Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sister Eve and the Blue Nun by Lynne Hinton

Sister Eve and the Blue NunAfter a murder at the monastery, Sister Eve may need a miracle if she is to prove a dear friend isn’t a cold-blooded killer.
Sister Eve, a motorcycle-riding nun with a natural (or is it supernatural?) gift for solving murders returns to the enclave she once called home and quickly finds herself confronting yet another mysterious death.
Someone has poisoned Dr. Kelly Middlesworth—a researcher on the life and ministry of 17th-century’s revered “Blue Nun”—and a set of irreplaceable historic documents have disappeared before they could even be examined.
When all evidence seems to point to the victim’s brother, Sister Eve sets out to expose the killer and learn the explosive truth those missing manuscripts might contain.
Chasing a killer is dangerous work, and as her two worlds collide, Sister Eve may need some heavenly help simply to survive.


My Thoughts:

"Sister's Eve" is the third book in the Divine Private Detective Agency, Mystery. Filled with mystery, spiritual struggles, humor, wit and warmth, you will find this novel to be an enjoyable read. The book reads as a stand alone, so you don't need to read the entire series, but you definitely can. 

If you like a mystery that is cozy, fun and will give you a good laugh, this will do it. In my opinion, the mystery was easy to figure out, but Lynne did throw in some other evidence to keep the reader on their toes. I found the book to be entertaining, but not one of my all time favorites. If you are looking for a good read, which will have you laughing about a cool nun, out on a mystery, pick up this book up! I give this book 4/5 stars. Thank you to publishers for allowing me to review this book. I was not compensated for a positive review, but given a complimentary book for review purposes only. 


The Courtship Basket by Amy Clipston

27840536About:
Rachel Fisher is devastated when the young man she’s loved for years leaves her to date her best friend. Her heart is broken, and she has all but given up on love. Determined to keep her mind off the pain, she starts teaching at an Amish school for children with learning disabilities.

Since his father became ill, Mike Lantz has been overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing for his family and caring for his six-year-old brother, John. When John joins Rachel’s class and she learns that his mother is deceased and his father sick, she desperately wants to help the family, even with something as simple as a meal.

With her parents’ old picnic basket, Rachel begins sending food to the Lantz family. As the weeks go by, John’s grades start to improve, and the attraction grows between Rachel and Mike. They can’t deny that their friendship is growing toward something more, but both of them are hesitant to risk a more serious relationship.

The last thing Rachel wants is another heartbreak, and Mike is worried about providing for his loved ones. Will the two be able to reconcile their past hurts with new hope for the future?

My Thoughts:
In my opinion, Amy outdid herself in "The Courtship Basket" and took her writing to a whole new level. With Mike and Rachel, the reader feels this torn emotion between the two characters. It's the roller-coaster balance of emotions that keeps the reader salivating and wondering what will happen next. Is it friendship? Is it romance? What is it or is it nothing at all? 

And of course, this story has something that makes it rather unique when the author writes about a character named Raymond, who has a particular disease that is near and dear to her families heart. It gives this book all the more emotion, and allows the reader to connect with the characters and story line in a personal way. I loved that Amy included parts of her own journey within a story and if you don't know what I'm talking about, then, you will definitely need to pick up The Courtship Basket, which is the second book in the Amish Heirloom series, as well as The Gift of Love. I recommend reading The first book in this series, but it is not necessary to understand "The Courtship Basket." 

Overall, you will not be able to put this book down as the pages turn and in the end, you will be sad to see the characters go, but you'll be thankful to know, there are always opportunities for second chances.  I enjoyed the ebb and flow of emotions, and I believe that this is Amy's best book yet.  

I received an ARC copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.  I give this book 5/5 stars and recommend that you put this book on your summer reading list. 

You can pre-order a copy today here.  The Courtship Basket releases June 28, 2016.


