Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Swagbucks: Swagathlon Team Challenge

On your marks, get set, EARN! Swagbucks is holding a fun team challenge called the "Swagathlon" to help you earn free gift cards! For those of you who don't know what Swagbucks is, it's a website where you can earn cash back on everyday tasks you do online like shopping, answering surveys, discovering deals, and watching videos. You can even earn for searching the web! 

If you've never tried Swagbucks before because you didn't know where to begin, their Team Challenges are a great way to learn the ropes! The challenge, begins Monday, July 17th at 8am PT, but you can pre-register starting on Friday, July 14th!

Here's how you can join the challenge and the site:  

1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team.
2. Starting July 17th at 8am PDT, in addition to earning SB you'll contribute points to your teams total as you complete different activities on Swagbucks.
3. Check back on the page often to see the scores and what you've contribute so far.   

All members who participate and contribute at least 600 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate on their next gift card! 

Not only that, but if you sign up under me this month and earn 300 SB before August 1st, you'll get a 300 SB bonus!

Members of the 1st place team will receive a 100 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 50 SB Swag Up Rebate, and members of the 3rd place team will receive a 30 SB Swag Up Rebate. Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be made available on Friday, July 21st at 2pm PT and will expire on Friday, August 4th at 11:59pm PT.

Swagbucks really works!
I've earned as much as $100 a month. It really does work!
I usually get Amazon gift cards because they don't expire and you can
save them up and have several hundred dollars for special occasions!

I'm a Swagbucks Influencer - Start Earning Now

Friday, July 14, 2017

Swagbucks: Walmart

Walmart is running huge deals all week long on everything from clothing and jewelry to home electronics, grills, and toys, and Swagbucks is offering 6% cash back (in the form of SB Points) for every dollar you spend through Sunday. Whatever you need this summer, now's the time to buy it and get rewarded for doing it.

Just click here to take advantage of these deals. If you haven't signed up for Swagbucks yet, you can also do that at this page and start earning points towards your first free gift card. As a bonus, if you sign up through me a spend at least $25 shopping online through Swagbucks before the first of the month and you'll get a 200 SB bonus - that's $2 in addition to the points you get for each dollar you spend.

Swagbucks really works!
I've earned as much as $100 a month. It really does work!
I usually get Amazon gift cards because they don't expire and you can
save them up and have several hundred dollars for special occasions!

I'm a Swagbucks Influencer - Start Earning Now

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson

~Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY below!~

My rating: 3 1/2 of 5 stars

A brave midwife. A wounded pilot. A risky secret.

In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O'Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she's taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she'll face imprisonment.

Still, something compels Nan to take in "flyboy" Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection-and an unbreakable bond.
But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband's death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?

About the author:

Jeanne M. Dickson was born into an Irish American family, the only girl surrounded by four brothers. She credits her mother, her aunts, and her grandmother with her love of storytelling. Perfecting her craft, she attends many writer's conferences and over the years, she has won and finaled in numerous RWA romance writing awards including the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Maggie Award, The Molly, The Tara, and she was the overall contest winner of Launching A Star. Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes.
Find out more about Jeanne M. at

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My review: 3 1/2 of 5 stars

This was an interesting book that was fairly well written and kept my attention to the end.  I learned new information about Ireland during WWII and got a glimpse of how they handled the fallout from this war.    Nan is a hard working midwife who is still struggling with the death of her husband three years before.  When RAF pilot Dutch Whitney shows up at her door wounded from a crash, she struggles with the decision to help him.  On the one hand, she has the medical ability needed but on the other hand, she could be arrested for helping him.  Her journey to healing and a new love was heartwarming.  I also enjoyed the other women in the village who banded together to help Nan out when danger finds her.  And the inclusion of the cat and his escapades were fun to read about.

However, some of the content in this book was off putting to me.  There was way too much mention of his body and her body and sensual innuendo.  Also, there was quite a bit of Catholicism in the book which I'm not interested in reading about.

