Wednesday, February 22, 2017

An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
The weather here in Ohio has been unseasonably warm which has been wonderful, but with the early dark fall of winter, I have still found ample opportunities to read. Most recently, I have been reading An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter.
About the book:
Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn't be happier he is not the duke in the family. Free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, he has grand plans of someday wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he barely knows, his dream of a loving marriage like his parents' seems lost forever.

Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier when she hid in her older sister's shadow--which worked until her sister got married. But even with her socially ambitious mother's focus entirely on her, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience before she's been introduced to society.

With nothing going as expected, can Trent and Adelaide's marriage of obligation survive their own missteps and the pressures of London society to grow into a true meeting of hearts and minds?

The story is filled with challenges, growth and romance. It starts with a marriage of two young people that barely know one another and although they don't follow traditional paths, with effort and focus and a little help from family and friends, the young couple is able to slowly build a relationship and begin the journey to love.

This piece of period fiction, Regency fiction to be exact, was a wonderful story with memorable characters. The author does a great job of developing the characters and helping you feel a connection to the endearing, unique characters within the story. I found myself easily relating to the shy, book-loving Adelaide whose fidgets left something on her out of sorts by the end of the evening and cheering Trent along as he warmed to the awry portions of his wife's appearance and found himself looking for ways to protect his wife from the interference of her mother and the less than scrupulous men that seemed to cross her path. The class system of the era was a huge influence on the story and there were some characters who were so focused on the societal standing that they were willing to hurt their own family members to assure their own status, yet still there were some characters were more focused on family and acceptance and worried little about their status.

I didn't know it when I selected the book, but it is the third book in her Hawthorne House series. The good news is it works well as a stand alone novel and although I am a fan of following the lives of those I meet in earlier books, I don't feel like I missed out on anything by starting with the third book...of course, I would like to go back and read the first two. I know that I know where those couples wind up based on this book, but I think it would still be enjoyable to go back and learn more about them.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
Growing up, I was a huge fan of Little House on the Prairie, despite the challenges that they likely faced as pioneers on the prairie, I still had romantic notions of the simplicity of the life and the focus on the importance of your family. I think sometimes, as you study history and read historical fiction, it has a tendency to leave you with a different impression than the likely reality, not that you don't recognize the differences and realize the challenges that they were facing, but it doesn't tend to really provide focus on the difficulties that they really faced. In The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green, I got a really different perspective on the early settlements in Louisiana.
The story starts in France, where Julianne is serving as a midwife with her teacher as her assistant, a delivery that alters Julianne's future. Finding herself imprisoned for murder, she barters her way out of prison and onto a ship headed to Louisiana, in hopes of connecting with her younger brother who went to Louisiana to serve as a soldier. Little does she know when making the deal, but before they leave France, all of the passengers on the ship are forced to chose a mate (a fellow convict) and marry, as they are headed to the colony to help populate it for France. There is no shortage of challenge and heartache along the way for Julianne. Even in escaping France, she is unable to escape the mark of the king that has been etched into her skin...the mark creating issues for her, but also the potential to finally find happiness in the rough environment of the colony.

Jocelyn Green does a great job in bringing the story to life. She paints the landscape and environment of the wilds of the Louisiana colony in a way that makes it very vivid in your mind. You really got to know the characters and felt that you were experiencing the challenges and heartaches along with them. Her description of the experience at sea and on land during the hurricane makes the reader feel like they are in the storm with the characters.

I highly recommend this book, as I thoroughly enjoyed it and was drawn in on each and every page. The night that I finished the book, I stayed up way later than I should have, because I simply could not put down the book without knowing the outcome and the fate of those characters that I had grown to love. Those 75 pages were read without the realization of just how the time was passing. This is the first book I have read by Jocelyn Green but based on the way that she captured me and pulled me into the story, I look forward to reading more of her historical fiction books. She has four others, also set in the early years of the United States.


About the book:

The Mark of the King (Bethany House, January 2017)

Sweeping historical fiction set at the edge of the continent

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2iKM4uj

About the author:


Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of ten books to date, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013; Widow of Gettysburg; Yankee in Atlanta; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. A former military wife herself, her passion for military families informs all of her writing as well as her numerous speaking opportunities. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University with a BA in English and now lives with her husband and two children in Iowa.



Find more reviews and learn more on the blog tour landing page.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Buried Memories by Carol J. Post

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

I have always been a big fan of thrillers and mysteries when you can mix in a bit of a love story, they are even better because you worry about the safety of those main characters. Such is the case with Buried Memories by Carol J. Post. I received the book just before the holidays, but we were pretty busy with company
After her broken engagement, Nicki Jackson hoped her move to Cedar Key would give her a fresh start—instead she quickly learns someone’s out to destroy her. Are the attacks tied to her mother’s recently reopened murder case…or to the nightmares Nicki’s beginning to suspect are actually hidden memories? With the threats against her escalating, former soldier Tyler Brant vows to keep Nicki safe. He refuses to lose the woman who’s swiftly becoming more than a childhood crush. But when danger circles closer, is Nicki’s traumatic past better left forgotten…or are her memories the key to something far more sinister?
There was no slow start with this story, it started right in on the first page when Nikki comes home from travel to find her house broken into. I love how the story started quickly and then over the next few pages, it slows down a bit and so that we can be introduced to the characters and start to learn more about them. The characters are very likeable and their development well done. You quickly find yourself feeling a part of the story and worrying about them and what is happening to and around them. The suspenseful plot was well done and kept me turning the pages, often times spending more time reading than I had intended. I kept trying to anticipate who was behind these attacks and threats on Nikki and her friends and yet it was only moments before Nikki herself realized who is after her that I finally reached the same realization.

Nikki and Tyler, who had known each other during another rough time in their lives, grew closer as the story progressed and drew strength from one another. Along the way, Nikki helped Tyler start to reconsider his doubts in God and he even attended church with her. She helps him see that unanswered prayers aren't actually unanswered, but that the answer isn't always yes. Tyler helps her see that friends can be just as important as family.

Buried Memories is the fourth book in the series, but the first on that I read, which did not present any challenges in enjoying the book. This is the second book that I read by the author and I look forward to reading more. You can learn more about the author and her books on her web page.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Scrape-A-Round Ice Scraper

I previously purchased my own Scrape-a-round and love it. I learned of this offer through my participation in US Family Guide Blogger Promotions. Details on the product were provided, opinions are my own.


The Scrape-a-round is a brilliant feat of ice scraping engineering. The simple explanations why Scrape-A-Round is the best ice scraper are as follows, Scrape-A-Round is the:
Best ice scraper because of the softer plastic, allows the scraper to conform to the window curvature! Find out more information: http://www.scrapearound.com/
18" of ice scraping surface.
The comfortable grasp provides relief for the arthritic or carpal syndrome sufferer.
Direct pressure to the window, no pressure lost through the ice scraper!
The circular rotational motion of ice scraper.
Double ice scraper action, leading edge and trailing edge.
Multi functional, remove the cap and it doubles as a funnel.
This scrapes windows frost and ice free in half the time!
Makes the perfect gift for the Holidays!
http://www.scrapearound.com/


This scraper works really well, my only challenge is reaching the center of my window...but that's about my height and arm length. You can see it in action here:


Want to get one?  Through this promotion, my readers can get FREE shipping at http://www.scrapearound.com/ Use code LU8FBEZREU2 at checkout.
http://usfamilyguide.com/coupons.php?bid=13171&dealid=3099

I previously purchased my own Scrape-a-round and love it. I learned of this offer through my participation in US Family Guide Blogger Promotions. Details on the product were provided, opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Trust My Heart by Carol J Post

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
The weather here has been a little crazy this week. Friday was a beautiful fall day, temperatures in the low 70s and a great day to spend outside getting things done. Then, come Saturday, the temperature took a nose dive, the wind came rushing in and brought with it some snow. One of my favorite activities on a snowy day (or weekend) is to curl up with a good book.
Fortunately for me, I had just started reading Trust My Heart by Carol J. Post. Grant McAllister and Jami Carlisle are the main characters in this touching story about overcoming obstacles of trust, learning the truths, and offering forgiveness. I loved how each planned to only be friends but as they learned more about each other and shared their stories developed a slow-budding romance that neither was really willing to accept along the way. The quirky characters that help shape the story, like Bernie and Hank further enhanced the connection with the characters in the book. I enjoyed how through intentional and inadvertent action, Bernie and Hank participated in the rise and fall of the relationship between Grant and Jami.

