Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Book Review and Giveaway: Once Upon a Wine By Beth Kendrick

ONCE UPON A WINE

By: Beth Kendrick

Published: July 26, 2016

Publisher: NAL

Fiction




Beth Kendrick has created a series of books all set in the same Delaware community of Black Dog Bay, where women go to recuperate after jilted relationships, broken marriages, or in this case, to buy a winery.

Ginger has decided to fulfill one of her bucket list items by purchasing a winery. After surviving cancer, she realized here is no time like the present and purchased the Lost Dog Vineyard in Black Dog Bay. The only problem is she knows nothing about growing grapes or making wine. Her daughter, Kat, thinks her mom has gone over the deep end and calls her cousin Cammie to come and talk some sense into her mom. Cammie, ironically, has just lost her job waitressing at a fancy restaurant and is feeling like California isn't for her anymore. She doesn't have a place to live or a job, so she has nothing to lose. She packs up her belongings and heads to Delaware to see what her aunt has gotten herself into.

Coming to Black Dog Bay brings back memories for Cammie of one summer spent with Ian, a farmer that almost made her throw caution to the wind and embark on a new life....almost. Kat, is trying to grasp a new life as well, as a retired skateboarder. A back injury has ended her career as a famous skateboarder and she is in the middle of an early mid-life crisis trying to grasp the idea of being a suburban wife instead of a sports star.

 Like the rest of Kendrick's books. this one stands alone while revisiting some of the previous characters and locations in Black Dog Bay. It is full of the witty banter and hilarious antics of her previous books with a cover that grabs your attention on the shelf.

This light-hearted romance doesn't focus on the physical part of the relationships, leaving out the sordid details and instead focusing on the relationships between the characters. This is Kendrick's strength and why this series of books has been so successful. Readers care about the characters in the story, want them to recover, and be successful. Then each book connects back to those characters and reminds you that things can work out even after devastating failures.

Tuck ONCE UPON A WINE in your beach bag or carry on and finish out your summer with the ladies of Black Dog Bay and a glass of strawberry wine!

Favorite quote:

" Failure had set them free to find new dreams, 
build new relationships, to discover who they really were." Page 283

Beth Kendrick - source
Beth Kendrick is the author of THE WEEK BEFORE THE WEDDING, THE LUCKY DOG MATCHMAKING SERVICE, AND NEARLYWEDS, which was turned into a Hallmark Channel original movie. Although she lives in Arizona, she loves to vacation at the Delaware shore, where she brakes for turtles, eats boardwalk fries, and wishes that the Whinery really existed. For more on Beth Kendrick, check out her website, HERE. You can also find her on Facebook, HERE, and Twitter, HERE. Find all the books in the Black Dog Bay series, HERE

Lucky for you, I have one copy of ONCE UPON A WINE to give to one of my readers. To enter to win, fill in the form below. 



If you can't wait for the giveaway, you can purchase a copy of ONCE UPON A WINE, by clicking the photo below:



My review of CURE FOR THE COMMON BREAKUP
My review of NEW USES FOR OLD BOYFRIENDS
My review of PUT A RING ON IT

A post from today, 8 years ago - Friends are the Family You Choose 
A post from today, 6 years ago - Thought for the Day 
A post from today, 5 years ago - What Have I Done? I even updated this one to reflect current things done.
A post from today, 4 years ago - Book Review: Solomon's Oak By JoAnn Mapson


Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission, without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Inspiration This Week from Reading the Bible in 90 Days


Five years ago, I started the Bible in 90 Days Reading Plan, 
reading with over a thousand others across the world. 
At that time, I only made it to the Book of Jeremiah, about a month before the finish. 
I was disappointed in myself but knew I could try it again.



A few weeks ago, I came across my bookmark for the Bible in 90 Days 
and was thinking about starting the reading again on my own, without a scheduled group. 

I decided to pray about it and wait and see if this was really the right time to do it.

Then a week or so after that day, I received an email from one of the bloggers I follow and leader from the last Bible in 90 Days and guess what, she was starting another session that next week.

I felt like her email was meant for me and knew it was just the nudge I needed.
I commented right away, before I could change my mind, and said I would join her.

Amy at Mom's Toolbox is one busy lady. In fact, during the first week of the readings, she was traveling in Europe during most of that week. If she can find time to read, then I certainly can too.

So, last Monday (July 18) we started reading and the reading should be done October 15, 2016. 

Yes, I will have a lot going on in the coming weeks and will make it very tough for me to find the time, but over this last week, I realized it is very doable. During some down time, rather than going on social media, I would open my Bible app and read. 

I'm not pressuring myself like last time to journal and take notes. I'm just reading...mostly from the app on my phone. That makes the Bible available whenever and wherever I want to read it. Whether I have 5 minutes or an hour. I'm highlighting passages I want to remember, but nothing further. I am just reading and soaking it in.  That alone has made the reading so much easier.

I wanted to share one verse that impacted me last week.
 We read Genesis and Exodus last week and my verse comes from Exodus 14:14. 


"The Lord will fight for you;
you need only to be still."
Exodus 14:14

When I'm struggling with something, I am usually very agitated, always searching for answers, and worrying about my next move. 
This was a reminder I needed to just let God do all that. 
I just need to be patient and be still.

I'll try to share something each week from my reading that impacted me.
It isn't too late to join in the Bible in 90 Days reading. I'd love to read along with you. 
Check in HERE and get your daily reading assignments. 


A post from today, 6 years ago - Hummingbirds

Monday, July 25, 2016

Product Review: Viva Naturals Organic Argan Oil


VIVA NATURALS ORGANIC ARGAN OIL is perfect for your skin and hair. If your hair likes to frizz out during these hot and humid summer days, try Argan Oil. If your skin seems parched...even if you are oily....try Argan Oil. Celebrities are raving about Argan Oil as the new beauty secret. Nourish your skin and your hair with Viva Naturals Organic Argan Oil.


I have fine hair that lays flat and lifeless or is frizzy, especially during the high humidity days we have been having this summer. Adding a drop of Argan Oil to my palm, I gently smooth the Argan Oil into my damp hair and I no longer have to worry about the frizz halo around my head. It also makes my hair feel a little thicker and is easier to style.



I have also used Argan Oil to moisturize and nourish my skin while I sleep. I have very oily skin and I used to think I couldn't use moisturizers because it would only make me more oily. But that is actually far from the truth. Oily skin usually needs MORE moisture. After washing my face before bed, I add a drop of Argan Oil and gently massage it onto my face. At first, it feels odd to have that much oil on your face, but it quickly absorbs into your skin and by morning, your face will feel amazing. Catherine Zeta-Jones does this every night and contributes her dewy complexion to her use of Argan Oil. I can really notice a difference in my skin as well as my hair after using the Argan Oil. 

Viva Naturals Argan Oil is certified organic and additive free. The oil is cold-pressed from kernels of the Moroccan argan tree so it's the real deal. There is a slight odor when you apply the argan oil that only last for seconds and then you can no longer smell it at all. 

I've been thrilled with the results of Viva Naturals Argan Oil. If you would like to purchase some, click the photo below:




A post from today, 6 years ago - Say A Prayer 
A post from today, 4 years ago - My Mom, A Schwannoma, and Our Last Three Months 



Thanks to Viva Naturals for sending this product for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the product through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Children's Book Review: Two Books from Carole P. Roman

 CAN A PRINCESS BE A FIREFIGHTER?

By: Carole P. Roman

Illustrated by: Mateya Arkova

Published: March 25, 2016

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Fiction

Two sweet girls ask their father if they can still be a princess no matter what else they decide to be. As he looks down at them he reassures them that no matter what they decide to be, a dancer, reporter, doctor, or construction worker, they have many choices. He reminds them that they can always change their mind and their choices are limitless. As long as they are happy, they can be whatever they want to be and wear their wings too.

This is a sweet story that I know our daughter would have loved when she was little. She loved being a princess and reading princess stories. This one takes a realistic approach reminding our young girls that their dreams are limitless and any job could use a little princess added to it.

I was a bit disappointed in the illustrations for this book. The colors and designs are muted and almost have a blurry tone to it. I liked all the illustrations of the girls in different work uniforms but didn't feel like the images jumped off the pages.

Overall, this is a great story for young princess lovers that sends a positive message along with being silly.



ROCKET-BYE

By: Carole P. Roman

Illustrated by: Mateya Arkova

Published: March 13, 2016

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Fiction

This lovely bedtime story takes two young boys on an adventure in space before bedtime. As they ride atop a rocket ship, they travel past the moon and planets while viewing constellations along the way. But, every trip across the galaxy ends up in their bed ready to sleep.

The author uses a rhyming scheme to travel through the pages and the rhymes work well without any awkward words. You can easily teach your child more about the planets and constellations by looking for them in the night sky before going to bed.

In this book, the muted illustrations work nicely to bring a calming feel to the story. But, the artists style of illustrations appears a bit blurry on the pages.

If you have a space-loving boy or are looking for a new addition to your bedtime stories, ROCKET-BYE will take them on an adventure at every bedtime.


Award winning author Carole P. Roman is a former teacher turned businesswoman. She has successfully run a family business with her husband that employs close to five hundred people. Her most favorite job is being a grandmother to her many grandchildren. Roman has two wonderful sons and hit the jackpot in the daughter-in-law department. She currently lives on Long Island with her husband. For more on Carole P Roman, check out her website, HERE


To purchase a copy of CAN A PRINCESS BE A FIREFIGHTER? click the photo below:



To purchase a copy of ROCKET-BYE, click the photo below:





I will be linking up this review with Booking Mama's Kid Konnection. Every Saturday, she offers a link up for other bloggers to share their posts related to children's and YA books. To see all the posts, click HERE


A post from today, 6 years ago - Calm 
A post from today, 5 years ago - Things I Love - Bennett
A post from today, 4 years ago - Scenes from Our Week - Weeks 41 and 42
A post from today, 3 years ago - A Little Monday Inspiration



Thanks to the author for sending these books for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the books through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Book Review: Modern Girls By Jennifer S. Brown

MODERN GIRLS
A Novel

By: Jennifer S. Brown

Published: April 5, 2016

Publisher: NAL

Historical Fiction/Women's Fiction



I have read many books set during this turbulent time in our history, but nothing that has tackled the delicate subject of unexpected pregnancies in a mother AND a daughter.  The setting is 1935, New York City. The Krasinsky family lives in an apartment in the Lower East side of a Jewish neighborhood. Dottie is the responsible daughter who works in Midtown Manhattan crunching numbers all day. It may sound boring but for Dottie, numbers calm her and bring her structure. If she can just make the numbers work out then everything will fall into place. Unfortunately, the numbers aren't falling into place when she starts calculating the weeks and realizes she is pregnant and there is no possible scenario that her long-time beau is the father.

Rose, Dottie's mother, has five children and now that the boys are a little older, feels she is ready to devote more time to Socialism. Her brother is stuck in Europe and with the news of Hitler and his attacks on the Jews, she is desperate to bring him to America. Just when Rose starts to think she can leave some of the cooking and cleaning behind, she realizes she is pregnant.

Dottie and Rose keep their secrets to themselves, hiding behind dresses that are fitting too tight and appetites that are waning due to nausea. Suddenly one of them notices their symptoms are similar the two share their secrets with each other. Rose puts all her efforts into saving Dottie's relationship and reputation while dreading her own future of raising more children. The desperation of their situations and the sacrifices Rose is willing to make for Dottie offer amazing glimpses into the lifestyle of these women in the 1930's.

I found the dual pregnancies interesting with both women dreading the consequences of their actions. Rose is happily married and was finally seeing the "light at the end of the tunnel" of motherhood while Dottie had plans for marrying a loyal Jewish man and taking college courses. She had just been named Head Bookkeeper and was thankful she could contribute more to the family's finances.

Of course, the two of them can't keep their pregnancies hidden forever and Dottie's world is suddenly turned upside down. There are decisions made that will affect both Dottie and Rose for a lifetime. I found the pre-WWII piece of the story to be quite interesting. So much of the truth was hidden from people living in America. The news from Europe that was being reported in the papers wasn't as bad as what was truly happening to the Jewish people. Rose was frantic to get her brother to America but while reading, I was wondering to myself if it was already too late.

With the chapters rotating between Dottie's perspective and Rose's, the story moves along quickly because you want to get back to the other character's situation. I found the main characters and their friends and family to be well-developed and created with care. From Dottie's snippy and conniving co-workers to Rose's deeply opposite boys, you could picture each one of them and appreciate their part of the storyline. For a debut novel, the novel is particularly unique and draws you in from the first few pages.

As I found the story moving along at a fast pace and wondering how everything was going to end, I noticed I was in the final pages of the book (I read this as an eBook). I knew there was no way the lives of Dottie and Rose were going to get wrapped up in these final pages and I began to worry. If you don't like endings that leave you guessing, then this may disappoint you. It isn't that I wanted everything neat and tidy, but I felt let down with the ending as it was. I can understand if the author is hoping to write a sequel, but if not, I feel it was a much too abrupt ending with too many questions left unanswered.

This debut novel certainly held my attention and left a memorable impact. I just hope there is more to tell in this mother/daughter story.

Jennifer S. Brown - source
Jennifer S. Brown lives and writes in the suburbs of Boston. When she's not writing, she's running, reading, baking, and spending time with her husband and two kids.

Her fiction, articles, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, and she was the winner of the 2005 World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest. MODERN GIRLS is her debut novel. For more on Jennifer S. Brown, check out her website, HERE




To purchase a copy of MODERN GIRLS, click the photo below:




A post from today, 6 years ago - Thought for the Day
A post from today, 5 years ago - Review: Totally Together - Shortcuts to an Organized Life By Stephanie O'Dea 




Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book to me for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Review: Gracie's Song By Michelle Schlicher

GRACIE'S SONG

By: Michelle Schlicher

Published: March 7, 2016

Publisher: Michelle Schlicher

Fiction/Women's Fiction



I love finding out about Iowa authors and sharing their books with my readers. Michelle Schlicher lives near Des Moines and has written her second fiction novel which she says fits in the category of Contemporary Romance. I'd have to disagree and I would consider it more a Contemporary Fiction as the romance didn't hit me as being the main part of the story. Seeing romance in the genre is usually a turn-off for me and in case it is for you, I don't want you to only think of this novel as a romance. It is so much more.

Gracie's is forced to return home after leaving suddenly, ten years ago, without a single goodbye. She left behind a mother and sister as well as her high school boyfriend and never looked back. Gracie had her reasons and has kept them a secret, not coming back once to visit her family or friends, and starting a new life several hours away. When she returns for her mother's funeral, the past memories of her difficult childhood with an alcoholic and abusive father haunt her. She also has to confront Finn, the man she had planned her future with and never spoke to again. 

Much of Gracie's story is told in flashback format, either in her memories or those of her friends and family. I wish the author would have used a different font style or maybe set these flashbacks off in some way. These flashbacks would appear in the middle of a present tense part of the story without any warning and at first made the novel confusing. I would have to reread parts once I figured out this part was a flashback. As I got used to the flow of her novel, I was more aware and ready, but having a way to set that part of the story apart would have made it easier for the reader.

With that aside, Gracie's story was deeply emotional and moving. At first, the reader can't understand her leaving behind a sister and mother whom she dearly loved, only communicating via email. Gracie seems selfish and immature. Then as her story is told, one can understand the damage from her father's tirades, her need to start fresh, and the secret she kept from everyone. As Gracie returns and reconnects, the reader joins her in the up and down emotions of grasping life back in her hometown. Her first meeting with Finn is difficult and you can feel the hurt and damage Gracie's leaving did on him. Their relationship is strong and the reader can feel the love the two still share. There is hope for a renewed relationship even though a trust has been shattered and can be difficult to rebuild. So, yes, that romance piece is there, but it leaves out the fluff and only includes the real pain and joy of a love shared between two people.

I think Schlicher has a real talent for writing. This story of redemption and forgiveness is one that readers can connect to and reflect on mistakes in life. It’s never too late to say “I’m sorry” or to start fresh and sometimes we all need that reminder.

Michelle Schlicher - source

MICHELLE SCHLICHER is the author of the novels THE BLUE JAY and GRACIE’S SONG. A graduate of Iowa State University, she subsequently worked for six years in communications and marketing. She lives in a suburb of Des Moines with her husband and two children. For more on Schlicher, check out her website, HERE
To purchase GRACIE'S SONG, click the photo below:

A post from today, 6 years ago - A Thought for the Day 
A post from today, 4 years ago - Quote for the Day



Thanks to the author for sending a copy of her book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Children's Book Review: Animal Atlas by Animal Planet

ANIMAL ATLAS

By: Animal Planet

Published: May 24, 2016

Publisher: Animal Planet

Non-Fiction

This comprehensive atlas covers each of the seven continents as well as the oceans and the animals and species that inhabit them. The book begins with introducing your child to the various biomes in each of the areas. A world map is featured next with animals placed in their homelands.



Each continent is singled out, first showing the type of land (biome) that makes up the continent. The pages follow with amazing photos, some filling the whole page, of all the animals featured. I guarantee there will be animals that you have never heard of before. The European Souslik reminds me of a prairie dog. Who knew there is a Dung Beetle that helps take care of all the dung across the African desert. The Plumed Basilisk can run across the water or slow down and swim. I was also surprised to learn that the Antarctic Midge is the only insect that is native to Antarctica and is a fly that can't....fly.


As you can see, these are just a few of the many fascinating things to learn in this book. Children will be enthralled by the photos of all the different animals and will enjoy the unique facts about each one. You can even encourage more learning with a Curriculum Guide. It includes a scavenger hunt to help you child find facts throughout the book among many other activities. To download a copy of the guide, click HERE.


The only drawback to the book is the size of it. It is quite a large and heavy book, measuring 11 1/2 by 13 inches. It wouldn't fit on most bookshelves unless turned on its side. Younger children would have to lay the book on the floor to look at the pages as it would be too heavy for them to hold. But, these bigger pages do make the photos pop and they are quite amazing. If your child has to do a report on an animal this coming school year, this book would make a great starting point for finding a unique animal to learn about.

To purchase a copy of ANIMAL ATLAS, click the photo below:




I will be linking up this post with Booking Mama's Kid Konnection. Every Saturday she hosts a link-up for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. To see the posts, click HERE.


A post from today, 6 years ago - Review: Lady of the Butterflies By Fiona Mountain 
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A post from today, 3 years ago - A Little Monday Inspiration and an Update
A post from today, 2 years ago - Books I'm Taking Along on Vacation




Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.