*Thanks to LitFuse for a complimentary copy of this book. I was not paid or required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

What do you get when you mix World War II, a brave midwife, a wounded pilot, and a risky secret? Jeanne M. Dickson's new historical fiction novel, Grounded Hearts. When midwife Nan O'Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she's taking a huge risk by letting him in. Still, something compels Nan to take in "flyboy" Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection-and an unbreakable bond.

Join Jeanne in celebrating the release of her new book by entering to win the Celtic Knots Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 31. The winner will be announced August 1 on the Litfuse blog.

Litfuse Blog Tour landing page for
 Grounded Hearts

Join the Flock! Litfuse Publicity Group blogger

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Review & Giveaway: Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

~Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY below!~

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting and survival. When her family is killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.

Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, is shocked to find an unconscious, wounded woman among the Canaanite casualties. Compelled to bring her to a Hebrew healer back at their camp, he is soon confronted with a truth he can’t ignore: the only way to protect this enemy is to marry her.

Unused to being weak and vulnerable, Alanah submits to the marriage—for now. As she comes to know and respect Tobiah and his people, however, she begins to second-guess her plans of escape. But when her past has painfully unanticipated consequences, the tentative peace she’s found with Tobiah, the Hebrews, and Yahweh is shaken to the core. Can Alanah’s fierce heart and strength withstand the ensuing threats to her life and all she’s come to love?

What an intense story!  I could hardly take my eyes off the pages as I followed the story of Alanah, a Canaanite woman who disguises herself as a man in order to sneak onto the battlefield and avenge her family against the Hebrews.   Alanah is so wounded by the abandonment of her mother and the fact that she is the daughter of a prostitute.  She's had a hard life growing up in a houseful of brothers and a society that is inundated with prostitution and sacrifice to false gods.   When Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, finds her wounded on the battlefield and takes her back to his camp to find a healer, he sets in motion a series of events that will lead to a lot of tears, pain, forgiveness, love, hope, healing, and the end of the Hebrews journey through the wilderness.  

I loved Alanah!  She is so fierce and wary, but at the same time she's tender-hearted and loyal enough to put herself in danger time and time again.  I love her journey to faith and healing.   And Tobiah!!  Oh my!  This Hebrew warrior is a worthy hero.  He falls quickly for this fierce Canaanite woman and does his best to keep her safe, guide her to faith, and show her a love that she's never experienced before.

I loved the inclusion of Shira from Shadow of the Storm.  Along with Shira, Nita (another great woman of faith) and Moriyah, Tobiah's best friend's sister, God works in Alanah's life to bring about healing and redemption to this wounded soul.  And I loved how the twist in the middle of the book leads to the inclusion of the story of Jericho in this book!

This is a stunningly beautiful book that will carry you along with the Hebrews through the wilderness.  You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cringe at the danger, and you'll thrill with the hope of a beautiful love story and and the healing and miracles that only God can bring.

I don't feel like I have the adequate words to describe how good this series has been!  I don't read a lot of Biblical fiction, but this author does an awesome job of bringing to life the stories of the Bible and sharing great life lessons along the way!   You don't want to miss out on these books!  I can't wait for the next series!

*Thanks to the author and publisher for a complimentary copy of this book.  I was not paid or required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

Connilyn Cossette is a homeschooling mother of two with a passion for writing stories of timeless grace. She hopes to draw readers into a personal encounter with the rich ancient world of the Bible and spark curiosity that will lead to digging deeper into the truth of the Word. Her novel Counted With the Stars won the 2013 Frasier Contest and was a semi-finalist in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest. She lives near Dallas, Texas. Connect with her at and on

What inspired the "Out of Egypt" series?
My own personal bible study into Exodus did! I was fascinated by the line in Exodus 12:38 about the mixed multitude going with the Hebrews and began imagining who these people were and why they would turn their backs on Egypt and voila! Kiya was born. I wasn't even planning to write a book when I envisioned her and I certainly did not foresee that I'd be working on my fifth book for Bethany House 8 years later! I'm still pretty shocked honestly.

