Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Review and Tour: The Anonymous Bride by Vickie McDonough

My thoughts: What a fun book... even the cover is fun and flirty, in a late 1880's Western kind of way. :) Right from the start, Luke seemed a bit stand-offish and guarded, as he returned to Lookout, Texas, the place he had grown up, had his heart broken years before, and where he was now the new town Marshall. The bonus - he's got cousins that live there, who are excited to see him back, and who want to help him get over Rachel, his one time love... and they plan to do it by ordering him a mail order bride!

We also get to meet Rachel, who had loved Luke, but betrayed him by marrying another man. Right from the start of the story, you get the idea that she didn't necessarily chose to marry James, but rather didn't really have a choice.

Luke's cousins don't stop at getting him just one mail-order bride, but instead get three! And when they each show up needing somewhere to stay, they end up at Rachel's boardinghouse, where she finds herself a little upset with the idea of Luke marrying one of the "Boardinghouse Brides" as they are called.

It is decided that there will be a contest, and the woman who wins will become Luke's bride. Rachel's daughter "Jack" decides that she wants Luke to be her new Daddy, so talks her into entering the contest anonymously, and that is when the fun really starts!

What a fun, light-hearted and entertaining book... I can't wait for the next book in The Boarding House Brides series. One of the best things about the book was that it Christian Fiction / Romance, but done in a subtle way that is not pushy, but rather supporting within the story.

This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


The Anonymous Bride
Barbour Publishing, Inc. (April 1, 2010)


by
Vickie McDonough


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award-winning author Vickie McDonough believes God is the ultimate designer of romance. She loves writing stories where the characters find their true love and grow in their faith.

Vickie has had 18 books published. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and is currently serving as ACFW treasurer. Vickie has also been a book reviewer for nine years.

She is a wife of thirty-five years, mother of four sons, and grandmother to a feisty four-year-old girl. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and traveling.

ABOUT THE BOOK

How many brides does one man need?


It's been years, but Luke Davis is back--older and wiser--and still alone. Returning as Lookout's new town marshal, Luke is determined to face the past and move on. He flippantly tells his cousin he'd get married if the right woman ever came along. But then he discovers that the woman who betrayed him is now a widow, and all his plans fall at his feet.

Rachel has carried her guilty shame for eleven years. Her marriage to James Hamilton was not what Luke or the town thought it to be. Now James is dead, and her long-time love for Luke is reignited with his return to town. So when three mail-order brides appear, she panics.

Could they possible find love a second time?

Rachel begs his forgiveness, but Luke finds he has none to give.

And then the brides arrive. Three of them--ordered for Luke through newspaper ads by his incorrigible cousins. The only place in town for them to stay is Rachel's boardinghouse. And none of the ladies is willing to let Luke go. When choosing a bride becomes a contest, the chaos that ensues is almost funny.

When the mayor forces Luke to pick a bride or lose his job, will Luke listen to his heart that still longs for Rachel or choose one of the mail-order brides?

Will Rachel find the courage to tell Luke that she loves him? Or take an anonymous part in the contest for his hand?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Anonymous Bride, go HERE.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Heads Up and Giveaway: $25 GiftCard from SuperValu Box Tops for Education‏

I don't know about you, but I've always saved my BoxTops for Education labels from various participating packages - believe it or not, they are a great way to help your kid's school earn extra money for programs or other projects and supplies! Don't have kids? Then save them for a relative or neighbor who has kids... or simply contact your local school and ask about dropping them off. When everyone participates, those little 10 cent box tops can really add up!

Handy hint: I clip and save my Boxtops in an envelope that is on the cork board in my kitchen. It doesn't take up much space at all, but has the potential to really help out local schools, which is really great and easy. I collect the Boxtops from products I already use.

Read below to see how you can enter to win your child's school an extra 50,000 BoxTops (that's $5,000!)...


From SuperValu & General Mills via MyBlogSpark: Moms like you do whatever they can to help their kids´ schools get the resources they need to provide the best education possible.


