If the Shoe Fits {Book Review}

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About If the Shoe Fits

Julianne used to believe in fairy tales; she’s been watching for Prince Charming to come charging in on his white steed ever since the day her mother read her Cinderella for the first time. But she’s never come close to finding the perfect man-instead she’s always tripping over her childhood best friend, Will. And who finds their Prince Charming on a 10-speed bicycle on the other side of the cul de sac? Well… Julianne does. Only she doesn’t have a clue.
She and Will are attorneys now, and they’ve joined up in private practice in a beautiful Cincinnati office building that overlooks the Ohio River. And then one day Julianne is on her way to court, and runs right smack dab into Prince Charming. But when she looks again, all she finds is a metaphoric sign she is certain came straight from Heaven: The Prince’s toolbox has fallen off the back of his truck, and a work boot along with it. What better way for God to grab the attention of a Cinderella-in-training than to show her a glass slipper…errrr, work boot?…waiting to be reunited with its owner?

So she sets out to track down the mysterious Prince Charming. He’s the most gorgeous guy she’s ever seen…and a caring animal rescuer, too. Surely he must be the soul mate God has prepared her for.

But, Julianne’s prince is starting to look less and less charming all the time. No matter how she tries to romanticize him, he just keeps tumbling down off that dumb pedestal. And with the Bar Association dinner coming up that will honor her for her outstanding charity work over the year, Julianne wants so much for her friends and colleagues to see her with someone besides her best friend Will. To make matters worse, Prince Charming has no designs on wearing a penguin suit and attending a stuffy old dinner. With her pride pressing in on her like sticks from a cactus, Julianne sinks to the bottom of the proverbial barrel and actually offers to pay Paul to be her date.
Julianne is on a collision course with God’s perfect plan for her life…if only she could open her eyes and see it before it’s too late.

My Review

This is a cute, quick read.  It is quite charming and in places, very funny.  I love the friendship that Julianne and Will share – it’s almost too good to want to push them to romance at some points!  As characters, Julianne and Will are also themselves charming, although there are times I want to shake them both.  Julianne, as a successful attorney, should not have put up with NEARLY the crap she put up with from her supposed “Prince Charming”, who is pretty much the vilest creature on Earth!

I loved the relationship that Julianne had with her mom, but didn’t like the relationships that she had with other women in the story – especially the other main female character – also an attorney.  As opposed to be friendly or even civil, they were extremely back biting and petty.  I hate to see women be like that in real life, and I don’t love the perpetuation of the stereotype that women are ultimately at odds with each other (over a man).

That being said, this is really a fun (and funny!) story that is definitely worth the time to read!  In terms of it being a Christian fiction novel, there is not a lot of preachiness or a real concentration of the religious aspects – it blends nicely with the story.

 

 

The Inn at Ocean’s Edge By Colleen Coble {Book Review}

* I was provided with a free copy of The Inn at Ocean’s Edge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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About The Inn at Ocean’s Edge

Claire’s visit to a luxury hotel in Maine awakens repressed memories, threatening all she holds dear.
In 1989, Claire Dellamare disappeared from her own fourth birthday party at the Hotel Tourmaline on the island of Folly Shoals, Maine. She showed up a year later at the same hotel, with a note pinned to her dress but no explanation. Nobody knows where Claire spent that year—and until now, Claire didn’t even know she had ever been missing.
But when Claire returns to the Hotel Tourmaline for a business meeting with her CEO father, disturbing memories begin to surface . . . despite her parents’ best efforts to keep them forgotten.
Luke Rocco lost his mother under equally mysterious circumstances—at the same time Claire disappeared. After a chance encounter reveals the unlikely link between them, Claire and Luke set out together to uncover the truth about what happened that fateful year.
With flashbacks swimming just beneath her consciousness and a murderer threatening her safety, Claire’s very life depends on unscrambling her past . . . even if her family refuses to acknowledge it. Someone-maybe everyone-is hiding something from Claire Dellamare, and it will cost her everything to drag the truth out into the light.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book and found myself ready to read more even when it was time to put the book down.  It is quite suspenseful from the very first flashback!  Claire is very likable – she is very confident, which is why being struck by a panic attack upon her arrival at the Inn.  When Claire meets Luke, the mystery starts to build, and it becomes very difficult to tease out who the real bad guy is.  The book takes a lot of twists and turns, and it’s a fun to try and figure out how the murder investigations fit together and exactly what happened to Claire, and who is trying to kill her.
This book won’t disappoint for mystery fans!  I also really enjoyed the setting – it made me want to go to the beach!

