Friday, August 22, 2014

Reads: The River by Beverly Lewis

The River 
by Beverly Lewis

She looked once more at the dreaded river. Since Anna's death, it had been such a barrier . . . a place and a moment she could not seem to move past.
A line I can't move beyond...
The River 

Tilly and Ruth, two formerly Amish sisters, are plagued by unresolved relationships when they reluctantly return to Lancaster County for their parents' landmark wedding anniversary. Since departing their Plain upbringing, Tilly has married an Englisher, but Ruth remains single and hasn't entirely forgotten her failed courtship with her Amish beau.

Past meets present as Tilly and Ruth yearn for acceptance and redemption. Can they face the future in the light of a past they can't undo?

My Review

If you've read my book reviews before, you know I *love* books by Beverly Lewis. They are always captivating, tough to put down and always have a great twist you don't see coming! The River is no different and doesn't disappoint! The story of two formerly Amish sisters got me hooked right away because you are constantly wondering what will happen next - from Tilly's troubled relationship with her  Daed to Ruth's old feelings with her former beau (who seems the equivalent of an Amish 'player' lol)
The book also gives a different look - at people who decide to leave their Amish communities in different wats - whether joining the fancy Englischer world  or an outsider group.
Another great read from Mrs. Lewis!

You can grab a copy for yourself on Amazon here, 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Reads: Guest Post by Amy Neftzger - The Orchard of Hope

Welcome to the Orchard of Hope blog tour - by author Amy Neftzger
Read all about Amy, her book, and Why Book Covers are Important below!

About Amy
Amy Neftzger (born June 23) is an American researcher and author who has published fiction books, non-fiction books, business articles, and peer review research. Her works have reached an international audience.

Amy was born in Illinois and graduated from Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. She received her bachelors degree from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida and her Masters in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She graduated from both Universities with honors.

She has written numerous business and journal articles, but her fiction works have been the most commercially successful. In 2003 she published Conversations with the Moon, which was also translated into Korean and published in South Korea. In 2005 she collaborated with her husband, guitarist Tyra Neftzger on a children's book called "All that the Dog Ever Wanted." The book was designed to introduce children to jazz music at an early age and included a CD sampler of jazz tunes. In 2007 she worked as an editor on a business fable called "The Damned Company." She's also written "Confessions From a Moving Van" and "Leftover Shorts."

In 2013, Amy released her first Young Adult book called "The Orphanage of Miracles." The sequel to this book, "The Orchard of Hope" is scheduled for release in June of 2014, and The Ferryman (adult fiction) is scheduled for release in October, 2014.

Guest Post
Why Book Covers Are Important
By Amy Neftzger
Some authors don’t believe that books should be judged by their covers, and maybe they 
shouldn’t. But the fact is that they are, and authors need to face this reality. Book covers matter almost as much as the contents of the book. Here’s why:

First of all, book covers are primarily marketing. They're not an extension of your artistry as a writer. A cover should reflect the content of the book, but it should also be designed to draw interest, because the cover is the first reason most people will pause long enough to read what the book is about. 

Secondly, pictures evoke emotions and impressions faster than words. The image acts on the brain before the person can read the title, and the cover design creates a reaction that can draw a person to seek out more information about your book.

Finally, the cover is the first “test” that most readers use to determine if an author is worth 
reading. There’s an underlying assumption that if you don't put enough care into the 
appearance of the book, then you probably also didn't put enough effort into the contents. 
Putting an inferior cover on a book is like showing up for a job interview at a bank in flip flops 
and a t-shirt. It won’t matter if the person is qualified if they don’t dress the part.

So, yes, people do judge a book by the cover. This is why I recommend that self-published 
authors hire someone with experience in book design to assist with their covers. There are a 
number of affordable options, so don’t assume that it’s too expensive. If you want your book toappear professional, then you really can’t afford not to have the cover done professionally.
Once you find an appropriate resource, work with the person to convey the contents of the 
book in a manner that draws attention and also remains true to the story/ theme. If the designer 
doesn’t have time to read the book, don’t panic. Give the designer a synopsis and/ or the first 
chapter and also describe the target age range, time period, and setting. Also give the person a 
description of any symbols, imagery, recurring themes/ motifs, and characters. If the person is 
competent this should be sufficient to get started.
A competent designer will also ensure that your title is legible on both the print version and 
thumbnails used to display eBooks online. After all, if people can’t read the title or determine 
what your book is about by looking at the cover, they won’t know if they want to read it, and you 
could miss the opportunity for a sale. Potential readers need your help in determining if your 
book is right for them, and having a well-designed book cover is one of the best ways to do this.
About The Orchard of Hope
A quest to save hope.

A kingdom under a spell.

A wizard in training.

A gargoyle with a sweet tooth.

The sequel to The Orphanage of Miracles is filled
with engaging characters, magic, adventure, and
unusual circumstance. It’s a story that will
both entertain and inspire the reader.

Kelsey, a strong-willed and high spirited young girl, embarks upon another adventurous quest - this time to save hope, which is being stolen from the orchard. While the kingdom is still under the spell of the evil sorcerer who distorts reality in order to gain control, the king begins training someone who he believes can ultimately defeat the sorcerer: a young boy named Nicholas. Revisit some of your favorite characters or meet them for the first time in this volume.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Reads: Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly

Waking Up Married
By Mira Lyn Kelly

Her first thought: "Who are you?"
It's the morning after her cousin's bachelorette party in Vegas and Megan Scott wakes up with the mother of all hangovers. Even worse, she's in a stranger's penthouse having woken up with something else as well—a funny, arrogant, sexy…husband!
Up until now, finding even a boyfriend had seemed impossible—been there, got the broken heart, sworn off men for good. Then a few martinis with Carter…no, Connor Reed and she's gone from first meet to marriage in one night!
Megan wants a lawyer. But Connor's shocking bombshell?
"I don't want a divorce."

