Friday, May 30, 2014

NLB Horton guest blog for Two Children and a Migraine

I always find when I learn thing about other people it helps me learn a bit about myself.  One thing I find many people like now with social media is that we get to know people that we might not have known before.  You can see what your favourite stars are saying or into or if your like myself and love to read you can get to know a bit about the authors you read.

Check out NLB Horton guest post on the blog today!  Check out my review of When Camels Fly and if you have not had a chance yet enter the giveaway!!

The topic a blogger asks me to discuss in a guest post is always interesting. Sometimes their requests are obvious; other times, they’re obscure. In both instances, the topics always reveal to me something I haven’t yet discovered on my own about my writing.

At first glance, I thought my guest post for Two Children and a Migraine, addressing how work in my previous life influenced my writing of When Camels Fly, would be straightforward. Then I remembered my prior life wasn’t so simple, so my guest blog wouldn’t be, either.

When I reflect on my work experience, I find that it falls into three categories. The most important is the critical work cultivating two contributing adults who reflect my values, priorities, and work ethic. The second is a professional adventure in advertising and marketing. The last is my academic journeys, which include returning to one of the finest seminaries in the United States for my Master’s degree.

My family is the most important part of my life, and my greatest accomplishment, although I am at that marvelous age when I can redefine myself. My experiences parenting, and being part of a nearly thirty-year marriage, permeate When Camels Fly.

The standards we taught the kids, the goals we had for them, their own drive and initiative—these elements influence my writing work and reflect Judeo-Christian ethics. The relationship my protagonist, archaeologist Grace Madison, has with her two adult children is healthy, humorous, and productive. Yet she exhibits the tension, conflict, and deep love she has for the two of them as she respects their independence, and wonders if she’s to blame for the dangers inherent in some of it. One of my Beta Readers referred to her “endearing Yenta qualities that every mother feels.”

So many families in today’s literature are depicted as dysfunctional and degrading. The Madison family in When Camels Fly and The Brothers’ Keepers (November 7, 2014) provides a strong example of how a family can mature cohesively and respectfully without sacrificing individual strengths along the way. These characteristics will carry through the five books in the Parched series.

And Grace’s relationship with her husband of three-plus decades, Mark, depicts a bond lasting over the long haul, but not without damage. As two Type-A personalities reposition and recommit, and begin to fall in love again under the most dangerous of circumstances, their journey becomes familiar. Another Beta Reader commented that it’s a path almost every marriage takes, but that so little is written about the convoluted emotions, or ways to move through them to remain “whole.”

Owning a marketing and advertising agency known for artistic, out-of-the-box campaigns certainly is an advantage when positioning an indie book, targeting reader demographics, commissioning books covers, and writing marketing copy. I understand the process and am comfortable with deadlines. Many hurdles cited by independent authors are easy, having long ago become part of my professional mindset after two and a half decades of responding to clients and vendors.

My relationship with my literary agent—a woman of great courage and humor— is comfortable for many reasons, not the least of which our decades of business experiences. The same can be written about relationships with the myriad of talented people whose work brings When Camels Fly to life.

I also can think graphically, and try to tease the best from those whose gifts manipulate images instead of words. And I can run the mechanics of a large campaign, which is a major asset as we approach the May 12 release date of When Camels Fly. 

The academic journeys massively impact my ability to deliver When Camels Fly. I write only about places I have been and know well. I’ve done archaeology in Israel and Jordan. I know the histories of the people groups that have populated this region since the beginning of human time. I have experienced the conflict through heavy artillery fired in Syria and machine guns peppering something in Lebanon. (My goal was to keep my head down in the dig on tel Dan.) And with a Bachelor’s in journalism, I avoid excess words.

Several Beta Readers noted that what makes archaeologist Grace Madison so appealing is that she is Everywoman. (Of course, she’s Everywoman living an extraordinary “second life” as she pursues her interests and dreams.) I’ve structured the Readers Guide for book clubs to entice each of us to find our unique Everywoman. And I view my experiences—with family, in work, via academia— as things Everywoman does in one form or another. Each segment impacts my writing, and they fittingly knit into an invisible web that becomes my worldview. We “Everywomen” women are complex creatures!

Book Review #Giveaway: Thankful by Shelley Shepherd Gray


My Review:

 I loved this book! Shelley's style of writing draws you into the Amish world and lifestyle.  I stayed up well into the morning  to read this book and had finished it the following day.  I felt such strong emotions while reading Thankful and found myself mentally rooting for Christina and Aden to show their love...I truly think this book is a gem! I also loved The other side stories about adoption and the restauranteur ready to retire.

I would be happy to recommend this book with a 5 out of 5!

