a great time to inspire the boys in your life to get serious with God, and delve into this extremely fun devotional!!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Christmas Singing

The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall
Do you enjoy Amish Fiction? Then you are in for a treat with The Christmas Singing!

Read the first chapter of The Christmas Singing Here

Great Christmas Gift Idea and to sweeten it you can get 30% off and free shipping on The Christmas Singing (and any other title) when you use promo code CHRISTMAS11 at checkout on The coupon code expires on December 20th, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holy Stable, Celebrate the Miracle - Heidi Hanseen

During the holidays I am drawn to anything nativity related. I don't get very excited about Santa and his minions but to read about the glory of my Savior gets me excited all season long.
Such a beautiful, compact book. Written in poetic prose, on aged looking pages with gold trimming. Detailed, yet simple.. much like our saviors birth.
Heidi Hanseen could have easily just put out a book for the holiday season, but she added dimensions to it to make the story come alive for the reader. The included CD reads the story including music and narration for a spiritual journey for the entire family.
Also on the cd she includes a shorter version without additional harp interludes. Also an instrumental version so that you can put on your own nativity play. You can download the pageant script free with purchase. Use the script for your own family to act out the pageant or share it with your church family and the youth participate in a group nativity.
Beautiful and inspirational in music and verse.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Holy Stable: Celebrate the Miracle, restores the tender joys of the season! Discover how sharing the gift of Jesus’ love blesses relationships, as you enjoy the magic of children’s narration, original music and song. Mary and Joseph’s devotion to God and sublime caring for each other will bring you to experience the story of Baby Jesus’ birth as never before.
Holy Stable is more than just a Christmas “play”! It has everything an actual pageant has and is a perfect highlight to our Christmas season!

Holy Stable brings about inspired memories, the play adapts for a few participants or a larger group and for use with or without your own vocal talent. Harp, wooden flute and violin instrumentals come with and without vocals and narration and are coordinated with the innovative script, including tips, which are offered to you as a downloadable bonus gift at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Heidi is a mother of eight and first time author. Her long held interests in studying scripture, benefiting relationships, drama, music, artistic expression and nurturing love came together in this multi-media experience. She’s an avid reader and writer and has conducted children’s music and participated in choirs for many years.

With the desire to create more cherished Christmas memories and promote a deeper connection to the Savior, Heidi produced Holy Stable: Celebrate the Miracle…Story, Music, Nativity Play

Thanks to Media Guests for this tour and a complementary copy of the book and cd

Food Allergy and Gluten Free Weight Loss- Nicolette Dumke

I do not have food allergies that I know of, nor do I need to have a gluten free diet. I did however have an interest in weight loss using the method that many with food allergies use to get their eating habits to align more with their body chemistry.
The author asks so what must we do to lose weight? "A non-diet, an eating plan that is not overly restrictive, supplies all of our nutritional requirements and permits choices that respect our need for the pleasure and emotional satisfaction that should come from food." This plan tailors the diet to your own personal needs.
Nicolette does mention that the timing to start this program needs to be right. She says 'an especially stressful time in your life may not be the time to start this program', so that kind of curbed my usefulness for the plan currently as we are getting ready to change jobs and move. :) I had hoped to have time to try it out and let my readers know my thoughts through observations, but that will have to wait until a less stressful time.
Nicolette discusses the princeiples of glycemic control for weight loss and taking charge of our hormones.
The plan outlines meals and snacks that help control your blood sugar, and are organized into food units. She gives 9 principles to follow to help you choose the right foods for your body.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack plans are all included in the book along with recipes.
Detailed in the descriptions of the body and the systems, but she does include a 'fast track' method for wanting to dive right in.
Getting the chemicals in your body balanced is the key to weight loss and good health. You can find more information on the author and the program at
I recieved a copy of this book from the author and Pump up Your Books in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

GiveAway***Hidden Gifts of Helping Article by Stephen G. Post

The Hidden Gifts of Helping:
Do Good Things for Others This Holiday Season
Article by Stephen G. Post,
Author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping,a Wall Street Journal bestseller

