Saturday, April 25, 2015

When Calls the Heart (Review & Giveaway)

I have loved When Calls the Heart since I watched the first episode. Yes, I consider myself a Heartie. :) I was super excited to be able to watch the premiere about a week early, and made sure to brag about it on Facebook. I sat down with my sisters and watched the almost two hour long premiere.

We really enjoyed it. It kept us entertained with an interesting story line and surprising twists. It had a touch of humor, which is always a plus. I can't wait to watch future episodes.

While we did enjoy it, there were a few things that were disappointing. The main thing on the list being that someone cussed. I am always happy to find a family-friendly show and was happy that When Calls the Heart lived up to that standard. While this won't cause me to stop watching the show, (it only happened once) I was disappointed that they put it in the episode. The other thing on the list is that some of the hairstyles and a couple of the men's outfits were a little modern. I would look at some of the hairstyles and think, "Ooh, I wish my hair would look like that!" which probably would not have happened if they were historically correct. It isn't a huge deal, but it was a little annoying.

Overall, I really enjoyed it and look forward to watching the rest of the season! 

~Bri, teen reviewer

About the series:
The series is inspired by Janette Oke’s bestselling book series about the Canadian West. “When Calls the Heart” tells the captivating story of Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), a young teacher accustomed to her high society life, who receives her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley, a small coalmining town where life is simple, but often fraught with challenges. Lori Loughlin plays Abigail Stanton, a wife and mother whose husband, the foreman of the mine, along with a dozen other miners, has just been killed in an explosion. The newly widowed women find their faith is tested when they must go to work in the mines to keep a roof over their heads. Elizabeth charms most everyone in Coal Valley, except Constable Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing) who believes Thatcher’s wealthy father has doomed the lawman’s career by insisting he be assigned in town to protect the shipping magnate’s daughter. Living in a turn of the century coal town, Elizabeth will have to learn the ways of the frontier if she wishes to thrive in the rural west on her own.

Follow When Calls the Heart on:

And now, the GREAT news: one of YOU will win a set of When Calls the Heart Season 1 on DVD! ($60 value!)

To enter, simply comment below this post or on my Facebook page letting me know you wish to be entered. That's it! Oh, and if you share this giveaway on social media, please let me know and I will give you an extra entry. This giveaway is available only in the US and Canada, and ends Friday, May 1, at 8 p.m. 

Ready...GO! :)

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Capture the Moment

I love photography--have since I was a little girl--but it was only in the last 5-6 years that I began to study it, and probably only in the past 2-3 that I got serious about it. Since I'm not able to take an actual photography course, I'm teaching myself. I especially appreciate clear, simple instructions, and that is exactly what I found in Capture the Moment.  It's practical, concise, and simply beautiful! 

Sections are organized according to topic and contain tips and gorgeous images, as well as the specs of each image, from contributing photographers. Creative exercises at the end of each chapter encourage you to try out the concepts explained, stretch your limits, and attempt new things. The photographer's reference at the end of the book defines terms that may be unfamiliar, and is especially helpful to beginning photographers. 

Capture the Moment is also beautifully bound. It's a book that you will want to show off on your coffee table. 

I am thrilled to own this valuable resource, and I highly recommend it. 

Capture the Moment gets 5 out of 5 starts from me.

Read more about the book here.
Read more about Sarah Wilkerson here.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Undone, A Memoir by Michele Cushatt

We all dream of picture perfect, idyllic lives, don't we? We don't like unpleasant surprises. We don't like to feel like we're not in control. So, what do we do when the picture isn't pretty? When idyllic is just a nice-sounding word, and nothing more? When our lives are undone, how do we deal with it? 

In Undone, a Memoir Michele Cushatt gives a raw, honest account of her life shattering divorce, a crushing diagnosis of cancer, and her struggles as the mother of a "blended" family. This memoir, which could have been depressing and heavy, was refreshingly humorous and hopeful. Though my life is very different from Michele's, I can relate to many of the emotional battles of which she writes. (I was a little amused at the casual mention of going to the Caribbean for a rest--I mean, that's something most of us can only dream of! But, maybe I'm just envious of that part. Yeah, that's it. ;)) 

I winced inwardly as I read of her surgeries and pain, sympathized as she struggled through her sons' difficult teen years, empathized as she related her marital struggles, and felt deep admiration when I read how she and her husband took on the responsibility of three small children. I appreciated the realness of this book and the fact that the author didn't spin anything to make her look saintly or superhuman; instead, she was open about her faults and imperfections, and faithful to tell how God came through for her again and again, even though He didn't do it in the ways she thought He should. 

Michele's writing style and the humor sprinkled throughout mad this an enjoyable, easy read. Oh, and I love the cover art!  I highly recommend this book, and give it 4 out of 5 stars. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, April 3, 2015

Twisted Innocence by Terri Blackstock

"Holly Cramer pulled to the curb of the condemned apartment building, her yellow taxi grinding gears and threatening to die. Though the sun hung bright overhead, the street was colorless, oppressive, with moldy, rotting houses and garbage festering in yards. Men loitered on the road up ahead in front of another boarded house. She shouldn't have accepted this fare..."

   I have loved Terri Blackstock books since I started reading Terri Blackstock books, and Twisted Innocence did not disappoint. I have trouble keeping my nose out of books anyway, but when I picked up Twisted Innocence it was nearly impossible. There were a few lulls in the story, but as a whole the book was, as I said before, nearly impossible to put down.

   Holly Cramer (one of the main characters in the story) comes from a background of deceit and hardship. Her preacher-father ran off with a woman from the church, choosing her over his family. Being a daddy's girl, she struggles with self worth because of this, as well as trusting people from the church. Terri Blackstock works through this with wisdom, showing readers God's love through Holly's story.

   I think the only major thing that I do not like about Twisted Innocence is that the ending wasn't quite as intense as some of Terri Blackstock's other books. It was good, just maybe not as exciting. 

I give Twisted Innocence 4 out of 5 stars.

~Nan (My Teen Reviewer)

Book Description
When Holly's secrets backfire, is the mess too big to unravel?

Holly Cramer has worked hard to keep the identity of her daughter's father a secret, shamed and embarrassed by the one-night stand. But when the police knock on her door searching for Creed Kershaw, she realizes his identity isn't as hidden as she thought. The fact that Creed is a person of interest in a recent drug-related murder only increases her humiliation.
When Holly's and Creed's paths cross, Holly is unsure whether to be terrified of him or trust him. His tenderness with their daughter makes her want to believe his story that he had nothing to do with the murder. Then she discovers that Creed has a connection to Leonard Miller-who killed both her sister's fiancé and her brother-in-law, and kidnapped her nephews-and things only become more complicated.
Will Creed lead them to the man who has plagued her family, or become another of his victims?

About the Author
Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times best-selling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series.

You can purchase Twisted Innocence here or here.
Thanks for stopping by!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”