Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Grace of Gratitude Journal...Review

About the book:
Grace of Gratitude is an exquisite journal that has lined pages for the reader to express their own thoughts of gratitude. Inspiring examples of gratitude by the author Deborah Perdue, and beautiful illustrations by Tara Thelen are interspersed throughout. Gratitude is a valuable spiritual practice, and through this journal, one can reap the benefits of appreciation of life to feel more joy and more peace on a sustained level. This journal is not only for the novice, but also for anyone who is already experienced at the spiritual practice of feeling gratitude in his or her life.

Gratitude is something that too many of us don't focus on. Too often we only think about the difficulties in life, we don't look around us at the blessings. Expressing gratitude, whether it be to God, to the people around you, to the universe or just acknowledging it to yourself, is so important. At times in my life I have had my own gratitude journals, where the only things I write are about things I am grateful for. It's a beautiful practice and truly does allow happiness and peace into your heart. As often happens though, I get a bit lazy or unfocused and stop recording and opening acknowledging my blessings. But, recognizing that for which we are grateful allows us to feel more joy, more happiness.

Normally I prefer a lined journal with no other distractions. No quotes, no pictures. The Grace of Gratitude journal, however, is wonderful.  The illustrations are lovely and the thoughts and examples provided by the author are terrific prompts for writing about your own thoughts of gratitude.

This would make a lovely gift.

Thanks to Pump Up Your Book Promotion for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Deborah Perdue here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 3/15

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

Monday, March 23, 2015

How to Catch a Prince...Review

About the book:
Prince Stephen came to America to escape responsibility. But what he found complicates his life more than ever.

Corina Del Rey is happy with her life in Melbourne, Florida. She spends her days engrossed in her career as a journalist and has her sights set on climbing the corporate ladder if for no other reason, to distract herself from her dissolving family. But when she is confronted with the past she fought so hard to put behind her, she struggles to make sense of her future.

Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom has moved on since the tragic death of his buddies in Afghanistan. A star professional rugby player, he has no intention of looking over his shoulder at what could've been.

But when a notice arrives in the mail requiring his and his wife s appearance before the courts to dissolve their marriage, he must deal with the questions rumbling around in his heart. He thought his marriage had been annulled long ago, but his memories of Corina Del Rey remain close. Does he still love her? Can he even find her? Above all, can he tell her the truth about that fateful night in Afghanistan seven years ago? If he does, he might really lose her forever."

Several years previous, Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom secretly wed Corina del Rey and they shared a wonderful, but short time together before he deployed to war. After the death of friends who died protecting him, Stephen was overcome with grief and believing his marriage to have never been officially filed or valid, he pulls away from Corina. Corina has tried to move on with her life, but her twin brother died in the attack on Prince Stephen and she has always yearned for answers.

When Prince Stephen discovers that his marriage is, in fact, still valid, he searches out Corina and the two must decide if they want it annulled. Corina refuses to sign the annulment papers until Stephen tells her about the circumstances surrounding her brother's death and he refuses to do so.

The two realize they're still in love, but their differences of opinion regarding the circumstances of her brother's death may just be enough to separate them forever.

This series is just, quite simply, fun. But, How to Catch a Prince tackles a bit more of a sober subject as it also deals with Prince Stephen's PTSD stemming from his war experiences. The story is Christian this one is a bit more heavy handed with the preaching, and there is also a bit of a magical realism to it with a couple of delightful guardian angels.

The book can stand alone, but it is much better if you've read the series in order. I have loved the Royal Wedding series and I was glad to see this story return to Brighton Kingdom. I hope there is more than just this trilogy!

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Rachel Hauck here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 3/15

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Friday, March 13, 2015

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter: Seven Traditions to Lead Us Closer to the Savior...Review

About the book:
Discover how the personal experiences of people who were closest to the Savior during the final week of His life can change the way your family celebrates Easter. Learn the meaning behind the wheat baskets, the forget knot, the red egg, and other traditions that will help Easter become a “High Holy Day” in your heart and in your home.

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter offers hope for an Easter filled with the Spirit of Christ as we offer our finest to Him in deepest gratitude for His sacrifice. Return to the spiritual roots of this holy celebration with this beautiful gift book that will help bring you and your family closer to Jesus Christ.

