Dancing With Fireflies by Denise Hunter ~ A Contemporary Romance Review

A Chapel Springs Romance, Book 2
Denise Hunter
Contemporary Romance

Back of the book:

Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years
of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel,
making her long to dance again.

Growing up in the midwestern river town of Chapel Springs, Indiana, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden. When she left, she thought she'd never look back. Now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.

The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost nonexistent, Daniel fit right in with the boisterous McKinley family. He's loved Jade for years, but she always thought of him as a big brother. Now that she's back, his feelings are stronger than ever.

As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she's hiding secrets from her family, and she's strangely attracted to the man who's always called her "squirt." Returning home may prove more difficult--and more wonderful--than she ever imagined.

My thoughts:

Jade McKinley had big plans for her life. She had moved to Chicago to pursue her dreams. But one seemingly innocent evening changed everything. Now she's headed home to Chapel Springs with a secret she's not going to be able to keep for very long. 

The first person she turns to upon arriving in Chapel Springs is Daniel Dawson. He's the safe choice. He's always been there and Jade has looked at him as another big brother. The problem is that Daniel doesn't see Jade in the same way. In fact he's spent the last year trying to put his feelings for her behind him and move on. Then on a random Spring evening Jade unexpectedly shows up on his doorstep. She needs him . . . but only as a friend.

In Dancing With Fireflies we get to experience the divine hand of God at work in two peoples lives. What seems like one traumatic incident after another is used to bring about the perfect outcome at just the right time.

Denise Hunter has the art of sexual tension down! Her love scenes pack some definite heat without crossing the line. If you are interested in an electrified romance search no further. Dancing With Fireflies can certainly be read as a stand alone. But let me just recommend going back and reading Madison and Beckett's story in Barefoot Summer. Then treat yourself to the delightful little novella, A December Bride, that is a nice little bridge between the two novels. Trust me, you won't regret it!

Connect with the author:

While Love Stirs by Lorna Seilstad ~ An Historical Romance Review

The Gregory Sisters, Book 2
Lorna Seilstad
Historical Romance

Back of the book:

Take one lovely young woman.
Add two ambitious young men.
Stir . . . and stand back.

As a graduate of Fannie Farmer's School of Cookery, Charlotte Gregory is thrilled to have the opportunity to travel, lecture, and give cooking demonstrations on the very latest kitchen revolution--the gas stove. And she certainly doesn't mind that the gas company has hired the kindhearted Lewis Mathis to entertain at her lectures.

Lewis encourages Charlotte's work, especially her crusade to introduce fresh, appetizing, nutritious food to those convalescing in hospitals. But young hospital superintendent Dr. Joel Brooks is not convinced any changes should be made--especially by this outspoken young woman.

When Charlotte and Joel are coerced into planning a fund-raising gala for the hospital, will this combustible pair explode?

Follow the second Gregory sister as she looks for true love and makes her way in a rapidly changing world in this breezy, lighthearted love triangle that will keep you guessing.

My thoughts:

I'm not a great cook, but I sure do enjoy the tastes and smells of a delectable dinner. I also enjoy a great historical romance. While Love Stirs combines those two elements to make you salivate over the delicious food and swoon over the budding romances.

Charlotte has finished her culinary education but is finding it next to impossible to secure a job with a restaurant. The year is 1910 and it is still very much a man's world. Not one of the chefs she has applied with will even consider employing her because she is a woman. 

Meanwhile, Charlotte's older sister Hannah has given birth to a beautiful baby girl. During a visit to the hospital Charlotte meets the very handsome but very set in his ways Dr. Joel Brooks. When they clash over the hospital's menu sparks begin to fly. How can she find such an irritating man to be so appealing?

After winning a cooking competition Charlotte is offered a job doing cooking demonstrations and selling gas stoves to women in the Saint Paul, Minnesota area. The gas company has also hired Lewis Mathis to provide entertainment during the cooking demonstrations. Lewis is a kind, talented and mild mannered man. Charlotte isn't as attracted to him as the irritating Dr. Brooks, but should she discount such a nice guy?