Looking to see what others are saying about Thankful?  Check out these additional reviews!

About the Author:

Purchase  this book or her many others today!.

shelley shepard gray thankful return to sugarcreek
Views expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in anyway. I was supplied a book for review purposes and not financially compensated in anyway.  

Book Review #Giveaway: When Camels Fly by NLB Horton

About the Book:
In Israel, archaeologist Grace Madison shoots her daughter’s abductor. Seconds later, a handsome shepherd drops from the sky to kill a second assassin. Their world changes in two blinks of an eye.
Unbeknownst to them, a fiercely ambitious evil is destroying everything in its path—the unconventional path Grace and Maggie take. They struggle to right a wrong as old as time, and discover time is running out in the race for their lives. Family and friends are swept into their vortex, extinguishing old flames while igniting new loves.

While the scale tips dangerously toward disaster, millions of lives hang in the balance. And the mother-and-daughter team soon realizes nothing is as it seems. Even each other.

Because choosing what’s right is all that’s left.

About the Author:

After an award-winning detour through journalism and marketing and a graduate degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, NLB Horton returned to writing fiction. She has surveyed Israeli archaeological digs accompanied by artillery rounds from Syria and machine gun fire from Lebanon. Explored Machu Picchu after training with an Incan shaman. And consumed afternoon tea across five continents.
When Camels Fly is her first novel. Her second, The Brothers’ Keepers, will be available November 2014.

My Review of the Book:

This was definitely an enjoyable read!!  I loved the writing style of the book.  The author was able to keep me entertained throughout and I did not find myself ay anytime wanting to skip a few pages to get to the good part.  The flow of the book was great!  Even when there was not any real action happening I was still satisfied with the story going on and wanted to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next.  

I personally do not know about the middle east other then it is hot and what I hear on the news.  This did not prevent me from getting into the story as one of the great things I find about reading is that you can escape and thanks to the authors creativity with the decriptive words you can visualize and create the story in your own mind.  It is a great way to travel even if your on a tight budget!

I recommend this book and now that summer is upon us be sure to pick it up, put your feet up and immerse yourself in this great book!

Available for Purchase:

Looking to grab a copy for yourself??  Check out your option below and while your at it enter the giveaway!

Barnes and Noble


a Rafflecopter giveaway I was supplied a book for review purposes and not compensated in any way for this post.  View expressed are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Review: Surprised by Grace by Elizabeth Sherrill

About the Book:
Tib has written for Guideposts magazine for over sixty years, contributed to Daily Guideposts for over twenty-five, and coauthored the best-selling, inspirational adventures of all time with her husband, John, including: The Hiding Place, The Cross and the Switchblade, and God's Smuggler. Yet, Tib's most powerful story ever is this beautifully written, exhilarating memoir.
In it, you'll discover how God's love transformed her life from one of great struggle to one with a clear direction and find inspiration, hope and strength for your own journey.
Enjoy touching stories about Tib's family and close relationships, from her unhappy childhood to John's surprising marriage proposal. Meet her lifelong friend Mea, and her dear father-in-law who was able to see her for the complex person she was even though he was blind. Travel with her to fascinating places across the United States and Europe. And find out how she overcame her poor self-image after a stunning encounter with her Creator.
Elizabeth Sherrill's superb storytelling brings you into every scene, making you laugh and cry many times over. You'll be reminded that God intends hope and freedom for you. You'll also find wonderful insight and encouragement in the uplifting foreword by Guideposts Editor-in-Chief Edward Grinnan and in the inspirational "Conversation Starters," particularly useful for women's Bible studies, book clubs, or home groups.
Surprised by Grace will help you understand more deeply how to completely trust God in the toughest times of your life, how to recognize your dependence on Him, and how to allow Him to light your way.
About the Author:
Elizabeth Sherrill is the author behind the classic best sellers The Hiding Place about Corrie ten Boom, The Cross and the Switchblade about David Wilkerson, and God's Smuggler about Brother Andrew. She also is a longtime contributor to America's best-loved inspirational magazine Guideposts, and best-selling devotional, Daily Guideposts.
My Review of the Book: 
This was a thoroughly enjoyable read!  Without a doubt this has to be one of the most inspirational Christian books I have read this year or possibly ever!  This was the first time I have read anything by Elizabeth Sherrill and I find it exciting that is was actually about herself.  The authors style of writing was easy to read, yet not too boring that it kept you entertained without feeling too overwhelmed.  I feel everyone would be able to learn and benefit from this book no matter what type of reader one is.  
The only important thing to mention for all readers is that this is NOT a fiction book  I know I have some friends who prefer fiction over non fiction, so I know this might be a deterrent for them as they usually feel non fiction stories have too much of a lull in them.  I personally do not mind this as I know that is how life is.  There will always have high and low parts and no one is immune from this.  I always like to see what lessons I can take away from non fiction books!

 Looking for additional reviews?  Look no further!  Check out what other bloggers have to say! 

Views expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in anyway.  I was supplied a book for review purposes and not financially compensated in anyway.  

Guardians of the Galaxy New Trailer!

I know I have a lot of Marvel fans as it seems almost every other
person I know is one!  I thought it would be great to share the trailer 
for the new movie coming out in August!  Enjoy!! Have not heard 
about it yet?  

Well check it out below!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Book Review: 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found a Self-Help that ActuallyWorks -A True Story by Dan Harris


  • Publisher: It Books (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • Hardcover or Kindle: 256 pages
  • Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.
After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had both propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business and also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.

We all have a voice in our head. It’s what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we’re not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present. Most of us would assume we’re stuck with this voice – that there’s nothing we can do to rein it in – but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that. It’s a far cry from the miracle cures peddled by the self-help swamis he met; instead, it’s something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation. After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness.

10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives.

My Review:  

This book was a tough read.  It wasn't tough because of the material or writing style but tough as it made me really think about things on a deeper level.  It was very thought provoking and highly relatable at times.  I found myself feeling a lot of his same initial skepticism against meditation, but when reading it made me broaden my possibilities.  I wasn't familiar at all with Buddhism, but found it very interesting.  I am now beginning my own exploration of meditation daily and will try to see the positive affects it has.

I liked the flow of the book and how it explained the intricacies of meditation and the often relatable mind wandering, but assurance that this was normal.  I am going to send a copy of this book to all my family members as I truly believe it is a deep yet profound In depth look at meditation benefits.

I would rate this book a 4 out of 5 for content.

Check out other reviews on 10% Happier!

About the author:


Dan Harris is a correspondent for ABC News and the co-anchor for the weekend edition of Good Morning America. Before that, he was the anchor of the Sunday edition of World News. He regularly contributes stories for such shows as Nightline, 20/20, World News with Diane Sawyer and GMA. Harris has reported from all over the planet, covering wars in Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine and Iraq, and producing investigative reports in Haiti, Cambodia, and the Congo. He has also spent many years covering America's faith scene, with a focus on evangelicals -- who have treated him kindly despite the fact that he is openly agnostic. He has been at ABC News for 13 years. Before that, he was in local news in Boston and Maine. He grew up outside of Boston and currently lives with his wife, Bianca, in New York City.

All opinions are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway.  I received a book for purpose of review and was not compensated for this post.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Review: Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen #50bookpledge

About the Book:

A vivid and compelling novel about a woman who becomes entangled in an affair with Edgar Allan Poe—at the same time she becomes the unwilling confidante of his much-younger wife.

It is 1845, and Frances Osgood is desperately trying to make a living as a writer in New York; not an easy task for a woman—especially one with two children and a philandering portrait painter as her husband. As Frances tries to sell her work, she finds that editors are only interested in writing similar to that of the new renegade literary sensation Edgar Allan Poe, whose poem, “The Raven” has struck a public nerve.

She meets the handsome and mysterious Poe at a literary party, and the two have an immediate connection. Poe wants Frances to meet with his wife since she claims to be an admirer of her poems, and Frances is curious to see the woman whom Edgar married.

As Frances spends more and more time with the intriguing couple, her intense attraction for Edgar brings her into dangerous territory. And Mrs. Poe, who acts like an innocent child, is actually more manipulative and threatening than she appears. As Frances and Edgar’s passionate affair escalates, Frances must decide whether she can walk away before it’s too late...

Set amidst the fascinating world of New York’s literati, this smart and sexy novel offers a unique view into the life of one of history’s most unforgettable literary figures

About the Author:

Lynn Cullen grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the fifth girl in a family of seven children. She learned to love history combined with traveling while visiting historic sites across the U.S. on annual family camping trips. She attended Indiana University in Bloomington and Fort Wayne, and took writing classes with Tom McHaney at Georgia State. She wrote children’s books as her three daughters were growing up, while working in a pediatric office and later, at Emory University on the editorial staff of a psychoanalytic journal. While her camping expeditions across the States have become fact-finding missions across Europe, she still loves digging into the past. She does not miss, however, sleeping in musty sleeping bags. Or eating canned fruit cocktail. She now lives in Atlanta with her husband, their dog, and two unscrupulous cats.
Lynn Cullen is the author of The Creation of Eve, named among the best fiction books of 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and as an April 2010 Indie Next selection. She is also the author of numerous award-winning books for children, including the young adult novel I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter, which was a 2007 Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, and an ALA Best Book of 2008. Her novel, Reign of Madness, about Juana the Mad, daughter of the Spanish Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand, was chosen as a 2011 Best of the South selection by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and was a 2012 Townsend Prize finalist. Her newest novel, MRS. POE, examines the fall of Edgar Allan Poe through the eyes of poet Francis Osgood.

My Review of the Book:

The Mrs. Poe is fabulous!  Yes, I had to get straight to the point first.  I did not want there to be any questions at all about if I recommend Mrs. Poe or not.  I happened to be at work one day and came across a shipment of new books for the library.  The cover on this book caught my attention and I decided to see what the book was about.  I had never read anything by Lynn Cullen before, but I did know who Edgar Allen Poe was from English both in high school and university!  I have to admit though, I knew nothing about his life outside of him being a poet.  

Mrs. Poe is historical fiction, but it was fun to learn there was quite a bit of truth to the book as well.  Some of the information that was told in the book can be found and researched within the literary world, but of course we can not know the whole story of what happened in their lives back in the 1800's.  I loved the story Lynn Cullen told and her interpretation of the love triangle that many believed to be true.  However, even if you did not believe in the love triangle or if your not even interested in Edgar Allen Poe or anything to do with his life I would still recommend to get a copy of Mrs. Poe.  I guarantee it will be a fascinating book to read and without a doubt keep one entertained.  

Personally I found the book hard to put down and definitely moved it to one of my top books for reader recommendations to family, friends  or anyone in general looking for a new great book to read.  I am looking forward to checking out other books by Lynn Cullen!

Views expressed are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway.  I was not supplied anything in exchange for this review.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Book Review: We Be Big: The Mostly True Story of How We Became Rick & Bubba By Rick Burgess and Bill Bussey with Don Keith

The story of two unlikely radio hosts and what happened when they followed their faith and instincts.
Rick & Bubba are the most unlikely broadcast stars imaginable, yet hundreds of thousands of loyal listeners start their day with them every morning. Beyond that, they break the biggest no-no rule for secular radio as they openly share their faith in Christ and their common-sense way of looking at the world. Now, in We Be Big: The Mostly True Story of How We Became Rick & Bubba, readers learn how this unlikely pairing came about. Alternately hilarious and heartbreaking, this is also the highly personal story of two men who—like most of us—resisted stepping through the doors God opened for them, opting for the easier path when tested. When they finally decided to follow their instincts and their faith, though, not only did they became amazingly successful, but also a truly powerful platform became theirs.

My Review:

With all honestly I had absolutely no idea who Rick and Bubba were when I asked for a review copy of this book.  I love reading and the description of the book looked good so I thought I would take a chance on it.  I do have to say I immensely enjoyed the book.  We Be Big: The Mostly True Story of How We Became Rick & Bubba was a great way to introduce these men to the world or if you already know about these two men it is nice way to let you have a glimpse into what made them who they are.  

Rick and Bubba do seem quite funny and after reading the book I really do want to listen to them sometime and see how great they are live as well.  I was happy to see through their website that I am able to listen to through their site, so without a doubt I guarantee I will be doing that soon.  No matter if you love to read autobiographies or not I really do think this is a book to check out and read.  There had been parts within the book that I did find a little bit slow, but really who does not have times like that in their life.  Being a Mom now, many times I am so thankful for those slow periods in life as they give me some time to take a deep breath and really see what is going on around.    

On their site I saw they are having their 20th anniversary, so they have to be doing something right!  Be sure to check out their website and taken a listen for yourself!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: Snap! by Janet A. Holmes & Daniella Germain

Title: Snap!                                            
Author: Janet A. Holmes; Daniella Germain (illustrator)
Publisher: Little Hare Books (May 1, 2014)
Category: Children's Book
Tour Date: May 2014
Available in: Hardcover and Kindle through Amazon, 32 Pages

A lovely story about learning to be brave, Snap! by Janet A. Holmes & Daniella Germain teaches children to face their fears with a smile instead of a frown.  A reluctant little boy gets dressed for the day and puts on his favourite crocodile mask.  He snaps at everyone he meets, believing that it is easier to frighten people away than to join in - but when he unexpectedly meets another little monster who turns out to be quite nice, he discovers that making friends is easier than it looks.

My Review: I read Snap! with my child who explained back to me in layman's terms what the plot was.  She was dead on and didn't need any coaxing.  The illustrations are childlike and attractive.  The simplicity of the storyline and illustrations along with the depth of lesson learned are a great combination!  I definitely recommend other parents read this book in anticipation of those new feelings on that first day, no matter where your child may be going.

Available May 2014 in your local bookstore or at Amazon.

All opinions are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway.  I received a book for purpose of review and was not compensated for this post.