In fact, every year 24 million parents and children join in clipping Box Tops to support their local schools. As a result, SuperValu shoppers helped participating schools earn more than $10 million in the 2008-09 school year alone!

To make it even easier to participate in the program, the SuperValu family of stores (ACME, Albertsons, Cub, Farm Fresh and Jewel-Osco) joined Box Tops for Education in creating a website that not only tracks your Box Tops contribution and the school´s redemption, but also offers recipes, coupons, store promotions and more.

From now through May 31, SuperValu stores and Box Tops for Education are giving you a chance to win 50,000 bonus box tops for your school. That´s a $5,000 value! All you have to do is register at http://www.growinglocallearning.com/, and click the link to the 50,000 bonus box tops sweepstakes*. You will automatically receive 5 Bonus Box Tops just for signing up!

*Please note that the sweepstakes is void in some states.
Visit http://www.growinglocallearning.com/ and view the sweepstakes´ official rules
for more details.

After you´ve entered the sweepstakes, be sure to stick around and browse the website where you´ll find a variety of great offers on your favorite General Mills brands including Betty Crocker®, Old El Paso®, Totino´s® Pizza Rolls® and Pillsbury®. Once you register you can also find recipes that will earn you even more Box Tops and you can access coupons for the latest deals at your local SuperValu store!


One of my lucky readers will win a $25 American Express gift card that you can use at your favorite SuperValu store courtesy of SuperValu and General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Want to win? Here's how!

1. Leave a comment and tell me one of your favorite General Mills BoxTops products! (1 entry daily, must leave a different idea per entry!!)

1.5 For extra bonus daily entries, share your most creative recipe using General Mills Box Tops products ... how many General Mills Box Tops could you use in your recipe if you won the $25 gift card?? (5 bonus entries per day, must be a different recipe)

2. Post a link to the giveaway on your blog and/or Facebook and report it here (1 entry)

3. Become a follower (link is on the right hand sidebar) and leave a comment here (or "remind" me you are already a follower so I know you want to be included in this giveaway) (1 entry)

The drawing will be held May 15th. Winner: I will send you an email, please reply with your address so I can forward it to the wonderful people at MyBlogSpark!

This giveaway is open to residents within the United States, no PO Boxes.

~ Wendi

SuperValu and General Mills was very generous and provided me with a $25 gift card and information through MyBlogSpark, and they are allowing me to host a giveaway for one additional gift card to a reader!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review and Giveaway: Green, American Style by Anna M. Clark

My Thoughts: This Saturday (April 24th) marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day! In celebration of this, I'd like to share a new book with you called Green, American Style by Anna M. Clark, which includes 85 ways to save money as well as impact the planet in a positive way. I've always tried to be "Green" in my daily actions... recycling, buying recycled products when available, finding creative ways to re-use items prior to throwing them out, participating in Freecycle, etc. Not only has Anna explained how the movement behind becoming more eco-friendly and green, she has provided ways we can impact the earth in a positive way (that also saves us money), and tells us how we can be Green at work and how to help spread the word.

According to Anna Clark, there are 25 things you can do (at home, at the store, on the go, and at the table) that will save you an average of almost $4,000 per year. Some of the things are as easy as changing some of your lightbulbs to the more energy efficient CFLs, shopping on Craigslist and Freecycle, using a reusable water bottle, and packing lunch (pages 114-115). I'm already doing some of these things, but she gave me quite a few great ideas for other ways to be more eco-friendly and save money. Additionally, she explains that moving to online banking not only saves us big bucks on postage and late fees (she says around $400 per year), but it also saves trees, and cuts down on CO2 and waste (page 119).

While reading this book, I realized that while I do a lot of the "typical" Green things like recycling, buying organic or recycled products when possible, turning off lights, etc, I haven't done a good job of thinking outside the box to include things like online banking (yes, I do this, but not for everything), direct deposit (who would have thought I'd save paper and gas doing this!), using the broom instead of the hose to clean the sidewalks, etc. I feel inspired to take my Green thinking to a whole new level, and Anna has given me help to make it happen.

If you get a chance, stop by http://www.annamclark.com/savemoregreen/ or download her 10 Ways to Save pdf here.

