Kelli Stuart’s ‘Like a River from Its Course’ Blog Tour and Kindle Prize Pack

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Travel back in time in Kelli Stuart’s new novel, Like a River from Its Course, as the city of Kiev is bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union. This sweeping historical saga takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little-known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River From Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

Celebrate the release of Like a River from Its Course with Kelli by entering to win a Kindle Fire Prize Pack.

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One grand prize winner will receive:

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Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 18th. The winner will be announced July 19th on Kelli’s blog.

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About the book:

Like a River from Its Course (Kregel, June 2016)

An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope.

The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little-known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the “killing ditch.” He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Führer’s plans for domination
are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism.

Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

Purchase a copy:

My Thoughts:

I was excited to dig into this book – I enjoy reading historical fiction, especially WWII-era reads.  This is probably hands down the most gut-wrenching, moving, tragic, hope-filled, and grace-infused historical fiction book I have read in a very long time, perhaps ever.  I found myself sobbing at times, having to put the book down sooner than I really wanted just to process what had just happened, how human being could be so incredibly cruel.  Knowing these are based on true accounts really makes it hit home.  This is definitely not your feel-good summer beach read.  But it is a memorable read that for sure isn’t fluff and will get you to think about things that matter…. about anger and forgiveness, about depression and hope, about desperation and loving acceptance.

Fifteen years of research and interviews… this book definitely feels like it was a labor of love, a piece of Kelli’s heart went into this story I am sure.  You just can’t write a book like this without putting your whole heart and soul into it.

I’m totally gushing over this one, I know, but it deserves it.  It’s one of those books I will keep and let others borrow (but make sure they don’t forget to return 😉 )

When does Kelli’s next book come out??

*As a Litfuse blogger, I was sent a review copy of this book to review; however, all opinions are honest and unbiased.

Sarah Sundin’s Through Waters Deep and Anchors Aweigh Giveaway


Dive into Sarah Sundin’s explosive new series, Waves of Freedom, with book one, Through Waters DeepWhen evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them in the midst of their budding romance.

Join Sarah in celebrating the release of Through Waters Deep by entering to win an Anchors Aweigh prize pack!


One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of Through Waters Deep
  • A nautical tote bag
  • A set of compass rose notecards
  • A “Hope Anchors the Soul” journal
  • A Boston Tea Party earl grey tea set
  • Through Waters Deep apron
  • A set of nautical tea towels

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 24th. The winner will be announced August 25th on Sarah’s blog.


About the Book

Through Waters Deep (Revell, August 2015)

It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war.

Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them.

Sarah Sundin takes readers to the tense months before the US entered WWII. Readers will encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love, in this hopeful and romantic story.

My Thoughts

I so enjoy learning/reading/pretending I’m living in the 1940’s, so this book immediately drew me in from that aspect.  The writing is great, and the plot kept me reading and reading..and reading! (This is my second Sarah Sunden book, so I wasn’t at all surprised by that fact)  I don’t know much about naval life, so it was enjoyable discovering the different nautical terms that would pop up throughout the story.  Besides a good mystery and clean romance, something else I thoroughly enjoyed was seeing how Sarah wove Truth through the story.  In the story, Mary is reticent/reserved, but can’t resist a good mystery, and even through her fear, she learns it is important to shine her light brightly – not to show the world how great she is, but how great He is.

About the Author

Sarah Sundin is the author of The Wings of the Nightingale series and Wings of Glory series. Her novella “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in Where Treetops Glisten is a 2015 finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Awards. On Distant Shores was a finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Award from both the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) and the Christian Authors Network (CAN).  In 2011, Sundin received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Sundin just launched her new World War II series, Waves of Freedom, with Through Waters Deep. Anchor in the Storm is expected to release in summer 2016.

A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, Sundin works on-call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy, and her great-uncle flew with the U.S. Eighth Air Force in England.

A mother of three, Sundin lives in California, where she teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies. She also enjoys speaking for community and writers’ groups.

Breakfast Oatmeal Cookie plus Review/Giveaway Plant Powered Families and Plant Pure Nation Cookbook


Ever tire of eating oatmeal, but like the taste of oatmeal?  Do you like cookies? (um, who doesn’t??).  So make yourself a giant oatmeal cookie – not the kind laden with tons of oil and sugar, but a lightly sweetened breakfast version of oatmeal goodness.  oatmealbreakfastcookie

No way is that winning any photography awards, but if it tastes good, that’s all that matters!  And tasty it was!  I used a recipe from Dreena Burton’s Plant Powered Families cookbook, but modified it to fit my needs.  I may not be a vegan any longer, but I was happy to receive these 2 cookbooks below because I need to keep veggies and plants at the forefront of my eating-thinking.

In the end, I probably modified this so much it doesn’t resemble the original very much, but the original was my inspiration, and oatmeal and cinnamon and raisins…I don’t think you can go wrong no matter how you modify.

1/2 C old-fashioned oats, uncooked

1/4 C quick oats, uncooked

1 T Great Lakes geletin (in the green container) for added protein

1/8 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp vanilla

a few good shakes of cinnamon

stevia or sweetener to your taste preferences

handful of raisins

2 tsp or so of sunflower seed butter or peanut butter or oil of choice

water to thin to oatmeal consistency (maybe think waffle batter, not pancake batter?)

Bake 350-degree over for about 8-12 minutes or until done.  Makes one gigantic cookie, or you can share if you wish.  There are no eggs or anything in here, so no worry about that.

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I’m really looking forward to delving more into these cookbooks.  Like I said earlier, even if you’re not vegan, you can still find ways to make this work.  I am pretty much following Trim Healthy Mama way of eating, so it’s more about figuring out how to stay within E and S guidelines (most will be E because there are a lot of recipes that use beans and grains).  The photography on both books is amazing.  This is just a silly thing, but I really like the rubberized(?) type coating on the Plant Powered Families cookbook (I’m a nerd when it comes to how things feel and so I notice these details).  I am sure I’ll be making many of the recipes from both of these cookbooks!

