Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray Amish Fiction Review

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Her Secret (Avon Inspire, March 2017)

A suspenseful tale of a young Amish woman who is forced to move to a new town to escape a threatening stalker

After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she’s getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky…if only she wasn’t too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyone—even Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she’ll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was.

For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called “The Recluse” confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he’s misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God’s gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there’s always more to someone than meets the eye.

Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love, more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Now Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoy a good mystery, and I also enjoy Amish fiction.  This book, having both of those elements, was a really great read.  I thought Shelley did a great job of there being a mystery and tension while still allowing the peaceful Amish way of life to seep through – it was a really good blending, in my opinion.  It was a little short – I would have preferred there be a bit more character development, but it definitely makes me want to read more of her books!  If you enjoy Christian mystery and Amish fiction, I think there’s a great chance you’ll love it too!

Learn more/purchase a copy

*I was given a copy for free through Litfuse.  I was not required to give a positive review and the opinions and views expressed are my own.

Friday Fun Day: Chirps Chips

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Not chips, but Chirps!  Does that make you say, “Whaaat???”  – it did me when I first heard of the new chip alternative with more protein.  I’ve had various “themes” for Fridays here on the blog (and many many many Fridays with nothing at all), including “Fitness Fridays” and “Fashion Fridays”… but I think for a little while at least I’m going to go with “Friday Fun Day” because who doesn’t like to have fun on Fridays?!

And eating chips is fun… but knowing they have protein and what they’re made of is just even more fun.

They were recently on Shark Tank and got a deal!!  Check out the fun video:

Isn’t that fun?  I love the energy and happiness these ladies show!

Anyways, my thoughts:

Honestly, I was a bit apprehensive with the first bite… because I’ve never eaten crickets before!  lol (it’s not your average fare here in the US at least).  At first bite, I wasn’t really into the BBQ flavor – I thought it needed a lot more BBQ flavor.  I did like the Cheese flavor, though.  And the Sea Salt was fine – great for using in salsa or whatever else.  However, after eating a few more Chirps, I really did enjoy the BBQ flavor – it grew on me.

The chips are smaller in size than most tortilla chips, but they’re so cute and you also get a lot more individual chips in a bag that way so it felt like you were getting more that way (I know you’re not, but I think it’s a smart way to package/produce them).

I would definitely recommend these, and have no doubt that they will be seen very soon in all major stores and soon we’ll all be eating crickets!  🙂

*I was sent a sample of Chirps to facilitate this review, but like all my reviews, I only review the item on this blog if I actually like the item and/or think my readers will, and honesty is important to me, so if I don’t like something, I won’t share about the product with you all.

In other fun news, here in Pennsylvania the weather has been amazingly warm and gorgeous!!!  We’re getting so spoiled, and it’s hard to remember it’s still February and not April or May!  I like a bit of winter, but much prefer spring and fall over the more extremes.

So find something fun about today – whether you have a boring day ahead of you or not, find some fun or happy to spread around to others – it will in turn also make you have a happier day!

Do You Brush Your Teeth Enough…

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I will shamefully confess that one of my healthy ambitions this year is to be more diligent about my dental hygiene.  There. I said it.  How pathetic, right?  But truly, I haven’t been always so diligent.  Working from home is one reasons I blame for my sometimes lack of dental diligence.  But really, I’m pretty sure pure laziness and habit play a bigger role.  I *know* flossing is important, but do I floss on a regular basis?  Um, yeah, no.  I *know* brushing teeth at least twice a day is very important, but do I always do so?  Um… well, I think you get the picture.  Oh, and if you want to be encouraged to do a better job of it – just do some researching on the areas of health – besides the actual mouth – that are or could be hurt by having subpar brushing/flossing habits.

So when Toilet Tree asked if I would like to do a review on something in their line, my eye went to their sonic toothbrushes and this thing I had never heard of, and frankly, sounded a bit like something that would be most unpleasant – an oral irrigator, and I noticed they had a combo unit.  I am proud to say I have *diligently* been brushing and …irrigating? (lol, that doesn’t sound right.. but it’s like flossing, so I’ll just say flossing from here on out, k?) for about a month or a little bit more.  My teeth feel very clean, whiter, and my gums have even been less puffy and red and more a pink like they should be.  I have used an electric toothbrush before, so that wasn’t much to get used to.  I like the features this has – with the 3 speeds it is very customizable.  But the irrigator – that thing honestly kind of scared me, haha.  It shoots water at you through this very small nozzle at a surprising pressure/speed.  I’m still working on not getting water misted up on the mirror, but it is now quite fun to use!  I started using it on the least pressure setting (soft)  and tried the normal setting the one day and my gums bled, so I knew it was working!  I continued to use the soft pressure setting for about 1-2 weeks because I didn’t want to make my gums sore.  But now I like to go back and forth between the soft setting and the pulse setting.  The actual unit is sleek and quite nice looking.  It’s easy to hold and operate, and it’s all together, which is nice.

What is one area you are putting more effort into this year?  It’s the end of February, I know, but everyone always starts out strong early January, (and then often falls away from their plans) so I think a month or so in it’s a good reminder – if you’ve fallen off the path of any of your healthy habits, now is just as good a time as any to get back on the path!