Perfect for : Personal Use


Green, American Style: Becoming Earth-Friendly and Reaping the Benefits
by Anna M. Clark

Baker Books (April 1, 2010) ~ 253 pages
Non-Fiction / Christian Life / Earth Care

Edition Reviewed: Paperback - Review copy received courtesy of the publisher, many thanks to both the author and the publisher for sending me a copy to review!


About the Book:

Your guide to going green and loving it
Green is not about giving up. It's about gaining more money, time, opportunity, health, and well-being. Green, American Style proposes a uniquely American perspective that takes into account your values, our country's democratic and capitalistic history, and our ingrained resistance to reining in. More than a list of ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle, this book explores the green movement from the diverse perspectives of business, faith, and lifestyle, showing you the economic, physical, and spiritual benefits of sustainable living.


Q&A With Author Anna Clark:

Q: What made you write this book?

In 2005 I had my first child. To say it was life-changing would be an understatement. I began to feel an overwhelming responsibility toward my child. When I had my daughter, Jordan, I decided to revisit my faith, which I hadn’t paid attention to for about fifteen years. I read the Bible for the first time. I also joined a discussion group for sustainable living. My whole life I’ve had an affinity for animals, and I was saddened that habitat loss through overconsumption was causing mass extinction. One day, I woke up to the fact that change must begin with me. I suddenly felt a conviction that I wanted to contribute to the kind of world I wanted to bring kids into.

I started by reducing, reusing, and recycling. Then I launched a green business and we built a green home. I found myself having fun with it because I was saving money, eating healthier, meeting interesting people, learning, speaking, and writing. As sustainability converged with my faith journey, I became amazed by how intertwined simpler living is with spiritual fulfillment, sharing with those less fortunate, and caring for God’s creation. Green, as I began to see it, was nothing more than the Golden Rule.

Q: What is Green, American Style about?

Green, American Style is about saving money, getting healthy, and protecting our future. And I believe women can especially benefit from its message, since we are particularly influential as keepers of the community and mothers of the next generation. Inside my book, you’ll see how environmental issues have been politicized—but the green movement is not about politics. It’s about survival. Never before has our country faced such critical issues as globalization, energy insecurity, water shortages, habitat loss, and health epidemics ranging from asthma to infertility. From an ecological standpoint, these issues are all connected.

Although these issues leave many of us feeling helpless, we have more power than we think we do. Each one of us can make a difference as consumers, parents, and citizens. We Americans can reap tremendous opportunities and wellbeing through earth-friendly living and through spreading these values in our backyards, communities, churches, and places of business. My book shows why sustainability really is the best way to preserve the American way of life in the 21st century.

Q: What do you hope moms will get out of reading your book?
I want readers to get over viewing green as being difficult or a threat to their lifestyle. My book is full of practical wisdom anyone can benefit from. I got into green to make a better world. What I’m getting out of it is a better life. Today I enjoy the feeling of making a difference through small acts like turning off the lights, growing my own tomatoes, and eating delicious organic foods. I love living in my earth-friendly home and finding new ways to conserve energy and money. I also continue to find inspiration in nature—not just for my writing, but also as a path to spiritual renewal.

At the most basic level, you can look at it this way: Green living helps you get healthy and protect your family’s future while saving a good chunk of the family budget. In fact, the advice I suggest in my book can save an average family over $7,000 a year! Who can’t get excited about that?


About the Author: (From the publisher's press release)

Anna Clark is a mom of two preschoolers and president of EarthPeople, a global consulting firm helping clients with profitable green strategies. She began by asking herself the question, "Can one person really make a difference?" Today, she has an international base of clients implementing her ideas to improve the environment while making money in the "eco" economy.

And for Anna, going green starts at home, where she's drastically cut her family's utility bills; reduced grocery waste while eating healthier; discovered natural, non-toxic cleaning options; and found unexpected joy in activities as simple as helping her children plant trees and care for a garden. Anna's discovered that anyone can make a difference in caring for Creation, while saving money and keeping their family healthy--and she can't wait to show you how. Join her at savemoregreen.net to help lead the change.


