Monday, January 22, 2018

Stephanie's Corner - January Edition

A big and happy hello to you, 
sweet friends and faithful followers, 
and Happy New Year!
I can't tell you how nice it is to be back to blogging
for I have truly missed all of you.
How are you?
I hope you enjoyed the holiday season
and I trust your New Year is off to a beautiful start.




All is well here in the mountains although it's been rather dry.
On Friday when I looked out my living room window 
all I saw was brown grass and mud in the yard,
but yesterday after days and weeks of no snow we got about 1-inch.
It's been such a crazy year concerning the weather.

Christmas was. . .different.
My darling husband and I had plans to spend Christmas Day 
with my husband's family, but sadly, 
I was sick that day and for most of the week.
I slept all week and when I was awake 
my husband, son, and I enjoyed time by the fire 
while watching the Dick Van Dyke show.
While it was a very low-key week,
it was ever so nice to simply spend time with my two loved ones.

And speaking of Christmas,
several of you asked about a Christmas dress for this year.
Yes, I did follow tradition and get an outfit from ModCloth.
{{smiles}}




I found this lovely dress in my favorite shade of green.
While the top of the dress is black
the bottom half is made with a beautiful green silk.

I also purchased the sweet peter pan collar cardigan from ModCloth
along with the booties that are a lighter shade of green.




The New Year was brought in quietly with a night at home with my hubby and son.
The three of us enjoyed snacking on goodies while playing games,
and then I read until well past midnight.
And speaking of reading,
I read a few books over the holidays
and you can find the reviews here.

I would love to hear about your holiday festivities, my friends.

I spent about 2 weeks in my craft room
sewing and creating new handmade treasures for my Etsy shop.
Here is a little peek at what's listed in my shop.

Valentine's Day Goodies




Pretty Wreaths


Shabby Journals


Tote Bags



Tea and Coffee Delights




And MUCH MORE!









The cats are doing well
and keep us laughing with their antics.
Just the other day Burrito gave me a good giggle.
I placed some dresses on my craft table to iron
and after leaving them there for about 30 minutes
I went back to find a little surprise.
I started to pick the pile of dresses up
only to feel something warm and wiggly inside. . .






Why hello, Burrito!
Doesn't he look warm and cozy 
all tucked up inside my dress?




Buttercup, also known as Nutter Butter,
has quite the personality.
She loves attention, 
but it seems she can never sit still long enough 
{unless she is sleeping} to enjoy the attention.
She is an active cat that is into everything.




Don't you just love her coloring?




Stripester and Burrito look like twins
and they are both incredibly sweet and affectionate.

Here is Stripester. . .




And here is Burrito. . .





That's Duke sleeping on the chair.
Duke is precious and he is definitely "my boy."
Every morning he joins me in the bathroom 
while I do my hair and makeup.
He sits on the windowsill patiently waiting for some love and attention,
and when he gets it, look out!
He won't leave me alone.
He likes to sit on my bed and if I get close he will stand up
and reach his paws out for a hug.
It's the cutest thing!




The cats seemed to enjoy their Christmas goodies. . . 




And Melly enjoyed the Christmas tree.
Whenever she "disappeared" all we had to do was look under the tree
and there she was all snuggled up.
Melly tends to keep to herself,
but oh, how she adores my hubby.




I shared with you that I was working on 
"The Bell Carol" composed by David Hicken
to play on the piano during the Christmas season.
Many of you asked if I could record myself.
Well. . . 
my dad came over to my home and recorded me playing it.
This is the first time I have ever done something like this
and believe it or not, I was terribly nervous - HA!
There may be a mistake here and there,
but here you go, my friends,
I am giving you what you asked for. . .please enjoy.
{{smiles}}




And I think that's all for now.
It's very nice to be blogging again
and I am anticipating great things for my blog this year.
I know I have said this before,
but I want you to know {again} that it's you, sweet friends,
who make this blog possible.
Thank you for following along and supporting all that I share.
I hope all of you know how much you mean to me!

Love and hugs!

Friday, January 19, 2018

The View From Rainshadow Bay - Book Review

Hi, sweet friends!
I have yet another book review for you!
{{smiles}}
Before I share my review
I want to say that this latest book from Colleen Coble is quite remarkable,
and if you enjoy suspense with a touch of tender romance well,
you won't want to miss this book.
I know I told you that I would be back to blogging this last week,
but unfortunately, I was not able to get back in to the groove of things.
Currently, I am waiting for "something"
that I want to share on my blog and return post, 
and I have to wait until it's finished.
I am very hopeful that it will "complete itself" this weekend.
Until then, I thank you for your patience.
Love and hugs to you!

* * * * * * * *

After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, 
Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. 
Every day is a struggle to make ends meet 
and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has.