About the Author:

Amy ClipstonI'm an advocate for organ and blood donation. I donated a kidney on June 14, 2011, at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Through my donation, my husband received a second kidney transplant. My husband and I matched another couple and we swapped kidneys with them. I gave a kidney to my husband's donor's wife. Feel free to email me and ask me what it was like to be a kidney donor. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. If you're healthy, please donate blood! Also, become an organ donor. To learn more about Amy visit: Here 


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Looking for Lovely Bible Study by Annie F. Downs

As Christians, we are not promised lives of ease. Often it takes just a small moment of beauty to regain hope and continue on when life is chaotic and unpredictable. Only when we learn to spot the lovely in the midst of hardship can we experience the transcendent peace of God that keeps us persevering when we want to give up.

In this 7-session Bible study, Annie F. Downs examines the ordinary people of the Bible fishermen, gardeners, women, soldiers to reveal the moments they found beauty in the darkest circumstances and hope in God s timing. Because they trusted in this: He makes everything beautiful in His time."




My Thoughts:
Are you looking for an excellent summer 7 week Bible Study? Look no further! Annie  F. Downs has an amazing study that will have you looking at life in a new way, collecting the moments that matter, giving you a new perspective on the word, your life and the summer. In this study, you won't be writing like a typical study, but you will have tons of boxes, pictures, diagrams, Bible verses to fill in and your own thoughts. I love the format of this study because it is very unqiue and engages the individual studying. She breaks each of the seven weeks into 5 days, rather than seven days, which also is a breath of fresh air. If you miss a day, don't worry, you have two days to catch up and the homework is completely bearable. It is fantastic! I love the group guide and think this Bible Study is done very well, especially for those of us who have wandering brains! If you haven't read "Looking for Lovely," I highly recommend reading the book and then doing the study, or do them together. I can't wait to do this with a small group. 
Thank you to the publishers for providing me a complimentary copy for reviews. I give this Bible Study 5/5 stars. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Murder Comes By Mail by A.H. GABHART

27066864About:
A Cozy Mystery Complete with a Small Town Full of Charming, Quirky Characters 
Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane doesn't particularly enjoy being touted as the hero of Hidden Springs after pulling a suicidal man back from the edge of the Eagle River bridge in front of dozens of witnesses--a few of whom caught the breathtaking moments with their cameras. But the media hype doesn't last long as a new story pushes its way into the public consciousness of Hidden Springs' concerned citizens. 

Photos of a dead girl arrive in the mail, and Michael becomes convinced she was murdered by the man he saved. With a killer one step ahead, things in Hidden Springs begin to unravel. Now Michael must protect the people he loves--because the killer could be targeting one of them next. 
Readers will love racing along with Deputy Sheriff Keane as the clock ticks in this page-turning mystery.

My Thoughts:
"Murder Comes by Mail" is the second novel in A Hidden Springs Mystery Series. I have not read the first title, and these can be read as a stand alone novel. If you're interested in mysteries, small towns, and great characters, this is your kind of novel! From the beginning till the end, this book will grip you as you're involved in the murder spree, trying to solve the mystery and you'll love the characters. You will be excited to see how it ends and of course, you won't be able to wait for book three. If you enjoy a good mystery, small towns, and great characters, get ahold of this book, you will eat it to pieces! It is wonderful! 
Thank you to Revell Publishing  company for providing me a complimentary copy for review purposes. I was not compensated for a positive review. I give this book 5/5 stars. 

About the Author:
Ann H. GabhartAnn H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She's published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800's, are popular with readers.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Wild & Free by Jess Connolly & Hayley Morgan

26263510About:
For all the fullness of God available to His daughters, we often feel limited by two defining insecurities: “I am too much,” and “I am not enough.”

Co-authors and best friends Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan have felt the same, until one essential question turned the tables on it all: If God is wild and free and he created women, what does this mean for us today?

Wild and Free is an anthem and an invitation in equal parts to find freedom from the cultural captivity that holds us back, and freedom to step into the wild and holy call of God in our lives. With fresh biblical insight tracing all the way back to Eve and a treasury of practical application, Jess and Hayley reveal how women today can walk in the true liberty we already have in Jesus.

Because you don’t have to be everything to everyone. You don’t have to try so hard to button it up and hold it together. And you certainly don’t have to quiet the voice that God gave you when he created you to sing. Wild and Free will help you shake off the lies of insecurity in your life, and step forward to maximize your God-given influence for his glory and the world’s good.