Have you ever been to the locations of the books?
Not yet! I'm going in November with fellow author Cliff Graham's tour group and cannot wait!!

Which of your characters do you relate the most to? And why?
Shira for sure. Being a mother by adoption I experienced a lot of the emotions Shira did while struggling with infertility. Grief, pain, jealousy etc. There were times when her scenes were painful to write and I did so with many tears. Music is also my heartbeat, especially in worship, so I identify with her in that way. The one main difference is her backstory which I have never experienced so that was difficult to work through. It was very hard to hurt poor Shira!

Who was the easiest character to write and why?
I would say that Alanah the heroine in Wings of the Wind might have been the easiest, mainly because she was really fun to write. She is VERY different from Kiya and Shira, she's a tough chick with a hard shell so she was a fun character to explore and her personality was very clear in my mind from the very first chapter.

The most difficult?
Honestly Tobiah, the hero in WOTW, has probably been the most difficult so far. Its the first time that I wrote in a male POV so there was a learning curve, since we all know that men definitely think differently than women! I am really grateful to have Tammy L. Gray as one of my writing partners because she's great at writing guys and was excellent at catching when Tobiah started sounding a little too girlish for a big burly warrior;) But I ended up falling in love with Tobiah the more I got to know him. I hope you do too!

Did you, in any of this series, have moments when you thought the book wouldn't work or you hit an obstacle so strong you almost gave up? If so, what helped you get past that and go on to finish and publish these books?
Yes, like I said before Shira's book was super tough. I did not have any idea where I was going with it and by the time I got to 50% I realized it bored me. It was so broken. I had scrap most of it and start over. But I am so glad that I did, it ended up being so much deeper than I had planned. I pushed my own boundaries and challenged myself in new ways, spilled more of myself onto the page, and it ended up being a really enjoyable and positive emotional experience. Having fantastic writing partners that encouraged me and helped with sparking ideas was essential in reworking that story and getting past the discouragement and the question of whether I even had the ability to write a second story after CWTS.

What are your hobbies?
Well other than reading.... I love to sing and play keyboard/ sing backup on our worship team when I can and I do love to draw and paint but I haven't had time to do much of that at all in the past couple of years.

Favorite decadent dessert?
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. It seriously tastes like my grandma's cookies (and the recipe got lost after she passed away) so I love indulging in that whenever I make to the CCF.

2 Prizes!
I am giving away my review copies of the Out From Egypt series by Connilyn Cossette.  I am also giving away a Kindle copy of Book 2 - Shadow of the Storm.  That means one winner will receive all THREE books (paperback) in this awesomely epic Biblical fiction series and one winner will receive a digital copy of Book 2!!
Please keep in mind that these are review copies that I have read so they are in excellent condition but gently used - not brand new.   Also, due to the fact that these are complementary review copies, if you enter and win this contest, you are agreeing to not sell these books!  For all other giveaway rules, please see my Disclosures & Policies page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to US participates only.

Open only to those who can legally enter. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 72 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Rachel from Smiling Book Reviews. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Swagbucks: July Buddy Bonus

It's summertime, and Swagbucks has brought a $5 bonus! Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you're probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $5 bonus! Here's how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 8/1/17. You'll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. If you spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* you'll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cash back you'll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn't cost you anything extra, but you'll get SB points for every dollar you spend (on top of the bonus)!

That's it. It's super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I've earned up to $100 a month and there is the potential to earn more than that!

*You must receive your shopping SB before September 1st

Swagbucks really works!
I've earned as much as $100 a month. It really does work!
I usually get Amazon gift cards because they don't expire and you can
save them up and have several hundred dollars for special occasions!

