Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Return to Grace by Karen Harper

From the Publisher:  

In the shadows of a graveyard, a SHOT rings out…
Hannah Esh fled the Home Valley Amish community with a broken heart, throwing herself into her worldly dreams of a singing career instead. But as much as she tries to run from her past, something keeps pulling her back. On a whim, she brings four worldly friends to the Amish graveyard near her family’s home for a midnight party on Halloween. But when shots are fired and one of her friends is killed, Hannah is pulled back into the world of her past.

The investigation into the shooting uncovers deep-buried secrets that shock the peaceful Amish village to its core. Determined to prove her value to the community she left behind, Hannah attempts to bridge two cultures, working closely with both handsome, arrogant FBI agent Linc Armstrong and her former betrothed, Seth Lantz, now widowed with a young daughter.

Caught between Seth and Linc, between old and new, Amish and worldly, Hannah must choose her future. Unless a killer, bent on secrecy, chooses it for her.
About the author
New York Times bestselling author Karen Harper is a former high school and college English teacher. Winner of the 2005 Mary Higgins Clark Award for her outstanding novel Dark Angel, Karen is the author of seventeen romantic suspense novels and six historical novels, as well as a series of historical mysteries. Karen and her husband, who divide their time between Columbus, Ohio, and Naples, Florida, love to travel both in the U.S. and abroad. For additional information about Karen and her novels, please visit www.KarenHarperAuthor.com.

What I thought:  

A great story about how the outside world influences the Amish communities.  After the shooting, Hannah returns to her childhood home to recuperate and search her soul for answers.  Where does she belong?  Why was there a shooting?  What is going on in her community?  The answers to these questions and more are answered within the pages of Return to Grace.

Although this is the second in a series of books, I did not read the first.  I was given the opportunity to read this, pre-release, by the Publisher via NetGalley.com.  This book is a wonderful stand-alone book!  I am not certain that I even need to read the first book as so many story lines were revisited in Return to Grace - I almost feel like I know the story from Fall from Pride already.  Notwithstanding, had I read the first book, I'm sure I'd have been eager to read the second book to catch up with the characters and the community.  I will be more than willing to read the next book for the same reason!!

As mentioned within the review, I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.com.  I was not compensated for this review nor asked to give a positive review, although I am pleased to do so. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2 Months til Mrs! (Heather Muzik)

From the Publisher:  2 Months 'Til Mrs. is the second book in the 2 'Til series. Cat is at it again--over reacting, over thinking, and over indulging.... The New Year is here and for Catherine Hemmings that means one thing--the year she met Joel "Fynn" Trager is over. Long-distance love with her Minnesota man has had her living out of a suitcase for months, never knowing for sure what time it is on either end. Now thirty-five is breathing down her neck and she is tired of living in limbo.... In just 2 short months she'll be another year older.... Can Cat make it down the aisle under the wire? It's a race against time and the laws of wedding physics, and she is going to need all the help she can get... especially as she begins to realize that love just might be blind to reality. Is Catherine really ready to give up NYC for good? To take on a ready-made family? To say I do? Will she follow her head or her heart?

What I thought: Loved it!!  I absolutely loved seeing where Cat and Fynn wind up and what is going on with the family and friends we met in 2 Days Til Sundae.  Quite an easy and enjoyable read.  I started one morning and finished it the next day ... life with three kids, two dogs and loveable hubs, in between.  :-)  Cat is a quirky and enjoyable protagonist.  I love characters who I think I would get along with in real life!  Her way of thinking and her antics are so much fun!!

While this is the second in the 2 'Til series, I found it to be worthy of it's own "stand alone" acclaim too.  The characters are well built and story line, while references the prior book, doesn't need to have the history of reading the first book to enjoy the second.

We are left with a few unresolved issues in the mix too --- wonder if there will be another 2 Til book coming out next year?

My recommendation?  Pick up your copy of 2 Months til Mrs. at the special pre-release Kindle and Nook price of only $2.99!   Seriously, you can't beat it.   All the therapy you need after a long day right inside your electronic reader!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Progresso Soup and Biggest Loser Workout DVD!

This post is going to sound a lot like a post from a few weeks ago, right?  Only this time, it's better!  I was lucky enough to receive a package from Progresso, via MyBlogSpark, which contained 5 cans of Progresso soup, including light chicken noodle and light clam chowder.  Also included in my "treat box" was a video of a Biggest Loser workout.  At the rate I'm going (backwards) in our own Biggest Loser Contest at school, these items couldn't have arrived at a better time.  

And for you, Progresso is offering a giveaway too!  You can win two (2) VIP coupons for Progresso Soup and your own copy of the Biggest Loser DVD Workout!  Not only can you win here at my blog, see below where you can enter the Souper You® Contest!!  My giveaway will end on Thursday, 2/16/12 but you have until Wednesday, 2/22/12 to get your entries in to Progresso's Souper You® Contest.  See the bottom of this post for the easy to use Rafflecopter form to enter my contest!  No purchase is necessary and you can enter once daily through next Thursday! 

February!  It’s time to consider how you will stick to your resolution for the New Year and maintain your weight management plan, without sacrificing on variety or the taste of foods you love. Thanks to Progresso®, you can have your soup and eat it too!

With 40 delicious soups with 100 calories or less per serving, Progresso Soup has a variety of offerings that help you beat diet boredom and satisfy your taste cravings, while helping you stick to your weight management calorie goals. Progresso soups are packed with hearty ingredients like pasta, beans, rice, meat and vegetables that suit your taste buds and make you feel good about including it in your meal choices.
  • This year, the Souper You® Contest will provide three lucky winners with an ultimate makeover experience in Hollywood; this includes a trip for 2 to Los Angeles, California where the winner will receive a head-to-toe makeover including hair and makeup, guided shopping spree with a $1,000 fashion retailer gift card, $1,000 spending money and 2 tickets to this season’s live finale of NBC’s The Biggest Loser
  • Progresso is asking fans to visit www.SouperYou.com and submit their photo with a brief essay about why they love Progresso soups and why they deserve a makeover, by no later than February 22nd
  • Fans can check back on March 12th for the announcement of the top ten finalists, and to vote for their favorite finalist until March 25th
  • In addition, visit http://bit.ly/ProgressoCoup  to download a printable coupon for $1.25 off the purchase of four (4) cans of Progresso Soup today, and feel free to share with your blog readers so they can take advantage of the savings as well
  • Also, tune into The Biggest Loser on NBC Tuesdays at 8/7c
Click here to watch this amazing video of the 2011 winner experience.