5/19/15

Wordless Wednesday Link Up: Itty Bitty Kitties


The girls were so excited to learn that one of the semi-tamed cats at their grandparents' house had delivered an unexpected litter of kittens just days before Mother's Day.  Neither girl had ever seen fairly newborn kittens--and neither has really stopped talking about them since seeing them.  We thought we would share a few pictures of the kittens as this week's Wordless Wednesday link up!

Itty Bitty Bundles of Fluff



The girls couldn't choose a favorite--but, if I had to pick one--the tiny grey and white one (the tiniest of the litter) would probably be my first choice.....or the black and white one....or one of the striped ones....Okay.  I guess I couldn't really choose a favorite either!

 Awww....

I think I could love that face! The little one at the top, showing us his face, reminds me a lot of our Frito when he was a tiny bundle of fluff!

Eyes are Opening!

 
I think this little guy (or gal) was one of the first to open his eyes.  The girls think he looks a bit grumpy with his pouty "frown" and bad hair day!

 He's still pretty cute--even if he does look just a little like a grumpy bat!

What's happening in your little corner of the world?

It's your turn to link up your latest Wordless Wednesday posts!






5/18/15

Book Review and Giveaway: Life Outside the Box by Marilyn R. Wilson


I love reading inspirational success stories.  Sometimes, when we see a successful person, it's easy to miss the rocky path to success followed by so many.  As we all go through our own daily, life challenges--reaching goals and dreams sometimes seem so far out of reach!  Why can't things be easier for us?  Unfortunately, the path to success is rarely "easy" for anyone--we just aren't along for the climb--and the journeys are as varied as they are difficult! I was excited to read the inspirational, compilation of real-life, success stories, Life Outside the Box:  The Extraordinary Journeys of 10 Unique Individuals, by Marilyn R. Wilson.  


I received a complimentary copy of this book for use in my blog review.  All opinions are my own.  As part of the iRead Book Tour for this book, we are also sharing a giveaway for a copy of this book at the end of this post! 
 

Quick Summary of Life Outside the Box:  The Extraordinary Journeys of 10 Unique Individuals. Real Stories about Real People to Entertain, Inspire and Challenge You.  Get inspired to step out of your box and into a world full of potential. From the corporate world, to the arts, to working with the disenfranchised – the message is clear. There is no such thing as a normal way to live your life and no one right solution to any problem. Selected from amongst over 100 interviews, the stories shared here open a window on the journeys of seven women and three men who have charted their own path, including Ruthie Davis – top U.S. luxury shoe designer and the winner of the 2014 AAFA Footwear Designer of the Year award – and Geir Ness whose perfume is a staple in Nordstrom, Disney World and on Disney Cruise Lines. Enjoy a glimpse behind the scenes into the unique ways these individuals chose to deal with life's challenges and how they define success in their careers.

Life Outside the Box Creates Inspirational, Biographical Portraits.  Marilyn R. Wilson portrays 10 very different individuals--with unique life challenges--and illustrates their individual paths to individual successes.  The author combines in-depth, personal interviews and biographical details for each featured person.  She does a wonderful job portraying the emotions, motivations, and passions of the real people she features.

Would I recommend Life Outside the Box:  The Extraordinary Journeys of 10 Unique Individuals?  Not one of Marilyn R. Wilson's featured stories offered a simple, easy, path to success.  This is a wonderful compilation of business leaders, entrepreneurs, and creative minds--and a page by page reminder that personal stories lie beneath every success story.  If you enjoy motivational, inspirational stories of goal seeking and dream building with real, human flaws and trying life challenges--this is a wonderful book!  Wilson's writing style flawlessly builds each of her 10 stories with ease.  I enjoyed reading about each of her featured choices--and found each so inspiring and intriguing that I found myself drawn to learn even more about them!  It's a wonderful book for those facing daunting obstacles or personal doubts in their journey to their goals.



About the Author.


Marilyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for interviewing. It all began in 2006 when the she answered a Craigslist ad from a NY magazine asking for story submissions. Two were accepted. The first live interview was life changing and Wilson has never looked back. With over 150 interviews now behind her, the love of interviewing is still as strong as ever. Whether through a random encounter on the New York subway or via a “one-on-one” interview with an internationally recognized artist, the goal is the same—to share the unique journeys of inspiring individuals.

