Saturday, October 20, 2018

Lady Of A Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Lady of a Thousand Treasures
by Sandra Byrd
Publisher: Tyndale
ISBN: 978-1496426833

I feel like life has been so busy lately that I've had very little time to do one of my favorite hobbies...read! I think we can all agree that's a travesty. Thankfully, I was chosen to be part of Sandra Byrd's Influencer Team to help kick off the release of her newest book, "Lady of a Thousand Treasures." I was bummed that I was out of the country when her book officially released! On the other hand it was fantastic to see all of the great reviews she's been receiving. I was finally able to finish Lady of a Thousand Treasures after stealing bits of free time here and there!

Summary:

Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.


My Review:

I love a good historical novel. When I read one with as much detail as Lady of a Thousand Treasures, I fall in love and get lost in the story! Not sure about you, but I adore antiques. They're such a tangible connection to the past. Author, Sandra Byrd, paid so much attention to the details, I figured she must've earned a degree in antiques! Is there such a thing? lol

The story starts off with Eleanor Sheffield learning that she has a huge decision to make. One that will make a difference in the life of the man she once hoped to be betrothed to. Have you ever thought you knew what was right and true, but then everything around you was pointing you in a different direction? That's what Ellie had to deal with throughout her decision making! That's a lot of pressure for a woman who's trying to keep her family's antique business running!

Unfortunately for Ellie, making the decision about the collection isn't the only pressure she has. A man who was brought in to help with the business seems to have an interest in Eleanor and seems to want to help keep the company afloat. Poor Eleanor has so much going on, how she's able to keep on top of everything seems impossible.

Sadly things start to come apart as we dive deeper into the story. No one seems to be who they claim to be. Thankfully Ellie has a couple of people in her life who are on her side who, without question, are for her! That doesn't help her world from crashing down around her as she tries her best to keep it all together!

Lady of a Thousand Treasures will have you hoping for the best in people, but finding out they're not always who they claim to be. God is always who He claims to be and unlike the people in the story, we see how faithful he is to Eleanor. Why does life have to be so difficult? Eleanor seems to wonder the same thing. For all of her trying and doing things on her own, nothing appears to go right. When God isn't in control and we're not letting others into our lives to help, things tend to take a turn for the worse. Seeking God and sharing burdens with others typically gives a better outcome. Read this book and see for yourself!

About the Author:

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published fifty books. 

Sandra's delighted to kick off her new historical romance series with Tyndale House Publishers, Victorian Ladies, with Lady of a Thousand Treasures. The three-book Victorian Ladies series follows her historically sound Gothic romances, Daughters of Hampshire, launched with the bestselling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor's Choice award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, was published in 2017. Check out her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, which was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne BoleynTo Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2011, and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. 

Sandra has published dozens of books for kids, tweens, and teens, including the bestselling The One Year Be-Tween You and God Devotions for Girls. She continued her work as a devotionalist, with The One Year Home and Garden Devotions, and The One Year Experiencing God's Love Devotional

Please visit www.sandrabyrd.com to learn more or to invite Sandra to your book club via Skype.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Mermaid Pillow Co. Giveaway

My blogging buddy, Trista over at Andersons Angels is hosting an awesome Mermaid Pillow Co. Giveaway. I've seen these pillows advertised before and thing they're so fantastic! Be sure to check out her review.


What I love is that they're not just for kids. Sure they have them for boys and girls, but they have a nice one for a couple who just got married, people like me who love llamas, birthdays, or you could even create your own!


Yes, it's early, but these would make a great gift for the holidays! Be sure to keep them on your idea list.



Here are a few details about these fun pillows:




  • Front: Soft, huggable Dinosaur illustrated print on smooth velvet (Inspirational Wording: “Dinosaurs Discover”)
  • Back: High-quality, reversible Green & Silver Sequins, smooth to slide
  • Size: 12" x 20" 
  • Bonus: Colorful sequins can be moved to produce endless designs (this pillow is a beautiful canvas for creativity!)
  • Includes: Cover + Removable QualityPillow Insert + Hidden high-quality zipper
  • SAME DAY Shipping: All orders (including international) 
  • FREE Shipping: All USA orders
  • Monday, August 27, 2018

    Jimmy's Famous Seafood

    This past weekend Fred and I headed up to Baltimore to dine at Jimmy's Famous Seafood restaurant. Recently PETA started advertising against the crab industry here in Maryland. If you don't know, crabbing is a HUGE industry here. I realize they're just beginning the conversation, but they've got a long road ahead of them. People in Maryland LOVE their crabs! If my husband had to choose between an unlimited lifetime supply of blue crabs or me, he'd choose the crabs.