So much of the world's focus on Easter is chocolate and eggs and bunnies. But, in the Christian world, Easter is celebrated because it is a time to remember that Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected. This is a beautiful little gem. Its purpose is to help you draw closer to Jesus Christ.

For many who reflect on Jesus' life during his final week, the focus is on each day and what happened to Him. This book, instead, reflects on the people who were closest to Him during that time. Mary and Martha and the miracle of Lazarus; Joseph and Nicodemus, Thomas, and others. There are seven biblical experiences with insights as to how those scriptural accounts can strengthen you as well as an activity or tradition you can incorporate into your own holy week.

It's a short, easy read; it could be divided into 7 days or 7 weeks and it is perfect for either an individual or for a family to share and discuss together.  It stands alone, but is designed to be a companion to Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas: Seven Traditions to Lead Us Closer to the Savior.

Thanks to Shadow Mountain for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Emily Freeman here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 3/15

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


About the book:
Writer, artist and speaker, Tamara Branch serves up 40 bite-sized chapters on how to build unshakable self-confidence, honor your life, and shine bright in the world, in ITGIRL4LIFE: How to bring out your special something and so much more. Packed with sage advice, life-changing insights and affirmations to help you soar, ITGIRL4LIFE offers ideas, tools and principles that you can reference and build upon, supporting you in becoming your best. Get ready to fall in love with your own wisdom, beauty and strength.

About the author:
Tamara Branch is from New York, born and raised in the Bronx. She is thrilled to share her first book release, ITGIRL4LIFE, kicking off the ITGIRL4LIFE self-esteem movement to empower girls to stand up, stand out and shine bright in the world.

Tamara has worked as a professional model and actor for almost two decades. She strutted down the runway for designers Calvin Klein, Donna Karen and Christian Dior, acted in a few independent films, co-hosted PBS New York’s education series, “What’s up in Technology” and appeared T.V. commercials and print ads for Levi’s, Old Navy, Hershey’s, Colgate, Kellogg’s Special K, Revlon, Hanes, Nike and many others. A Penn State alumnus and lifelong student of personal development, Tamara is deeply passionate about uplifting the human spirit.

After graduating from Institute for Integrative Nutrition, studying under Deepak Chopra, Dr. Andrew Weil and some of the top health and wellness experts in the world, she was inspired to raise the bar on her own ‘self care’ and support others in living more vibrantly. She is an abstract artist and teaches a dynamic dance class, where she gets to fuse her varied background, having trained in everything from jazz, ballet and modern to Afro-Caribbean and Salsa.

Tamara was recently asked to become a Female Visionary Author guest blogger for The Brave Heart Women Global Community. She's a SAG/AFTRA member since 1998, a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is represented by Abrams Artists Agency.

Book Excerpt:

YOU have IT. IT is the GREATNESS you were born with. IT is that unique special something that is all yours. Nothing and nobody can take IT away from you. IT is not something that you have one day and lose the next. IT is not fleeting. IT is not temporary. IT does not depend on the judgment or approval of others. IT is here to stay. Your job is to tap into IT. Your ITGIRL4LIFE adventure starts NOW. It’s about loving yourself, being authentic, taking charge and making a difference. You will need a great attitude, an open mind, the desire to grow and expand, the courage to create the life you want and the willingness to be your best self.

Are you ready? Your special something and so much more is right this way.


Thanks to Pump Up Your Book Promotion for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Tamara Branch here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 9, 2015

Unlocking the Mystery of You...Spotlight

About the book:
Do you know who the most important person in your life is? Just look in the mirror and you will see – it’s you. Whether you’re a college student, a housewife, a salesman, or the president of the United States of America, the most important person in your life is and will always be you.

That being said, your primary objective in life should be to know who you are so that you can position yourself to succeed in offices aligned with your purpose. After all, your purpose is the collective reasoning behind your existence. As one philosopher puts it, “Purpose is the only real reason you are here, for you exist because your purpose exists. Thus apart from purpose, you have no authentic motivation for living. You may very well exist, but when you’re gone, very few will ever know that you were here.”