In 2007, this goal led the author to co-launch a successful, innovative magazine focused on professionals working in the fashion industry, paired with photography and illustrations by local artists. Now on staff at Raine Magazine (NY/Miami/LA), as well as freelancing for other publications, Wilson has taken her passion to a new audience with the release of her first book.

Connect with Marilyn:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter

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Book Review & A Giveaway: Woven Wishes by Karen Pokras


WovenWishes.v5Pokras A year or so ago, we had the opportunity to read and review Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas, a children's book, by author Karen Pokras.  The girls and I loved her her writing style--so I was excited to read a "grown-up" novel from this author!  What was my review of Woven Wishes by Karen Pokras? 

I received a complimentary copy of the book featured here for use in my review.  All opinions are my own.
As part of the Woven Wishes book tour, the author is giving away a charm bracelet as well--so be sure to enter at the end of this post!

Quick Summary of Woven Wishes by Karen Pokras.  Through thick and thin, heels and flats, our secrets stay within. We’re not just friends, we’re sisters, too. Bound by blood until the end. On the surface life seems pretty good for the three Haines sisters. So many wishes have already come true for Ava, Holly, and Tessa. However, things aren’t always as they appear. Dreams were given up over the years, while others still remain unfulfilled and out of reach. And what about unexpected wishes? The ones nobody ever thought they’d have to hope for—the ones that will leave them shaken to the core, wondering what lies ahead. They’ve always been able to pull through thanks to the support they give each other, yet sometimes, even a sisterly bond isn’t enough. Will Ava, Holly, and Tessa see their ultimate wishes finally come true?

Pokras weaves a well-written story in Woven Wishes.  I am not a "romance" or "chick-lit" reader by nature--there has to be a fairly strong human element and "life" story intertwined.  Pokras does a wonderful job telling the stories of these sisters as they move through the book.  The characters are very well developed--and they live lives with dreams, goals, and ups & down which are easy for readers to relate.

Woven Wishes continues the stories of the Haines sisters.  Each of the novels in Pokras' Whispered Wishes series is written to stand alone--but, I wish that I had read the other three books in the series before this one.  Pokras does a wonderful job developing the characters completely within this book--but, I do think that connecting with each sister's life individually in the first three books would have made this story even better.

Would I recommend Woven Wishes?  I haven't read the first three books in the series--and, while this book stands alone, I would have liked to have read the first three books before this one.Karen Pokras is a wonderful writer and a very talented storyteller.  She creates wonderful, emotional, life story in Woven Wishes--testing the strengths of three sisters and drawing readers into their lives.  I would certainly recommend this book for those enjoying modern romance/women's fictionIt is a quick, easily read, evenly paced book with a nicely developed storyline and well developed characters. 

Buy on Amazon 

About the Author:

karen - woven wishesKaren Pokras writes adult contemporary and middle grade fiction under the names Karen Pokras and Karen Pokras Toz. Her books have won several awards including two Readers' Favorite Book Awards, the Grand Prize in the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, as well as placing first for two Global E-Book Awards for Pre-Teen Literature. For children, her books include the Nate Rocks series, Millicent Marie is Not My Name, and Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas. For adult readers, Karen's books include Chasing Invisible, and her newly released, Whispered Wishes series. A native of Connecticut, Karen now lives outside of Philadelphia with her family.

For more information, visit http://www.karenpokras.com and http://www.karentoz.com

Find the author here: FacebookTwitterGoodreads:  Instagram: @karenpokras_author Pinterest:  Tumblr: karenpokrasauthor

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5/15/15

Guest Post: Five Things I Can't Live Without by Becky Monson




PrintWe are excited to have author Becky Monson join us for a guest post as part of the book tour for her latest book, Speak Now or Forever Hold your Peace.  Today, she shares her five things she can't live without with us.  Get to know the author a little--and we encourage you to check out some of the other stops on the book tour and to enter to win the $50Amazon Gift Card book tour prize!



Five Things I Can’t Live Without

By Becky Monson

1. My smart phone. No wait … my family should be number one, right? I mean, because of course they’re number one in my mind. Family is totally what came to my mind first when I thought of what to write. Totally. That was just a little slipup. So of course, my three little kiddos and my hubby are first on my list because after all, they are my most favorite people in the world. They’re the reason I am what I am and why I do what I do. It’s all for them. I love them, even more than my smart phone. 

2. My smart phone. Seriously, I would marry it if I could. My life is on that thing. I once cracked the screen so badly that I couldn’t use it. I wasn’t sure how I would survive. I did, though … barely.

