Monday, September 26, 2016

CD Review: Live On Forever by The Afters #TheAfters #flyby

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The Afters - Live on Forever Bio:
It’s easy to assume stories of trial and triumph are just for the Bible or the history books. But miracles still happen, even when adversity hits hardest. Just ask Josh Havens, guitarist and lead vocalist of The Afters. He relates how the band’s latest effort, Live on Forever, began during a season of tragedy.

Just as the band regrouped to record, Havens witnessed the wife of a close friend contract cancer. Drummer Jordan Mohilowski (who produced the new album) had a brief health scare, and a close companion in his church—part of the worship team—was hit and killed by an impaired driver. She was a young woman, Havens says, who had unlimited potential.

But Live on Forever–the band’s fifth with the Fair Trade label-still took shape as a celebration of faithfulness, protection and promise—one that shimmers with strong rhythms, undeniable energy and compelling pop hooks. The album finds Havens in strong, soaring voice as he invites listeners to find shelter and strength in God. “If any theme has emerged, it would be ‘inspiration and motivation,’” Havens says.

Havens himself felt a deep need to hold on after another loss struck: The band’s longtime soundman, Anthony Martinez, saw his newborn daughter die in infancy.

Ask Havens to pick out a song that sums up the spirit of the album, and he chooses “Battles.” “It was the last song we wrote and the fastest we wrote,” he says. “We don’t typically write songs fast; we’ll change lyrics and melodies and craft our songs carefully. But ‘Battles’ poured out, the music and lyrics, in one day. It’s about standing up against fear and knowing God is always with us,” Havens explains. “It’s one of the takeaways we hope people get: ‘Don’t give up to fear.

Havens shares how, half a world away from his home in Phoenix, he caught a small glimpse of heaven’s reassurance. The place: downtown Amsterdam. The occasion: a dinner between shows with band members and spouses—including soundman Martinez and his wife. For their baby daughter, the Martinez couple had chosen an unusual moniker with an unusual spelling: Pieper. Against all odds, it also happened to be exactly how the intimate restaurant they dined at spelled its name. Still, no one was prepared for what happened at the end of the meal. “We were talking about baby Pieper, and as we got up to leave, we noticed that the only thing on the walls—the only thing—was a framed document, an award for hospitality. And the date on the award—the only date in the place—was Pieper’s birthday. Her mother just started bawling.” Havens sums up the reassurance all took home that night: “We thought, ‘This is where God’s angels fly: right in the middle of the loss.’ God gives us little glimpses to show us he’s here.”



“We worked on this record for almost two years and over those two years, it was a real season of loss,” Havens recalls. “But in the end, Live on Forever is about moving us to trust God, to stand up against fear. It’s an ‘ante up’ record, an anthem for people’s lives: ‘God you are with me in all this. I’m not alone.’”


 Buy-links:
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Get Connected with The Afters:
Official website: www.theafters.com

Music Videos:
Battles (Official Lyric Video)
Battles (Heart Of The Song)
Live On Forever (Heart Of The Song)
Live On Forever (Official Music Video)

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Review: This CD has 10 wonderful, inspiring songs which will touch your heart. Here is the track list:
1. Shadows

2. Battles

3. Sunrise

4. Time of My Life

5. Wake Up My Heart

6. Live on Forever

7. Eyes of a Believer

8. Survivors

9. Legends


I would say that this music is best described as contemporary Christian. There is a rock feel to it, but not to the extent that it could be called metal....and thankfully there is no rap (IMO).  

"Battles" is a wonderful song which reminds us to lean on God to help us fight our battles. This is a portion of the lyric:
“You surround me on every side
Your love is my armor I fear no evil
Darkness runs from your light
So I won’t be afraid
I won’t be afraid”


I have a feeling I will be playing this album over and over again, for a long time to come.

**I received a copy of this CD in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.**

NEW RELEASES/FREE & BARGAIN BOOKS Weekly Link-Up


Sharing the Love of Books
Enjoy our selection of New Releases / Free & Bargain Books this week

Authors please feel free to add your own books
Readers please free to add your own finds
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs...
Monday
 Life as Leels | IrishdaisylovesRomance | Book Babble
Tuesday
It's My Side of Life | Celticlady's Reviews | First Time Mommy Adventures 
Wednesday
Beck Valley BooksCinnamon Hollow Reviews
Thursday
Miki's Hope | Nicki's Nook
Friday
Ebook Addicts | I Love Romance | Mother Distracted | Colorimetry
Saturday
Totally Addicted to Reading | 3 Partners in Shopping | Angie's Angle I Create Purty Thangs | Wishful Endings
Sunday
Lynchburg Mama | LibriAmoriMieiAli - The Dragon Slayer | Wondermom WannabeDeal Sharing Aunt | Rambling Reviews 


For Pre-orders post - PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author
For New Releases post - NEW / genre / title / author
For Free Books post - FREE / genre / title / author / end date 
For Bargain Books post - SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Here is this weeks awesome selection!

Would you like to share our linkup on your site? click here
Would you like to become a weekly host? sign up here


Come back and check out the new selection every week x



Sunday, September 25, 2016

Celebrate Lit November Celebration Box featuring Tea Shop Folly by Carrie Fancett Pagels

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Celebrate Lit November Celebration Box

The November Celebration Box is here! 
This celebration box is a unique, one of a kind box with goodies hand picked by the author just for you! These boxes are special because they are not sold anywhere else. There is a limited supply so be sure to get yours right away!
The November’s box features Carrie Fancett Pagel’s Tea Shop Folly. Sales for the November box will close on October 10 or while supplies last. The first 12 people to order will receive an ebook copy of the Maggie Award 2016 finalist, The Substitute Bride.

The basic box includes:

  • A minimum of 6 items handpicked by the author themed around the book.
  • A themed charm specifically chosen for this book.
  • One lucky box will contain a special teacup and saucer that no one else will receive.
  • The first 12 people to order will receive an ebook copy of the Maggie Award 2016 finalist, The Substitute Bride.
Along with the basic box, you can purchase the ebook, paperback or an autographed paperback book.
To purchase your box, click here.

**Thrilled to be promoting this book.  I'm a HUGE fan of this author, and this book is a great read!**

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: Deadly Ties by Maggie Thom


She went to jail for the right reason but the wrong murder.

With her mom in a coma, Kyara is determined to discover who is behind the brutal attack. Does her grandmother’s recent release from jail have anything to do with it? The police believe that some meth addicted youth are responsible but what Kyara uncovers is shocking. Is anyone telling the truth? Even Ryan who she thought might be able to help her is harnessing his own dark secret. Is he truly trying to help her or does he have his own agenda?

The golf course wasn’t built because the sport was gaining in popularity but to hide a deadly secret. Those responsible are determined to keep it buried and those who know anything are being silenced. Kyara finds herself trying to catch an old woman, stay ahead of those trying to kill her and unveil the truth. But can she do it before a town pays the ultimate price?


Available to buy from...



Review: I was fascinated by the synopsis of this book and could hardly wait to start reading it when the opportunity arose. The beginning was a bit difficult to get through, and rather confusing, but I was determined to finish it, and I am very glad that I did. Once the action started to pick up, I wasn't able to put it down till the end!

Everyone in the book seems to have some sort of secret to protect, and some will go to greater lengths than others in order to protect them. Some of the secrets are fairly obvious early on, while others aren't revealed until later in the story...and will come as a surprise to the reader. You also won't know for sure who should be trusted and who shouldn't as the story plays out. 

The writing could have used a little more polish---too many unnecessary commas, and several rambling paragraphs which were hard to follow---but the plot is well defined and the characters are realistically developed as the story progresses.

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.**

Rating: Four stars

"The plot was intricate and it made me want to finish it quickly so I could discover all the mysteries. There was lots of action, a love story and a good depiction of strong women which I really liked. " 
- C H-Jackson

“A Deep Mystery With Hidden Treachery And Suspense. Maggie Thom is one of the best suspense writers in today’s fiction. Highly recommended.”
- Virginia E. Johnson

"Maggie Thom writes a fast paced thriller laced with romance that keeps the reader interested and on edge!"
- InDtale Magazine

DEadly Ties Quote 1a
About the author
Award winning author, Maggie Thom, grew up in a house full of books and often made weekly trips to the library to get more. Reading was her go to, when it was too cold outside to play. She started experimenting with writing at a young age letting her imagination take her away on many adventures. Maggie has written everything from technical writing, to nonfiction, to fiction for children, youth and adults, along with poems and short stories. She finally settled on her love of puzzles, mysteries and roller coasters and now writes suspense/thrillers that will take you on one heck of a ride. Author of The Caspian Wine Series – Captured Lies and Deceitful Truths with Split Seconds to be out late 2016 – and her other published novel, Tainted Waters (2013 Suspense/Thriller Book of the Year through Turning the Pages Magazine). Her latest novel, Deadly Ties had just been released. 

Her motto: Read to escape… Escape to read…

Find the author on the following sites....


Follow the tour
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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY
Win a $10 Amazon.com Giftcard or Paypal Cash
(winners choice)
Open Worldwide
Ending on Sunday 25th September at 11.59pm EST

Enter Below and Good Luck !!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook by Jennifer Beckstrand

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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

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A collection of delicious honey recipes from the Honeybee Sisters book series, featuring quotes and recipes from Sweet as Honey, A Bee in her Bonnet, and Like a Bee to Honey–Amish romances by Jennifer Beckstrand.

Lily, Poppy, and Rose Christner, known as the Honeybee Sisters in their Amish community, are smart, inseparable, and all grown up. Orphaned when they were very young, the girls were raised by their eccentric Aunt Bitsy, who doesn’t behave like a proper Amish spinster. The Honeybee Sisters have blossomed into rare beauties, and the boys in the community have begun to take notice. But Aunt Bitsy is determined to scare off all comers with her brusque manner and her handy shotgun. None but the most worthy will make it past Bitsy’s defenses. It’s going to be a rowdy and romantic summer–harvesting honey from their many beehives and fighting off the boys right and left.

Note from Aunt Bitsy: When my girls told me they wanted to write a cookbook, I wasn’t too keen on the idea. Food attracts boys like honey attracts bees. I warned them that if they didn’t want the boys hanging around the house, they shouldn’t make the cakes and pies and cookies that are sure to bring them running.

My nieces didn’t seem to be alarmed about the prospect of boys all over the place, so I suppose they’ll have to learn the hard way. My problem is that smart, feisty, pretty girls attract boys even better than honey does. So even if my girls stopped cooking altogether, I have a sneaking suspicion that the boys would still find excuses to come over.

Some of the recipes in this book, like Honey Glazed Pretzels and Whole Wheat Bread, are very traditional Amish dishes. Others, like Salmon Tacos and Coconut Lime Chicken, are less traditional but still wunderbarr. I lived as an Englischer for twenty years before coming back to the Amish to raise my three nieces, and as a dental hygienist, I collected a lot of recipes.

Here’s my final warning: Boys are like stray cats. If you feed them, they’ll keep coming back. Buy this cookbook at your own risk.

Review: I love having so many recipes from the Honeybee Sisters book series all in one place. There are so many of them I look forward to trying out on my family over the next few months or so. I had hoped to try out at least one before writing this review, and be able to include pictures and glowing compliments from my family. Unfortunately, real life has interfered and we are in the midst of trying to move to a new home in less than a month....not a fun endeavor by any means.

But....on to the cookbook. The photos in it are mouthwateringly wonderful, and will make you want to try the food. And the recipes are easy to understand and follow. The quotes from the novels make the cookbook even more fun.

There are a variety of recipes included in this cookbook (main dishes, salads, breads, treats) and each one includes honey. Some of them are well-known to me, and others are brand new. I expect to find some new favorites among them.

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.**

Rating: Five stars

About the Author

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Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in Examiner.com list of top ten inspirational books for 2014.

Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Guest Post from Jennifer Beckstrand

Nothing brings family and friends together like a home-cooked meal. When I think of Amish food and cooking, I think of the way my mother used to cook and the way her mother cooked before her.

Both my parents grew up on farms, and hard work was a way of life. So were homemade meals and food that stuck to your ribs and gave you fuel for a hard day’s work in the fields. Cooking was more of an art than a burden, a way to sustain life, but also a labor of love for your family, day in and day out.

I joke with my husband that I have forgotten how to cook now that we’re empty nesters and I’d rather eat cold cereal that fire up the stove, but creating a nutritious meal for my family or baking a delicious dessert still brings me satisfaction and is a gift of the heart to my loved ones.  

The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook began to take shape when I came up with the idea for a series about three sisters who keep bees and make delicious honey treats. In the Honeybee Sisters Cookbook, you’ll find some traditional Amish favorites as well as some not-so-Amish dishes—recipes that Aendi Bitsy collected from her years living with the Englisch. The pages are filled with mouth-watering photos, and I’ve included quotes from the Honeybee Sisters books. I hope you enjoy trying out the recipes as much as we enjoyed creating them for you.

My father in-law, who was also raised on a farm, passed away very recently. His mother made him a bowl of oatmeal every morning, which he hated, and it would be waiting for him after school if he didn’t eat it at breakfast. In honor of him, I would like to share a rhubarb recipe. Rhubarb was one of his favorite treats.

This recipe is authentically Amish from my friend Priscilla Stoltzfus in Pennsylvania.  

Rhubarb Upside-down Cake

Mix together:

2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 cups rhubarb, diced

Pour rhubarb mixture into an 8×8 pan.

Mix together:

¼ cup shortening
1 cup sugar 1 egg
Add:

2 cups flour 2
½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Pour the flour mixture over rhubarb mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Turn upside-down on a plate to serve. Serve warm, if you wish.

Blog Stops

September 20: Smiling Book Reviews
September 20: Book Babble
September 23: Books,Dreams,Life
September 24: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
September 25: Bibliophile Reviews
September 26: Simple Harvest Reads
September 28: Blogging With Carol
September 29: Bukwurmzzz
September 29: Donna’s BookShelf
September 30: cherylbbookblog
October 3: Quiet Quilter

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away one set of The Honeybee Sisters Series!

Monday, September 19, 2016

What Fresh Smell by Jeffrey Marks

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Synopsis: There's Murder in River City - Daycare that is. When Marissa learns that a teacher at the daycare center has been murdered, she comes to the realization that she really didn't know much about the people who worked there, especially the murdered woman. She'll now have to manage her son, her mother and an ex-boyfriend as she tries to hunt down the people behind a robbery ring and the person who killed a daycare teacher. If she's not careful, she might meet the same fate.

Review: This is a new to me author and series, and now I definitely want to go back and start it from the beginning. I enjoy reading books/series that are about my area, and these take place in Cincinnati, which is not far from me, and which I know fairly well geographically.

Marissa Scott is a fun main character. She works in the cosmetics department of a large department store, is a single mother, and has a former boyfriend who is on the police force. When one of the teachers at her son's daycare is murdered, she is shocked to find out the teacher had a connection to someone in HER life. Then she and her best friend start to realize that random break-ins around the area might also have some connection to the daycare and the murder, so they are determined to solve the case before anything else happens.


The plot plays out very well, and left me totally shocked at who was behind all the crimes and why. I love the humor that is injected into the story as well. Some of Marissa's actions were a little unbelievable at times, but I was able to overlook that and continue with the story.  I hope there will be another installment in this series soon--and in the meantime, I'll be checking my library for the previous books!

Rating: Four stars

Cat With A Clue (Bookmobile Cat Mystery #5) by Laurie Cass

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Synopsis: Early one morning while shelving books in the library, Minnie stumbles upon a dead body. Authorities identify the woman as an out-of-towner visiting Chilson for her great-aunt’s funeral. What she was doing in the library after hours is anyone’s guess . . . but Minnie and Eddie are determined to save the library’s reputation and catch a killer.
  
As rumors about the victim circulate through Chilson, the police are in a bind over a streak of baffling break-ins. Luckily, Minnie and Eddie are traveling the county in their bookmobile, and they'll stop at nothing to find the spineless killer before the final page is turned on someone else.

Review: I am a big fan of this author and of this series. Cozy mysteries in which cats play a large role are a huge favorite of mine, and this one is very well-written.

This time around, Minnie and Eddie are involved in solving a murder which takes place right in the library, as well as a string of break-ins around town. Ms. Cass keeps the reader guessing right up to the final reveal as to the identity of the killer, and keeps building the suspense all the way through the story. 

I love to see the human characters growing and developing as the series continues, and to see Eddie continue to be the same sassy fellow he has always been.

I was saddened to learn that the real-life Eddie passed away on March 18, 2016. Having lost my own furbabies in the past, my heart goes out to Ms. Cass and her family on their loss.

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.**

Rating: Four stars