    So, after seeing a discussion on Twitter, I figured I needed to take my hubby up to get some crab into his belly and to support the crabbing industry. While I'm more of a turf gal, he's expanded my horizons on what I'll eat and what I've tried in regards to seafood. Kudos to him!

    We actually went up to Jimmy's when they were having a feast that I wish Fred could've partook in. This was our first visit to this restaurant and he's wanted to try it for quite some time. They have 3 different sections to their restaurant. There's a bar area, a restaurant, and a banquet room where the feast was held to support ALS!


    Fred decided on the crab cakes ($41) and I went with their special ($45). The special gave you 3 sections to choose from: Soup, Entree, and Dessert. I had the French onion soup, steak & scallops, and creme brûlée. I thought for sure he was going to have the crabs, but he loves crab cakes.

    The French onion soup came with what looked like a homemade cracker. The waiter had actually come back to upsell Fred on a soup to which he gave in and had a Maryland crab soup. I'm pretty particular on my French onion soup and thought this was tasty overall.


    Our entrees showed up and Fred was really impressed with the size of his crab cakes. He said they were at least a 1/2 pound each. As he was eating them, he said they were probably the best ones he's ever eaten. I was surprised, but I think he liked the size, the flavor, and the fact that they weren't mostly filler. My steak medallions and scallops came with a mash and Brussels sprouts. Unfortunately you can't do any substitutes otherwise I would've gotten a different veggie. THAT being said, I actually enjoyed the sprouts for the first time in my life!



    There was no way I could finish my food. I had a pop to start off our dining, and that always fills me up. My meal wasn't big, it was a lunch size, but I took at least half home. I got my creme brûlée to go, which was a mistake. It became a soup by the time we got home which was really disappointing. It wasn't salvageable so I didn't get a chance to try it. Creme brûlée is one of my favorite desserts so I wish I could've given it a try. I guess we'll just have to go back again!

    Tuesday, August 21, 2018

    More Than Meets The Eye By Karen Witemeyer

    More Than Meets The Eye
    by Karen Witemeyer
    Publisher: Bethany House
    ISBN:

    I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to read & review More Than Meets The Eye! I've loved the other books I've read by Karen Witemeyer and I sure wasn't going to pass this one up. Not only that, I've already planned for this book to be our second book for my online book club!

    Summary:

    When Her Family Is Threatened, She Doesn't Expect Falling in Love to Be Their Best Defense
    Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes--one bright blue, the other dark brown--Evangeline has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world's judgments, and Evangeline has two--Seth and Zach, fellow orphans she now counts as brothers. 

    Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father's death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. And when Hamilton's unique sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time they cross paths, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?

    My Review:

    When we first meet Evangeline, my heart went out to her. This poor little girl on an orphan train with eyes that don't match and causes others to turn her away. Seth and Zach are intent on keeping her (and themselves) safe. Seth is sickly, but determined. Zach is angry, but protective. They make quite the trio.

    As they've grown up, it's clear that people still harbor concerns about Evangeline's mismatched eyes. Even the town they've lived in for years still treat her like she's cursed. Her brothers try to keep her safe and protected from the world around them, but can only hold her curious nature back so much.

    Along comes vengeful Logan Fowler and he tosses everyone's world upside down. Curious Evangeline has to find out who's trespassing on their land, and boy does that turn out hysterical! The fun parts of the story help balance out the more intense moments. It doesn't take long for Logan to realize what a treasure Evangeline is, but his quest to make amends for his family doesn't line up with what he starts to feel for her.

    I was pulled into this story from the start. I immediately wanted to protect Evangeline just like her "brothers" did. I was pulling for each of the orphans, and for them to become a family of their own made sense! Of course, young kids have to do what they can to make things work. As we meet them as adults, it seems like everything has worked in their favor, aside from poor Evangeline's eyes.

    I wasn't sure how Logan's desire to get back what was his would clash with Evangeline and her brothers, but it really hit the mark. There's a good balance of give and take with her family and Logan. I enjoyed the book so much we'll be using it as our book club book for September! I also hope there's more to Zach's story and we'll get to know him more in the future!

    About the Author:

    Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyerwrites historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Seriously Good Freezer Meals + Blueberry Orange Smoothie Kits Recipe

    Seriously Good Freezer Meals
    by Karrie Truman
    Publisher: Robert Rose
    ISBN: 978-0-7788-0591-5

    The last couple weeks since getting home from Minnesota have been interesting! I've had a lot of time to be Suzy Homemaker. I haven't fully embraced it, but I have been working on preparing meals thanks for the Seriously Good Freezer Meals book I'm reviewing! It's been quite the interesting process getting started. So I'll tell you what I think of the book, and what it's been like starting down this road to freezer meals.

    I definitely liked the first chapter of Seriously Good Freezer Meals of Getting Started chapter. I think some of it was basic information, but definitely necessary. Nothing like getting a refresher course! Some of the things I learned are that avocados (without skins) and garlic cloves are able to go in the freezer!! There's also a great breakdown of freezing dairy products, blanching times for veggies, and how long your meals will last. Each recipe offers a "Bulk Batch Guide". I think 5 batches would be great for a freezer meal exchange!

    Now, it takes some time to build up meals so it'll take me a few more times to have enough meals that I will feel good about having last minute food to feed the family. The only thing I have to remember IS...take the food out to thaw the night before! The days we have sports at night are probably the ones  where we'll use these the most this fall!

    Since I've never made freezer meals, I have a learning curve on prep and shopping! My goal with some of these meals is to do several batches, but a few of the recipes have expensive ingredients. Not only that, I have to get the family to remember we have these meals as well!

    The first thing I made was Perfect Freezer Pancakes. We love eating them, but I never remember to make them unless we're having breakfast for dinner. I have yet to master the art of fluffy pancakes. My friends think I'm stirring too much. Darn it! For breakfast, I also made the Buttery Cinnamon French Toast Bake. I'm holding onto that one for the weekend after school starts.



    One of the things I have a hard time coming up with is side dishes. I can never think of different ones to make, and this way, I don't have to! I'm looking forward to heating up the Cheesy Potatoes because a friend of mine makes a dish similar to this, and it's to DIE for! Fingers crossed this is on par with hers. The next two side dishes I'll be making several batches of are the Mashed Potatoes and Brown 'n' Serve Rolls!


    I made 3 main dishes: Amazing Macaroni and Cheese, Mongolian Beef and Green Beans, and Broccoli Chicken Alfredo Bake. One thing I haven't quite gotten the hang of yet when making these kinds of meals is sealing them at the end of the process. I bought a bunch of aluminum foil pans, but when I put the plastic on top I'm not sure I'm even doing it right to get rid of the air or is it tight enough. Of course the second part of that is putting tin foil on top. Thankfully that should keep the meals good for the short term. The great piece of making these dishes is making meals I've never attempted before. Fingers crossed the Mongolian Beef turns out well!


    The last meal I made was the Creamy, Cheesy Broccoli Soup. Now, this is a dish where I'll be the only one eating it. It calls to put it into a gallon freezer bag, but I used 4 quart sized bags for single-ish servings. Depending on my appetite on of the quart bags could be a couple of meals for me. And I did sample it as I was pouring them into the bags. Oh my, my, my it was good! This I'll be making a TON of batches for.


    Up next I'll be trying desserts. They look pretty scrumptious, and they'd be awesome to have on hand when company comes over or just having a better choice on hand for the family! All in all, I'm really loving Seriously Good Freezer Meals and can't wait to try out more of the recipes!

    Blueberry Orange Smoothie Kits (2 servings)

    1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
    1/4 tsp vanilla extract
    1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, partially thawed
    1/2 banana
    1 cup frozen blueberries
    1/2 cup water

    1. In a small bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt, vanilla, and orange juice. Pour 1 tbsp each into 8 cups of an ice cube tray. Freeze for about 2 hours, until solid.

    2. Meanwhile, slice banana into 1/4" slices and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for about 2 hours, until solid.

    MAKE IT NOW Place the 8 orange juice cubes, frozen blueberries, and frozen banana pieces into a blender. Add water. Blend on High until smooth. Add more water if necessary to get desired consistency. Pour into 2 classes and serve cold.

    MAKE IT A FREEZER MEAL Place the 8 orange juice cubes, frozen blueberries, and frozen banana pieces in a labeled quart-size freezer bag. Seal, removing as much air as possible.

    MAKE THE SMOOTHIES Add contents of freezer bag and water to blender. Blend on High until smooth. Add more water if necessary to get desired consistency. Pour into 2 glasses and serve cold.

     
    Creative Commons License
    Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.