I'm a Swagbucks Influencer - Start Earning Now

Swagbucks: eStories Audiobooks

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Season of Hope by Sara Jane Jacobs

~Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY below!~

When Amanda Jarvis prays that a special friend will move into the vacant house near her isolated mountain home, she isn't upset when God sends a boy instead of a girl. But Amanda's not the only one receiving unexpected answers to her prayers. After fleeing with his mother from an abusive father, Tyler Armstrong finds much-needed love and acceptance with Amanda's family over the next ten years.

As high school graduation nears, Tyler is shocked when one carefree afternoon with Amanda churns up an inner turmoil he would have never imagined; he's crushing on his best friend. And for the first time in his life he's hiding a secret from Amanda. Convinced the timing is all wrong, Tyler pushes his feelings aside as he and Amanda prepare for the future. He will soon begin training to pursue his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL, while Amanda makes plans to spend the summer in Manhattan with her aunt and then return home to the community college.

When Amanda's summer job catapults her into a modeling career, she readily accepts the much-needed distraction. Tyler's impending deployment is turning her world upside down. Along with the fact that she's falling for her best friend. And, for the first time in her relationship with Tyler, she's hiding a secret, too.

Phoebe Garrison, Amanda's controlling aunt, is thrilled when she is given the power to act on behalf of her underage niece. Bored with her Fortune 500 advertising agency, becoming Amanda's manager is just what she's been looking for to rekindle her aspirations. But as Tyler becomes aware of Phoebe's obsession to push Amanda into supermodel status, tensions rise. As the three of them become entangled in a mass of concealed ambition and desire, each will make decisions that will send ripples of turbulence across their futures.

BOOK LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Graphic provided by ALatteOfLiteratureBlogTourServices

Book Excerpt

“Why do you want to date?” Tyler’s confused look was not an act.
“I didn’t say I wanted to date. Debbie’s question just got me thinking.That’s all.” She studied Tyler. “Don’t you think you’re going to want to ask girls out on a date?”
“Not anytime soon,” he mumbled, reaching for his glass of sweet tea.
“Why don’t you both just focus on school?” Ethan suggested. “Sounds good to me,” Tyler agreed. “In fact, AJ, I say we make a pact to bypass the high school dating distraction. Let’s focus on school and have a little race to the top of the class.”
“Deal.” Amanda wasn’t about to pass up a challenge.
Ethan smiled across at both of them. “I’m glad that’s settled.”
Tyler concentrated on buttering his biscuits. “If I want to become a Navy SEAL I won’t have time for dating anyway,” he remarked.
His comment caught Ethan by surprise. “I didn’t know you were interested in becoming a SEAL, Tyler.”
“Yessir.” Tyler gave the man an unpretentious nod. “And I read that you should go out for as many sports teams as you can in high school since you have to be in top physical condition to become a SEAL.” He directed his next comment at Amanda. “And if I’m going to beat you to the top of the class and stay focused on getting into shape, I won’t have time for female drama.”
Tyler’s words evoked a smile from Amanda’s father. Glancing over at his wife, he caught her unamused look and quickly removed the smirk, turning back to commend the lad and deliver a surprise. “Hey, Tyler?” The boy looked up from his fork full of mashed potatoes and gravy. “That’s a very noble goal. You’re going to need some experience with a gun, too. I’ve already talked with your mother about taking you hunting this year, and she okayed it. Are you interested?”
“You bet I am!” Tyler’s enthusiasm was almost palpable.
Ethan was more than satisfied with his reaction. “Awesome. We’ll start making preparations for a fall hunting trip then.”
Amanda looked at Tyler, disappointment and worry twisting her innocent face. “You’re gonna kill a deer?”
“It’s food, AJ,” he said in his defense.
“They’re living, breathing creatures. I hate that people kill them.”
Tyler looked puzzled. “But you still eat the meat.”
“I don’t like to think about it, though. Just don’t show me any pictures.”
Ethan, seeing his wife’s pleading look, intervened. “Okay. Let’s change the subject before the girls lose their appetites.” He reached for his wife’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. “Amanda gets that tender heart of hers from her mother. Tyler and I will keep our hunting stories to ourselves.”
“Thank you,” Amanda said, relieved. “Pass the chicken, please.”
Tyler grinned. “You know, Amanda, that chicken used to be a—”
“Uh, Tyler,” Ethan interrupted. “Just pass Amanda the chicken.”