3. Chocolate. Because … duh. 

4. My kindle. I have about a gazillion books on my kindle (only a slight exaggeration) that I must read. If only there were a gazillion more hours in my day.

5. My bed. I love it. It’s the most comfortable bed, ever. Also, on some nights, you can find all of the things I can’t live without in my bed. My smart phone and my kindle are usually right by me, as is my hubby. My children can most-times be found in my bed (usually lying sideways and taking up the entire thing). And sometimes, because my toddler likes to eat where she pleases, you actually might find some chocolate.

Quick Summary of Speak Now or Forever Hold your Peace by Becky Monson.  If there’s one thing that Bridgette Reynolds has learned recently, it’s that the perfect shoes, the perfect hair, and the perfect dress do not make for the perfect proposal. In fact, sometimes they make for the not-so-perfect breakup. Now, Bridgette must do everything in her power to win Adam back. She knows they are meant to be. And nothing will stand in her way—not her friends, not her grandmother, not even the fact that Adam is now engaged to Serene after a whirlwind romance. Focused on her plan to win Adam back, Bridgette isn’t expecting Ian—her college best friend, her love, her big regret—to come back into her life. They sink back into their comfortable friendship as if no time has passed at all, making Bridgette start to question her feelings for Adam. But Ian has a few secrets of his own . . . secrets that could shatter their friendship once and for all. Bridgette has to make some major decisions—should she speak now? Or forever hold her peace?

We receive complimentary copies of books in exchange for reviews or book tour postings.  All opinions are our own and we are not compensated for our reviews. 

Buy on Kindle| Paperback


About the Author:
Becky Author PictureBy day, Becky Monson is a mother to three young children, and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. In her debut novel, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc.), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful this time will last... but it probably won't.  

Connect with Becky:

     

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5/14/15

Plumb Exhale Album Review and Giveaway


I love music--and always look forward to discovering new artists and sounds to add to my playlists.  I recently had the opportunity to experience and review the latest album from songwriter and recording artist, Plumb.  In spite of her long career--Plumb was a new artist for me and for my family--so we were all excited to review this album.  We are also excited to offer one reader a chance to win a copy of this album in the giveaway at the end of this post!

We received a complimentary copy of this album for use in our review.  All opinions and experiences are our own.

A little background on EXHALE by Plumb.  EXHALE, the seventh studio album from acclaimed multi-genre singer, songwriter and author PLUMB, expresses a new focus and vision. After the runaway success of NEED YOU NOW (the album, title track and book), which coincided with her own moving story of brokenness and ultimately healing, EXHALE brims with worshipful songs of gratitude and hope.

The defining concept of EXHALE was born from a sermon at Plumb’s home church, wherein her pastor Pete Wilson expressed the notion that the Church doesn’t exist for itself. Rather, believers come to church to breathe in grace and truth, be changed, and then go out and “exhale” that hope into their surrounding community.

“That idea of exhaling hope hit me right away and I couldn’t get to the Notes section on my phone fast enough. I started writing the chorus of EXHALE right then and there,” explains Plumb. “I have been made new by the ultimate hope, and I want to share and exhale that hope in everyway I can.”

Plumb certainly does exhale hope with her music.  I always have music playing as I work--and I typically switch music freuqently throughout the day.  The messages, the emotion, and the inspirational sounds of EXHALE have kept it on my daily playlist for over a week.  Plumb possesses both a beautiful voice--and an amazing ability to exhale her faith into her surroundings.  I think Faithful and Exhale were my immediate favorites--but, there isn't a song on the album that I skip during its playtime!

The tweens enjoyed EXHALE too....This is the ultimate test for new music in my little corner of the world....will the tween girls listen without complaint?  Will they listen by their own free will?  The rhythm and the sounds of this album are appealing to so many listeners as Plumb crosses so many musical styles with her unique sound.  The girls seemed to find a soothing peace within the album as well--and were not ready to mute the sound as soon as they entered the room as they do with much of my other music selections!  It was nice to hear Faith-filled music to which the entire family could (would) listen!

Would I recommend EXHALE from Plumb?  EXHALE is an album for Christians and fans of modern, Christian music.  This is the first time we have listened to Plumb--but, are now seeking out her first six albums as well!   She has a beautiful voice and sings with incredible emotion and faith.  There are times in life when we all feel broken--even the younger ones struggle with those feelings today--and this album serves as a beautiful reminder that our broken pieces may be mended--if we open our hearts and minds. 

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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.”