My Thoughts:

For In Christ Jesus we are set Free and if you have been held captivate for too long, it is my prayer this book would unlock freedom in your life as you discover all that God has for you. May you find this book as a tool to help you discover the true living God through these pages and his word. Do you ever get this sense that you're not enough or maybe that you're too much? Do you ever feel that you have to be everything to everyone? Or maybe your talents aren't enough for everything? Isn't that so true? What if that isn't it all. What if you are exactly the way the creator made you, unique, with your own set of talents and not needing to measure up or compare to someone else. Maybe it's time we start as women setting each other free and encouraging one another to use our set of talents and gifts to find freedom in the way that God has called us to be, not like everyone else. What if we were a culture of women who spurred each other on instead of compared and set one another free? What kind of world would we live in? Oh, I can't say enough about this book, other than it is a complete game changer! Go, buy a copy, get your friend a copy and start living wild and free. 
Thank you to the publisher for providing me a complimentary copy for review purposes for my honest opinion, which I have given. 5/5 stars on this one! 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The SisterHood by Bobbie Houston

29408781Pick your favorite sweet tea or a cup of coffee and curl up in a comfortable chair outside as you get ready to read the heart and soul of Bobbie Houston as she brings power to the heart of every woman in "The SISTERHOOD." Bobbie invites every reader to explore their beliefs about God, themselves, what shapes their beliefs and the world around them. I love his this book challenged me to grow in my gifts, reach far beyond my potential and look for greater possibilities.  

This book has moments that touch your soul, moments that ask you to stand bold, ones that will make you cry and others that will make you laugh. Whatever you get from reading "The SisterHood" will be life giving and life changing all in one. Bobbie writes with a style of authenticity, wisdom, and an invitation, you can help but feel compelled to do something rather than sitting around, doing what you've already been doing. 


She makes it very clear that the lives we touch with the here and now; impact Eternity and sitting on our hiney isn't doing a thing, for anyone. This book will make you feel empowered because her passion will ignite something in you that may have been dead for a long time. I highly recommend this book and want to thank Faith Words for providing me an ARC copy for my honest review. I give this book 5/5 stars. 

For more information or to purchase your own copy, head here.  


About the Author:

Houston, Bobbie (1667256)BOBBIE HOUSTON, together with her husband Brian, is the founder and Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church. Bobbie also founded The Colour Sisterhood foundation in 1997, a worldwide movement of women united to make a difference and make the world a better place, which sponsors conferences, Sisterhood projects and initiatives. She and her husband have three grown children and live in Sydney, Australia and Orange County, California.


Friday, May 20, 2016

The Cario Code by Glenn Meade

25814405About:
The international bestseller takes you on a fast-paced, nail-biting thrill ride from the Great Pyramids in Cairo, to behind the Nazi lines in Berlin, to the very seat of democracy as our hero tries to unravel a plot that could kill FDR and Winston Churchill.

To save the Western Allies, he must kill the woman he loves…

November 1943: Adolf Hitler sanctioned his most audacious mission ever—to kill US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill while they visit Cairo for a secret conference to plan the Allied invasion of Europe, an invasion which threatens imminent defeat for Germany.

Only one man is capable of leading the defiant Nazi mission—Major Johann Halder, one of the Abwehr’s most brilliant and daring agents. He is a man with a tortured soul and a talent for the impossible. Accompanied by an expert undercover team and Rachael Stern, the young and beautiful Egyptologist, Halder must race against time across a hostile desert to reach Cairo and successfully complete the assignment, or else forfeit his life and the life of his son.

When US military intelligence hears about the plan, they assign Lieutenant-Colonel Harry Weaver, one of their best officers, to hunt down and eliminate Halder and his team. But for Weaver, as well as for Halder and Stern, there’s more than the balance of war and the lives of the Allied leaders at stake—a pact of love and friendship will be tested in the frantic, high-stakes chase to the death.

Based on a real attempt to kill the President, The Cairo Code is a breathless, suspenseful thriller—a heart-wrenching tale of friendship, love, and treachery set against the exotic and intriguing backdrop of wartime Egypt.