This second installment of the Gregory sister's story is a fun and romantic story with a bit of a mystery thrown in. Although it is the second book in the series it is entirely possible to read it as a stand-alone book. If you are reading it with your book club there is a Reading Group Guide that you can download. 

The Kid Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews ~ A Children's Book Review and Giveaway

Andy Andrews
Illustrated by Philip Hurst
Juvenile Nonfiction

About the book:

Everything You Do Matters.

The Kid Who Changed the World reveals the incredible truth that everything YOU do matters--what you did yesterday, what you do today, and what you will do tomorrow. Every choice you make, good or bad, can make a difference. 

In this engaging tale, bestselling author Andy Andrews shows children that every action, however big or small, can have a ripple effect around the world.

The bestselling book now featuring revised content and new illustrations!

The Kid Who Changed the World tells the story of Norman Borlaug, who would one day grow up and use his knowledge of agriculture to save the lives of two billion people. Two billion! Norman changed the world! Or was it Vice President Henry Wallace who changed the world? Or maybe it was George Washington Carver? But what about Susan Carver?

This engaging story reveals the incredible truth that everything we do matters! Based on his book The Butterfly Effect, Andy’s timeless tale shows children that even the smallest of our actions can make a difference in someone’s life. In turn, that person makes a difference in someone else’s life, and the blessing is passed from person to person. Through each character’s story, readers will see that they, too, can be the kid who changes the world.

Now updated with Susan Carver’s story and brand-new illustrations by Phillip Hurst!

My thoughts:

In a world that seems to tell children that they don't matter, this book is a breath of fresh air. The message that what you do today does matter. In fact what you do today will impact tomorrow and all the days that follow. 

Most of us learned about George Washington Carver in school. But this book takes us through the ripple effect of his life. It tells about his past and how it affected what he was able to accomplish. It also talks about how his life impacted others and through that millions of people were fed.

Not only is this a great book to be read in your home, it would also be a wonderful resource in your education circles. Andy Andrew's website has some great resources that will enhance your book experience. This book would be a great leaping off point in a study of how you can make a difference in the world.

The Giveaway:

We have partnered with Tommy Nelson to offer one of our readers a chance to win a copy of The Kid Who Changed the World. If you would like to enter the giveaway just use the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway is open to any US resident age 18 and older.

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A May Bride by Meg Moseley ~ A Contemporary Fiction Novella Review

A May Bride
A Year of Weddings, Book 6
Meg Moseley
Contemporary Fiction

About the book:

A year's worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. 
Happily ever after guaranteed.

She thinks she has prepared for her wedding all her life . . . but it seems she may have forgotten the most important part.

Ellie Martin, a country girl in Atlanta, has dreamed of a traditional wedding all her life-a wedding just like the one her younger sister is planning back home. Their single mom will pay for Alexa's wedding, but Ellie started her own wedding fund years ago. She only needs to find a groom.

At a wedding at her church, Ellie bumps into a man who's one of the guests. She's noticed him around the neighborhood, but today he introduces himself as Gray Whitby. They embark on a whirlwind romance, but her mother doesn't trust freewheeling men like Gray.

When Ellie risks her own future for her sister's sake, Gray feels betrayed. Will he always play second fiddle to Ellie's family?

Will Ellie and Gray reconcile their differences so her dream wedding can come true, or will the romance they've begun come crashing down?

My thoughts:

Ellie is by nature a rule follower instead of a rule breaker. Except for when she sneaks onto the neighborhood church grounds to tend the gardens to relieve her stress. Pulling weeds and putting order into chaos is her thing. She's just not all that keen on admitting it and asking permission to pursue her therapy.

One early morning she is happily plucking weeds from the church's flower beds when a guerilla wedding hastily invades the garden. Ellie finds herself caught so she quickly hides behind some bushes. She thinks she's safe but little does she know that she's caught the eye of handsome Gray Whitby.

Not only does Gray turn her ordered existence into impulsive adventure, but he also steals her heart along the way. Ellie would love to keep her relationship with Gray a secret but at some point she's gotta break down and tell her momma. And that's where the drama begins!

