Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Grand Finale | Covering Home by Heidi McCahan

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

We're blitzing the GRAND FINALE for
Covering Home
By Heidi McCahan

We hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit about Britt and Caleb and a peak into Covering Home. If you missed any of the stops, go back and check them out now!

What do you hope readers take with them when they read your book?
The nicest thing a reader can say to an author is, "I just could not put your book down." When someone tells me that, I'm overjoyed. So I hope readers turn the last page with a contented sigh, yet wish they had just a little more time with the characters. On a deeper level, I hope readers recognize that I write from a Christian world view and God is a God of second chances, who can redeem us from hard seasons.

 Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima - Behind the Scenes of Covering Home
Initially, I saw a call for submissions from a publisher for a story set in Tokyo, Japan that featured a bat, a bell, and an angel. For the non-writers out there, a call for submissions is something writers pay attention to because it's the publisher's way of telling writers what they are looking for. This particular publisher wanted a novella, which is about 25,000 words or so. As soon as I dropped Britt Bowen and Caleb Scott in the lobby of that hotel, I knew I had something special going on. Once the characters came to life on the page, I couldn't stop at a novella. It was sooo much fun to write.


I Am A Reader - Hero Interview: Caleb Scot
Which baseball stadium is your favorite?
It's hard to choose a favorite. Each one has unique characteristics and it depends on if you're playing there or just enjoying a game with your family and friends. As a player, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia will always be special to me, since we won the World Series there.

My Life Loves and Passion - 10 Fun Facts About Baseball in Japan
In Covering Home, Caleb Scott tries to rebuild his pitching career in the Japan's professional baseball league. The cultural differences between the United States and Japan are significant, both in this story and in reality. Here are ten fun facts about baseball in Japan and how they contrast with the way the game is both played and watched in the USA.


Underneath the Covers - 5 Awesome Walk-Up Songs for Writing a Must-Read Romance
In professional baseball, players often have a "walk-up" song that is played in the stadium when they're — wait for it — walking up to the batter's box. Hence the name, walk-up song. I've checked out a few lists and players have chosen everything from Ellie Goulding to Rage Against the Machine. It's a big part of baseball culture and also helps the batter mentally prepare to step up to the plate and get the job done.


Mary Terrani - My TBR Pile for Spring 2015
I'm a voracious reader. A great story captures my attention, draws me in right alongside the characters, and keeps the pages turning long past my bedtime. There aren't enough hours in the day to write well and read everything in my To-Be-Read pile, but here are the most anticipated books (for me) this spring.

i blog 4 books - Review
I truly enjoyed this sweet, romantic story. Readers who enjoy romantic stories with a little sports action thrown in are sure to enjoy Covering Home.

Mel's Shelves - Five Reasons Why I Wouldn't Want to Be a Female Sportscaster
In Covering Home, the heroine, Britt Bowen is a television personality turned sportscaster. While it is her dream job, she faces a few challenges, which also happen to impact her personal life. Based on the research I conducted to write this novel, here are five reasons why I feel it would be a difficult profession.

Colorimetry - Heroine Interview: Britt Bowen from Covering Home
On a date, would you prefer an adrenaline-fueled adventure or a romantic candlelit dinner?
Oh, tough question. I love the adrenaline rush of a new adventure. But since it's a date, I'd enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner.


Wishful Endings - Excerpt: Britt & Caleb Ride the Ferris Wheel
     He turned back from the window, the lights mounted on the frame of the Ferris wheel illuminating half of his face. Even in the semi-darkness, those dark chocolate eyes studied her.
     "What are you thinking about?" she asked.
     They cruised upward, each incremental turn of the wheel taking them higher and higher above the lights of Tokyo. Caleb raked a hand through his hair and released a slow breath.
     "I'm thinking about how I'm on the most romantic Ferris wheel ride of my life, with a beautiful woman who leaves town in a couple of days and lives on the other side of the world."


I am such a sucker for baseball stories. Especially baseball and romance. . . . This is a good story, easy to read.

I especially appreciated how both Britt and Caleb grew as characters throughout the novel, and I enjoyed watching them forge a relationship. Fans of contemporary romance, especially those who like sports, will enjoy this novel.

Deal Sharing Aunt - My Favorite Sports Movies
     Movies about baseball, however, are available 24/7. I could watch The Natural again and again. I enjoy most movies with a sports-related theme, particularly if there is an uplifting, inspirational message.
     Here are my favorite movies with a strong sports theme that evoked a strong emotional response: laughter, tears, a compulsion to root for the underdog(s).

I couldn't help but to root for them, even though the odds were stacked against them. There were a few events that took me by surprise and I love being surprised. It's labeled as an inspirational read, but I didn't feel that religion played a big part.

My Devotional Thoughts - Spotlight

Covering HomeCovering Home
Heidi McCahan
Adult Inspirational Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 310 Pages
January 18th 2015 by Snug Corner Cove Press


On assignment in Japan, television personality turned sportscaster Britt Bowen is determined to land an interview with the most reclusive pitcher in baseball and prove she can succeed in a demanding profession. A relationship with a self-absorbed professional athlete is the last thing Britt needs. 