My Thoughts:
The Cairo Code, written by Glenn Meade is a story that will get your adrenaline pumping as you quickly turn the pages in an attempt to kill President Roosevelt. If that isn't enough to spark your interest, you'll enjoy how Glenn Meade has the ability to take the reader from modern day straight into Germany where the war is going on. It is this back and forth, but written well. The characters are developed, and you will want to know what happens. The book is big and looks like you have a long read ahead, but once you get reading you will lose track of time and it will be over before you know it. This book receives 4/5 stars for me. If you love historical fiction, this would be the perfect book for you because it has a lot of suspense, plot, and mystery. I was given a copy for my honest review thanks to Wynn Wynn Media and the publisher. For more information on how to purchase your copy, head here. 




Thursday, May 19, 2016

Worth Living: How God's Wild Love for You Makes You Worthy by Mary E. DeMuth

27066884About:
How God's Wild Love Helps Us Overcome Feelings of Worthlessness 
All women yearn to wake up each morning knowing that, no matter what their circumstances, they can feel joy because they are secure in God's love for them and their unique place in the world. 
With deep compassion, Mary DeMuth dares women to believe that the God who starts a good work in them is faithful to bring it to glorious completion. That the God who redeems them also loves them--right now and always--with a beautiful love. That they are daughters of the King, always welcomed in his presence. She helps women discover a future where they know they are wildly loved, they feel strong and secure, and they are destined to have a great impact on the world around them



My Thoughts:
"Worth Living" is the first book I have ever read by Mary DeMuth and it will not be the last. Do you ever a moment with a book that just clicks? Something inside your heart resonates with the author? Mary is so gutsy to openly admit why would someone who struggles with worth write a book about it? That is the moment I started to cry. Something inside of her statement made me realize we all have been drinking the kool-aid of lies. And we keep drinking the poison one sip at a time until it's so deep we can't get out from it. What Mary writes will make you wrestle with the lies you didn't know where there and helps you grab ahold of truths from the Word of God. She helps point you back to the cross, while telling her personal struggle. She isn't a person that condemns but says, I STRUGGLE TOO. If you have a pulse and are human, you've found yourself in this condition at some point in your life or will again, and this book is incredible at making you feel not so alone. It will make you feel from unworthy to worth. Unloved to loved. Pick up a copy if you are in this season or know someone who could benefit. You won't regret it.

Thank you to Baker House Publishing for providing me a complimentary copy for review purposes for my honest opinion, which I have provided. I give this book 5/5 stars.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What's Right in Front of Me by Alexandra Kuykendall

27066888About:
Feel Satisfied with Who and Where You Are 
In a world of comparison and discontent, it can feel impossible to be happy with life as we know it. Other people seem to have it all together, to be finding success, to be having more fun. But we weren't meant for a life characterized by dissatisfaction. 

In this entertaining and relatable book, Alexandra Kuykendall chronicles her nine-month experiment to rekindle her love of her ordinary "actual" life. After wiping her calendar as clean as a mother of four can, Kuykendall focuses on one aspect of her life each month, searching for ways to more fully enjoy her current season. By intentionally adding one thing each month that will make her jump for joy, she provides a practical challenge women can easily replicate. With humor, poignancy, and plenty of personal stories, Kuykendall weaves together spiritual themes and practical application into a holy self-awareness, showing women how a few small changes in their routines can improve their enjoyment of this crazy-busy life. 

My Thoughts:

Kuykendall is a natural storyteller who tells the journey of what it is like to carry out an experiment over a nine month period in which she learns to enjoy the life and the moments right in front of her, rather than this grand idea of what life should or is supposed to be like. As a mother of four and working for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), Alexandra she realized that her days were on autopilot while she was missing out on the adventure right in front of her. 

How often is that true for all of us? Whether you have children or not, do you go through your day living on autopilot going from one thing to the next and not looking at the thing in front of you? What Kuykendall began to notice was her children were growing up too fast, her relationship with her husband was showing wear, and so were her close friendships. I think we can all say at some point in our lives; we are all guilty of that. She spent the next nine months re-evaluating her life, time, possessions, health, sleep, etc. to find time and balance learning to stop and see what was in front of her. I love how she handles social media too. This is a book that is very encouraging for those who are ready to have a slower pace life, living in the moment, looking to make small changes and being more intentional about their lives. 