For such a short story this one contains a whole lot of reading pleasure. First of all I had never heard of a guerilla wedding. What a fun and spontaneous concept! I also loved the storyline of Ellie and her momma. You could clearly see that Ellie's mom wanted the best for her, she was just over the top protective trying to make sure Ellie didn't make the same mistakes she has made. Then there is the sister Alexa. She's younger and over indulged, but Ellie loves her and would do anything to bring her happiness. With all of this smother love how is Ellie ever going to leave and cleave?

The mixed family dynamics were such a great backdrop to this novella. If you are from a Southern family and happen to have a Southern momma, you're going to totally get this book. If you don't . . . well, it's still a delightful little read.

A Year of Weddings Series

A September Bride by Kathryn Springer
An October Bride by Katie Ganshert
A November Bride by Beth K. Vogt

Alone Yet Not Alone: Their Faith Became Their Freedom by Tracy Leininger Craven ~ A Juvenile Fiction Review and Giveaway

Tracy Leininger Craven
Juvenile Fiction

About the book:

Tracy Leininger Craven beautifully recaptures the inspiring true story of faith and survival in the poignant new book, Alone Yet Not Alone: Their Faith Became Their Freedom.

Craven weaves together the terrifying events that sisters Barbara and Regina Leininger, 12 and 9, experienced in 1755 after their family fled a tumultuous Germany to start a new life in Pennsylvania.

The sisters arrived in the New World to learn that the hardship they left behind would follow them to their new home when the French-Indian War erupted, causing the devastating Penn’s Creek Massacre.

Allegheny warriors ambushed their house, killing their father and older brother, kidnapping the young girls and taking them to their village. There they were forced to adapt to the warriors’ way of living—which included dyeing their faces, wearing warrior clothes and adopting the Allegheny ways of worship.

Even more frightening, the warriors separated the sisters, leaving them terrified and bewildered. For four years Barbara, who narrates the story, only had her trust in the Lord to guide her through this tough time.

Inspired by the Leininger sisters’ story, which she learned of while tracing her lineage, Craven delves into what it really means to have faith, even when you think God has turned His back on you. She emphasizes that it was that faith that kept Barbara and Regina together when they were miles apart, and that same hope that stayed within their hearts long after they finally escaped to freedom.

Craven writes in the book, “It is my prayer that those reading this [story] will be encouraged to run the race of life with undaunted faith and endurance—drawing strength from the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ.”

Poetic and overcome with real emotion, Alone Yet Not Alone comes as a blessing to any child or parent who’s ever felt deserted. Craven, who first wrote a draft of this story when she was just nine years old (the same age as Regina), feels that this story is living proof that the power of God’s love withstands the test of time and any situation.

This special movie edition of the book includes behind-the-scenes images from the movie and a color insert.

My thoughts:

Alone Yet Not Alone is a compelling story of faith and endurance. The story of Barbara and Regina Leininger and the other young captives is terrifying and at the same time inspiring. It is hard to imagine ones so young experiencing what they did and not only surviving it but thriving in the aftermath.

The fact that this story is based on a true-life account makes this book all the more appealing to me. I think it would be a great read for tweens and older. It does have depictions of murder and even someone being burned at the stake. The descriptions contained in the book are not gory in the least but they do describe what is happening. If you are going to present it to younger children I would suggest pre-reading first to determine suitability. 

This would make an excellent addition to a book club or a homeschool group. The book contains some very thought provoking discussion questions at the end. A movie based on this book is due to release in theaters on June 13, 2014. Because movies have a tendency to change things up a bit I think it would be a wonderful idea to read the book with your kids before you see the movie.

The movie releases in select theaters on June 13, 2014. You can see if it is at theater near you by checking the Alone Yet Not Alone website.

We always love to read the book before seeing the movie and we wanted to give you the chance to do the same. If you would like a chance to receive a copy of the book just use the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway. The giveaway is open to all U.S. residents ages 18 and older.

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Moms' Night Out and Other Things I Miss by Kerri Pomarolli ~ A Women's Devotional Review and Giveaway

Kerri Pomarolli
Nonfiction/ Devotional

Back of the book:

Shhhh . . .
Mommy is in Time-Out . . .

Messy homes, messier kids, Pinterest fails, lost tap shoes, never ending casseroles, forgetful husbands, and the desire to just take a long bath (preferably with chocolate ice cream) . . . this is called MOTHERHOOD!

Inspired by the endearing, true-to-life movie MOMS' NIGHT OUT, comedian Kerri Pomarolli has created this light, yet inspiring devotional that will definitely make you laugh, but will also help you discover that indeed you are not alone, and that God's gracious provision of love and faithfulness is at work in your life and in your loved ones.

This world can be a funny place, and these stories are bound to prove it. Read a devotion to brighten your morning, or catch a few words to make you smile before bed. There's never a bad time for a good laugh, and as a Mom, you need help in that jungle you call home!

My thoughts:

When you are in the midst of the mommy years it can be hard to find time to spend meditating on the Word. Kerri Pomarolli knows this and she has written a wonderful devotional based on the hit movie Moms' Night Out.

The content is funny and engaging but it still has a depth that will resonate with moms everywhere. Each devotion is short enough to read in one quick setting. The topics will make you laugh and think. They cover a range from 'You Can't Quit Birth' to 'Never Give Up on Your Dreams'. One of my favorite things is the little nuggets of wit and wisdom throughout the book. One of them is titled 'Top Ten Things To Do While Breastfeeding'. This little gem is worth the price of the book.

Each section ends with a 'Take a MOMENT to think about . . .' that usually includes three thought provoking questions that you can ponder during the rest of your day. The last thing is a prayer that reminds you that God is bigger than any situation you face.

This would make a great gift for yourself or for that momma that just needs a little bit of humor and encouragement in her life. It would also be great for that next baby shower you are going to!

Connect with the author:

 photo kerrpomglasses.jpg
Twitter ~ @KerriPom

The Giveaway:

We have partnered with B&H Publishers to offer one of our readers a copy of Moms' Night Out and Moms' Night Out And Other Things I Miss . . .

If you would like a chance at winning a copy just use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. The giveaway is open to US residents ages 18 and older.

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One More Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong ~ A Contemporary Romance Book Review

A Place To Call Home, Book 2
Cathleen Armstrong
Contemporary Romance

Back of the book:

Some things never change . . . and some things 
change you forever.

Sarah Cooley has come home to Last Chance, New Mexico, for one reason--because it doesn't change. After a relationship gone bad with a man who wanted to change everything about her, Sarah is more than ready for the town whose motto may as well be, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Chris Reed, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to spark some change in the little town. As the new owner of the Dip 'n' Dine, he's shaking things up to draw folks from all over the Southwest into his restaurant.

As it turns out, the winds of change are blowing into Last Chance--just not in the ways that Sarah or Chris might expect.

With the same evocative writing and charming characters that won fans for her debut novel, Cathleen Armstrong invites you back to Last Chance for a heartwarming, romantic story of two people navigating the twists and turns of life in a small town.


My thoughts:

Once More Last Chance brings us back to the quaint little middle-of-nowhere town in New Mexico. Things are changing in Last Chance and that doesn't sit well with the locals. In fact Sarah Cooley decided to move back because she likes the way things always stay the same.

Much to her dismay there's a new man in town and his name is Chris Reed. He is the new owner of the Dip 'n' Dine restaurant. A restaurant that has featured the same daily specials for as long as anyone can remember. Chris may be the owner and a professional chef but it sure feels like Carlos and Juanita, the cook and waitress, are the ones calling the shots! 

With Sarah's negative attitude about change and Chris' need to change things up, any type of romantic relationship is surely doomed. But just when it all seems lost, Chris' sister breezes in and leaves him a surprise that will change not only Chris' life, but Sarah's as well.

This second installment in the A Place To Call Home series can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. Many of the characters from the first novel, Welcome to Last Chance, make appearances but the story-line itself doesn't necessarily need the knowledge of the first novel. 

The third book in the series is scheduled to be released in the Spring of 2015. I for one will be looking forward to seeing what happens to Chris' sister Kaitlyn Reed who is introduced in this novel.