Now for some of us discovering our purpose is simple. We understood it long before we ever became adults. For others it is not so easy, and for more reasons than I can gather. This is why the process of personal discovery is so critical; for not only does it allow you to discover your purpose. It also positions you to persistently follow the evolution of your purpose.

This is important because we are all changing every day. Consequently, our purpose will also change contingent to the season of life we are in. Still, in spite of this inevitable change and all the complexities which make understanding your purpose difficult, you will always be able to detect your purpose simply because it is the source of your fulfillment. So if you’re in a job, relationship, or any office which is persistently unfulfilling, odds are it is not aligned with your purpose – and unless you are willing to concede the awesome measures of fulfillment you would experience otherwise, you need to start thinking about making a change so that you can both enhance your life and have profound impacts in the various groups and societies you are in.

“Unlocking the Mystery of You” champions this cause focusing first and foremost on purpose and the crucial role it plays in achieving personal fulfillment and setting the stage for the individual to be a catalyst for group fulfillment. It accomplishes this goal by utilizing a purposeful roadmap designated as the Pinnacle of Purpose. The Pinnacle of Purpose is a progressive path illustrated by 7 ascending levels which, if followed sequentially, not only have the power to transform your life. It will provide you with the greatest measures of fulfillment and success life can offer. All you have to do is follow the crucial, yet simple order of purpose, beginning with confidence and concluding with peace.

So if you’re ready for a change; if you’re ready to stop sleeping on your dreams and your truest passions; if you’re tired of the status quo and living a life which feels incomplete; if you’re tired of wishing your life was better and are now prepared to do something about it; if you’re finally ready to take that ever-difficult leap of faith, then this is a book you must read. Because in this book I show you how to take that leap of faith without falling, for when you leap towards your purpose, you will always land squarely on your feet.

This is true first and foremost because your purpose is what makes you unique to every other individual in the world today, a premise which thoroughly validates the existence of every man and women on the earth. The problem is that many don’t understand their purpose. Once upon a time I didn’t either. That is until I got serious about life. It was then that I realized what purpose is.

It is the collection of all your authentic desires; it is your passion. It is your North Star and your direction; it is your life-long teacher – and above all else, it is that which causes you to press through any form or measure of adversity until you unleash your maximum potential, for it gives you the strength to hold on when you have no strength left within you to hold on.

Book Excerpt:


Do you know what the world’s greatest mystery is? No; it’s not the Pyramids, Stonehenge, Area 51, or cafeteria meatloaf. The world’s greatest mystery is you. That’s right – you. Regardless of what anyone says or thinks, you are the world’s best kept secret. The answer is you.

Now it is worth mentioning that you didn’t start out this way. That is to say, you were not always a mystery. At birth you inherited a clean slate which clearly identified your destiny in life. Twas a perfect blend of dreams, desires, and purpose at the forefront of your soul all waiting to be expressed.

Nevertheless, as straightforward as this progression is, many of us will never see this evolutionary expression; for whether it is in our own life or in the life of one of the many individuals we know, this authentic manifestation of the soul will never transpire. Thus regardless of the obvious nature of our destiny, many of us will never find it. Be it disenchantment, chronic cynicism, or excess distractions, many diverse factors will cause for our clear conduit to fulfillment to morph into a complex network of conflicting purposes and broken paths. To put it quite plainly – in time things changed. They always do.

Certainly there is a great deal I could say regarding this untimely change. Yet to sum it up in 2 words, I would simply state that you changed; specifically when you began the figurative yet inaccurate process of growing up.

Believe you me, growing up is not what it’s all cooked up to be. Why not? Quite simply it’s because growing up has unfortunately relapsed into a defective process in which many of us are actually growing away from our destiny. This ill-fated departure transpires as we are adversely influenced by family members, so-called friends, and the world at large.

It’s a tragic disappearing act to say the least; the end results of which are always devastating, for the combination of these adverse influences causes for our initial blend of dreams and purpose to be buried beneath conflicting factors such as expectations, individuality, and control. Inopportunely these opposing factors work to perpetuate immense personal disillusionment; hence the great mystery of you.

Not convinced yet? How many times have you asked yourself, “Why did I do that?” Or how many times have you looked back on a poor decision you made and shook your head as you wondered, “What was I thinking?”