Thank you to Baker Books for providing me a complimentary copy for review purposes. I HIGHLY recommend this book! 5/5 stars! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Every Bride Has Her Day by Janice Thompson


Cover Art

My Thoughts: 
"Every Bride Has Her Day" is the third and final book in A Brides with Style Novel by Janice Thompson.

If you have never read a book by Janice Thompson, I highly recommend going out and buying the first book in any of her series. She is the type of author that will make you laugh out loud and sure to leave you with a smile. Her books are comedic relief mixed with romance and a bit of inspiration all wrapped up in one. 


"In Every Bride Has Her Day" we see how with moments leading up to the big day, Katie struggles with the conflict and chaos of the planning. Sometimes there are too many cooks in the kitchen, and that is exactly what happens here. You'll love Katie, and this is the perfect read in my opinion as the summer season approaches with weddings on the rise. 


If you haven't had an opportunity to read the entire series, go out and get yourself the whole series and read from start to finish. These are quick books that will have you in stitches from laughing so hard. Add these books to your summer reading list. You won't regret the humor, romance, and inspiration from Janice Thompson. Pick up your copy here.

Thank you to Revell Publishing for providing me a complimentary copy for review purposes. I give this book 5/5 stars.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Unashamed by Christine Caine

Shame can take on many forms. It hides in the shadows of the most successful, confident and high-achieving woman who struggles with balancing her work and children, as well as in the heart of the broken, abused and downtrodden woman who has been told that she will never amount to anything. Shame hides in plain sight and can hold us back in ways we do not realize. But Christine Caine wants readers to know something: we can all be free.
“I know. I’ve been there,” writes Christine. “I was schooled in shame. It has been my constant companion from my very earliest memories. I see shame everywhere I look in the world, including in the church. It creeps from heart to heart, growing in shadowy places, feeding on itself so that those struggling with it are too shamed to seek help from shame itself.”
In Unashamed, Christine reveals the often-hidden consequences of shame—in her own life and the lives of so many Christian women—and invites you to join her in moving from a shame-filled to a shame-free life.
In her passionate and candid style, Christine leads you into God’s Word where you will see for yourself how to believe that God is bigger than your mistakes, your inadequacies, your past, and your limitations. He is not only more powerful than anything you’ve done but also stronger than anything ever done to you. You can deal with your yesterday today, so that you can move on to what God has in store for you tomorrow—a powerful purpose and destiny he wants you to fulfill.
Join the journey. Lay ahold of the power of Jesus Christ today and step into the future—his future for you—a beautiful, full, life-giving future, where you can even become a shame-lifter to others. Live unashamed!
My Thoughts:
If you've been struggling with any kind of shame, this book is for you! Christine brings a powerful message that will change your life. Go order a copy now or run to the book store. My copy is highlighted all over the place. This is one of those books that you could read over and over again and still get something different from it every time. Her words resonate with your heart.  Stop living in bondage and walk towards freedom. This book is for anyone walking around with anything in their life. Christine writes passionately and boldly you can't help, but love this book and want to share it with others. This book will bring freedom in your life, especially as you seek God's Kingdom. Thank you to the publishers for providing me a complimentary copy for review. I give this book 5 stars. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Girl Defined by Kristen Clark & Bethany Baird

27066890About:

In a Culture of Distortions, Discover God-Defined Womanhood and Beauty
In a culture where airbrushed models and career-driven women define beauty and success, it's no wonder we have a distorted view of femininity. Our impossible standards place an incredible burden of stress on the backs of women and girls of all ages, resulting in anxiety, eating disorders, and depression. One question we often forget to ask is this: "What is God's design for womanhood?
"
In "Girl Defined," sisters and popular bloggers Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird offer women a countercultural view of beauty, femininity, and self-worth. Based firmly in God's design for their lives, this book helps women rethink what true success and beauty look like. It invites them on a liberating journey toward a radically better vision for femininity that ends with the discovery of the kind of hope, purpose, and fulfillment they've been yearning for. 