The character development was great, as the author created complex and believable characters that were endearing and frustrating at the same time. Both Jami and Grant had trust issues as a result of their past. Both had to learn to let it go and approach forgiveness, of each other and of those from their past, in order to allow them to grow in their relationship.

I was excited to see on the author's page that this book is the first in a planned series. I look forward to having the chance to get to know all of the characters better in the future installments in the series.

About the book:

Trust My Heart
(Waterfall Press, October 2016)

Grant McAllister arrives in Murphy, North Carolina, with one aim: to sell his inherited property and leave as quickly as possible.

The big-city lawyer has no interest in his late, estranged grandparents or the dilapidated mansion he just acquired. After his high-profile divorce, he should be avoiding perky reporters, too. But Jami Carlisle is honest, funny, and undeniably appealing.

After breaking up with her safe-but-smothering boyfriend, Jami is determined to ace her first big assignment. A story about the McAllister estate is too intriguing to ignore---much like its handsome, commitment-phobic heir. Thanks to her digging, the pieces of Grant's fraught family history are gradually fitting into place, but also upending all his old beliefs.

The two draw closer as they share their dreams, until misread signals and misunderstandings begin to test their trust. But in the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there's healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what's needed to finally guide him home...

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2fg7WKG

About the author:

From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special-events decorating company, Carol J. Post's résumé reads as if she hasn't yet decided what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love of writing. She started as a child composing poetry for family and friends, then graduated to articles for religious and children's publications. Now she pens fun, fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense stories. Her books have been nominated for an RT Reviewers' Choice Best Book award and selected as an RT Top Pick. When Carol isn't writing, she enjoys sailing, hiking, camping---almost anything outdoors. She also plays the piano and sings with her music-minister husband. Their two grown daughters and their grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all her nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


See more reviews and learn more about the book on the Blog Tour Landing Page.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Get Your Salsabration on with CHI-CHI’s

No compensation was received for this post. Content and a complimentary prize pack was provided by Chi-Chi's.
This week, Kent State is playing Western Michigan and Akron is playing Bowling Green, and there’s a special treat for anyone attending the game! CHI-CHI’S, makers of Mexican food favorites, including sauces, tortillas, salsas and dips, will be at the game throwing a “Salsabration”!

What is a “Salsabration”?


During the "Salsabration", fans will have the chance to win free merchandise, dance in a virtual conga line, and snack on an endless supply of CHI-CHI’S zesty salsas and chips.

Of course, you can also enjoy the fiesta experience at home with your family. In a world where everyone is glued to their phones, CHI-CHI’S wants to help people connect with each other—and with the moment—over tasty chips, crowd-pleasing salsa and fun times. At our house, we are fans of Mexican food. Whether it is a snack of chips and salsa in the evening, or a quick dinner of quesadillas, chips and tortillas are a staple at our house and part of nearly every shopping list. Chi-Chi's can help bring the fiesta to the table by adding a zesty kick to your favorite meals.

CHI-CHI’S products are made from quality ingredients, including real tomatoes, vegetables, and flavorful seasonings. For more information about CHI-CHI’S, please visit www.chichis.com, become a fan on Facebook or follow us on Pinterest.

Giveaway
For those who are not able to attend one of the games, no worries because I’ve got a special surprise—you too can host your own “Salsabration”! CHI-CHI’S is offering one A Busy Mom of Two reader the chance to win a giveaway prize, including chips, salsa and tortillas to make your gatherings and celebrations more enjoyable and irresistibly flavorful.
Prize Pack:

· (1) Mild Thick & Chunky Salsa ($3.29)

· (1) Medium Thick & Chunky Salsa ($3.29)

· (1) Hot Thick & Chunky Salsa ($3.29)

· (1) Authentic Original Tortilla Chips ($2.99)

· (1) Rounds Original Tortilla Chips ($2.99)

· (1) Strips Original Tortilla Chips ($2.99)

· (1) Fajita Style Flour Tortillas ($2.49)

· (1) Burrito Style Flour Tortillas ($2.49)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway will remain open through November 12th. Giveaway is open to residents of the US only. Winners will be selected through Rafflecopter. The winners will have 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected.

No compensation was received for this post. The content of this post and the prize pack were provided by Chi-Chi's. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.