When her business partner is murdered, 
his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger too. 
But where can she turn? 
Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend 
and is the person she blames for his death. 
She’s barely spoken to him since. 
But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son.

Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death 
by helping Shauna any way he can. 
But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood 
that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden.

In The View From Rainshadow Bay, suspense, danger, and a longing to love again 
ignite amid the gorgeous lavender fields of Washington State.




My Thoughts
Colleen Coble is another author you can't go wrong with.
Time and time again she takes readers on an epic journey through words. . .
words that wrap around your heart and grab your attention
from the very first line you read.
The View From Rainshadow Bay does that,
captures the readers interest and doesn't let go 
until that last page is turned and the last line read.
I was on the edge of my seat, my friends. . .
or should I say the edge of my bed since I read this book late into the night
{I simply couldn't put it down}.

The characters were incredibly endearing
and their emotions such as heartache, sadness, and joy, 
could be felt through the pages.
Shauna lost her husband, Jack, and her grief is ever so raw and palpable.
I couldn't help but feel her pain, 
and when a writer can make you feel things through the story
you know she is a talented author.
Zach was truly amazing  and I have no doubt
the reader will fall in love with him instantly. . .I did
When Shauna and Zach, 
two people who haven't spoken to one another since Jack's death,
 are thrown together, healing begins to happen for the two of them,
and through that healing a slow and tender love begins to bud.

There is so much going on in this book. . .
a lot of good stuff that will keep the reader's curiosity piqued.
There are twists and turns that the reader won't see coming
and moments that will leave you holding your breath.
Suspense, tension, excitement, romance, and faith can be found in this book;
it doesn't get much better than that now does it, my friends?
And did I mention the book is set in Washington State 
amid the beautiful fields of lavender?
It makes for a perfect and lovely setting.
I could almost smell the sweet scent of lavender while reading this story.

Keep in mind that if you pick this book up
you most likely won't be able to put it down.
Happy reading!

** I was given a complimentary copy of this book 
from BookLook Bloggers for an honest review. 
All thoughts and opinions are my own 
and no other compensation was received. **

About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble 
has written numerous romantic suspense novels including 
The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and Beneath Copper Falls.
Visit her website at www.colleencoble.com

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Lacemaker - Book Review

When colonial Williamsburg explodes like a powder keg 
on the eve of the American Revolution, Lady Elisabeth "Liberty" Lawson 
is abandoned by her fiancĂ© and suspected of being a spy for the hated British. 
No one comes to her aid save the Patriot Noble Rynallt, 
a man with formidable enemies of his own. 
Liberty is left with a terrible choice. 
Will the Virginia belle turned lacemaker side with the radical revolutionaries, 
or stay true to her English roots? 
And at what cost?

Historical romance favorite Laura Frantz 
is back with a suspenseful story of love, betrayal, and new beginnings. 
With her meticulous eye for detail 
and her knack for creating living, breathing characters
Frantz continues to enchant historical fiction readers 
who long to feel they are a part of the story.




My Thoughts
Laura Frantz. . .
a lovely and talented author that never lets the reader down.
Whenever I read a story written by this wonderful author
I feel as though I have traveled back in time
and am experiencing history at a very real level.
Laura does not hold back
and the work and effort she pours into a historical fiction novel shows.
The content in incredibly rich in detail
and the characters are brought to life through historical events.
I have always appreciated Laura's writing
and I am thankful she keeps her stories clean.
The romance intertwined throughout her books is discreet
yet always enough.
In my opinion, the reader does not need "steamy" scenes
and Laura refrains from those descriptions throughout her novels.
Thank you, Laura!

The Lacemaker is a beautiful story
that is filled with courage, faith, romance,
and detailed history of the Revolutionary War.
While it was a little slow at first,
it was well worth the effort to persevere to the end
because trust me, the reader will be content and satisfied
when the last page is read.
The characters were charming
and the relationship between Liberty and Noble
developed at a perfect pace.
I read one review that said,
"Laura Frantz's writing is amazingly beautiful and practically effortless to read. 
She makes writing a book look easy, though I'm sure it's not."
I couldn't agree more.
My dear friends, if you enjoy historical romance novels
than you won't want to miss this book.
And if you have not read any books by Laura Frantz
I can't help but wonder. . .
what are you waiting for?!
{{smiles}}

** I was given a free copy of this book from Revell Publishers for an honest review.
All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received. 
Thank you Revell! **

About the Author
Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist 
and the ECPA bestselling author of several books, 
including The Frontiersman's Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, 
The Colonel's Lady, The Mistress of Tall Acre, A Moonbow Night, 
and The Ballantyne Legacy series. 
She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. 
Learn more at www.laurafrantz.net.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Oath Of Honor - Book Review

Police officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family. 
With three brothers and two sisters, 
she's never without someone to hang out with--or fight with. 
And she knows they'll be there for her when things get tough. 
Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.

