Thursday, June 19, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because by Chelsea Jacobs

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the book for free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group book  blogger campaign and 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.”

About the book: (Information taken directly from LitFuse Publicity's Landing Page.)

Avery is a seventeen-year-old girl whose reality has just been shattered by the death of her mother. Feeling a desperate need to flee from what has become her life, she follows a travel plan meant for her mom and her that leads her to the little beach town where her mom grew up. It's there that she meets a group of three adventurous friends who adopt her into their circle, allowing her to experience a summer she never thought would be possible after suffering such a great loss. Unfortunately, her summer full of experiences threatens to end abruptly when she realizes that one of the three has a secret that causes her to question everything about the new life she has been building.
Avery must learn to balance her grief and her desire for a future in order to achieve her mother's final wish for her: That she would be happy to be alive.

Purchase a copy:

About the author: 
(Information taken directly from LitFuse Publicity's Landing Page.)

Chelsea grew up with an immense love for words---both reading them and writing them. She obtained her degree in English and has spent the time since then getting married to her high school sweetheart and chasing adventure so she'll have something to write about. When she's not drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing, she spends her time reading, playing with her puppy named Gatsby, and dreaming, always dreaming.

Chelsea can be found at: websiteTwitter

Dynamic Uno here: When I closed the last page of this book I literally could only say, "Wow," because that was the only word I could find to describe how I felt after reading Happy to be Alive, Because.  I sat on the couch and really thought about my life and how I take many people for granted, because they've always been there for me.  How would I cope if they suddenly were not around and would never be again?

After reading Avery's story about the loss of her mother to cancer, I thought back to my own  mother going in to Moffitt at the beginning of the year (New Years Eve) to have a tumor removed that was possibly cancerous.  After the surgery, her doctor told us that it was the size of a small football-about 8 lbs.-and thankfully, was not cancerous, but I remember having to prepare myself to help her battle something that could possibly end her life.  What would I do without my mom?

Reading about Avery's goal to follow through with the trip to Florida, her mother had planned, reminded me of what I tend to do when faced with situations I don't want to particularly deal with, and that is to flee/pretend it's not happening.

While Avery still deeply felt the loss of her mother, she was able to go through the grieving process with the help of her new friends-Rob, Major, and Lily.  By hanging out with them and developing a routine that led to some semblance of a "normal" life, Avery was able to finally look past her grief into the life she wanted to live.

Despite a set-back when learning a dark secret Rob had kept hidden, Avery learned that she truly could be "Happy to be Alive," as she journaled each thing that led her to being happy on a daily basis.  (Something I think I may pick up to help me through the crazy dark days.)

Happy to be Alive, Because was an enjoyable book.  While it's geared towards young adults, I can see this book quickly gaining popularity with adults as well.  It will definitely be one that I recommend to my students and teachers when they are going through tough times as well.

You can purchase Ms. Jacobs' book here.  What are you waiting for?  Go buy it now--you won't regret it!

1. Happy to be Alive, Because...I get to enjoy playing with my little girl (cat) Madison!

2. Happy to be Alive, Because...I get to read and blog about awesome books!

3. Happy to be Alive, Because...chocolate was invented to soothe my savage inner beast.

4.  Your turn...

As always, let me know what you think,  and Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to those Fathers of the two or four-legged variety! I hope you have a wonderful day today!

Happy Father's Day Dad!  Love you!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A SEASON OF CHANGE from Lynette Sowell | Kindle HDX giveaway and Facebook Party!

In A Season of Change, book one of Lynette Sowell's new series, Seasons of Pinecraft, readers will discover a different side of the Amish community. A Season of Change follows Natalie and Amish widower Jacob Miller as they each discover the mysterious ways God works. Inspired by the image of a Plain woman sitting on a three-wheeled bicycle by the Pinecraft (an Amish community in Florida) post office, Sowell’s latest is a new take on the popular trend in fiction.

Lynette is celebrating with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a Facebook author chat party on June 12th.