Giveaway:

1. Leave a comment and tell me one "Green" thing you do. (1 entry daily, must leave a different "Green" thing per entry!!)

2. Post a link to the giveaway on your blog and/or Facebook and report it here (1 entry)

3. Become a follower (link is on the right hand sidebar) and leave a comment here (or "remind" me you are already a follower so I know you want to be included in this giveaway) (1 entry)

The drawing will be held May 15th. Winner: I will send you an email, please reply with your address so I can mail out your book!

This giveaway is open to residents within the United States, no PO Boxes.

~ Wendi

Friday, April 9, 2010

Review and Tour and Giveaway: This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano




This Little Prayer of Mine
by Anthony DeStefano, illustrated by Mark Elliott

WaterBrook Press; 1 edition (February 16, 2010) ~ 40 pages
Fiction / Children's / Religious / Christian / Prayer

Edition Reviewed: Hardback - Review copy received courtesy of the publisher (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group), many thanks to both the author and the publisher for sending me a copy to review!



Perfect for : Personal Use, Church, Bible Study, Child's Gift

My Thoughts: This is a wonderful, fun, and very helpful book to read with young and old children alike. The pictures are wonderfully illustrated, and give kids lots of great things to look at and talk about as you are reading. The prayer itself is just as wonderful as the illustrations. It rhymes and covers such a nice range of things that are good to pray about... fear, sharing, life, thankfulness, etc.

The book encourages children in their prayers, and shows them that God can hear them, that he loves them, and that he will help and guide them. It is very uplifting and encouraging.

I've been reading this book to my son, and as soon as we reach the end, he asks me to start it all over again! I don't think there is higher praise than that for a children's book. :)

I would encourage anyone to get this beautiful children's book for the kids in their life. It is a beautiful quality and would be great to give as a gift!

About the Book:



Author Anthony DeStefano’s adult books, The Prayers God Always Says Yes To and A Travel Guide to Heaven, have sold a quarter-million copies. Illustrator Mark Elliott’s cherished artwork has appeared in popular picture books and novels for young readers, including Gail Carson Levine’s ever-popular Princess Tales series.

Now, these acclaimed inspirational experts have come together to create This Little Prayer of Mine, a beautiful and alluring book designed to guide children into a very simple, real and expressive relationship with God.

Through engaging rhymes and alluring illustrations, This Little Prayer of Mine shows children—and their parents and grandparents—that complete dependence on God is what brings peace and fulfillment. It invites children to know and believe that God is always just a simple prayer away and that He longs to respond to them with a resounding, “Yes!”

This Little Prayer of Mine appeals to readers from all different faiths. Easy-reader format allows children to read alone, or with someone older, and encourages them to openly express their fears, thanks, and needs directly to God.

Excerpt: The pages are not numbered, but this is from approximately page 15:



Whenever I feel all alone,
with not a friend in sight,
please let me know you're
here with me
and everything's all right.


Copyright © 2010 by Anthony DeStefano. All rights reserved.


About the Author: (from the publisher)




Anthony DeStefano is the author of The Prayers God Always Says Yes To and A Travel Guide to Heaven. He has received prestigious awards from religious organizations worldwide for his efforts to advance Christian beliefs in modern culture.

Mark Elliott’s brilliant illustrations have appeared in popular picture books and novels for young readers, including Gail Carson Levine’s Princess Tales series. His acclaimed artwork delivers inspiration, wonder, and timeless beauty on every page



Giveaway:

1. Leave a comment and tell me one of your favorite children's books. (1 entry daily, must leave a different title per entry!!)

2. Post a link to the giveaway on your blog and/or Facebook and report it here (1 entry)

3. Become a follower (link is on the right hand sidebar) and leave a comment here (or "remind" me you are already a follower so I know you want to be included in this giveaway) (1 entry)

The drawing will be held April 30th. Winner: I will send you an email, please reply with your address so I can mail out your book!

This giveaway is open to residents within the United States, no PO Boxes.

~ Wendi
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