"Girl Defined" helps readers
- discover God's design for femininity and his definition of a successful woman
- uncover the secrets of lasting worth, purpose, and fulfillment
- be equipped and empowered to live out a radically better vision for womanhood
- gain personal insight through the chapter-by-chapter study guide
 (less)


My Thoughts:
"Girl Defined" written by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird is a book that you won't be able to put down. Now, there are dozens of books on Biblical womanhood, and I have read many of them, and I imagine you probably have too, but this is one that challenged my thinking several times in a deeper way. 

This book is written like you are sitting in Kristen and Bethany's home on the couch listening to them discuss their lives in a transparent way where you saw the souls of their hearts pouring out to the reader, which I admire. This book will convict you with truths; it brought tears to my eyes and it may even turn your heart towards repentance. We've believed a culture lie ladies and this book gives some sound truth. 

This book is perfect for any woman, whether young or older. It is for you. It will shape your walk with Christ, make you feel more confident in your identity in him and challenge you to be the woman he has called you to be in Christ. I enjoyed this book and found that I had believed lies. This book has transformed my thought life and beliefs about being a woman.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to all females. Thank you to Baker Books for providing me a complimentary copy for review purposes. I give this book 5/5 stars. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Prince Warriors by Priscilla Shirer

28101773The battle is real .

As brothers, Xavier and Evan are used to battling each other. But now they’re discovering that there is a much bigger battle going on all around them. And it’s their turn to fight. Based on Ephesians 6:10–18, The Prince Warriors is the first book in Priscilla Shirer’s epic new series that brings to life the invisible struggle ensuing in the spiritual realm. Xavier, Evan, and their friends have typical lives until they enter a mysterious land called Ahoratos. There they meet their guide, Ruwach, who offers wisdom and direction as the kids’ initial adventure begins—an adventure filled with armor and danger and a very real enemy.

Written by New York Times Best-Selling author Priscilla Shirer, The Prince Warriors series was created for middle-grade readers and will include the fiction trilogy as well as Unseen: The 365 Prince Warriors Devotional and the Unseen app.

My Thoughts:
Priscilla Shirer writes an adventure for boys filled with mystery, humor, wholesome and anyone can join in on the adventure, but this book draws boys  in Junior Fiction. Girls can read this series as well and I would not discourage it as they need to know they fight with a sword too. In " The Prince Warriors" Evan and Xavier are brothers who don't get along, which is like many children in families. Most siblings don't get along and this seems to be very common in our culture, but the Xavier and Evan discover they are in a different kind of battle. Ahoratos is a land where all of a sudden they meet a guide who helps them discover there is a battle that is unseen with a real enemy. The brothers and their friends are faced with a challenge to face the enemy as Prince Warriors in this land. This book is action packed, fun for boys and girls. As an adult, I loved this book and found this book to be very true to the spiritual battles that are faced in the real world. I love how Priscilla writes this story with descriptive details, pictures and she draws the reader into the story. This book is adventurous, fun, action packed and will have you turning the pages, no matter the age. Thank you to B& H publishing for providing me a complimentary copy for review. I give this book a 5 star rating for my honest review, which I have provided here. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Why this Expo is AMAZING

If you're looking to travel and want to run a race that will challenge your legs, allow you to meet new people and help you to find a love for pink creatures, I recommend The Flying Pigs Half or Full in Cincinnati, Ohio. 


The race expo was phenomenal and here are my top five reasons why this was my favorite Expo of all expo's. 
1. The crowd excitement! The expo was filled with volunteers, race staff and vendors truly excited about your Flying Pigs experience. Whether they were sitting down talking with you, asking about your favorite race, or inquiring if you were from the area, they were genuinely excited about YOUR race. I never felt pushed to buy, commit to a race or pressured by any single person. The excitement and energy were incredible. Everyone was excited about the magic that would happen Sunday morning! 


2. If you're like me, you love a great photo opportunity, and this expo provides so many great opportunities to put your smile on! Plus you get to see amazing artwork that is displayed throughout the community in Cincinnati. 




3. The Cincinnati Flying Pigs Expo highlighted so many unique races around the United States that we never knew existed. Of course, there were so big races we were aware of, but we found a lot of unique races like the Full & Half Marathon in Adams County where the entire Amish comes out to support runners. The Amish school children make the water aid stations. How cool is that?  The medal is a basket woven together with a ribbon for the neck.  It is beautiful!  