Graphic provided by ALatteOfLiteratureBlogTourServices

Season of Hope by Sara Jane Jacobs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading this coming of age story about a boy and a girl who become best friends and how their life unfolds into young adulthood.  I felt like the book was a little stilted to began with but then it smoothed out for the most part.  I loved the description of the little girl who was so desperate for a best friend and how she prayed that God would send one to live next door.  When it turned out to be a boy instead of a girl, she accepted it and him with an open heart.  They form a strong bond that is heart warming to read about.  They often encourage and challenge each other to be a better person.   Both families were a delight to read about - especially the steadfast marriage of Amanda's mom and dad and the dedication of Tyler's single mom.

There was a little bit of time jumping that was a little jarring because of the years this book spans.  I felt this could have been made clearer with some indication at the beginning of the chapters.   Also, I was not expecting the way the book ended abruptly.  Obviously there is going to be a sequel, which I will definitely want to read!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not paid or required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Graphic provided by ALatteOfLiteratureBlogTourServices

I began writing as a hobby while raising my two children. In 2015, I dusted off my stories and my dreams to see if I could turn my hobby into a career. My first story, Season of Hope, was inspired by summer vacations which always included a trip to Franklin, North Carolina, to visit family and explore The Smoky Mountains. When I'm not writing, I enjoy spending time with family. I love most any activity that involves being outdoors, especially camping, hiking and spontaneous excursions to splash in the ocean. I currently live along the Emerald Coast of Florida with my cat Selah and her delightful offspring, Colby, Jack and Tuesday


Author Q&A

1. Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
Paris! In book two of this series, Amanda moves to Paris for a year. Writing about her apartment, her view of the Eiffel Tower and all the places near her new home made me want to go and see them all!

2. What inspires you?
A brand-new day, a good movie, when my family gets together for a family event, certain songs, the night sky, riding with my windows down (especially at dusk), fog, those moments just before a storm rolls in. That’s the short, off-the-top-of-my-head list.

3. Name a favorite fictional character and tell us why?
Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables, written by Lucy Maud Montgomery (as if I really had to add the title and author) Maybe it’s just the way Megan Follows brought her to life. She’s such an interesting character, always with one foot in the real world and one in her imaginary world. It’s so much fun in that place she lives, where the two worlds overlap.

4. Where do you get your ideas?
From a thought, mostly which can be triggered by a comment, a song or a quiet walk on the beach. It can really come from anywhere.

5. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Ha-ha, maybe. I just don’t call it that I just think that it’s time to get outside, maybe go have a cup of coffee, or take a walk on the beach. I guess it’s a glass half full moment for me; a chance to take a break and go find some inspiration.

Enter to win the SEASON OF HOPE giveaway! One person will win the following items…

• A copy of the DVD, Sabrina (featured in the book)
• Costa Rican Tarrazu Dark Roast Coffee (a character’s favorite French Roast)
• An eBook of Season of Hope

Enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

June 26 – Truthto Shine
June 27 ASC Book Reviews
June 28 Meagan Davenport
June 30 Barbara Brutt
July 4 Faithfully Bookish
July 7 Bookworm Mama
July 10 Tell the World
July 11 2014 and Beyond
July 12 Tammy Karasek
July 13 Rebecca DeMarino
July 14 –  Julie Arduini
July 17 Laura Bennet
July 18 All Betts Are Off
July 20 Rebecca Van Daniker
July 21 Leslie L. Mckee

This blog tour was coordinated by A Latte of Literature Blog Tour Services. Find out more: