Saturday, December 20, 2014

{Review & Giveaway} Navy Seal Noel by Liz Johnson

I've been reading Liz Johnson's Men of Valor series for awhile. I've been blessed to have the opportunity to review all three books in the series so far. Navy Seal Noel is the third book. Each story stands alone but includes minor characters from previous stories.

The newest book follows the story of SEAL Will Gumble and Jessalyn McCoy.
From the back cover:

Abducted by a drug cartel, scientist Jessalyn McCoy's orders are simple - produce a deadly toxin, or be killed. Trapped with no options, she's desperate for help...she just never expected it from Will Gumble. The boy who let her down years ago is now a navy SEAL. She trusts his skills, his experience. Yet trusting him is a struggle. Will's Christmas wish is to heal their damaged relationship and get t hem to safety. But time is running out and the stakes keep rising. Any mistake could mean the difference between facing the holidays together or apart forever.

Liz does a great job with her books. I knew when I started, I needed to make sure my schedule was left pretty open. I find these books a quick but addicting read. Once I start, I don't want to stop until I'm done! Thankfully they aren't all that long, a couple hundred pages, but my boys were a bit neglected for a day or two. And I was correct. Once again this was a great read. I was drawn immediately into the story. It was a great escape for a few days and very enjoyable. Thanks, Liz, for another great read!

About the author:
By day Liz Johnson is a marketing manager for a Christian publisher. She finds time to write late at night and is a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist. Liz makes her home in Nashville, TN, where she enjoys theater, exploring local music, and making frequent trips to Arizona to dote on her nieces and nephews. She loves stories of true love with happy endings and shares about her adventures in writing at, and

Would you like to have your own signed copy of Navy Seal Noel? Leave a comment below and let me know what your favorite Christmas carol is. I'll pick a winner on December 31, 2014.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Monday, December 8, 2014

{Review} Susie's Hope DVD

Susie's Hope is a movie that shares the true story behind the law of the same name that was passed in North Caroline seeking harsher punishment for animal abusers. 

Donna Lawrence, a kindhearted woman, only wanted to help the poor neglected dog (yes, a pit-bull) down the street from her house. One afternoon she went to give the dog some food and water. When she turned her back to it, it attacked. She barely survived. 

During her recovery, while walking with a friend in the park, they came across what they thought was a dead puppy (a pit-bull mix) until they saw movement. Little Susie had been beaten (her jaw was broken in two places) and then set on fire for simply licking a child in the home she had lived in. She had third degree burns over sixty percent of her body and her ears were completely burned off.

Donna and her friend, Mona, quickly arranged for Susie to be brought to a local animal shelter. Once there they were told that may be possible to save Susie, however, the cost was potentially prohibitive. However, something told Donna to try to do all she could.

Susie not only lived but thrived under Donna's care. The man responsible for the attack on her was found and tried in court. At the time, however, the law didn't even require jail time for someone who abused an animal. Donna worked to successfully change the that law.

Fair warning, grab some tissues if you plan to watch this film. The attack on Donna, while not graphic, is portrayed very well. The filmmakers also did a great job showing Susie after she was initially found (I'm pretty sure they used a robot, a very good robot). Donna also suffers a miscarriage during the attack and it leaves enough damage that she is unable to have any more children. Her healing from the attack and her miscarriage are done very well also. 

Overall this was a great movie. It does a great job to show just what a small measure of kindness can do. You don't have to set out to change the whole world, but if you can do just one small thing, it can have a big impact on all those around you. 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Writing Update

No fancy title this go round. Just a confession and an update. At the beginning of November I had committed to not only writing a book as part of National Novel Writing Month, but also to blog every day of November as well. Sadly, I met neither goal this year.

I did about 9,000 words for NaNoWriMo, although I started one book and wrote about 2,500 words and then decided I didn't like the theme. So I started a second book and managed about 6,500 words in that one.

My issue this year with NaNoWriMo is that I didn't make it a priority like I had the previous year. I find that as much as I want to write while I'm at home, it just doesn't happen or at least not in any great quantity. The majority of my words written were when I took my laptop and went to various places and sat and wrote for an hour or so. Last year I did that often. This year I did it twice and it showed in my word count. 