Shunning all media attention, former All-Star pitcher Caleb Scott is focused on rebuilding his career in Japan, far from his past and the horrible tragedy that nearly ruined him. Then he meets Britt, who is everything he vowed to avoid. 

But it doesn't take long before Caleb is battling his attraction toward Britt. While she works to uncover his secrets, she can't deny she's drawn to his wounded soul. At a crossroads, Caleb must decide if he can break free from his past mistakes and give love another chance. And Britt must choose between advancing her career — or falling in love.

Amazon

Heidi McCahanHeidi McCahan is a Pacific Northwest girl at heart. She spent her formative years in Alaska, where her unique upbringing, coupled with Alaska's breathtaking scenery, fueled her active imagination and loosely inspired her debut novel, Unraveled

Heidi graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Sports Medicine from Whitworth University and a Master's Degree in Athletic Training from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After a brief career as a Certified Athletic Trainer, Heidi married her husband, Steve. They currently live in North Carolina with their three boys. 

When Heidi isn't stepping on Legos, chauffeuring the boys around suburbia or watching one of their many sporting events, she loves to read and write heartwarming romance.


Tour-Wide Giveaway

- US Grand Prize: Birchbox 3-month subscription ($30 value) & signed paperback of Covering Home (US Only)
- Gift Card Grand Prize: $20 Gift Card for Amazon/iTunes/B&N (winner's choice) & an ebook of Covering Home (open internationally)
- Ends April 7th

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Prism Book Tours

Monday, March 30, 2015

Home Is Where My People Are by Sophie Hudson


Home Is Where My People Are
by Sophie Hudson
Southern Memoir
Available February 1, 2015
Tyndale House Publishers
256 pages

About the Book
All roads lead to home. It’s easy to go through life believing that we can satisfy our longing for home with a three-bedroom, two-bath slice of the American dream that we mortgage at 4 percent and pay for over the course of thirty years. But ultimately, in our deepest places, we’re really looking to belong and to be known. And what we sometimes miss in our search for the perfect spot to set up camp is that wherever we are on the long and winding road of life, God is at work in the journey, teaching us, shaping us, and refining us—sometimes through the most unlikely people and circumstances. In Home Is Where My People Are, Sophie Hudson takes readers on a delightfully quirky journey through the South, introducing them to an unforgettable cast of characters, places, and experiences. Along the way, she reflects on how God has used each of the stops along the road to impart timeless spiritual wisdom and truth. Nobody embodies the South like Sophie Hudson, and this nostalgic celebration of home is sure to make even those north of the Mason-Dixon line long to settle in on the front porch with a glass of sweet tea and reflect on all of the people in our lives who—related or not—have come to represent home. Because at the end of the day, it’s not the address on the front door or even the name on the mailbox that says home, but the people who live and laugh and love there, wherever there might happen to be.

My Thoughts
Told in her signature style—with plenty of parenthesis and all caps!— Home Is Where My People Are is another hilarious book from Sophie Hudson. Sophie tells some great stories (she’s southern after all!), but she doesn’t simply rely on being fun. Instead, she uses these stories to tell her life’s story as well as make the reader think a little more his or her own story. After reading about Sophie’s family and friends, I found myself wanting to hug mine a little tighter, grateful for the gift they are to me.

I love all things Sophie Hudson (The Big Boo Cast, anyone?!), and Home Is Where My People Are is no exception. Snag a copy today and prepare yourself to laugh and hopefully learn a little something about yourself. [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review, which I have given.

About the Author
Sophie Hudson began her blog, BooMama.net, in 2005, which means she's now been blogging for three times as long as the mid-90s stirrup pants craze. She is also a contributor to the Pioneer Woman's blog, serves as co-emcee of LifeWay's dotMOM event, and the author of A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet. She enjoys laughing until she cries, cheering like crazy during a college football game, and hanging out with her people (preferably while wearing pajama pants). She lives with her husband and son in Birmingham, Alabama. Follow Sophie online at boomama.net.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Soup Club Cookbook (Review)

The Soup Club Cookbook
by Courtney Allison, Tina Carr, Caroline Laskow, and Julie Peacock

Cookbook
Available January 2015
Random House
240 pages



About the Book
Food-sharing is the hot new thing in the "getting dinner on the table" conversation, and in The Soup Club Cookbook, four busy moms share not only their formula for starting a soup club--which gives you at least three meals every month when you don't have to worry about dinner--but also 150 fantastic recipes for soups and sides and storing tips for stretching those meals across the week.

The Soup Club began when four friends (who, between them, have four husbands and ten hungry kids and several jobs) realized that they didn’t actually have to cook at home every night to take pleasure in a home-cooked meal. They simply had to join forces and share meals, even if they weren’t actually eating them together. Caroline, Courtney, Julie, and Tina happen to be neighbors, but a soup club is for anyone: colleagues, a group of workout buddies, a book club. All you need are a few people who simply want to have more home-cooked food in their lives.

In a soup club each person takes a turn making soup—and sometimes other dishes for sides or for when everyone needs a break from soup, so if a club has four people, in a month each person will have dinner delivered three times—a dish that can start as a full meal and stretch into more dinners or lunches or even morph into a sauce. Soup is forgiving, versatile, and perfect for sharing; it can be spiced to taste, topped elaborately or not at all, and dressed up or down. It travels well and reheats beautifully.  The Soup Club Cookbook also has dozens of tips for cooking in quantity and for tailoring soup to individual tastes and needs. Here, too, are simple guidelines for starting your own soup club, anecdotes, and a few cautionary tales  that will inspire anyone to share food and eat well.