My Review
This book was an unexpectedly good read. I have to say that you need to give the book a chance, don't go by the first few chapters - to me they made it seem a bit rushed. After that however, you start to really see the characters and get to know them. It's a book filled with humor, romance and fun, and is a great read to curl up with at night! 


Is Yacon Syrup Really Beneficial? Let's See!!

I've been reading a lot about a natural sweetner called Yacon syrup lately...heard of it? It has apparently been all over the place in the news because of the benefits it is belived to deliver. Among the many it lays claim to, here are just the few I was intered in:
  • Weight loss 
  • Supports healthy digestion  - something I seem to struggle with since my 3rd pregnancy
  • It contains prebiotics
So what is it exactly? Here's the lowdown from Wikipedia:
  1. Yacón syrup is a sweetening agent extracted from the tuberous roots of the yacón plant (Smallanthus sonchifolius) indigenous to the Andes mountains. It was used by the Incas. In Peru, people eat yacón because of its nutritional properties—few calories and low sugar levels.
Sounds pretty good, right? I'd also read quite a few other bloggers reviews (just a quick search for yacon syrup reviews will give you a ton!) and was pretty satisfied with what I was reading. 

So when I was given the opportunity to review a bottle from V3 Life & Food, I jumped at the chance :)
For now, I have only been testing the stuff out for a couple of days, so this will not be my only review of the product. I will however, fill you in on it in a months time - t see if any of those benefits came to fruition! But for now, here are my initial thoughts about it....

First of all, when they say it's sweet, they are not lying! A lot of people describe it as having a prune-y taste, which I can understand, but I found it to sort of taste like drinking some nutella - lol. I have just been drinking a capful - I haven't been using it on any food yet. 3 tsp per day are recommended, but I will have to build my way there since I'm still nursing my 7 month old in the evenings (it's nt recommended to let it get in the milk since it increases metablism. By the time I nurse however, it's long been gone since breast milk constantly renews itself :)

My second thought about Yacn syrup is that it's definitely a sweetfood  craving killer. After downing a teaspoon of the super sweet syrup, any sort of sweet is the last thing you want.  

I am really excited to see if the syrup brings me any awesome benefits, and can't wait to share them if it does! If you'd like to try out a bottle, you can grab one here !
Look out for my next update!
Debbie Jean
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Reads: Sky1 - Foundation

Nick Burke has been allotted 389 square feet of living space by the government. Disease spreads quickly when people are packed together so tightly. Quarantines are regularly imposed in an effort to contain the spread of infection. Lately, though, rumors are spreading that quarantines on some Grounds are not being lifted.

When a quarantine is imposed on Nick's Ground, he and his family are trapped. The only way out is to break laws that carry a penalty of death. Fearing for his life and the safety of his family, Nick joins forces with a local group to move to another Ground. But can he trust his new friends?

My Review
I was pretty excited to read this book because of how interesting the plot sounded. It is definitely not my usual type of book, but I wanted to give it a try!
I was glad I did - it's a thrilling, edge of your seat, can't put down book with a really great idea about a post-apocalyptic conspiracy - I love a good conspiracy theory!
I liked the storyline for sure, but do wish the characters would have been built up a little more - especially the women who seemed like secondary, weak characters in a few scenes. 
Overall however, I definitely enjoyed reading and would recommend it!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

DIY Crochet Necklace with

I was given the opportunity to review, an online subscription-based crafting site.
CreativeBug brings some amazing, professional crafting tutorials all together in one place! With everything from upcycling to kids crafts, to needlecrafts and ceramics.

CreativeBug is really simple to use. The unique thing abut it is that the videos are really done clearly, and step-by-step. They don't assume that you know how to do everything already either. All the videos explain everything well. There are also video classes - Work Along's - series that you follow for a few weeks to work on a bigger project or skill. The latest one is Art Journaling - something I'd love to try!

While there are tons of projects I want to try, I've really wanted to get back to something I love - crochet! I haven't done it for over a year - I was too sick during my pregnancy, and afterwards too busy! - so I really wanted to try a crochet project. And yes, there is a category for crochet!

So I decided to try this tutorial by Jenny Doh to make crochet flower jewelry. She teaches it in a beginner-friendly style and tells you how to make a few different motifs. That is another great thing about the site is that you can choose which part of the video you'd like to see. It also checks off what you've done.

Sooo, since it has been so long since 've crocheted my stitches were a little loose! It took me a while to get the motion going again. And here is how my necklace came out:

I was really happy with it!

I love CreativeBug and can't wait to try out a Work-Along!

You can check it out - and try a free trial - by signing up here!
Have fun!

Debbie Jean

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Reads: Operation Angelica by Juliene Lloyd


FBI sniper Elizabeth Ashton's ideal life shatters with the murder of her fiancée in Honduras, Central America. Let down by the government she serves, Ashton takes justice into her own hands. However, after crossing paths with a shadowy Washington D.C. consulting firm, Vormund/Ames, she decides to join the company.

Partnered with former soldier and CIA operative Brandon Casey, Ashton learns that sometimes governments and law enforcement agencies need an ace up the sleeve. Her first assignment: to aid in the rescue of twelve people held hostage by rebels in Colombia, South America.

 With the help of three very different men in her new life, Ashton leaves her FBI life behind while the Vormund/Ames team prepares for their mission. But can they rescue a dying woman held prisoner for five years in time? Can Ashton be the ace?

About The Author

Juliene Lloyd is a writer and entrepreneur living near Ann Arbor, Michigan. She enjoys living life to the fullest with her husband, three children, dog, cat and several goldfish.

The Giveaway