I also realized that I like to write so I'm going to work on making it more of a priority this coming year. I still have last year's book to edit and I kind of like the book I started this year so I'd like to finish that one up and see where it goes. I suppose I'm also looking ahead a bit to try to figure out what I want to do when my kids are grown in gone. I have less than 10 years before my youngest will be heading off to college. Yikes!

NaBloPoMo November 2014

I managed a blog post every day for the first week. I tried to jump back in but quickly fizzled out. I don't know why November felt so busy, December is shaping up to be even busier, but it was enough to keep me off-line more than I would have wanted. Although, I do suppose it was a good thing in the end. 

I have some movie reviews upcoming. I also need to get life posts caught up. My boys just finished a production of A Christmas Carol that was awesome, they are wrapping up swim lessons, and we are trying to navigate college plans for my oldest. Needless to say, lots to talk about!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. We celebrate Veteran's Day in the US of A on November 11th. When did you last interact with a member of the armed forces (either currently serving or retired)? Have you ever written a letter to a soldier, bought a meal or coffee for a solider, said an unprompted thank you to a soldier you encountered out and about somewhere? If you're not in the US, comment on a similar holiday in your own country. Just yesterday. We have friends who are retired military and we had Bible study together last night. Aside from that both of my brothers are retired military and my brother-in-law is in the reserves currently, although not currently deployed thankfully. 

I have sent care boxes to soliders overseas. During the first Gulf War I was in college and oftentimes carloads of students would head to the airport - two hours north - to welcome back troops. I had evening classes and I was never able to go. I so wished I had skipped classes to go just once. 

2. You can have fifty pounds of anything at all (except money)...what would you choose? I think, given the time of year, I would want to donate 50 pounds of food to either a local food bank or to some families in need.

3. When did you last receive an invitation in the 'real' mail? What was it for and did you attend? When it comes to RSVP-ing, are you an 'early responder' or a 'last minute, barely-under-the-wire' kind of guest? I'm guessing it was for my brother-in-law's wedding last fall. I think. I honestly can't remember. We obviously did attend that one. As for RSVP-ing...I always want to be an "early responder" but I tend to be "where-on-earth-did-I-put-that" responder. 

4. What's something you really don't like to waste? Time. That's one of my biggest pet peeves actually. 

5. Cheers, Friends, MASH, Seinfeld...of the ones listed, your favorite long-running sitcom? I'm going to have to go with Friends. I think that's one of the only ones I actually watched all the way through. 

6. What decision are you glad you made? To marry my hubby. Best decision ever. 

7. In this month of 'Thanksgiving' what is one thing that's different today than it was a year ago that you're grateful for? Gosh, this ones is hard. I really can't think of anything. I'm sure there is something but it's just not popping in my head at the moment. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

This photo is of my Great-Uncle Walter. I never met him in person, but I grew up hearing stories about him. He fought in World War II and was shot down and died. He was buried in Belgium. He was my grandmother's brother. I'm so glad I have photos and stories of him to share with my boys. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

{Review} When Calls the Heart: Change of Heart DVD

When Calls the Heart: Change of Heart continues the story that started with the first movie, The Dance and was followed up by Second Chances. Elizabeth and Jack are exploring their new relationship when Jack's request for orders, which he asked for months before when he was unhappy in Coal Valley, comes through. He must now leave to fulfill his new duties. Elizabeth must deal with his leaving all the while entertaining her younger sister, Julia, who arrives for a surprise visit.

Julia views the way of life in Coal Valley as simply fun and almost as if it's all just stories from a dime novel. She doesn't take the seriousness of life in the frontier town to heart and soon finds herself in trouble, dragging Elizabeth along with her.

Abigail, the owner of the new bakery in town and a friend to Elizabeth, finds herself at continued odds with the owner of the mine. A man who may not be all that innocent in the tragedy that caused a number of miners to lose their lives not that long before, including Abigail's own husband and son.

Once again I found myself drawn in to this story. Michael London, Jr. does a fantastic job with these films and I found this one as enjoyable as the first two. I look forward to seeing more of them and perhaps I should pick up the book series and read those as well. Janette Oke, the author of the books these movies are based on, is a wonderful author.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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.