Recipes include quick and easies, classics, twist on favorites, and dozens of flavor-rich new crowd pleasers: 
  • Carrot Coconut and Chicken Chili
  • Senegalese Peanut Soup
  • Faux Ramen
  • Red Lentil Curry Soup
  • Potato Cheddar Soup
  • Sun Dried Tomato Soup
  • Jeweled Rice Salad
  • Cheddar Cornbread
  • Summer Corn Hash
  • Soy Simmered Chicken Wings
Buy a copy  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts
I love soup, and the idea of sharing soup with other families through a soup club sounds like a genius idea! The first section of the book does a great job explaining how these four families do soup club and offers suggestions for how you can do something similar with your own people. 

There are tons of recipes in this book—everything from broths and dressings to soups (duh!), a few other main dishes, sides, and snacks. Each recipe is accompanied by a few details or a story behind why it's a favorite for the club. There are also tons of helpful tips about prepping, cooking, packaging, and delivering mixed in throughout. Very practical and helpful cookbook. 

The main drawback I see is that the majority of these recipes involve a lot of steps and a lot of ingredients. I'm sure you could eliminate some of this based on whether you buy fresh or pre-packaged ingredients, but if you're hoping to simply follow a recipe as is, be prepared to spend several hours cooking.

I look forward to trying these recipes. There are several that I know now we will love. There are many others that will be more adventurous "tries" for us, but I look forward to trying these new soups and hopefully finding a few to add into our permanent rotation. Now to just find a few more families to form a soup club with! [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Authors
We grew up in other places and settled in New York City. We are an educator, an ecologist, a filmmaker, a nutritionist, a yogi, a traveler, a feminist, a mother, a runner, a Dane, a Jew, a Yankee, a Christian, a vegetarian, a gardener, and a coffee drinker.
 
We make sure each other’s glasses are filled with seltzer or wine, as the case may be. We pick up, hang on to, feed, and hug each other’s kids with abandon. We try to be honest and kind and sometimes succeed at doing both.
 
We are four friends who cook and we are Soup Club.

The Soup Club Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Heart's Disguise by Colleen Coble (Blog Tour + Giveaway + Review)

A Heart's Disguise
by Colleen Coble
Journey of the Heart serial, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance
Available March 2015
Thomas Nelson
128 pages



About the Book
In the aftermath of the Civil War, a young woman searches for her lost love at the edge of the West.

The Civil War has destroyed Sarah Montgomery’s marriage before it’s even begun.

After Sarah receives word that her fiancĂ©, Rand Campbell, has been killed fighting for the Union, her brothers and ailing father persuade her to pledge herself to Ben Croftner—despite her strong misgivings.

Buy a copy  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts
After reading A Heart's Disguise, I know I'm going to thoroughly enjoy the rest of this series! This is a great introduction to the characters and community. I particularly liked Sarah and Rand. And that Ben was a total toad! Great intros to Sarah's and Rand's family and friends as well.

Although this is essentially the first sixth of a story, I got enough to capture my interest. Plus, now I seriously want to know what's going to happen between Rand, Sarah, and Ben next!

(Please note that this is the first book in a serial, so you definitely need to read them in order!)

What a great start . . . I can't wait to read more! [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Colleen Coble has sold over 2 million novels worldwide. Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble’s addictive brand of romantic suspense.

Colleen Coble Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest

Giveaway
In the midst of end-of-war celebrations, Sarah discovers her betrothed was keeping a devastating secret in Colleen Coble's A Heart's Disguise. Will Sarah leave her dying father’s side for the only man she’s ever loved? And what plans are forming in the jealous heart of Ben Croftner?

Celebrate book one in Colleen's A Journey of the Heart series by entering to win a Kindle Fire and RSVPing to her May 5th author chat party!

heartsdisguise-400

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • A copy of A Heart's Disguise
  • A copy of A Heart's Obsession (blog tour coming in April)
  • A copy of The Inn at Ocean's Edge (blog tour coming in April)
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 7th. Winner will be announced May 8th on Colleen's website. Plus be sure to clear your calendar on the evening of May 5th because Colleen is hosting an author chat party on Facebook to celebrate her A Journey of the Heart series and the release of The Inn at Ocean's Edge! RSVP here!

heartsdisguise-enterbanner
 
RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on May 5th!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Top 10 Books I'd Like to Revisit from My Childhood


To learn more about Top Ten Tuesday or see a list of future topics click here!

This week's topic asks us to think back to childhood or adolescence that we'd like to revisit. How in the world am I supposed to narrow down ALL of my favorites from ALL of those years to just 10 books?! I decided I'd focus on picture books that were special to me.