One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • A Season of Change by Lynette Sowell
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 12th. Winner will be announced at the A Season of Change Facebook author chat party on June 12th. Connect with Lynette for an evening of fun book chat, Amish-themed trivia, and prizes. Lynette will also be answering audience questions and giving an exclusive look at the next book in the Seasons of Pinecraft series!

So grab your copy of A Season of Change and join Lynette on the evening of June 12th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 12th!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New from @RonieKendig | Raptor 6! Enter to win a Kindle HDX.

Don't miss the first book, Raptor 6, in Ronie Kendig's new Quiet Professionals series. Ronie combines a dangerous romance and explosive action for a thrilling and satisfying ride. "Lock and load for this Spec Op, fighting under God’s 'rules of engagement.'" —Bob Hamer, veteran FBI undercover agent and award-winning author

Ronie is celebrating with a Kindle HDX Giveaway!

One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 15th. Winner will be announced June 16th on Ronie's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Ronie's blog on June 16th to see if you won.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Season of Change by Lynette Sowell (Seasons in Pinecraft series, Book #1)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the book for free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group book  blogger campaign and 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.”

ABOUT THE BOOK: (Information taken directly from LitFuse Publicity's Promotions page.)

Book One in the NEW Seasons of Pinecraft series | A Season of Change
An Amish widower finds love in unexpected places.
Amish widower Jacob Miller believes it was a mistake to visit the Amish village of Pinecraft for winter vacation, especially after his daughter is struck by a car. Stranded in Sarasota until his daughter recovers, Jacob grows increasingly wary of events that unfold in his unfamiliar surroundings—including the strange curiosity of Englischer Natalie Bennett.
Natalie never thought her circus career as an aerial silks artist would end with a blown-out knee at the age of 25. She also never knew her late mother had a secret—that she was once Amish.
When Natalie meets the Millers at the Sarasota hospital, she is attracted to their warm hospitality and simple ways—and soon wonders if they can help her find her mother’s family. As Jacob and Natalie fall in love, their worlds collide. Will their differences tear them apart? Or will their love be strong enough to blend their clashing cultures?

Lynette Sowell was born in western Massachusetts in the shadow of the Berkshire Mountains, raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and now makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas hill country. The award-winning author of more than 15 titles, Lynette loves reading, cooking, watching movies, and is always up for a Texas road trip. When not writing fiction, she works in medical transcription and is a freelance writer and columnist for her local newspaper.

Dynamic Uno here:  When I realized A Season of Change took place in Pinecraft, I was even more excited than usual.  You see, I live in a suburb of Tampa, Florida, which is just north of Sarasota- where Pinecraft is located!  

In fact, I've been to Yoder's Amish Village several times and can't wait to go back!  The food at the restaurant is FABULOUS!  Really--it's like the food your grandma used to make.  Meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, apple butter for the fresh sliced bread, and lots of pie!   Everything is homemade and not from some box--like I normally use.  (Now I'm hungry...)

I love to shop at their market and deli area.  My favorite thing to buy, aside from everything, is their sweet mint tea!  Around Christmas, I went there with my aunt and I forgot to order several gallons ahead of time, but they went ahead and made them for me as a special order.  Talk about generous! 

I've eyed the pizza shop and Big Olaf's Ice Cream place, but haven't ventured in yet.  Maybe in the fall when things cool down a bit and I can enjoy the outdoors without melting.  Now that I've read more about the village area, I may even be a "tourist" and venture around a bit more to see if I can find some of the locations in the story.

And now back to the story...I thought it was really neat that Natalie worked as a former circus performer and now teaches children how to do the acrobatics in the silks.   Having her dress up as a clown to entertain the children in the hospital at Christmas was a welcome treat--especially since they were so far from home and in desperate need of some cheer.  (The Circus Clown School is actually right down the road from Yoder's.) 

Jacob seemed like a lost little puppy with his children.  With no wife to help with their care, I'm glad that his grandmother was able to help while they had their extended stay.  Zeke seemed like a bright young boy and Rebecca seemed very mature for her age--although they'd been through a lot of heartache for being so young.

