Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Reviews from Friends

Today, I'm sharing book reviews from two friends of mine.  They both write wonderful reviews!   I have added their direct blog links to their reviews below.  
Please visit their blogs for more information and to follow their Social sites!  =)

All's Fair in LOVE and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

"Somewhere along the way, one batch of cupcakes along the way, he'd tripped right over the label of Best Friends they'd worn the majority of their teen years and landed upside down on the field of Love."

I loved so much about this book. I could really relate to Kat Varland. She loved baking outside of the box, making new cupcake creations of the gourmet variety. Her Aunt's bakery, "Sweet Pies", is Kat's only public outlet for her creativity. Unfortunately, her Aunt Maggie only believes in strawberry, chocolate and vanilla. Kat has a talent that's far-reaching but she has a problem believing she has what it takes. She is her own worst critic and, in that, I can relate. I loved Kat. Her sweet personality and the constant war she waged within herself made her a very lovable character. 

I have to say that Lucas Brannen is one of those perfect heroes in a story that you fall in love with just a little. You don't mean to but you just can't help it. He was a good guy. He had loved Kat for years, unknowingly to her, and he was her biggest cheerleader. He pushed her to do things she would never have done otherwise and helped her celebrate her successes. Lucas is my kind of leading man.

I really love this book all the way around. The storyline is engaging and the characters are the kind you want to revisit. It has enough character to stretch for miles--the small town feel of Bayou Bend, Aunt Maggie's little bakery and the string of loyal, regular customers that are dedicated to her "plain" cupcakes, Kat's father being a pastor and her sister competing in beauty pageants, Lucas the football coach at the local high school. Every body knows everybody in Bayou Bend. I fell in love with the town and it's amazing characters because that's my kind of place. 

I love the easy romance between Kat and Lucas. They have been best friends since their school days so they are relaxed around each other even though both are feelings things the other knows nothing about. You could feel the chemistry and it made for an explosive combination. It's also the perfect blend of light-hearted and serious. It has a fun and flirty edge but Kat deals with some deep rooted personal issues as well. The icing on the cake (no pun intended) is the Christianity lightly woven into the mix. It's in no way over done but a very light sprinkling all throughout the pages (like the sprinkles on a cupcake!) so that you know it's there but you don't feel overwhelmed by it. And, I think, that makes a perfect story!

I have never read a book by Betsy St. Amant and, after reading All is a Fair in LOVE and Cupcakes, I feel I have been missing out. Her talent for writing pours out each time you turn a page because she weaves the perfect story like only a handful of other authors I am crazy about. She is definitely on my list of "Must Read" authors and I am looking forward to her next book! If you love contemporary romance with a little "zing", you'll love All is Fair in LOVE and Cupcakes! It's a five star PLUS read for me and I recommend it very highly!


365 Pocket Prayers for Mothers by Amie Carlson, Erin Keeley Marshall, Karen Hodge

Review from Mary-andering Creatively

Note:  Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Let’s face it a mother’s day is wrecked with anxiety, whirlwind activity, and time pressures.  Finding time to spend in God’s word or to pray is just hard to do.  That is why I am excited about this little gem of a book. It is something that you slip into your purse and keep on hand. When you get a few minutes throughout the day, you can pull it out and pray. 

Written by Christian authors and mothers, Amie Carlson, Karen Hodge, and Erin Kelley Marshall, this small book is packed with quick prayers tied into the Word of God that you can meditate on and let sink into your soul.  You can just start with day one and read straight through, or you can use the handy topical index at the end to find prayers on specific issues facing you for the day.

The topics range from acceptance to overcoming bitterness and worry.  There is a little grace thrown in along with praise and reminders of how much potential you have in God.  You can also find prayers for friendship, confidence and living in joy.

Here is one of my favorite excerpts about pain.

When I need God’s Comfort

“Lord, you are my shelter and refuge from life’s storms. Knowing that you see each tear that falls and promise to never leave me bring me such comfort. Thank you for being the Great Physician in the midst of my pain.”

The scripture for this day is Revelation 21:4

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

Oh Lord, how I long for this to come true. Don’t you. This prayer above is just one example of the sweet prayers and related scriptures you will find in this book.

Sharing at these fun parties!
 Candy Corn Craze Party Time @ Live Laugh Rowe
Freedom Fridays @ My Turn for us, With a Blast and Love Bakes Good Cakes

Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Spotlight - Carly's Voice by Arthur Fleischmann with Carly Fleischmann

I recently received a book called "Carly's Voice".  This book is about the struggles that Carly has gone thru, but also her journey of learning how to communicate on her computer with her family and the many people that follow her on Facebook and Twitter!   I'm really enjoying this insightful book about Carly and how she found her voice.  
I'm a Autism Advocate and recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about Autism!

About the book:
At the age of two, Carly Fleischmann was diagnosed with severe autism and an oral motor condition that prevented her from speaking. Doctors predicted that she would never intellectually develop beyond the abilities of a small child. Although she made some progress after years of intensive behavioral and communication therapy, Carly remained largely unreachable. Then, at the age of ten, she had a breakthrough.
While working with her devoted therapists Howie and Barb, Carly reached over to their laptop and typed in “HELP TEETH HURT,” much to everyone’s astonishment.
This was the beginning of Carly’s journey toward self-realization. Although Carly still struggles with all the symptoms of autism, which she describes with uncanny accuracy and detail, she now has regular, witty, and profound conversations on the computer with her family, her therapists, and the many thousands of people who follow her via her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
In Carly’s Voice, her father, Arthur Fleischmann, blends Carly’s own words with his story of getting to know his remarkable daughter. One of the first books to explore firsthand the challenges of living with autism, it brings readers inside a once-secret world and in the company of an inspiring young woman who has found her voice and her mission.