Have you ever used an oral irrigator before?

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green review

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The Mark of the King (Bethany House, January 2017)

Sweeping historical fiction set at the edge of the continent

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2iKM4uj

My Thoughts:

Wow, I really enjoyed this book!  Not enjoy in an easy-going summer flippant read at the beach sort of thing, but a truly great piece of writing – that grabs your soul and mind and heart and doesn’t let go!  Easy summer reading may have its place (it’s not my first preference, though).  This had a bit of everything, from moments of heartbreak, shear terror, moments of joy, of excitement.  One minute I was rooting for a character because I believed redemption could occur, and the next minute I wasn’t sure just what to hope for. I would cry for how people were treated, then cry some more because of loss or even the illusion of things lost.  To be able to send a reader on such an emotionally turbulent ride – to me – is a sign of a great writer.  As you’ve probably gathered from my past book reviews, I love history, and historical fiction when mixed with a powerful Christian message is probably my favorite literary genre/subcategory.  I really didn’t remember much from my school days about the early colonization of Louisiana in the 1700s (if I learned much about it, I had forgotten), and so the historical element was so intriguing to me, as well as their interactions with the Indians.

No, this is not a book to read as easy fill-in-some-time kind of read, but it will draw you in and not let go.  It will cause you to have all kinds of emotions.  It will cause you to stay up late to finish reading it.  If that’s your idea of a good read, then I highly recommend you get busy reading!  🙂

See what other people are saying: http://litfusegroup.com/author/jgreen

*I was given a copy for free through Litfuse.  I was not required to give a positive review and the opinions and views expressed are my own.

Green makeup look for a New Year

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Are you all happy it’s 2017?  I am.  Not because I thought 2016 was the worst year ever or anything, but because a new fresh start is always a welcomed thing.  2016 taught me several things. I had moments of laughter, tears, friendships, hurt, joy.  It’s all mixed up, and I can’t separate the bad from the good.  If I wished away 2016, I’d also have to wish away those happy moments – and I dare anyone who is all gloom and doom to tell me there was absolutely nothing good about your year.  Yes, there was.  If you say no, you weren’t looking for the good.  So start 2017 off looking for the good, for the happy little moments you may have overlooked in the past.  Each year, each month, each week,… each day, really, is made up of highs and lows and some joys are worth searching for.  They’re not always so obvious, but they can be found if one is of the mindset to find them.

I don’t necessarily do “resolutions” each year, but I still kind of do – I just don’t call them that in my head, haha, so that I don’t have that mental pressure of keeping them I suppose.  (Anyone else do that?  Tell themselves whatever it is you want to work on isn’t really a resolution).  I have many many areas I want to improve on this year, but today I’ll just mention one of them – being a bit more organized.  I am naturally not an organized person.  I know some people are all about spreadsheets, schedules down to the minute, and folded socks, but that’s not me.  But I do believe being organized – whatever that looks like to you – is an important thing because it orders your life and impacts your whole outlook basically.  So since redoing my room (which has actually been amazingly simple to keep tidy – probably the longest I’ve gone so far without a huge mess that needed to be cleaned up), I have been looking at other areas I can organize.  A simple one is my makeup/beauty area.

I used to use those clear stackable small 3-drawer bins for my makeup.  I would try to organize it and make it look so pretty, but if you use mineral makeup that comes in the small round jars and try to organize it in one of these, you know that it doesn’t take long for things to get disorganized.  As soon as I took one jar out, the rest would cave in and roll around.  Before I knew it, everything was all a mess – the blush was mixed into the eye shadow, the mascara was swapped for the brushes (I know… end of the world problems, right? haha).  Enter the solution:

A few years ago, I got a beautiful jewelry armoire from my aunt and uncle and had used the sides and top for jewelry and the drawers for various things.  The drawers are flocked and some of them are divided up, which makes for the perfect solution because the dividers act as an organization system for me, and the flocking helps keep things secure and from always rolling around when something is removed.  I think an economical and easy solution for this if you don’t have an armoire would be to get shelf paper with a rubber/texturized surface – I would think that would have the same affect as the flocking.  I didn’t take a before picture, but here is a current picture of my makeup drawers (and bonus pic of my nail polish):

Makeup and beauty is definitely a fun, creative outlet for me.  I am not very artistic in the drawing/painting sense, and yet, playing with makeup makes me feel creative and artistic.

Here is a look I did recently, a green look:

Products used:

100% Pure primer (I have dry skin, but this still works amazingly; they do have one that’s not mattifying that I’d like to try sometime)

Everyday Minerals jojoba base in Ivory 1N

Honest Beauty Luminizer Powder in Midnight Reflection (under face category)

100% Pure cream eye stick liner in Black Pearl

Redeeming Beauty Minerals eye shadow in Honor

Korres shimmering shadow in Green White

100% Pure Maracuja Blackberry mascara

Silk Naturals brow gel in Medium Ash

Silk Naturals lippie in Winter Rose (discontinued) (last picture)

Hope you all are having a great start to 2017! 

How do you store your makeup?  Does it work for you organised that way?  (Some people have their makeup all mixed together in a cosmetics bag and that is organised for them – there’s no “right” way to organize!)