4. This Expo had lots of unique, one of a kind gear, samples, and brands I had never even seen anywhere else.  As a runner, I am always looking for the best products, shoes, fuel,  clothing and I found a lot of unique companies here. I even found a new fuel brand that I had no stomach problems with that I switched to drinking for the Flying Pigs Half race because I was confident in the product, which is pretty risky as a runner. That was a first! We came home with four bags of stuff including two free Swiffers! This expo gives bags and bags of goodies, shirts galore and lots of good stuff. If you like to try new things, this one has a lot of it! 
5Every registered runner receives a duffle bag, the yearly Flying Pigs Art poster, a magnet with your running event and a wicking shirt! I was impressed with the duffle bag, myself. It is perfect for a carry-on bag, gym bag, diaper bag or even a beach bag.  I love all the compartments, the quality of material and of course, the PIG. 



Is this expo on my radar for a future race? Most definitely! For now, I am seeking out new races across the country to continue my Fifty States journey, but if you're looking for a fantastic expo that delivers, this one goes above and beyond! 



Q: What do you look for in good race expos?

Someone Like you by Victoria Byline


Someone Like You (517x800)SOMEONE LIKE YOU by victoria Bylin


Single mom Julia Dare has a lot on her plate.
A brand new Christian, Julia is busy trying to run her own business, spend time with her widowed mother, and raise her young son, Max, despite his father’s less-than-ideal influence on him. When a big account from her event-planning business sends her to the Caliente Springs resort, she’s shocked to come face-to-face with Zeke Monroe, the resort’s general manager and her college sweetheart.
With his faith in tatters, Zeke Monroe is determined to keep the historic Caliente Springs resort running despite financial difficulties. But when Julia walks back into his life, he can’t ignore the feelings she stirs up. As they work together on an important client’s dream wedding, the fate of the resort soon depends on their success. When Zeke and Julia are pushed to their limits both personally and professionally, will their history put up walls between them or bring them together?

My Thoughts:
At the beginning of "Someone Like You," I knew I was in for a treat at the mention of Ezekial 36:26. This story is about a woman who is on a journey to follow Christ while trying to raise her son as a single parent. However, romance may or may not enter the picture when a former college sweetheart enters the picture. No matter how the story turns out, Julia, the main character has to go through a lot, alone with Zeke. The story is one that tells forgiveness, redemption, love and how God can use anyone and bring anybody through difficult situations. I loved the spiritual theme in this book and the lesson that Victoria Bylin, the author takes the reader on. Get ready for an adventure of resorts, faith, and facing extraordinary circumstances. I give this book 5/5 stars. Thank you to the publishers for providing me a complimentary copy for my honest review. 

To win a copy, head here
About the Author:
Victoria Bylin

{MORE ABOUT VICTORIA BYLIN}

Victoria Bylin writes contemporary and historical romances known for their realistic, relatable characters. Her work has finaled in contests such as the Carol Awards, the RITAs, and the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. A native of California, she and her husband now make their home in Lexington, Kentucky.
Find out more about Victoria at http://www.victoriabylin.com.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Her one and Only by Becky Wade

26974629About:
Romance Fans Eagerly Anticipate Every New Release from Becky Wade 
Gray Fowler, star NFL tight end, is being pursued by a stalker, so his team hires a protection agency to keep Gray under the watch of a bodyguard at all times. When Gray meets Dru Porter, an agent assigned to him, he's indignant. How can an attractive young female half his size possibly protect him? 
But Dru's a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt. She's also ferociously determined to uncover the identity of Gray's stalker. And she's just as determined to avoid any kind of romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past. But the closer they get to finding the stalker, the closer they grow to each other. As the danger rises, can Dru and Gray entrust their hearts--and their lives--to one another.


My Thoughts:

Having read three other books by Becky Wade, I could not wait to READ  "Her One and Only," which did not disappoint. Full of romance, suspense, faith and a bodyguard, what wouldn't you love about this book? I also loved how Becky incorporated some previous characters from other Porter novels, especially Meg and Bo's story. Of course, all of Becky's books can be read as stand-alone, but I recommend reading them in order, but not necessary. This book was the final story in the Porter series, and I cannot wait to read more from Becky. If you are looking for a page-turner, one that will have you up late at night, look no further, this book is fantastic! I give this book 4 stars. Thank you to the publishers for providing me a complimentary copy for my honest review. 