Win an Awesome Prize Pack!

You can help the author celebrate the release of The Inn at Ocean’s Edge and maybe win a Kindle Fire!  RSVP to her May 5th author chat party!


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One grand prize winner will win:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • A copy of A Heart’s Disguise
  • A copy of A Heart’s Obsession
  • A copy of The Inn at Ocean’s Edge

The giveaway ends on May 7, and the winner will be announced on May 8th on Colleen’s website.

 


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Where the Staircase Ends {Book Review & Giveaway}

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ABOUT WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS

Publication date: April 14, 2015

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

After her best friend orchestrates the lie that destroys her reputation, Taylor wants more than anything to disappear from her life. But when an accident turns this unspoken wish into reality, instead of an angel-filled afterlife, Taylor must climb a seemingly endless staircase into the sky.

Instead of going up, the journey plunges her into the past. As she unravels the mystery behind her friend’s betrayal, she must face the truth about life and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable — unless the staircase breaks her first.

ABOUT STACY STOKES:

Stacy Stokes attended the University of Texas at Austin and The Wharton School of Business.  She grew up in Dallas, TX, and currently lives in San Francisco with her husband.  WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS is her first novel.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter

My Review

When I started this book, I thought it was going to be sort of the teenaged version of It’s A Wonderful Life (which is great, because I love that movie). After dying, teenager Taylor is forced to climb an enormous stone staircase – all she can do is go up as she gets glimpses of her new reality and is faced with the ghosts of her past as they appear on the staircase.  Memories, both good and bad, take her through the decisions she made in her life.

This is not your typical “teenager girl” problems book which I can find insipid and irritating if not done correctly.  This is a really good book and the writing is really well done.  The characters are relatable and realistically flawed, but at the same time not stock or stereotypical, which I occasionally find in books of this genre.

I was left with questions of “Who would be on my staircase?” and what moments would show up as the best and worst in my life.   I do recommend this book – it’s worth the investment and it’s definitely a page-turner.

 Buy Where the Staircase Ends

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If you’d like to read Where the Staircase Ends, five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy Stokes (INT), so make sure to come back every day to enter!

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Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub + Giveaway

* The Dial brand provided me with a sample of Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub in exchange for a product review.  However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

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Are your hands super rough after winter?  I know mine are!  They get chapped so quickly, especially because I habitually lose my gloves!  Dial has the perfect solution! I was so excited to try their new Sugar Cane Husk Scrub!  This is the newest product in the Dial Boutique Collection Hand Soap line, and it is truly a luxurious experience!

The scent is awesome – it is a like a very expensive sugar scrub at a very enticing price.  The soap does suds right up –

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The best part is the microscrubbers!  Along with the moisturizing formulas and skin conditioners, tiny microscrubbers help remove dirt and leave your hands exfoliated.  They come out SO soft and smooth!  I definitely recommend that you try them out if your hands have been beaten up by Old Man Winter!

3 lucky Mama Games readers are going to get a chance to win a coupon for a free bottle of Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub Hand Soap!  Come back every day to enter!  US Only 18+.