If you’re like me, you’ve asked these questions more times than you can easily count. See our realities are sure. We only know ourselves in part for a good portion of our early lives. Due to a steady inundation of contradictory influences, we will find ourselves investing a great deal of energy and time in sifting through a great many ambitions, intentions, and the like.

The problem is many of these motivations are not in line with our destiny. Consequently our decisions in life will be heavily influenced by factors which do not reflect who we really are, factors which will fail to transform us into the person we were originally designed to be.

Now you are not just a mystery. You are no longer you. You, my friend, are an imposter. Many of us are or have been.


Have I gotten your attention? If so, you are probably asking yourself questions like “what should I do” and “where should I go from here?” Classically there are only 2 paths to be taken at this juncture (which in my estimation is the most crucial crossroad in life).

Now the first path is an unfruitful attempt to go through life in the afore-described model of the self-impostor. Chances are you may very well find your destiny in the end and after all. However, in the off-chance this does occur, the path you take will be filled with missed opportunities, meager levels of contentment, and several regrets.

Moreover, these several disappointments may cause you to deviate from all worthwhile pursuits altogether and settle for an existence void of self-actualization (self-actualization being the activation of your full potential).

As for the second path, it is the good path. I know because I’ve followed this path as well as others who I’ve personally mentored, and yet others all over the world who are just like us. On this path you will embark upon an internal quest to sift through your personal minutia to differentiate your truest purposes in life from your secondary goals.

You will also address all those ambitions which you’ve somehow acquired yet do not correspond to your destiny whatsoever. We generally refer to these unfulfilling ends as “baggage” or “dead weight.” Customarily they are some of the greatest deterrents to finding fulfillment. Hence they are factors you must deal with in your quest and you will.

Not only these; but you must eventually overcome all things to fulfill your destiny. All you have to do is follow the guidelines associated with the Pinnacle of Purpose, a combination of 7 unique steps which will not only unlock the “mystery of you.” In dedicated fashion, the 7 levels of purpose will progressively transform you into the person you were originally destined to be from your beginning.


Thanks to Pump Up Your Book Promotion for the opportunity to spotlight this book. You can learn more about D.L Anderson here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 6, 2015

Miracle at the Higher Ground Cafe...Review

About the book:
What if you could ask God anything? What would you ask? And how would he answer?

Chelsea Chambers is on her own. After a public split from her NFL superstar husband, Chelsea takes a bold step out of the limelight and behind the counter of the Higher Grounds Café, an old-fashioned coffee shop in dire need of reinvention. But when her courage, expert planning, and out-of-this-world cupcakes fail to pay the bills, this newly single mom finds herself desperate for help. Better yet, a miracle.

Then a curious stranger lands at Chelsea's door, and with him, an even more curious string of events. Soon, customers are flocking to the Higher Grounds Café, and not just for the cupcakes and cappuccino. They've come for the internet connection to the divine. Now the café has become the go-to place for people in search of answers to life's biggest questions.

When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own. After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask, and heaven answers in a most unexpected way.

Estranged from her NFL husband, Chelsea returns to her roots and her mother's coffee shop. Higher Grounds Cafe is on the verge of closing, but Chelsea wants to make it work. In dire need of help, a sweet, clumsy lump of a man shows up and helps Chelsea get the cafe back on its feet. Manny installs wifi and the only site that is accessible is The God Blog. A place for people to ask questions that God will answer. Chelsea is skeptical at first, but as The God Blog brings in more and more customers, she realizes how many lives are being changed and how many hearts softened, including her own.

I know Max Lucado mostly by name. I haven't read anything by him, but the premise for this book caught my attention and I'm glad I paid attention. I am a firm believer in guardian angels.  I have no doubts that angels minister to each of us. But I had no idea going into this story, just how much angels would figure into it. In this story, angels are everywhere and battle the dark side for our souls. And we are reminded once more that each person matters to God.

The story is strongly Christian as one would expect from Max Lucado. It's also heartwarming as you see the power of forgiveness work in the life of one woman. As a side, I loved Manny's fascination with Star Wars. So fun!

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Max Lucado here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 3/15

* * * *
4/5 Stars