Determined to discover exactly what happened, 
Izzy's investigation sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, 
possibly with cops on the payroll--including someone from her own family. 
With her dead partner's handsome homicide detective brother Ryan
 shadowing her every move, Izzy's head is spinning. 
How can she secure justice for her partner 
when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison? 
And how will she guard her heart when the man she's had a secret crush on for years 
won't leave her side?

With her signature fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, 
Lynette Eason invites readers into a captivating new series 
where justice is a family affair.




My Thoughts
Lynette Eason has been a favorite author of mine
since the very first book I read by her,
and with her extraordinary writing skills 
she remains at the top of my list of favorite authors.
Lynette has a way with words
and every time she writes those words down on paper
she weaves an incredible story that is rich in content.
Her stories leave you satisfied,
yet also have a way of making you wish the story could go on. . .
she's just that good.

Oath of Honor is another winner
and the beginning of a series you won't want to miss
especially if you love action, suspense, romance, and faith.
As Izzy and Ryan race against the clock 
to find the man who shot their beloved friend and brother
they are thrown into something much bigger and more dangerous 
than they could have possibly imagined.
You'll need to hang on to your seats, my friends, 
because this story will take you on a wild ride
and  it will have you questioning everything. . . 
who did what,
which character can be trusted,
and will a family that was always respected 
be brought down by lies and dishonesty.

My only complaint, 
a very trivial one and one that has no impact on the story itself,
was the texting throughout the book.
Now I know we live in a day and age where everyone texts,
but I did not enjoy reading the text messages sent between the characters.
The reason:
I truly dislike the abbreviations, acronyms, and poor spelling.
A silly complaint, I know, and in all reality it's one that can be swept under the rug
because it's nothing in comparison to the greatness of this story.

** I was given a free copy of this book from Revell Publishers for an honest review.
All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received. 
Thank you Revell! **

About the Author
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series, 
the Deadly Reunions series, and the Hidden Identity series, 
as well as Always Watching, Without Warning, Moving Target, 
and Chasing Secrets in the Elite Guardians series. 
She is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, 
the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award. 
She has a master's degree in education from Converse College 
and lives in South Carolina. 
Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The House on Foster Hill - Book Review

Before I jump into this book review
I wanted to let you know that I will be back to blogging next week.
I can't wait to catch up with all of you 
as I have missed your blog posts, visits, and comments.
Before I return next week I have several book reviews that I must publish
so please enjoy reading them over the next few days.
January is a perfect month for reading, right?

Until then. . . 
know that you are thought of!

* * * * * * * * * *

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. 
When her husband died two years ago, 
her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. 
In desperate need of a fresh start, 
Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather's Wisconsin hometown. 
But one look at the eerie, abandoned house 
immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. 
And when the house's dark history comes back with a vengeance, 
Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide. 

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill 
holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. 
When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, 
Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. 
Ivy's search leads her into dangerous waters and, 
even as she works together with a man from her past, 
can she unravel the mystery before any other lives--including her own--are lost?




My Thoughts
WOW! And just to be clear, WOW!
You can see on the front cover what Colleen Coble said,
"This novel is spellbinding and unputdownable."
Her words are accurate and on point.
I am amazed that The Hill on Foster Hill is Jaime's debut novel
because it is a work of art.
This fabulous author outdid herself and it's with great anticipation 
that I look forward to her next novel.

The Hill on Foster Hill is set between two time lines.
In 1906, the reader will follow Ivy and will read of her determination 
to bring justice and life to the memory of "Gabriella," 
the nameless young woman found dead in her hometown.
The story also follows Kaine, 
a young woman haunted by the death of her husband. . .
and something else.
Though centuries separate these two women 
their stories are interwoven together.
Through their stories the reader will be taken on a suspenseful journey
filled with shocking and heart-breaking moments.
And through the two of them maybe justice and hope can be served
to a beautiful, nameless woman.

The Hill on Foster Hill is an intense mystery
that will surely keep fans of this kind of genre rooted to their seats.
The author does an amazing joy of keeping the story real.
The suspense is chilling. . .
the pain comes through crystal clear. . .
the romance is tender. . .
the healing brings hope. . .
and the faith leaves the reader thanking the Lord for all things.

A remarkable story written by a very talented author.
The House on Foster Hill is a book I recommend to an older audience.
4.5 stars!

** I was given a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for an honest review.
All thoughts and opinions are my own. No other compensation was received. **

About the Author
Jaime Jo Wright is the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas, 
and a human resources director by trade. 
She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two children. 
The House on Foster Hill is her debut novel. 
To learn more, visit jaimewrightbooks.com.
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