***(The winner will be the person that shares their best story of holiday giving/receiving or a time when they received many blessings by helping someone who needed it. Give me so many I have to struggle to choose!! May we each be blessed by one anothers stories of giving this Christmas season!!
Leave your story in the comments along with your name and email. I will choose a winner
 Dec 19th!!)***

Ebenezer Scrooge begins in The Christmas Carol with a “Bah humbug!” He is both miserly and miserable. As the story unfolds, he eventually discovers the “giver’s glow,” as I like to term it. He is dancing on the streets in the enduring joy of his newfound generosity of heart. I compare the giver’s glow to a glow stick that children get at parades and fairs. These are the translucent plastic tubes containing substances that when combined make light through a chemical reaction. After the glass capsule in the plastic casing is broken, it glows. The brokenness is part of the process. Give and grow, give and glow. Scrooge discovered this before it was too late.

Human beings are wired to give of themselves for noble purposes, regardless of circumstances. Recently, I delivered a sermon in an African-American Baptist church in Coram, New York. The subject was how we benefit when we love our neighbor. Afterwards, a wonderful elderly woman, who was full of vitality, said to me, “You know, that giver’s glow is how we African Americans have been getting through hard times for two centuries!”

On the inside cover of a copy of The Book of Common Prayer, given to me in 1986 by the Rev. William B. Eddy of Tarrytown, New York, is an accumulating memorial list of twenty people I have known closely as models of kindness and generosity over the years. To get on the list a person must have passed on and, by all accounts, remained generous even in their final days. These are people who understood that happiness is not to be found just in the getting, but in the giving, and they taught by example. Have you noticed the warm glow in your heart that comes when you act kindly? They had a deep sense of common humanity, and they all had a certain happiness about them—a sort of gaiety that comes with a life well-lived and rightly inspired.

In my most recent book, The Hidden Gifts of Helping: How the Power of Giving, Compassion, and Hope Can Get Us Through Hard Times (Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint), I describe a bit of an upheaval in my own life, and how helping others got me and my family through the inevitable tough times that come everyone’s way. 

“After twenty years of being ‘at home’ in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, my job disappeared. Maybe we were too attached to Cleveland, and maybe God wanted us to move on. But as a family we never anticipated just how challenging up-rootedness is, especially when it is not something that you would have opted for in better times. So in June of 2008, we sold the house and moved east on Route 80 from Ohio to the George Washington Bridge, landing in Stony Brook. What a great place! But still, we just had not quite imagined how stressful such a move would be and how hard we would have to work to find renewed peace of mind and heart.

“Suddenly cut adrift from friends and community, we felt painfully uprooted—out of place, stressed out, disoriented and at odds with each other. Most movers suffer from a lack of companionship and intimate friends, at least temporarily, and doing this repeatedly is really tough. Fortunately, we had those twenty good years in Ohio. We struggled to find our footing with the move, determined to recreate the good life of community and friendships we all so keenly missed. The key turned out to be something we knew quite well, but learned to remember daily in our upheaval: the healing power of helping others. The medical prescription is this—Rx: Helper Therapy. 

“Simply put, helping others helps the helper. Research in the field of health psychology, as well as all the great spiritual traditions, tells us that one of the best ways to get rid of anger and grief is to actively help others. Science supports this assertion: Giving help to others measurably reduces the giver’s stress; improves health and well-being in surprising and powerful ways; renews our optimism about what is possible; helps us connect to family, friends and lots of amazing people; allows the deep, profound joy of our humanity to flow through us and out into the world; and improves our sense of self-worth. These are valuable gifts anytime and particularly in hard times. If there is one great secret to life, this is it.”

After all was said and done, this move worked out. My wife found a grade school where she could continue her work as a teaching assistant for especially needy children, my son Drew volunteered at the hospital and I started working with families of individuals with autism. We eventually realized that wherever we are, we are at home when we can contribute to the lives of others. We got back in touch with the things that matter most, and maybe that is what hard times are for. We helped others in ways that we felt called to, we used our strengths so as to feel effective and we shared our experiences with family, faith community and like-minded others.