I enjoyed reading about the developing friendship between Natalie and Jacob's family--especially when she learned that her own mother had been Amish and found part of a quilt she had started.  

I was a bit frustrated by the "rules" that Jacob had to follow--they remind me a bit of my grandmother's denomination--but I understand their reasoning and can see how it may not be a problem for him since he was raised with those beliefs.

Of course, I was really excited to read about the developing feelings Jacob and Natalie had for one another, but I couldn't figure out a middle ground as Mammi had suggested because their worlds are so very different.  I'm so glad that everything worked out in the end and I can't wait to read more about the other villagers! 

If you like to read romance with a twist, then you need to read A Season of Change!  Who knows, maybe I'll see you around Pinecraft sometime.  ((I'll be the one buying all of the Sweet Mint Tea.)

Let me know what you think and Happy Reading!!!

A Season of Change Lynette Sowell

Monday, June 9, 2014

Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig (The Quiet Professionals book #1)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the book for free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group book  blogger campaign and 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.”

ABOUT RAPTOR 6: (Information taken Directly from LitFuse Publicity Promotions Page)
The Quiet Professionals series | Raptor 6
His team. His mission. A mission that comes at the highest cost!
Captain Dean Watters keeps his mission and his team in the forefront of his laser-like focus. So when Dean’s mission and team are threatened, his Special Forces training kicks into high gear. Failing to stop hackers from stealing national security secrets from the military’s secure computers and networks isn’t an option.
Zahrah Zarrick is a missionary teacher to Afghan children in Mazar-e Sharif. And a target. When Zahrah is captured because of her expertise in quantum cryptology, compromising the U.S. military, Dean is forced to crack the lockbox around his heart—a move that might come at the highest cost.


Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. She married a veteran, and together their lives are never dull with four children and two dogs–a a Maltese Menace and a retired military working dog, Vvolt N629. Ronie’s degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters. Since launching onto the publishing scene in 2010, Ronie and her books have hit bestseller lists and garnered awards and critical acclaim.
Find out more about Ronie at

Dynamic Uno Here: Raptor 6 grabs you from the first page and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end.  

I thought that once I had read The Discarded Heroes series by Ms. Kendig, that nothing would be able to top it.  Boy was I WRONG!  (Thank goodness!)  Action around every turned page, and the reality of the men and women that are currently deployed facing the risks and challenges that were throughout this story gave me a whole new appreciation for those wearing a uniform.

Having to constantly be on guard and ten steps ahead of your opponent actually caused me a little bit of anxiety as I felt the helplessness and hopelessness of the characters.  I admired the strong faith of Zahrah despite the turmoil and abuse she lived through.  I don't think I would have handled the situation quite as calm and clear-minded as she did.  In fact, I can almost guarantee that I would have just given up and given in to my captors.

Reading the struggles Dean faced on a previous mission and then having to volunteer to face them again showed me true courage and honor.  I think I would have told my boss to "stick it" if he requested that I face the same challenges as before, and that there was a chance that I might not come back alive.  (I guess that's why I'm not in uniform.  Thankfully, there are many others who would.)

I enjoyed reading about the missionary work that Zahrah did while in Afghanistan--teaching the young girls to read and speak English.  I definitely take for granted that I am allowed to have an education in this country--especially when so many others do not allow women or young girls to have one.  I thought she was very noble to stick with her students, even after the threats and destruction of their school, but as a fellow teacher, I completely understand her stance.

I was frustrated when I read about the "mole."  I didn't realize at first what the situation was, but later, the mole's antics made sense.  I have some ideas on who it may be, but if I've learned anything from reading Raptor 6, is that what is expected is not what is going to happen.

If you enjoy action and suspense, with a hint of romance, then this is the book for you!  (Guys, don't let the romance stint cause you to balk at the story--there's not much included since propriety must be followed in Afghanistan, but knowing the thoughts of the characters definitely helps.)

I say, go get the book and read it already!  I want to discuss it with someone!!!

Let me know what you think and Happy Reading!!

RAPTOR 6 Ronie Kendig