Top 10 Picture Books I'd Like to Revisit from My Childhood


The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Birthday by Stan & Jan Berenstain
Curious George Goes to the Hospital by Margaret & H.A. Rey
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
Paddington Bear by Michael Bond
Corduroy by Don Freeman
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

What are some of your favorite childhood books? Would any of these make your favorites list?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Covering Home by Heidi McCahan (Review + Blog Tour + Giveaway)

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours

Covering Home
by Heidi McCahan
Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available January 2015
Snug Corner Cove Press
310 pages



About the Book
On assignment in Japan, television personality turned sportscaster Britt Bowen is determined to land an interview with the most reclusive pitcher in baseball and prove she can succeed in a demanding profession. A relationship with a self-absorbed professional athlete is the last thing Britt needs. 

Shunning all media attention, former All-Star pitcher Caleb Scott is focused on rebuilding his career in Japan, far from his past and the horrible tragedy that nearly ruined him. Then he meets Britt, who is everything he vowed to avoid. 

But it doesn’t take long before Caleb is battling his attraction toward Britt. While she works to uncover his secrets, she can’t deny she’s drawn to his wounded soul. At a crossroads, Caleb must decide if he can break free from his past mistakes and give love another chance. And Britt must choose between advancing her career … or falling in love.

Buy a copy  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts
With spring upon us, it was the perfect time to read Covering Home, which got me excited about baseball season! Britt and Caleb are both very career-oriented individuals with painful pasts, so stumbling into a friendship that promises something more is a surprise. However, it quickly seems that their feelings for one another are stronger than logic, and they want to figure out where these feelings could lead.

I really enjoyed Britt and Caleb. For anyone who has experienced difficult family situations, loss, or the challenges of juggling career and family, I think it will be easy to relate to one or both of these main characters. They are both so genuine in their affection for one another, and Caleb, especially, is likeable in his protectiveness (is that a word?) of Britt.

And what a unique setting to have the main story take place in Japan. It's evident that the author has fond memories of her time in Japan, as Tokyo comes alive through all five senses!

There were a few times that I found myself wondering over why a certain decision was made or feeling that some details were skimmed over. I think a little more exploration of the whys and hows would have resulted in an even more satisfying story.

With that said, I truly enjoyed this sweet, romantic story. Readers who enjoy romantic stories with a little sports action thrown in are sure to enjoy Covering Home. [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the author through Prism Book Tours in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Heidi McCahan is a Pacific Northwest girl at heart. She spent her formative years in Alaska, where her unique upbringing, coupled with Alaska's breathtaking scenery, fueled her active imagination and loosely inspired her debut novel, Unraveled

Heidi graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Sports Medicine from Whitworth University and a Master's Degree in Athletic Training from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After a brief career as a Certified Athletic Trainer, Heidi married her husband, Steve. They currently live in North Carolina with their three boys. 

When Heidi isn't stepping on Legos, chauffeuring the boys around suburbia or watching one of their many sporting events, she loves to read and write heartwarming romance.

Heidi McCahan Online
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest

Follow the Tour
Tour-Wide Giveaway
- US Grand Prize: Birchbox 3-month subscription ($30 value) & signed paperback of Covering Home (US Only)
- Gift Card Grand Prize: $20 Gift Card for Amazon/iTunes/B&N (winner's choice) & an ebook of Covering Home (open internationally)
- Ends April 7th

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Prism Book Tours

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Influenster #XOVoxBox PLUS Exclusive Offers for YOU


It's been a while since I've received a VoxBox from Influenster, but I received the XOVoxBox a little while back and wanted to give you the scoop on all the products I got to try out. Keep reading to the end for exclusive offers for YOU from Lands' End and Adore Me.

John Frieda Beyond Smooth Frizz Ease Collection
The Frizz Ease Collection has several lines within it—for curls, straight hair, damage repair, and the newest beyond smooth. I received the Beyond Smooth Shampoo, Conditioner, and Frizz Immunity Primer. To be honest, this was a bit of a mixed bag for me. At $10-11 each, this is a bit more than I normally spend on hair care products. However, if it worked and I loved it, it's not nearly as expensive as some hair products on the market.

My Thoughts on the Shampoo: This shampoo didn't blow me away. I had to use a lot (twice as much as normal) to get it to lather well. For the amount you get, for the price, using twice as much just doesn't cut it for me. Using the shampoo/conditioner combo alone, I didn't feel that it resolved my frizz issues . . . and it rained the entire week I tried this out! As a side note, I didn't like the smell at all . . . too strong and floral for me. Because this really just seemed like another ordinary shampoo, I don't see myself using it in the future. [2 stars]

My Thoughts on the Conditioner: As far as conditioners go, this one is okay. It helped with tangles, but there were days when my hair doesn't feel silky smooth after using it. I'm not sure that using this in conjunction with the shampoo did anything to help with frizz. Overall, I feel like I could take it or leave it. I'm not sure it was any better than the less expensive conditioners I normally use. [3 stars]

My Thoughts on the Primer: I really liked this product. Mixed with a generic shampoo and conditioner, it still seemed to help with frizz—even on a rainy day spent outdoors. I didn't need a lot each day, so I feel like it's a good value as well. I think I'll purchase this again in the future. It will be a good addition to my hair care regiment through the hot, humid, southern summer! [4 stars]

Tide Pods Plus Febreeze
I've seen Tide Pods in the store and have been curious about whether or not they would work. I was super excited to receive a sample to try out!

My Thoughts on the Pods: I think we have a winner! I've used Tide liquid detergent for years, but these Pods are amazing! They're so convenient. I was a little surprised that it really did dissolve (like it said) in cold water. I love the freshness the Febreeze adds, which was perfect for my sheets, towels, and clothes. The one caveat I would offer if you try them is that we plan to continue using liquid detergent (not the pods) for small or mini loads so we don't use too much detergent. Hubs liked them as well when he did the laundry, so I will be buying these in the future! [5 stars]

Colgate Optic White
Who isn't looking for a whiter, brighter smile? Despite all of the whitening products in the market, I've not tried whitening strips or gels since college, so I was interested to see how these products would work. I received the Colgate White Toothbruth + Whitening Pen and the Colgate Optic White Express White Toothpaste for review purposes.

My Thoughts on the Toothbrush & Whitening Pen: I was pleased that the gel didn't have a taste and didn't make my teeth sensitive like I'd heard about so many other whitening products. Unfortunately, using the toothbrush and gel, I didn't really notice a difference after 4 days. I also didn't like the toothbrush . . . at all. It was so thick at the base that it was a little awkward to hold. I typically use a softer toothbrush and felt this one was a little more stiff than what my dentist recommends for me. [2 stars]

My Thoughts on the Toothpaste: I used this toothpaste for nearly two weeks. Honestly, I'm not sure that I see much (any?) difference in the whiteness of my teeth. I really dislike the taste ... it's very medicinal. And I don't feel like it leaves my breath as fresh as the toothpaste I've been using recently. I'll probably keep using the tube to see if I can tell a difference after a few more weeks, but for now, I wouldn't recommend this product. [2 stars]

Skinfix Hand Repair Cream
After the coldest winter with the craziest weather that I can remember, my hands have been extremely dry, complete with peeling skin and cracked knuckles. This has never happened to me before and my normal lotions and creams weren't 100% solving the problem for me. Of course, I was thrilled to receive a hand repair cream specifically for such an issue in this VoxBox.

My Thoughts on Skinfix: This is a great cream for extremely dry or cracked skin. You do have to "work" it into the skin, but I've found it to be very helpful—even for my husband who struggles with cracked hands more often than I do. It isn't greasy and it's fragrance-free. It is a little "sticky" at first, but that feeling goes away after a few minutes. I will say the price is a little steep, but we wouldn't use this daily—only for those extreme situations where other lotions weren't doing the trick. [4 stars]

Adore Me
Adore Me is "the new face of lingerie." Whether you're looking for day-to-day lingerie or something special, a new swimsuit or sleepwear, Adore Me has something for everyone. I was sent a promo code to receive my first VIP set free.

My Thoughts on the Sleepwear: I cashed my promo code in for a new PJ set. It's nicely made and will hold up for a long time. The fit (based on the size chart on Adore Me's site) was perfect. The fabric is very soft, and I have found myself wanting to put these on as soon as I get home. This sleepwear set is normally priced at $59.95, and the VIP sale price is $49.95. Either way, it's still a good price for nice sleepwear. It's not priced like Target or Old Navy PJs (my go-tos), but the quality is much nicer, so I wouldn't expect it to be as cheap.

VIP Membership Experience: Sign up for VIP membership, and you'll receive new lingerie on a monthly basis. You receive $10 off everything on the site, and every 6th set is free (buy 5, get 1 free). You have total flexibility as to what you purchase and can skip a month at any time. Plus, you get free shipping and free returns on every order.

This is obviously a great deal, and it really is as simple as it sounds. The website is easy to navigate, and it's super easy to set up an account. Personally, however, I just don't need the membership. It was fairly easy to cancel the membership, so that wasn't an issue. While the membership isn't for me, I'll keep the site in mind for the future. (How cute is the inside of the box they ship your goodies in?!)

An Offer for YOU: Use this link for your first purchase and receive your first set for $25. You get a great deal, and I get a $15 credit.

Lands' End
Authentic values, legendary customer service and timeless style for your whole family, whomever you consider family—that's the real Lands' End. I've created a Pinterest board of some of my favorite looks for spring. Check it out if you have a chance.

An Offer for YOU: I've been given a special discount code to share with all of you! Use the Promo Name VOXLOVE and the Pin 26053 to receive $25 OFF when you purchase $100 or more at Lands' End! This code is valid for the first 25 people who use it through March 25, 2015—just a few more days!—so get shopping!

Blog Tour Grand Finale | The Best Laid Plans by Amy Vastine (Giveaway)

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

We're blitzing the GRAND FINALE for
The Best Laid Plans
By Amy Vastine

Did you get to know the youngest of the Everheart sisters, Emma, in this sweet Harlequin Heartwarming book? If not, go back and check out the tour stops now!

Launch - Intro to The Best Laid Plans
The Best Laid Plans features Emma as she sets her sights on meeting Dr. Right. Everything about her plan seems to be working except for one glitch - she’s falling in love with a handsome, spontaneous paramedic instead.

JoJo's Corner - Review
"This story was a wonderful reminder that life doesn’t always turn out the way we planned or expected, but sometimes that can be a good thing…a very good thing. . . . If you love soul-stirring romance with a sprinkle of humor and fun- don’t miss this one!"

J.R. Richardson Fics - Excerpt & Review
Charlie and his extra-wide smile came over to congratulate the happy couple. He was Max’s only friend in the city besides Kendall. Emma knew him from the hospital. He was the paramedic all the triage nurses flirted with when he brought someone into the ER. Emma could admit there was something attractive about his dark brown hair and green eyes that were always smiling.

"It's no secret, I adore Amy's writing. This series is so much fun. Her personality shines through every page and her characters make me want to call my family up and tell them how much I love them despite our differences."

Deal Sharing Aunt - Songs that Inspired The Best Laid Plans
I love to take a song and imagine what the rest of the story might be.  Sometimes I only need one line to catch my attention. That was how The Best Laid Plans came to be. It was inspired by two songs. . . . The first one is Justin Timberlake’s “Not a Bad Thing”.

Southern Chelle - Review & Excerpt
"I loved Charlie in “The Better Man” and was quite surprised to find him falling hard for The Nightingale. I love Amy Vastine’s writing, style, and characters so far. I can’t wait for Chicago Sisters #3 and learn more about Lucy and her life."

The closer she got, the warmer he felt. He practiced greeting her in his head, trying to sound cool. Then she smiled and he lost the ability to speak.

Letters From Annie (Douglas) Lima - Luck of the Irish
Charlie doesn’t need luck, though. Luck doesn’t win you love. Charlie gets the girl because of who he chooses to be each and every day. Sometimes we have a little bit more control over our destiny than we think. Don’t chase the rainbow, looking for the pot of gold. BE the rainbow and the pot will come to you!

Wishful Endings - Interview
1. What is your favorite thing about the Chicago Sisters Series?
I am the only girl in a family of three. I have always wondered what it would be like to grow up with two sisters instead of two brothers. These stories allowed me to pretend. I am envious of sisters who have built-in friends in each other. The Everhart sisters are friends as well as family and even though the stories focus is on the romance, the sisters are special to me!


i blog 4 books - Review
I absolutely adored The Best Laid Plans! I was immediately drawn into the story and couldn't get enough! After reading The Better Man, I enjoyed picking up with Emma and seeing her fall in love.

Plans 2“It’s fine, just cold.” Charlie reached over and pressed her hand and the ice pack back against his face. She was so close that it made his heart beat faster. Thank goodness he wasn’t hooked up to any machines that would’ve given him away.

"The romance is so sweet and the story has a lot of action and humor as well. The characters are very well-developed…too bad they aren’t real! You’ll totally fall in love with this book! It is definitely one you need to add to your TBR piles. Put it on the top!"

“You know the cute paramedic?” Tessa’s interest in Charlie was bothersome, and that in and of itself was even more bothersome. Charlie could date whomever he wanted. It shouldn’t matter to Emma one bit.

"I was immediately drawn into the story and fell in love with all of the characters. . . . I enjoyed the family-oriented feel to the story and camaraderie that Charlie has with his co-workers. I loved the chemistry and the realizations that are made. This is recommended to all those readers who love a good, clean, fun romance."

Getting Your Read On - Review & Excerpt
"I fell in love with Charlie long before Emma did.  Haha.  He is awesome and so, so, so incredibly patient."

Charlie faced her, that easy smile on his face. “I love the new look, Nightingale,” he said without hesitation. “You look gorgeous.”

I Am A Reader - Meet Emma Everhart
plans
Emma is the youngest of the Everhart sisters, who all star in the Chicago Sisters series. Emma is a nurse, like her mother before her. She works in the ER of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chicago. Emma is bright and determined. She knows what she wants and always gets it.


Colorimetry - Meet Charlie Fletcher
Charlie Fletcher is my favorite hero so far. He’s a six foot four, green-eyed, fun-loving paramedic who wears his heart on his sleeve. There really isn’t anything not to love about him.

The Best Laid Plans (Chicago Sisters, #2)The Best Laid Plans
(Chicago Sisters #2)
Amy Vastine
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback, 368 Pages
March 1st 2015 by Harlequin Heartwarming


She planned on falling in love. Just not with him!

Emma Everhart's life is going according to plan. Finish nursing school with flying colors… Check. Get a great job in the ER… Check. Marry a handsome doctor and have two babies, three years apart… Not quite yet. But with a dreamy new doctor joining the hospital staff, she's so close she can almost taste the wedding cake. Now is not the time to let the tall, dark and flirtatious paramedic Charlie Fletcher distract her! He may be the best date and best kiss she's ever had, but he's definitely not part of her plan. No matter how he makes her feel…



The Better Man (Chicago Sisters)The Better Man
(Chicago Sisters #1)
by Amy Vastine
Adult Romance 
Harlequin Heartwarming
January 1st 2014

Kendall Montgomery's six-year-old son has barely spoken in the past year, locked in his world of silent grief. Then one day, he spots his dead father across a crowded street.

Max Jordan moved to Chicago to be closer to his own son and prove he can be a better father than his deadbeat dad. His striking resemblance to Kendall's husband and his track record with fatherhood make her determined to keep her distance…until Max helps her little boy come out of his shell. But can she trust him with their future? How can she be sure he won't take off just when they need him most?


Author picAmy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read.

In September of 2012, she saw a tweet about Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest. She entered, hoping for nothing more than a little feedback from some people in the business.  Amazingly, The Weather Girl made it into the semi-finals, thanks to the many wonderful voters out there! The manuscript didn’t make it to the finals, but the editors over Harlequin were still interested. A few revisions later and The Weather Girl was contacted for publication with Harlequin Heartwarming – a dream come true!

Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.


Tour-Wide Giveaway

- $50 Amazon gift card & signed paperback of The Best Laid Plans (ebook if international winner)
- 5 copies of The Best Laid Plans (paperback to US winners and ebooks to international winners) and Chicago swag and Sweet and Heartwarming Bracelet for (US winners only)
Ends March 29th

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Friday, March 20, 2015

The World Needs More Love Letters All-in-One Stationery and Envelopes (Review)

The World Needs More Love Letters All-in-One Stationery and Envelopes
by Hannah Brencher
Non-Traditional Book
Available December 2014
Random House



About the Book
Irresistible all-in-one stationery and envelopes for writing love letters to a lover, friend, parent, child, or other important recipient, from the TED speaker and creator of The World Needs More Love Letters website.

The world needs more love letters...and here are 40 gorgeous pages—and ideas from an expert--to inspire your own.

When you want to compose a letter of love, desire, gratitude, or friendship, but don’t know where to begin, this beautiful self-mailer stationery pad will help you find just the right words. With Hannah Brencher’s insightful note-starters and 40 vibrant letter pages, you have everything you need to share meaningful thoughts with those you love. (Simply add a stamp!)

My Thoughts
What a wonderful idea! I love receiving letters and enjoy sending letters. And it's not just me. Hubs' first comment when he saw what I was looking at was, "Will you write me a letter?" Of course I will! However, I often feel like I don't have a lot to say. Kind of funny for a blogger, yeah?  This all-in-one stationery provides 40 writing prompts, which are creative and could be used for a variety of people in your life—friends, spouse, parents, children, random strangers! The designs are beautiful. The paper is high-quality (and I'm a paper snob!). And the concept is just perfect. Everything you need to write a letter is right at your fingertips . . . all you need is a stamp and a pen. So no more excuses! [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Hannah Brencher is the creator of The World Needs More Love Letters, which has been responsible for over 20,000 letters written by volunteers. Hannah has given a popular TED talk and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Glamour, TODAY.com, Oprah.com, HelloGiggles.com, the White House's "Women Working to Do Good," and on CNN World News. She has worked with the U.S. Postal Service and was honored by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. Learn more about Hannah and More Love Letters on her website.

An Old Fashioned Movie Review



Well, crumb . . . I just realized this post got stuck in my drafts. Boo! While it's not at the theaters anymore, it would still make a great date night rental!

I posted a few days ago and shared some of my concerns about the movie Fifty Shades of Grey. I decided I needed to do more than simply discourage people from seeing a movie that has no redeeming qualities and needed to put my money where my mouth was. So Hubs and I cast our vote for positive, uplifting, clean, godly films by going to see Old Fashioned on Valentine's Day. I wanted to be sure to share my thoughts on the movie with y'all, so maybe you'll be encouraged to do the same!


About the Movie
A romantic-drama, OLD FASHIONED centers on Clay Walsh, a former frat boy who gives up his reckless carousing and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. There, he has become notorious for his lofty and outdated theories on love and romance as well as for his devout belief in God. When Amber Hewson, a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, drifts into the area and rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his strong faith and noble ideas, which are new and intriguing to her. And Clay, though he tries to fight and deny it, simply cannot resist being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. Ultimately, Clay must step out from behind his relational theories and Amber must overcome her own fears and deep wounds as the two of them, together, attempt the impossible: an "old-fashioned" and God-honoring courtship in contemporary America.

Official Movie Site  |  Find a Theater Near You


My Thoughts
Hubs and I saw the movie Old Fashioned as part of our Valentine's Day date. I was excited to see that the theater was full (there were even people sitting on the front row!). This definitely bodes well for those of you who want to see it in the next few weeks!

I can't really think of another movie to compare Old Fashioned to. It's very different from any other movie I've ever seen—even other "Christian" romance films. The pace is a bit slower. There's not a ton of "action." However, the characters develop at a steady pace, as does the romantic connection between the two leading characters. This isn't how a lot of romances develop on the big screen, but I found that I really enjoyed this different approach. By the end of the movie, I was completely giddy over the depth of the romance.

This movie was sweet and deep and tender and romantic. What a beautiful picture of a biblical way to approach dating and marriage. Have a great date night and then share this movie with your teenagers. [4 stars]



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Best Laid Plans by Amy Vastine (Review + Blog Tour + Giveaway)

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours

The Best Laid Plans
by Amy Vastine
Chicago Sisters series, Book 2
Fiction / Contemporary / Sweet Romance
Available March 2015
Harlequin Heartwarming
368 pages



About the Book
She planned on falling in love. Just not with him!

Emma Everhart's life is going according to plan. Finish nursing school with flying colours… Check. Get a great job in the ER… Check. Marry a handsome doctor and have two babies, three years apart… Not quite yet. But with a dreamy new doctor joining the hospital staff, she's so close she can almost taste the wedding cake. Now is not the time to let the tall, dark and flirtatious paramedic Charlie Fletcher distract her! He may be the best date and best kiss she's ever had, but he's definitely not part of her plan. No matter how he makes her feel…

Buy a copy  |  Read an excerpt  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts
I absolutely adored The Best Laid Plans! I was immediately drawn into the story and couldn't get enough! After reading The Better Man, I enjoyed picking up with Emma and seeing her fall in love. I will admit that she drove me a little crazy at times because she was so focused on "her plan." But through her nuttiness, she was really sweet and kind and had a lot of fear over her future . . . something I think most people can relate to. Charlie was a wonderful character as well. He was so genuine and really cared for the people around him. Add in a bit of romance and a few tense moments, and it was a wonderful story!

As I read the last pages, I closed the book . . . a bit sad that my journey with Emma and Charlie was over, but deeply satisfied. I can't wait to read the next book in the Chicago Sisters series! [4.5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the author through Prism Book Tours and Net Galley in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read.

In September of 2012, she saw a tweet about Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest. She entered, hoping for nothing more than a little feedback from some people in the business. Amazingly, The Weather Girl made it into the semi-finals, thanks to the many wonderful voters out there! The manuscript didn’t make it to the finals, but the editors over Harlequin were still interested. A few revisions later and The Weather Girl was contacted for publication with Harlequin Heartwarming – a dream come true!

Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.

Amy Vastine Online
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest

Follow the Tour

Tour-Wide Giveaway
- $50 Amazon gift card & signed paperback of The Best Laid Plans (ebook if international winner)
- 5 copies of The Best Laid Plans (paperback to US winners and ebooks to international winners) and Chicago swag and Sweet and Heartwarming Bracelet for (US winners only)
Ends March 29th

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Prism Book Tours

Blog Tour Launch | Covering Home by Heidi McCahan (w/ Giveaway)

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

We're Launching the BOOK TOUR for
Covering Home
By Heidi McCahan

Can a sportscaster and a professional baseball player be open to unexpected love?

Follow the Tour

Learn more about Covering Home and Author Heidi McCahan

1. What's the motivation behind your book? Why did you want to write it?
The original inspiration for Covering Home came from a call for submissions from a publisher. They wanted a novella set in Tokyo, Japan and it had to include a bat, a bell and an angel. I had visited Japan before and attended a baseball game, so I had some personal experience to fuel my imagination. But once I started writing, Britt and Caleb were such fun characters to hang out with, I couldn't stop at a novella. So I wrote a clean, full-length romance with a subtle, inspirational message ... exactly the kind of book I like to read.

2. What do you hope readers take with them when they read your book?
The nicest thing a reader can say to an author is, "I just could not put your book down." When someone tells me that, I'm overjoyed. So I hope readers turn the last page with a contented sigh, yet wish they had just a little more time with the characters. On a deeper level, I hope readers recognize that I write from a Christian world view and God is a God of second chances, who can redeem us from hard seasons.

3. Do you have a favorite scene?
I have three. But if I had to choose one, there is a scene with the hero and heroine riding a Ferris wheel that is both amusing and romantic. I enjoyed writing it and I hope readers enjoy it, too.

4. Tell us something unique about yourself: 
I grew up in Alaska, which is somewhat unique. My parents owned a small business for most of my childhood and I find that aspect of my upbringing influencing the stories I write in so many ways including themes, character development, setting.

Covering HomeCovering Home
Heidi McCahan
Adult Inspirational Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 310 Pages
January 18th 2015 by Snug Corner Cove Press


On assignment in Japan, television personality turned sportscaster Britt Bowen is determined to land an interview with the most reclusive pitcher in baseball and prove she can succeed in a demanding profession. A relationship with a self-absorbed professional athlete is the last thing Britt needs. 

Shunning all media attention, former All-Star pitcher Caleb Scott is focused on rebuilding his career in Japan, far from his past and the horrible tragedy that nearly ruined him. Then he meets Britt, who is everything he vowed to avoid. 

But it doesn't take long before Caleb is battling his attraction toward Britt. While she works to uncover his secrets, she can't deny she's drawn to his wounded soul. At a crossroads, Caleb must decide if he can break free from his past mistakes and give love another chance. And Britt must choose between advancing her career ... or falling in love.

Amazon

Heidi McCahanHeidi McCahan is a Pacific Northwest girl at heart. She spent her formative years in Alaska, where her unique upbringing, coupled with Alaska's breathtaking scenery, fueled her active imagination and loosely inspired her debut novel, Unraveled

Heidi graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Sports Medicine from Whitworth University and a Master's Degree in Athletic Training from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After a brief career as a Certified Athletic Trainer, Heidi married her husband, Steve. They currently live in North Carolina with their three boys. 

When Heidi isn't stepping on Legos, chauffeuring the boys around suburbia or watching one of their many sporting events, she loves to read and write heartwarming romance.


Tour-Wide Giveaway

- US Grand Prize: Birchbox 3-month subscription ($30 value) & signed paperback of Covering Home (US Only)
- Gift Card Grand Prize: $20 Gift Card for Amazon/iTunes/B&N (winner's choice) & an ebook of Covering Home (open internationally)
- Ends April 7th

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