Eventually, of course, everyone stumbles on hard times, and no one gets out of life alive. Today, even those who had considered themselves protected from hardship are being touched and their lives changed by volatile economic markets, job uncertainty and the increasing isolation and loneliness of modern life.

Here are four things to keep in mind. First, as Washington Irving put it so well: “Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.” Second, love often does beget love, just as hate usually begets hate, and so good givers need to be good receivers. Third, we should never count on reciprocity because this is sure to be frustrating and ultimately small-minded. Better to take joy when those upon whom our love is bestowed do not “pay it back” to us, but rather “pay it forward” to others as they move through life remembering our good example. Or to bring this to the kitchen table, as I heard one Italian mother in Cleveland tell her son, “Love and forget about it!” And fourth, in I Corinthians Paul linked “faith, hope and love,” and he proclaimed that “love never fails.” What is faith but having confidence that no matter how harsh a particular scene in the drama of our lives or of history might be, it is love that wrote the play and love that will be revealed in the final act.

Do a little good this holiday season. The 2010 Do Good Live Well Survey,released by United Healthcare and VolunteerMatch (, surveyed 4,500 American adults. 41 percent of Americans volunteered an average of 100 hours a year. 68 percent of those who volunteered in the last year reported that volunteering made them feel physically healthier. In addition:

  • 89% reported that “volunteering has improved my sense of well-bring”
  • 73% agreed that “volunteering lowered my stress levels”
  • 92% agreed that “volunteering enriched my sense of purpose in life”
  • 72% characterized themselves as “optimistic” compared to 60% of non-volunteers
  • 42% of volunteers reported a “very good” sense of meaning in their lives, compared with 28% of non-volunteers

How wise it is to do what one can to contribute benevolently to others!

Some individuals on my The Book of Common Prayer list were well known and others lived quiet lives out of the limelight. Some were appreciated and some not. We might prefer to think that loving servants of goodness would, after a long and successful life, die peacefully in their beds and all people would speak well of them at their funerals. But this is too simplistic. Everyone on my list experienced an enduring joy as a by-product of their generosity. Thus, the motto of my independent Institute for Research on Unlimited Love (, founded with the help of Sir John Templeton (who happens to be on my list!), is “In the giving of self lies the discovery of a deeper self.”


Holiday Hop Winner!!

Holiday Hop Winner of the 3 hardback Christmas Gifts is

**** Patricia H****

Thanks to all who entered and have a blessed Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Names of God Bible- Ann Spangler

The Names of God Bible

Ann Spangler has written some amazingly indepth bible studies that have enlightened me on the women of the bible and the names of Jesus. When I saw that she was editing a Bible to come out I knew that it would be a Bible I would utilize often. Learning the different names of God has always been a desire of mine to grow more in my walk. The different names I feel describe the different character qualities of God, and allow me to express my inmost feelings more than just having one name for Him.
If you are a student of the Bible and desire a more intimate look at the names of God, this is a fantastic resource for you. I enjoy just looking through and calling out the names I read for God in this edition. Not only that but it can easily be used in church or research as it is a complete Bible in of itself.
Fantastic job by Ann Spangler in her research and depth of the names for our creator.

Open the door to a more intimate relationship with God
·  Discover the Hebrew names of God within the biblical text
·  Encounter God through prayers, promises, and devotional readings
·  Experience God's character more deeply by studying his names
One of the best ways to get to know God on a deeper level is to know his names and titles as revealed in Scripture. Now the bestselling author of Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus uncovers the richness of God's character and love found in his names right within the Bible text.
The Names of God Bible restores more than 10,000 occurrences of specific names of God--like Yahweh, El Shadday, El Elyon, and Adonay--to help readers connect with the Hebrew roots of their Christian faith and experience a deeper understanding of God's character. Perfect for personal study, prayer, and reflection, The Names of God Bible includes these special features:
More than 10,000 names and titles of God restored to their Hebrew equivalent and printed in brown ink to stand out within the biblical text
Names of God reading paths lead readers to the next reference of the name so they can pray and study the names of God throughout Scripture
Name Pages feature
§  background information associated with the most important names and titles of God
§  key Scripture passages in which the name is revealed
§  devotional readings for each of the featured names
§  specific Bible promises connected to each of the featured names
Calling God by Name sidebars shed light on the relationship between biblical people and the specific names they called God.