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Dial Miracle Oil Hand Soap Infused With Marula Oil

* The Dial brand provided me with a sample of Dial Miracle Oil Hand Soap in exchange for a product review.  However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

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We live in a house with 2 kids, 2 dogs, one very chubby ferret, 12 fish, and there are 3 horses in the barn! Between the animals and the kids, someone is always DIRTY! So when the kids are covered in mud and muck we now go straight for the deep cleansing  hand soap Dial Miracle Oil!

This time of year the heater dries out our skin inside the house and the mud covers little hands while we are having fun outside. Once we finally corral pets and kids back into their cages (pets) and the house (kids), the last thing I want to worry about is whether or not the soap we use is going to leave behind any residue on the hands, arms, and elbows of our little ones! Thankfully, Dial Miracle Oil Handsoap came to our rescue with a conditioning soap that provides refreshing moisture and deep cleansing family soap that everyone loves.

Because Dial Miracle Oil Hand Soap is infused with micro-scrubbers and Marula Oil with Micro Oil Technology, I don’t have to worry about the kids (or my spouse) spreading germs or oily, soapy residue around the house. Dial Miracle Oil soaps are super clean rinsing so once you have washed off the dirt and debris, all you are left with is soft and clean skin!

Whether you have a houseful or just value a hard-working conditioning soap that pampers you by giving you refreshing moisture for your skin while providing the deep cleansing power of a family soap, Dial Miracle Oil will make you smile!

 

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3 lucky Mama Games readers are going to get a chance to win a coupon for a free bottle of Dial Sugar Miracle Oil Hand Soap!  Come back every day to enter!  US Only 18+.

 

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The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl {Book Review + Giveaway}

* I received a e-copy of The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.
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About The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl

Publication date: March 17, 2015                              Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.                                                  Author: Leigh Statham

Lady Marguerite lives a life most 17th century French girls can only dream of: Money, designer dresses, suitors and a secure future. Except, she suspects her heart may be falling for her best friend Claude, a common smithie in the family’s steam forge. When Claude leaves for New France in search of a better life, Marguerite decides to follow him and test her suspicions of love. Only the trip proves to be more harrowing than she anticipated. Love, adventure and restitution await her, if she can survive the voyage.

My Review

If I were to classify this book, I would classify it as a YA Steampunk novel.  It’s a really quick read, and I really enjoyed it.  Marguerite is a pretty awesome character – strong and independent, a good friend, and she’s smart!  These are refreshing to see in a female character.  I wasn’t the biggest fan of Claude, but there are plenty of other male figures in the book who are worse.  I really enjoyed how resourceful Marguerite is, and how she never really depended on or needed a man to get herself in (and out!) of some really interesting situation.

The book is completely appropriate – even though there are some romantic parts, I would not hesitate to give to my 13 year old.  I think she will definitely enjoy the steampunk aspect to the novel!

ABOUT LEIGH STATHAM

Leigh Statham was raised in the wilds of rural Idaho, but found her heart in New York City. She worked as a waitress, maid, artist, math teacher, nurse, web designer, art director, thirty-foot inflatable pig and mule wrangler before she settled down in the semi-quiet role of wife, mother and writer. She resides in North Carolina with her husband, four children, five chickens and two suspected serial killer cats. If the air is cool and the sun is just coming up over the horizon, you can find her running the streets of her small town, plotting her next novel with the sort of intensity that will one day get her hit by a car.

Connect with the Author: Website |Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

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The Frenchman {Book Review & Giveaway}

*  I received a free ebook copy of The Frenchman in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

 

About The Frenchman

Fleur Smithers rarely veers off the straight and (excruciatingly) narrow. So moving to the seaport town of Toulon to live with her newfound biological mother—an inspector with the French National Police—for one year is a pretty major detour.

Son of France’s crime royalty family and international rugby star, Louis Messette, is devoted to his sport, famille and nothing else. But the saucy American he meets one night changes everything. She sparks a desire in him like no other. Possession takes root. She will do as he commands.