To Enter to Win an Awesome contest by Becky, head here! 

About the Author: 
Becky WadeDuring her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She's been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky's passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances with Avon Books, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her three kids, then recently returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. She felt led to move to the genre of contemporary Christian romance and couldn’t be more thrilled with it.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Race that Shouldn't Have Been



If you have been reading my blog since February, you will recall appointments with PT and purple leg syndrome. Meaning, I was going to PT for the treatment of my Plantar Fasciitis, which was getting relief finally, but bilaterally by legs and feet were turning purple, which led to the discharge from Physical Therapy earlier and strict restrictions of NO running. SEE how well I followed those instructions...



Months later and a diagnosis. We are finally figuring out that by not following those directions; I did myself kinda a favor. Now, I trust my PT, and I am not bashing his advice or my physician in any way, but running is the thing that helps me make sense of life when nothing else does. I made the decision to stick with my original plan and start training for Cincinnati Flying Pigs Half Marathon. Training always has many bumps and bruises along the way. The flu caught my body for the first time ever, and we are talking the full bug, which took at least three weeks to rid itself completely. I ran through crazy extreme weather conditions from snowing to losing full feeling in my fingers, to wearing shorts a week. 

If extreme weather patterns weren't enough, my body was also going through its issues without having a full picture of what was really going on. I just keep running. 
We often noticed when I came home from my runs how cold I would be or how splotchy my skin was. I often complained my arms would be incredibly painful, and my husband would blame the pain on me sleeping on them funny. My legs always felt like dead weights. I would run really well and shave 10 minutes off one run and the next run I would gain that time back and more. I couldn't figure it out. It was frustrating. 

Finally, after a month of waiting for testing results, because they were misplaced by the office, I was told both legs have vein deficiencies, which means the blood travels down and pools, but doesn't return back up. Running and staying active actually HELPS reduce any risk of further health problems like blood clots, keeping my body warm and keeps blood circulating. The nurse was so kind to remind me that I don't have many options on this one. They typically like people to wear compression socks for three months and stay active. They also have to counsel you on your weight. If you are overweight, the insurance considers it an elective surgery, so you have to jump through a bunch of hoops before you can have it done. Each thing has to be done before your insurance will consider it. On the phone, she had to "counsel" me about weight. I essentially had to ask her if I lost another 10lbs would that help anything? Her answer, "no you're healthy, I just have to say that I did." Me- "Thank goodness, I'd be nothing, and I feel comfortable in my skin." However, she said, "we don't recommend this if you haven't had kids and plan on it someday. I'm not sure where you are on that continuum, but you are young, so think about."  That is where the conversation when straight down hill and made me feel like a deflated balloon. Thank you for reminding we don't have children. We don't get enough of those messages daily. And it got better, "so your options with this are limited, but you can always come talk to our surgeon." Me- "great, can I have your number for when I want to call you back?" Click. 

Runner- Check
Socks- Check
Weight- Check
Children- Childless
Options- Limited

This is the world I live in. It seems hopeless sometimes, but then I run and everything looks better. Running is the place where I see everything clear.  Flying Pigs shouldn't have happened in medical terms, but I say NEVER. It isn't in my language. Now we know why my legs feel like dead weight and why some runs are awesome, and others aren't. When your blood pools in both legs and doesn't return, your heart works extra hard to move blood in other places. I'd be lying to say that this doesn't bother me. My heart has to work overtime right now, especially with long runs. I haven't figured out what is the best course of action next.  

For now, I thankful for finishing the Flying Pigs Half Marathon because it is a race that I probably shouldn't have been running, but I did. Not for a lack of training, but because sometimes I wonder if I live a little recklessly, and then I think, live in today, not tomorrow because it might not be here. More thoughts on the expo and the race coming the rest of the week.



Q: Do you live reckless? Have you ever gone against medical advice or do you follow it?