From the PlantPure Nation Cookbook, I already have one planned – so I used to make an alfredo sauce from cashews for fettuccine alfredo.  It was very delicious, and this cookbook also has a recipe for a cashew-based alfredo sauce.  In order to keep it within THM, I could have it over Miracle Noodles or Caulirice, or I bet it’d be good on a salad as well!  But if I wanted to have some sort of pasta (maybe a sprouted grain pasta or Dreamfields), I could use the lighter version recipe for alfredo sauce in the book that is made from cauliflower instead of cashews.  I love that there are options like that so you can take the recipes that you like or will work for your particular diet and still get lots of plant-based goodness!

So does all this make you hungry?  I bet what’ll make you even more hungry is if you check out BenBella (the lovely people who publish these cookbooks) pages for Plant Powered Families and The PlantPure Nation linked above.  You will find beautiful pictures and sample recipes and a link to purchase your own copy (but make sure to enter my giveaway first, as you might win one of them)

BenBella is giving one of you a copy of your own!  Giveaway open to entrants in any location. US and Canadian entrants will receive a hard copy of the book that they choose. Anyone outside of the US and Canada will receive an e-copy of the book.

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Frieda’s Produce (and a Giveaway!)


I considered myself fairly versed on different kinds of produce (…before I realized there is so many that I’ve never tried or even ever heard of before!). Frieda’s Produce is such a neat store – go check out all the fruits and veg you never knew existed!  🙂


So earlier this year, I was sent some of their unique products as part of their blogger program.  Unique because some of their produce is made exclusively for them, as is the case with the Butter Babies (“bite-size potato perfection with a “sunny disposition”—beautiful tan skin and bright yellow flesh with great creamy, buttery flavor”).   These were just as described – golden in color, very creamy, smooth, and tasty!  You can do lots of great things with small potatoes, but I enjoyed some of these fried (I know, not the healthiest, but def. comfort food) and also simply cooked with a little salt and pepper.  I think these would make an excellent warm potato salad.  The purple sugar snap peas and the baby bok choy made wonderful Asian side dishes – just a bit of butter and salt for the peas and the same plus ginger for the bok choy was all they needed. And yes….I am eating Asian veggies with fried potatoes and scrambled eggs for breakfast…don’t judge….it was very good!




I turned the daikon radish turned into radish fries (they don’t taste exactly like french fries, but are still good).

The Asian pears, or apple pears, were very delicious – crispy, yet juicy – I love pears and apples, and I am now a big Asian/apple pear fan!

The mardarinquats were something completely new to me.  I never ever heard of this fruit before, but as you might have guessed, they are a hybrid of a mardarin and a kumquat.  I’ve never had a kumquat either, but I was totally in awe that these little mini fruit can be eaten, peel and all…  It took me a few minutes to try it (it’s so contrary to what your mind tells you is right!).  It does have seeds, so it’s not something I would really bit into whole, and I won’t lie and say I particularly liked them, but it was a new experience, and I’m glad I tried them!  The peel was sweet compared to the super sour flesh.

Giveaway:  How To Enter

I have a giveaway for someone!!  TWO of you will win $10 in Frieda’s coupons to get your own fresh and awesome produce!  What would you choose??

This entry is going to be short and sweet – just go to Frieda’s website to peruse their offerings, then leave me a comment telling me what fruit or veggie you would like to try from Frieda’s if you win.

Giveaway is open to US, and will end at midnight on April 12th.

Rethink Inner Beauty with Barbara Roose’s ‘Enough Already’ Review and a Weekend Getaway Giveaway

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Learn how to recognize your own outer and inner beauty as defined by God, not the media or others, in Barbara Roose‘s new book, Enough Already. What would it take for you to believe you are enough already? Most women know God loves them, but might he love them more if they finally lost that last ten pounds, or got their hair to lay right, or finally found a pair of jeans that looked good and let them breathe? Well, maybe God doesn’t care about jeans, but women do, and all the talk about inner beauty hasn’t kept all of us from staring into a mirror and taking an inventory that never quite measures up.

Barbara is celebrating the release with a giveaway! One reader will receive a cash card and writing supplies for her own inner-beauty weekend getaway!



One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $75 cash card for your own inner-beauty weekend getaway
  • A notepad/pencil set for your inner-beauty quiet time
  • A copy of Enough Already

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 12th. Winner will be announced April 13th on Barbara’s blog.



So what did I personally think of this book?   I think it’s great!  Some things I especially liked about it:

  • Her writing style was so conversational… it really felt like I was in an intimate setting with some girlfriends and we were just chatting.

  • I loved how she combined both inner and outer beauty… like it says, we *know* inner beauty is what counts, but we all *want* and sometimes end up focusing too much on outer beauty.  She talks about how outer beauty IS important, it’s just not AS important as inner beauty, and I think that really is the key.

  • She made me think about beauty and about being a woman in general in a little different light.

  • I think this would make an excellent small group/discussion study, and guess what?  She apparently had that in mind as well, as each chapter has discussion questions and then personal questions, which I think is great – have everyone in the small group answer and discuss the discussion questions, and then depending on how intimate/comfortable the group is, share the personal questions as well.

With all the articles, magazines, TV commercials, and movies that flaunt “How to look…”, “What to wear…” , “How to attract….”, “How to be ….” it is wonderful to see a book about beauty…all of beauty – not just the inside beauty and not just the outside beauty, but a balanced view of both!

*As a Litfuse blogger, I was sent a review copy of “Enough Already”.