Bit by bit Fleur slips into the Frenchman’s realm of wanton pleasure agreeing to his one condition: that she keep their affair secret. She serves up her heart without reservation in the hub of the glittering Côte d’Azur, and the along the soulful Seine in Paris, unaware of the danger she is in. For her new lover’s “family business” will pit her against her mother, the police woman sworn to bring down the Messettes. And by then, far more than Fleur’s heart will be on the line.

My Review

Ladies, this is a steamy one.  If you’re into bad boys with good hearts with hot accents, killer muscles, and tattoos, this book’s hunky main character will tie you up in knots for sure!  The setting in France is fantastic and the romance is well written between Fleur and Louis.  There were great subplots with Fleur’s mom and I really enjoyed the non-romantic part of the story as well.  The mystery portion involves the Messettes, a well-known French crime family, and Fleur’s mom’s attempts to bring them down.  Fleur is a bit naive at times, but it’s forgivable, and there are some seriously sexy pieces.  Seriously.  Don’t let your kids find this one, guys.  The ending is incredibly well wrapped up in a nice little happily ever after package, which I love!  All in all, this is a great, quick, and super steamy read.

About the Author

Lesley Young is an award-winning Canadian journalist by day, and obsessive novelist by night. Her debut novel, Sky’s End (Soulmate Publishing, 2013) hit #9 on Amazon’s sci-fi romance paid best-seller list in its first three months of release.

Not too long after that, she started dreaming up quirky heroines who lose their hearts to extremely powerful, flawed heroes, only to find out what love really is while on a dangerous adventure abroad. She called it the Crime Royalty Romance series, and landed herself a pretty big agent at Spencerhill Associates. Never one to take the obvious path, Lesley ultimately decided to self-publish. She’s never sure who or what will pop up in her imagination next. The Irishman? The Spaniard? The Hawaiian? Anything’s possible, and she loves suggestions (or recommendations of really hot, er, talented, actors to work as a muses).

Stay in touch with her and feel free to forward on decent options at Facebook.com/LesleyYoungBooks and @LesleyYoungBks (note: Charlie Hunnam’s already taken the lead role of The American—#3 Crime Royalty Romance…coming soon!).

Connect with Lesley Young:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Win a $25 Amazon Card or a Copy of The Frenchman

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Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash Makes Your Shower a Spa + Giveaway

* The Dial brand provided me with a sample of Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash in exchange for a product review.  However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash

One of the best ways that I can relax after a long, hard, stressful day at work is to step into a steaming hot shower.  So I’m a huge fan of any product that’s going to enhance that experience, so I was very excited to try out the new Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash, which is infused with Marula Oil.  Marula oil originates from South Africa, where it has been used as a cleanser and a moisturizing lotion.  And if you’ve been paying attention, oils are a HUGE trend in hair care and cosmetics right now, so Dial is right on trend.  This should give you a clue as to how awesome Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash is.

Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash

As you can see, the Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash comes out rich and thick.  It is formulated with Micro Oil Technology, which leads to a thick lather that rinses clean.  It definitely leaves my skin feeling clean, extremely soft, and smooth.  It also smells great- a little citrus and sandalwoody to me, but definitely not too perfumed or overwhelming in any way.  It left my skin feeling soft and smelling great.  The light scent and the way that it makes my skin smooth mmakes Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash is a great way to end a stressful day.

Three lucky Mama Games readers are going to get a chance to try Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash for themselves!   Enter below to win a coupon for a free bottle!

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It’s National Safe Place Week!

 

National Safe Place Week

 

Did you know it’s National Safe Place Week?  Since before the Village People first sang of the wonders of the YMCA way back in the 1970’s, that organization was changing lives around the country. One of their more recent additions is the Safe Place program, and it is changing far more lives (and for the better) than disco ever dreamed! While the Safe Place initiative was born from the YMCA in Louisville, Kentucky, it has erupted from sea to shining sea and boasts thousands of locations in virtually every state in the country.

The designated Safe Place sites are marked by a bright yellow and black diamond shaped sign or sticker that features the silhouette of a house (or an adult hugging a child in the older signs) and marks a location where youth in crisis can go in and find caring and trained adults who will provide them with a safe place while specially-trained and highly qualified staff are summoned to assist the youth. Whether the young person is running away, already homeless, is or has been abused, or even is just overly stressed and worried about their life or their life at home, the Safe Place is the location for youth to begin their journey to stability and a happier, healthier life.

Although the Safe Place will summon trained youth workers to the site, the youth in crisis still calls the shots. Neither the workers at the designated Safe Place, nor the responding workers from the agency sponsoring the program will force any help that the youth does not wish to accept – and the youth is always free to change their mind and leave at any time. If the student and the counselor agree that the youth would benefit from additional services, the youth is given a ride to the area Safe House where there is a warm bed, nutritious meals, and lots more help. The goal is always to get the youth from a point of crisis, to an assurance of safety.

Agencies work with the youth once they have been checked in to the Safe House and the youth participates in planning his or her own goals, with the end goal being the safe re-unification of the family unit whenever possible. We encourage youth and their caregivers to engage with professionals at the location in support of a reunification plan, but although the youth is permitted to stay at the Safe House for up to a month or more, they are never obliged to remain at the location if they wish to go.

March 15-21 marks National Safe Place Week across the country, so be on the lookout for the yellow and black signs – then go in and thank the workers and managers for caring enough to support the most vulnerable members of our community. If you are a youth who needs help, you can text the word “SAFE” with your current address (address/city/state) to 69866 to receive the location nearest to you!

How to Catch a Prince {Book Review & Giveaway}

* I received a free copy of How to Catch a Prince in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to leave a positive review and all opinions are my own.

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 About How to Catch a Prince

How to Catch a Prince (Zondervan, February 2015)

She caught her prince once. Can she catch him again?

American heiress Corina Del Rey’s life was devastated by war. Every thing she loved was lost. But after five years of grief, she’s shed her grave clothes and started over in the sunshine along the Florida coast.

But some things are not so easily forgotten. When a secret from her past confronts her face to face, she realizes she must follow her heart. Even if it cost her everything.

Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom is a former Royal Air Command lieutenant turned star rugby player, trying to make sense of his life after the devastation of war.
When his brother, King Nathaniel, discovers Stephen’s pre war secret, he must deal with an aspect of his life he longed to forget. But how can he do so without exposing the truth and breaching national security?

Yet, true love has a destiny all it’s own. As the cathedral bells peal through Cathedral City, Corina and Stephen must chose to answer the call of love on their hearts.
Or let it be lost forever?

 My Review

I won’t call this book your typical princess romance novel.  It definitely had its light moments – I enjoyed the banter between Stephen and Corina, although it took me much longer to get into Stephen’s character than it did for Corina.   Corina’s struggle as she tries to figure out what it means to “Love well”, and Stephen’s struggles in dealing with the aftermath of war make these characters interesting, and Hauch does a nice job of creating characters that I grew to care about.  There is also what I would call “supernatural” aspect to this novel, which I actually really enjoyed (especially the crew at “The Manor”, where Corina stays that no one else seems to know about).  This was the third book in the series, and I enjoyed this book enough to pick up the other two as well!

I find in many Christian romances these days that the actual “Christian” parts are somewhat understated – more of a casual recognition that God exists and plays a guiding force in the characters’ lives.  This is not really the case with How to Catch a Prince.  In many parts of the book, the characters’ faith and struggles with faith are front and center.  I think Stephen struggles the most and eventually receives the message that his worth is determined through God.

Check out other reviews here.

Enter to Win

Enter to win a “royal” prize pack! 

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A royal-themed Brighton charm bracelet
  • 2 tickets to see the new Cinderella movie
  • The Royal Wedding series (Once Upon a Prince, Princess Ever After, and How to Catch a Prince)

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 23rd. Winner will be announced March 24th on Rachel’s blog.

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