Connect with the author:

What My Children Have Taught Me About Loving My Spouse

Did you ever notice how many books there are on loving your spouse? A LOT! Did you ever notice there are not books on how to love your baby? Why? Because no one has to teach you how to love your baby. Sure there are parenting books on how to raise your baby, but the truth is once a baby is born you love it. You don’t have to be taught or even think about it you just know how by instinct.

This instinct is not how marriage works. (Or at least not in my case.) When Sam and I were dating and engaged we loved each other like crazy and couldn't wait to get married. We had fun together and took turns doing nice things for each other.

After we were married and living together for several months there were things we learned about each other that we did not find so lovable. We never realized how hard it would be to deal with family members. Or how we each thought that the way our mom did something was the RIGHT way! Which of course caused the other one to say, "So, my mom does it this way and my momma is never wrong!" Sound familiar?

I remember one of the things that made me the craziest was the debate of what to do with butter. Yes, I said butter! Sam grew up with stick butter being left on the table in a butter dish. When he did this I told him how wrong he was and that no one in their right mind would do that! Of course he felt very insulted by this and I was left wondering when he became less than perfect.

This same scenario in reverse happened when I bought cinnamon flavored toothpaste. He thought I was crazy and no one in their right mind would ever buy cinnamon toothpaste because it burns your mouth.

Another issue was restaurant choice. He loves buffets and I do not. After many other petty little disagreements we started realizing that we were different and that marriage was a little harder than we originally thought it would be.

Fast forward almost seven years. Now we are a family of four, with two adorable little boys. Two boys that both Sam and I would both lay down our life for. They are our world. We cannot even imagine a life without them.  I am not sure there were ever two boys so well loved (as all parents say!)

Since those two joined our family we have come to realize that those little issues that I mentioned above don’t matter. The real reason is because my children have taught us what real love looks like. Children teach you that real love is going somewhere you don’t like because it makes the other person so incredibly happy. When that person is happy it makes you happy too because you get joy out of them being so happy.

Children teach you that real love is getting zero sleep because you cannot stand to see the other sick. You stay up and care for them and then when the sickness has passed you realize you both made it. Children teach you that real love is realizing that even the awful things in life are better gone through together than alone.

Children get a bad rap all the time but the truth is our children have made us better people. Our marriage is better and our whole outlook on life is better.

If Sam wants butter on a dish on the table he can have it because our children have taught me that to really love someone you love them for simply being them.

Just Keeping It Real,


Growing with Jesus from Tommy Nelson ~ A Children's Devotional Book Review and Giveaway

Andy Holmes
Juvenile Nonfiction/ Devotional

Suggested ages: 6-10

Back of the book:

Jesus' love--something your children will never outgrow!

By the time your child finishes this book, he or she may have:
  • grown an inch taller
  • survived two or more haircuts
  • outgrown a pair of shoes or jeans
  • worn out and automatically replaced 120,000,000 cells!
IT'S AMAZING TO WATCH CHILDREN GROW. One day, they're little kids; the next day, they're almost teenagers. God loves to see children grow too--but more than anything, He wants them to grow closer to Him.

Each of these 100 devotions offers a Bible verse, a bite-sized "Thoughts to Grow On" devo, and a challenge that encourages kids to connect to God. Plus, fascinating facts teach kids cool new things about God's creation.

As your children change on the outside, jake sure they spend time with Jesus every day so that their faith keeps up. Once they start growing, it'll be hard to stop them--and their faith!

My thoughts:

If you are looking for a great way to keep your kiddo in the Word this Summer . . . look no further! Growing with Jesus is the perfect little devotional for laid back Summer days. The graphics are colorful and the content is very engaging. The perfect combo to peek the interest of your child.

Each day's topic is unique with a Scripture to begin with. The 'Thoughts To Grow On' section expounds on the daily topic and leaves you with thoughts to discuss and ponder. One of our favorite things about each day was the 'My Amazing World' section. This part gives a fascinating fact about the world we live in. As an adult even I learned some new facts!

This book is recommended for boys and girls ages 6-10. I also think it could work for slightly younger and slightly older siblings making it a great resource for family devotions.

The Giveaway:

We have partnered with Tommy Nelson to offer one of our readers a chance to win a copy of So Not Okay. If you would like to enter the giveaway just use the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway is open to any US resident age 18 and older.

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Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson ~ An Historical Fiction Book Review

Melanie Dobson
Historical Fiction

Back of the book:

Gisèle Duchant has a secret. With Hitler’s army bearing down on Normandy, Gisèle hides her brother and other resistance fighters in the tunnels underneath the Château d’Epines, her family’s medieval home. When the soldiers take over the château, Gisèle is forced to share her beloved home with the enemy even as she continues harboring members of the French resistance right below their feet. Then her best friend—a Jewish woman—disappears, and Gisèlerisks everything to care for her friend’s child. When the Nazis begin to suspect her secrets, Gisèle must work with an unlikely ally in an attempt to save herself and the life of this child.

Reeling from the deception of her fiancé, Chloe Sauver leaves the United States for her family’s ancestral home in Normancy. A filmmaker, Riley Holtz, has uncovered a fascinating story about Jews serving in Hitler’s army and he travels to the Château d’Epines to interview Gisèle’s granddaughter for his documentary. Chloe is floored—she doesn’t know the Nazis occupied her family’s home nor does she know what happened to her grandparents during World War II. As Chloe and Riley work together to unravel her family’s story, she is shocked by the secrets they find buried at the château . . .

My thoughts:

Every once in a while a book comes along that I think would make an intriguing movie. Chateau of Secrets is one of those books. Not only is the story full of twists and turns, but it also contains a piece of history that isn't widely known. During World War II there were a group of Jewish men that fought in the Germany army. They had many reasons to do so. Some were forced into service and some volunteered in an effort to save their loved ones. 

Another thing that sets this historical fiction book apart from others is the way the story unfolds. Chapter by chapter the reader is taken from the present then back into the past. As modern day Chloe is discovering the secrets of her family at the Château d’Epines in one chapter, then the tale of her grandmother Gisèle during the German occupation is playing out in the next chapter. This made the story read like a fast-paced suspense thriller.

The most amazing thing about this book was that it was loosely based on the real life story of  Genevieve Marie Josephe de Saint Pern Menke. It is completely plausible to think of this story as a work of fiction, but to understand that someone actually went through and survived all that this novel contains is just mind blowing. I enjoyed reading all of the follow up notes about the story at the end of the book just as much as the novel itself. 

What struck me the most about this account is how much we really don't even know about our own stories. Vague memories that we have as children may have one meaning to us, but if the truth were completely revealed it would have another meaning entirely. This story will cause you to think about how important our past is in relation to what our future will become. If you are a fan of historical fiction you are going to particularly like this one!

Connect with the author: 

It's The Little Things That Make Me Crazy!

Little things bother me. And with little kids around there are a lot of little things that bother me. These little things can add up and by the end of the day I am DONE! Like, I cannot handle One. More. Little. Thing. DONE.

Anyone else?

I usually stay up way too late even though I know that as soon as I fall asleep it will be time to get up and do it all over again. I'll be dealing with those little things from yesterday and the new little things that happen today. It’s so overwhelming!
I am sitting here trying to think of ways where I can just let the little things not bother me so much.

For instance my youngest is sick. When I finally got him to sleep I went into the kitchen and started making my oldest Mac and Cheese. About two minutes into making Mac and Cheese my youngest wakes up screaming. So I run in there thinking something is terribly wrong only to discover that he wants ME! I lay down next to him to get him back to sleep and about five minutes later I smell burning noodles.

I get the little one settled with a Barney video and run back in to the kitchen. There I find my oldest crying because the Mac and Cheese that he NEEDED is now burnt. Of course that was the last box of Mac and Cheese we had. 

Little things like this didn't used to bother me before kids. Now they make me totally insane!!! (My momma would say I need to eat better and get more sleep. She's probably right but that little piece of advice makes me crazy too!)

I feel like I just can never get it all together and the thing is I want more kids but feel like I am such a mess.

Anyone else?

Just Keeping It Real,


For All The Mommas ~ Let It Go! (A Mom Parody)

Frozen’s Let It Go — A Mom Parody from Granger Community Church on Vimeo.

I saw this on a friend's Facebook page and I just had to share it with all of you! I love parodies and this one is particularly appropriate. The first time I clicked on it my son came running and said, "That's Frozen, that's Frozen." then he promptly began singing the real words. Luckily for me the words the woman is singing are on the screen and I could just sit back and enjoy!

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Have a great weekend!!!

Just Keeping IReal,


So Not Okay by Nancy Rue ~ A Juvenile Fiction Book Review and Giveaway

Mean Girl Makeover, Book 1
Nancy Rue
Juvenile Fiction 

About the book:



According to the Ambassadors 4 Kids Club, one out of every four students is bullied—and 85% of these situations never receive intervention. Parents, students, and teachers alike have amped up the discussion of how to solve the bullying problem for a networked generation of kids.

Written by bestselling author, Nancy Rue, each book in the Mean Girl Makeover trilogy focuses on a different character’s point of view: the bully, the victim, and the bystander. Each girl has a different personality so that every reader can find a character she relates to. The books, based on Scripture, show solid biblical solutions to the bullying problem set in a story for kids.

So Not Okay tells the story of Tori Taylor, a quiet sixth grader at Gold Country Middle School in Grass Valley, California. Tori knows to stay out of the way of Kylie, the queen bee of GCMS. When an awkward new student named Ginger becomes Kylie’s new target, Tori whispers a prayer of thanks that it’s not her. But as Kylie’s bullying of Ginger continues to build, Tori feels guilty and tries to be kind to Ginger. Pretty soon, the bullying line of fire directed toward Ginger starts deflecting onto Tori, who must decide if she and her friends can befriend Ginger and withstand Kylie’s taunts, or do nothing and resume their status quo. Tori’s decision dramatically changes her trajectory for the rest of the school year.

My thoughts:

If you are living and breathing then you've probably encountered bullying in some way. The time has come for us to begin to fight back against the mean girls! 

Nancy Rue has written an amazing trilogy that addresses the topic of bullying in a unique way. Each of the three books will look at the topic of buyllying from a different perspective. The first book So Not Okay, centers around shy sixth grader Tori Taylor. Tori represents what it is like to be a bystander to bullying.

Tori is sweet and just wants to stay out of the limelight. She is no match for the overbearing Kylie. In fact she goes out of her way to avoid conflict with Kylie. When Ginger comes along and draws Kylie's fire, Tori is caught in a dilemma that too many of our girls face each day.

I have long been a fan of Nancy's writing, and I have to say this is some of her finest work. She does an amazing job of giving voice and emotion to this pervasive topic. Every tween or young teen girl should read this. Yes it is a work of fiction but I'm sure you will immediately see the powerful message of these fictional girls. The damage of bullying can be long lasting and we need to do whatever we can to put a stop to it.

The next two books in the series will address bullying from the perspectives of victim and bully. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the story. I hope you will join myself and others in declaring that bullying is #SoNotOkay!

Connect with the author:

The Giveaway:

We have partnered with Tommy Nelson to offer one of our readers a chance to win a copy of So Not Okay. If you would like to enter the giveaway just use the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway is open to any US resident age 18 and older.

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Spring and Summer Are My Favorite Seasons

Parenting gets a whole lot easier come spring and summer. You can spend hours outside with your littles and it’s like a kiss from God!

 It’s so nice to actually just sit and zone out and think about anything or nothing at all without too many interruptions. Plus it’s great for the kids to learn to entertain themselves.

For this reason I want to move to the South someday so I can have nice weather 90% of the year!

Here is a little video of the boys playing in the backyard.

It’s weird watching that video because I can remember being that age in my own backyard. My mom would be sitting on the lounger reading a book and drinking Bigelow tea. I now know why she encouraged us to enjoy the backyard . . . it gave her a much needed break!

I never want those days to end. I know they will and it will be sooner than I am actually ready for. 

I also love the evenings when hubby comes home and we make a fire and do hot dogs and s’mores. No phones, no worries, just us.

What about you? Do you soak in Spring and Summer like us?

Just Keeping It Real,


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