About the Authors:
ARTHUR FLEISCHMANN lives with his wife, Tammy Starr, and their three children, Matthew, Taryn, and Carly, in Toronto, Canada. Born in New York, he grew up in the Boston area and attended Brandeis University, where he graduated with a B.A. in English Literature and Economics. He later earned an M.B.A. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
CARLY FLEISCHMANN lives in Toronto, Canada, and attends a mainstream high school where she is enrolled in gifted classes. She corresponds with her thousands of friends and followers via Twitter and Facebook and is a passionate advocate for those living with autism. 

"Changing the world of Autism"
For more information about Autism, visit my Autism & Special Needs Links Page

Follow Melissa's board Autism on Pinterest.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Review - "Four Friends" by Robyn Carr
Release Date - April 2014

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr comes the story of four friends determined to find their stride. Ultimately, they’ll discover what it means to be a wife, mother, lover, friend...and most important: your true self.

My Review
I really enjoyed this story of Four Friends who support and help each other thru the good times and the bad times. 
Gerri is one of my favorite characters from the book.  As she goes thru the process of understanding her marriage, she learns more about herself.  And even though she is going thru some challenges herself, she is always there for her friends ( especially Sonja )

Andy is really sweet.  As she remodels her kitchen she becomes good friends with the contractor, and they really enjoy spending time with each other.  Will their friendship turn into something more?
You will have to read the book to find out!  =)

Sonja and her Husband do not really share the same beliefs in Herbal aids and New Age serenity, but she really thinks that she is helping him by offering her advice.  When he makes a announcement, it changes both of their lives.  The way that Sonja's friends help her thru this part of her life is really encouraging and uplifting! 

BJ is their new neighbor and quickly becomes their friend.  As they learn more about BJ, her friends realize that she has some secrets.  They want to help her and her children and along the way they form some special bonds.

One of my favorite quotes from the book 
He gave her a sweet smile.  "Come over here and sit down," he said. Lets talk this through.

This is a wonderful story about friendship and working thru the challenges that we all can face.

*There are some interesting discussion questions in the back of the book, that make you think about the relationships that you have with your own friends.

After writing twenty Virgin River stories, Robyn is now taking her readers into another fictional community, a picturesque coastal town on the Oregon coast she calls Thunder Point. Like her Virgin River novels, the Thunder Point books will make readers laugh, sigh, and fall in love: with a small town filled with people they’ll never forget. In addition to 2013’s The WandererThe Newcomer and The Hero, Thunder Point novels on Robyn’s schedule are three 2014 titles, The Chance (March), The Promise (July), and The Homecoming(September).

For more information on Robyn Carr, visit her website

More books by Robyn Carr

To read my other reviews on Robyn Carr books, visit here.

**I received a copy of "Four Friends" from Netgalley for my honest review.

Sharing at these Parties!

Friendship Friday at Create with Joy
Sunday Link-up at Kansas Women Bloggers

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Review - "Dreaming on Daisies" by Miralee Ferrell
Publication Date:  October 1st, 2014
"Love Blossoms in Oregon #3"
 David C. Cook

About this book:
When her father's debts, brought on by heavy drinking, threaten Leah Carlson's family ranch, she fights to save it. When handsome banker Steven Harding must decline her loan request, he determines to do what he can to help. Just as he arrives to serve as a much-needed ranch hand, Leah's family secrets—and the pain of her past—come to a head. They could destroy everything she's fought for. And they could keep her from ever opening her heart again.

This is western historical romance that offers hope and healing to the deepest wounds in a woman's past. 

My Review:
I really enjoyed getting to know Leah and Steven in this book.   Leah is a strong woman, and I admire her qualities.  She is not afraid of hard work, or to let her feelings known.  She is always ready to help others in the community.  
As Leah gets to know Steven, she realizes that he is a fair and honest man.  He wants to help her, and for that she is grateful.
 She wants her Father's ranch to be a success, and helps her Father in every way that she can, so they can achieve their Goals.  

With wonderful characters and a very touching story line, this book was hard to put down!   Historical romance is one of my favorite genres, I really recommend this series to all Historical romance readers!

*Thanks to Miralee Ferrell and David C. Cook for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Miralee and her husband Allen have been married almost 40 yrs.
They live on 11 acres in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington State, where they love to garden, play with their dogs, take walks, and go sailing.
Miralee also rides her horse on the wooded trails near their home with her grown daughter who lives nearby. She’s an avid reader and has a large collection of first edition Zane Grey books, which inspired her desire to write fiction set in the Old West.
When she started writing fiction, Miralee believed that she’d always stay with women’s contemporary, but has since branched out to historical romance.

Visit Miralee online -

Watch for Miralee's new book "A Horse for Kate" 
( Horses and Friends, #1 )
March 1st, 2015

More books by Miralee Ferrell

Joining these fun parties!
Sunday Link-up at Kansas Women Bloggers
Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy
Treasure Box Tuesday at Yesterfood and Memories by the Mile
Freedom Fridays at My Turn for us, Love Bakes Good Cakes and With a Blast

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