Ann Spangler is an award-winning writer whose fascination with the Bible has resulted in books that have opened the Bible to a wide range of readers. She is the author or coauthor of several bestselling books, including Praying the Names of God, Praying the Names of Jesus, Women of the Bible, and Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus. Together, her books have sold nearly 3 million copies. She has held senior positions at two Christian publishing houses and lives with her two daughters in Michigan.

I received a copy of this bible in exchange for an honest review.

Baby's Little Bible

I just love gifting books for special occassions. There seems to be a book for every person out there. My very favorite book to gift is a Bible. This precious little bible for baby's is perfect for giving to a new Mom and Dad for their little one, or giving to a baby for their 1st birthday. My Grandma has a tradition of gifting her great grandchildren with Bibles for their first baby and I love that!
This Bible is a padded hard back book coming in blue and pink. The pages are thicker, but not board book style. Perfect for Mom or Dad to read to little one and show them the pictures, but not a hands on book for them. The illustrations are big and bright, the focal point of the bible stories. Simple stories to captivate the child while they gaze at the illustrations. The bible hits the basic stories in words that are easy to understand, without taking away from the importance of the word.
Consider having a couple of these Bible on hand for your next Baby Shower, or little one joining the church.

Published by Lion Childrens
I received a copy of this Bible from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Under the Mistletoe- Irene Brand and Anita Higman

Two Christmas stories come together in the book When Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe, one from the past and one from the present.

Julia Mayfield as a wish to her dieing sister is taking her nephew to see the grandparents that he never knew. Dealing with 2 year olds isn't something Julia is good with after spending some time in World War II. Figuring she can do this wish for her sister, then move on with her life and write the book she eagerly awaits to write about her war adventures. The grandparents are too distraught over the death of their son that they will not even acknowledge that their grandson is who Julia says he is. She just wants to get out of this backwoods hollar and get back to society, when her parents throw a wrench in her return plans, causing Julia to stay through Christmas. Love of family and friends grows on Julia in KY, will she ever be able to leave this hollar again?

The second story is a modern day tale of Holly, an abandoned infant on Christmas Eve. Adopted by Christmas store owner Mr. Goodnight, Holly leads a happy and joyful life with her 'father'. A writer gets wind of her story of abandonment and wants to write a novel about her. Holly feels that maybe it is time to come to grips with her past and agrees. The author, Van falls for Holly as he is writing the story. What does best friend and childhood playmate Owen feel about that? 

Both stories have love under the mistletoe, and Julia is Holly's great aunt in the story that ties them together. Sweet stories of Christmas love! Wholesome and good

Humbug A Christmas Carol- Lee Baker

Winterton has not felt the warmth of Christmas and the spirit of love and joy for over 100 years. Neighbors are brisk with one another, no compassion and love, no smiling, only coldness of heart.

Mayor Coldstone and Mrs. Sleet discover a girl, Mimi who is obviously not from Winterton, with her smile and rosy cheeks. She is put in the attic of the orphanage. Her small friend a Humbug begins to hum a tune that others hear that begins to warm their hearts. Mayor Coldstone is determined to keep Winterton in the dark and cold.
Lee Baker describes Winterton and it's in habitants with words like, icy, sheets of frost, arctic, frigid and more. Very detailed descriptions that make you chill as you read it. Can the tiny Humbugs song bring the reindeer and Christmas back to Winterton or has it been frozen for too long?
Darling book to add to your Christmas collection. Sharing the theme of the love of Christmas and the warmth it brings to communities, Lee Baker does an excellent job of showing the difference that the love can make.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lee Baker is the president of Sandman Studios, a visual effects and animation company and has taught courses at UCLA Extension, Loyola Marymount University and the University of Utah. He is the author of the illustrated books “Humbug, A Christmas Carol” and “Beau and the Beanstalk,” and now his latest thriller “Speed of Light.” Lee lives in Utah with his wife and five children.

