Monday, April 30, 2018

Month in Review - April

  • Wrote 1659 words
  • Sculpted 0 babies
  • Tatted 2 crosses
  • Sewed 0 sock monkeys  
  • Knit 0 hats
  • Exercised 21 days
  • Read in the Bible 30 days
  • Wrote up 1 backlogged book reviews 
  • Book Review: "Pelican Point" by Irene Hannon

    About the Book A crumbling lighthouse is not part of the inheritance Army doctor Ben Garrison expects to claim when he journeys to Hope Harbor. Fresh out of the service, he wants only to unload the tower of bricks, decompress from years of treating battlefield trauma, and prepare to launch his civilian career.

    Hope Harbor Herald editor Marci Weber has other ideas. She may not be a Hope Harbor native, but the small Oregon seaside town has become home--and she's determined to save the Pelican Point landmark.

    Sparks fly as the two go head to head over the fate of the lighthouse. But when they start to cooperate, a different kind of fire ignites. And as they work together, might Hope Harbor heal the hearts of these two romance-wary souls?

    My Thoughts "Pelican Point" is the fourth Hope Harbor Novel. They can be read alone, but one of the main characters is always introduced in the previous book and events from previous books are mentioned in subsequent books, so I would recommend reading them in order to get the fullest picture. I like how there are constant features throughout the books like Charley, the taco stand man; Gladys and Floyd, the seagull couple that hangs out near Charley's stand; the interactions between Father Murphy and Reverend Baker. The book follows the point of view of the main characters, Marci Weber and Ben Garrison, as well as secondary characters, Rachel and Greg Clark. The book was well written and I liked the twists that I didn't expect. The characters grew in their relationships with each other and with God. I look forward to reading more Hope Harbor novels. 

    About the Author Irene Hannon

    Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect SpringHope HarborSea Rose Lane, and Sandpiper Cove, as well as Dangerous Illusions and the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, and she is a member of that organization's elite Hall of Fame. Her many other awards include a National Readers' Choice Award, a Daphne du Maurier Award, a Retailers' Choice Award, two Booksellers' Best Awards, two Carol Awards, and two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, which also honored her with a Career Achievement award for her entire body of work. In addition, she is a two-time Christy Award finalist. Learn more at

    "Pelican Point" is available in paperback:
    • Series: Hope Harbor
    • Paperback: 368 pages
    • Publisher: Revell (April 3, 2018)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0800728807
    • ISBN-13: 978-0800728809
    • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 11224 KB
    • Print Length: 370 pages
    • Publisher: Revell (April 3, 2018)
    • Publication Date: April 3, 2018
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B0741FKR7Q

    I got a copy of this book from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

    Sunday, April 29, 2018

    Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "21 Days of Joy" compiled by Kathy Ide

    21 days of joyAbout the Book

    Title: 21 Days of Joy
    Author: Kathy Ide
    Genre: Non-fiction, Devotional
    Release Date: April 1, 2016
    Tour Dates: April 28 – May 11
    Oh, the joys—and struggles—of
    21 Days of Joy honors mothers of all varieties. Biological moms. Adoptive moms. Stepmothers. Grandmothers. Godmothers. “Second moms.” Even men who “mother” children when circumstances put them in that position.
    Whether you are a mother, have one, or know one, these heartwarming fictional stories will touch your soul and help you see that you are not alone. The work you’re doing will have an impact for eternity. And those rewards will make the trials all worthwhile.
    God knows every sacrifice you make for the children He has brought into your life. So take a few moments out of your busy schedule to read this book, and get a glimpse of your daily routine from a divine perspective.
    Compiler and editor KATHY IDE has written fiction and nonfiction books and is the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors. She is a professional freelance editor and the founder and director of two organizations for editorial freelancers. She has ghostwritten ten nonfiction books and a series of five novels. Kathy makes her home in Orange County, California.

    My Thoughts This is the fourth book I've read in this series. I have enjoyed reading the stories and getting to know some new authors (although there are many that were familiar as well). There is a variety of stories, from ones about moms, daughters, friends... There are also a variety of genres, so there is sure to be something for everyone. The life application sections help you apply the stories to your life. The short length of the stories make them perfect for reading with your devotions, or when you have a short amount of time to read. 

    About the Author

    Kathy Ide-square_300x300Compiler and editor KATHY IDE has been a published author since 1989. She has written fiction and nonfiction books and is the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors. She has ghostwritten ten nonfiction books and a series of five novels. She also writes columns of writing and editing tips for blogs and newsletters. Kathy makes her home in Orange County, California.

    Q & A with Kathy Ide

    Tell us a little about yourself.
    I’ve been writing for publication since 1989 and I’ve been a full-time freelance editor since 1998. I teach at writers’ conferences across the country, and I’m the director of the Orange County Christian Writers Conference here in Southern California. I’m also the founder and director of two organizations for freelance editors: the Christian Editor Connection and The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network.
    You’ve created a Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. What inspired you to gather a collection of short fiction stories to be used as devotions?
    I’ve always loved Christian fiction, and I’ve seen the power of fiction to touch hearts and change lives, both firsthand and hearing about the experiences of others. But you know, in my quiet times with the Lord, reading a chapter from a novel just doesn’t seem quite appropriate. So a devotional with short fiction stories seemed like a great solution.
    Tell us about the books in this series.
    Each one contains 21 short fiction stories, followed by brief life applications, each written by a different author. Some contributors are best sellers, some are mid-range authors, and some are new writers. The first book was 21 Days of Grace: Stories that Celebrate God’s Unconditional Love. That came out June 1st of last year. The second book, 21 Days of Christmas, released on September 1st21 Days of Love came out January 1st.
    Tell us about this third book, 21 Days of Joy.
    21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom contains stories about mothers of all varieties. Biological moms. Adoptive moms. Stepmothers. Grandmothers. Godmothers. “Second moms.” Even men who “mother” children when circumstances put them in that position. It makes a wonderful Mother’s Day gift. And it’s a great way to boost your spirit when dealing with your kids—or your mom—becomes challenging.
    Tell us about some of the stories in 21 Days of Joy.
    Some of the stories are about the struggles moms have dealing with their kids at various ages and stages. Others are about women dealing with their aging mothers. One story is about a young woman who thinks her dreams of having lots of kids are shattered when her fiance dumps her right before the wedding. There are a couple of stories about adopted kids meeting their biological moms. One story is about a barren woman who realizes she actually has lots of children. And one story, written by one of Bob Hope’s comedy writers, is a humorous tale of a woman who applies for the job of mother.
    How do you hope readers will use 21 Days of Joy?
    This book makes a great gift, with its beautiful debossed hardback cover, full-color interior, even a ribbon page marker. With stories about all kinds of mothers, it’s great for anyone who is a mom, has a mom, or knows a mom.
    Like the other books in this series, 21 Days of Joy makes a wonderful daily devotional. And if you want to go deeper, you can get a Study Guide with additional questions about each of the stories. It will be available soon as a free PDF download at or as a 99-cent e-book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
    What do you hope readers will get out of reading 21 Days of Joy?
    I’m praying the Holy Spirit will speak to the hearts of everyone who reads this devotional about how much God has shown His love for them through the mothers in their lives, and what a tremendous impact women have in the lives of the children God has given them to love.
    What is unique about this series?
    Most devotionals contain true stories. And those are great! But so many believers today are big fans of Christian fiction … because fiction can be a powerful way to soak in spiritual truths and apply them to our daily lives. In this devotional, the authors share the themes and messages they see in the pieces they’ve written, and encourage readers to look for those types of things in these devotional stories as well as in other fictional things they might read.
    What life circumstances worked together to put you in a position to be able to create this series?
    Since I’ve been a professional freelance editor for several years, I’m able to edit the submissions I choose to use, polishing them without losing the author’s unique voice. And since I’ve been teaching and speaking at writers’ conferences across the country, I’ve connected with several authors at all levels, including well-known best sellers. So there are a lot of people I can personally ask about submitting to the books in this series. And I’ve developed a strong social media presence, so I can get the word out to other writers as well.
    What other books have you written?
    I wrote Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, to help writers and editors learn how to proofread manuscripts for typos, inconsistencies, and errors in punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling, according to the industry-standard guidelines.
    What do you do besides write?
    Read, of course. And go to movies. I also love to travel with my husband. We visit our out-of-state relatives (when they’re not visiting us—which happens often since we live in Southern California). We also enjoy going jet skiing, and camping in our RV.
    Can you share some of the names of the authors who have contributed stories to the devotional?
    Absolutely! 21 Days of Joy has chapters written by well-known, best-selling novelists, including Deborah Raney, Lynette Sowell, Mary DeMuth, Sherry Kyle, and New York Times best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall. There are also stories by writers you may not have heard of. At the end of each chapter is an author bio that gives some background information, and usually the author’s website. So if you really like a story in the devotional, you can find out what else that author has written. You may just find some new names to add to your favorites list.
    And if you haven’t read much Christian fiction, this devotional will give you a small taste of several different authors and genres, without having to commit to reading an entire novel. You might just discover that you actually love Christian fiction!

    Where can people purchase the books?
    They’re available online at Amazon,, Barnes & Noble, and other websites. If you go to, you’ll find several links that will take you directly to the ordering pages for all of the books in the series. You can also find them at many Christian bookstores and Barnes & Noble stores.

    Blog Stops

    A Greater Yes, April 30
    Mary Hake, May 2
    Simple Harvest Reads, May 4 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
    Carpe Diem, May 6


    21 days of joy
    To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away a hardback copy of 21 Days of Grace and an eBook copy of 21 days of Joy to two winners!!
    Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
    "21 Days of Joy" is available in hardcover:
    • Series: A Fiction Lover's Devotional
    • Hardcover: 176 pages
    • Publisher: Broadstreet Publishing Group, LLC (April 1, 2016)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1424552273
    • ISBN-13: 978-1424552276
    • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 2907 KB
    • Print Length: 177 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1424552273
    • Publisher: BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC (March 12, 2016)
    • Publication Date: March 12, 2016
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B01CXEQQ2G

    I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

    Tuesday, April 24, 2018

    Book Review: "Sons of Thunder" by Susan May Warren

    "Sons of Thunder" was previously published as a standalone novel, but has been rebranded as the first book in the "Brothers in Arms" series. Written in three sections, it follows first Markos Stavros, then Dino Stavros, and finally Sofia Frangos. This book took me on a wide roller coaster of adventures and difficulties, I never knew what to expect. From the hopelessness of being trapped in bootleg era Chicago politics, to the battle fields of WWII, to Nazi occupied Greece, the book did not disappoint on twists and turns. I wanted to yell at the characters at times to get them to wake up or to not follow a particular life path. Through it all, the characters learned to depend on God and follow His path. This book would not be good for teens as there situations of a sexual nature (they are not graphic or anything, more just mentions that it happened). This may be a bit of a spoiler, but reading the book made me feel like it was following the plot of the movie "Pearl Harbor" with the two men, one woman. She loves one, but ends up with the other when the first one dies....

    "Sons of Thunder" is available in paperback:
    • Series: Brothers in Arms
    • Paperback: 318 pages
    • Publisher: SDG Publishing (March 25, 2018)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1943935246
    • ISBN-13: 978-1943935246
    • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 3535 KB
    • Print Length: 346 pages
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Publisher: SDG Publishing (March 19, 2018)
    • Publication Date: March 19, 2018
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English

    I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

    Wednesday, April 11, 2018

    Spring Break

    We continued our trend of going to somewhere in Michigan for Spring Break. This year, we went to Gaylord, which took about 2 1/2 hours to get to. Because Spring Break actually took place the week of Easter, we got an extra long week since the kids didn't have school on Good Friday. We had beautiful weather for the drive up on Friday and spent the rest of the evening relaxing (despite Will's attempts to get us to go swimming).

    The kids made a beeline for the loft as soon as we got to the cabin

    The "master bedroom"

     The kids ready for bed the first night:


    The boys made a "cave" between the bed and the roof/wall

    Andy in the "cave"

    Will going into the "cave"

    Saturday, we had plans to take the kids to an Easter egg hunt and were blessed with snow and wind which made life interesting! They had a raffle and we froze while we waited for the drawing, but they called our number for a boy's scooter! After all the drawings for the different age/gender groups, they went back through and did drawings for the unclaimed prizes. Some of the groups took awhile to find a winner that was present. For the boys' group, they decided to collect the "keep this ticket" part of the ticket for the people still there for that group. I just finished telling Will, "We have to remember our number is 511374" and the guy pulled out a ticket and said "511374"! We won a bike! We were trying to figure out how we'd get it home at the end of the week when we remembered my parents were going to be coming up for a visit. Eureka! We'd send it home with them!

    They're in there somewhere!

    It made it interesting to get back to the cabin

    Going through the eggs/candy they got. Will is holding the scooter we won.

    We put the bike in the tub to dry from all the snow that was on it

    Making Jello eggs. We'd forgotten a funnel, so I made one out of the bottom of a disposable pie tin.

    Our porch light was automatic and it blinked. It was annoying (especially for Sarah, who's bed in the loft was opposite the window) so we covered it with towels every night!

    I didn't want to take up the space to bring the Easter baskets, so I used what was at the cabin

    I did bring the eggs for our scavenger Easter egg hunt

    checking out what they got in the eggs

    Easter dinner

    We were watching TV in our room and ended up with most of the kids in with us

    so we called Sarah in, also...

    We forgot the swim masks, but we played catch with Will's football

    The huge water slide to the outside swimming area

    Emi's ears were cold


    It was the warmest day on Monday and it turned out to be the perfect day for my parents to come up for the day.

    First, we went to "Call of the Wild Museum"

    Then we went to the Elk Park:

    "Ice Tree"
    We went to Walmart and then went to Culver's for dinner.

    Back at the cabin, we had pie and Emi opened a birthday present from my brother and sister-in-law as they missed her party last week.

    After my parents left, we went swimming again and Andy took these pictures:


    I don't have any pictures from Tuesday, but we were expecting freezing rain, so we went swimming in the morning and then holed up in the cabin. We ended up with only snow, but got about 9+ inches!


    Will and his snow pig


    Big icicle William found

    My parents had brought up the swim masks, so the kids enjoyed using them the rest of the week

    Andy's face with marks from his mask

    We were in the first cabin on the end

    We drove home on Friday and had gotten snow the night before, so it was not the best road conditions getting to the freeway, then about a half hour into the drive, we got snow and low visibility for about a half hour. After we made it through that, the rest of the drive was fine.