Thanks to Media Guests for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Salon Girl Review and Giveaway

My Salon Doll delivers a real treat! Uniquely designed, each doll is manufactured with real human hair. Their hair can be curled with a curling iron, straightened, crimped and blown dry. What ever you can imagine you can create.
My Salon Doll’s are vinyl; this design makes it possible to join her best friend everywhere… places like the pool, sprinklers, or tub are no longer off limits. Every moment with My Salon Doll is memorable and enjoyable. Another fun feature from My Salon Doll are her pierced ears, making it easy to add glam with real earings and other accessories.

Currently My Salon Doll has three dolls available Brynn, Malaree, Kendrey with a rapidly expanding product line. Each girl has her on personality, hobbies, and talents. The adventures are just waiting to begin! While exploring the website, visit the Styles and Smiles link. This is a fun place where you are taught different things like styling your My Salon Doll’s hair, special techniques, and safety tips. Styles you can recreate on your own hair!

My Salon Doll is hosting a Christmas giveaway.
Enter to win a your very own, MY SALON DOLL.
The First and Original Doll with Real Hair.

TO PARTICIPATE: For a chance to win you must complete the following three (3) steps below between November 7, 2011 and December 15, 2011 to qualify;

Step 1: Visit and get to know the three different dolls: Brynn, Malaree, and Kendrey. Then decide if chosen, which doll you’d like to win.

Step 2: Send an email to with your first name, last name, email address, doll of your choice, and share where you heard about the contest.

Step 3: “Like” the My Salon Doll Facebook page

CONTEST DATES: The contest will be active from November 1, 2011 through December 15, 2011.

GIVEAWAY RULES: Open to USA and Canadian residents, age 18+ to enter, one entry per household. Winner announced on Facebook on December 16, 2011. No purchase necessary. Thanks for entering and good luck! Winner selected through and notified by email.
Blog, Tweet or Share on Facebook about the giveaway and be entered twice in the contest. Make sure you leave a message on the My Salon Doll facebook page letting us know that you’ve done this.

This giveaway is being handled completely by My Salon Doll, I did not receive any compensation or products to review with this promotion.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Lovers Holiday Giveaway 12/2-12/6

 Book Lover's Holiday Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Kid Lit Frenzy

Get into the Christmas spirit with 3 great Christmas novels that I have reviewed...

All 3 to one winner!!
Easy Peasy, Follow me with GFC
Leave your name and email in the comments of this post.
Random.Org will choose the winner
Comment by Dec 6th midnight!

Merry Christmas to all the Book Lovers!

PetCakes Review & Giveaway

What a delight to receive these darling PetCakes stuffed animals in the mail!! We got 2 from the Forest Animals Assortment of which there are 4 in the collection.


Made by Well Made Toys, these stuffed forest animals come with a cupcake hat and detach from the cupcake base to come out for a visit and play with it's young owners. They they can retire to their cupcake bottom for a restful night and turn once again into a cupcake!
Very innovative concept as Cupcakes continue to be the rage in toys and designing currently.
These are indeed well made as we pulled and yanked on their arms and legs, testing for durability of these stuffed animals. 
This line offers a squirrel, honey bear, racoon and panda bear and goes along nicely with their previous line of 4 dogs PetCakes

 PetCakes® can be ordered directly on our site  Right now they are offering a special:

Special Offer: Buy (4) or more Petcakes® Collectibles plush toys and receive the PetCakes® Collectibles Minis - 4 pack FREE you only have to pay an additional $1.99 shipping/handling.

These will make wonderful Christmas gifts for the little ones in your life, and unique to the other stuffed animals I have seen lately. Get your order in now just in time for Christmas!!

One of my lucky readers will have a chance to win one of these darling stuffed animals..

Visit PetCakes on Facebook!/PetCakesToys and leave wall posting on their page telling them which PetCake you like best, and that Melanie sent you!!

Then leave me a comment here with your name and email for a chance to win!!

Drawing Dec 9th..