Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ash to Steele ebook

Who I am and all I believe is marred with just one glance into angry, steel blue eyes. He seems to control my air, my ability to breathe. He makes me crave everything I know is a sin. Pure becomes tainted and lines are blurred. It’s my fault; I’m the one who isn’t strong enough. I’ve been damaged…broken. Breck’s words haunt me…’There’s a consequence for every choice you make.’

I’ve had so many women I can’t even remember over half of their names, but none of them are mine; I make damn sure of that. I take what I desire and never look back. I don’t need or want anyone, ever…not until I met Emma. Those eyes bore into what’s left of my soul and her touch sears me, weakens me. I want to hate her for that. She is my ruin…my sweetest hell.

Disclaimer: Intended for readers 18+ due to strong language, mature scenes, and some violence.

My Impressions:
This is one of those stories that really set in the saying "there are consequences to every choice you make." Emma and Breck realize this in some very dramatic moments. Breck  is just a hot mess. He has the right balance of bad boy meets good boy. Enough of a rough edge to draw you in and make you desire him without being a total jerk that you detest. He is a hard character to like at first because he is a womanizer and frankly that turns me off, but as the story progresses he tames a little and you see more of a caring and loving side to him. Emma is a preachers kid. She grew up in a small town with strong Christian values and made the decision to become her own person and moved to the city to peruse her love of art.

These two characters have great chemistry. They see the other side of life  and use their past experiences to help each other become the best they can be. Filled with lots of drama, this book is an emotional roller-coaster that was a great read.

The only negative thing about this book that I could have easily lived without were the sex scenes. I ended up skipping over most of them simply because they were overdone and dragged on and it was not needed in my opinion to the extent that they were wrote. Overall this book is easy to recommend. It has great themes of friendship, love, abuse, conquering your past etc running through it.

About the Author: 
Karen-Anne Stewart has always adored reading and has now fallen in love with writing. Her written works are The Rain Trilogy: Saving Rain, Healing Rain, and After the Rain, and the newly released stand alone novel, Ash to Steele. Her debut novel, Saving Rain: The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy, was a nominee for the Book Junkie’s Choice Awards, and Saving Rain and After the Rain were nominees for the 2014 RONE Awards.

When Karen-Anne isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, and visiting new places. She fuels her addiction of creating new stories by her only other addiction, caffeine, and listening to a myriad of musical genres. Tucked away near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Karen-Anne lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and their cat. She plans on writing new adult romance as long as her fingers maintain dexterity.

Visit her website at www.karen-annestewart.com.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of Pump Up Your Books Review Crew.

 Pump Up Your Book

Monday, July 21, 2014

King David Get to Know Series

By Nancy I. Sanders

  Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  Series: Get to Know
  Paperback: 128 pages
  Publisher: Zonderkidz (July 8, 2014)
  Language: English
  ISBN-10: 031074475X
  ISBN-13: 978-0310744757  

A shepherd and a king, David lived an adventurous life. He protected his family’s sheep from lions and bears. He fought a giant with just a sling and stone. He even spent years hiding from men who were trying to kill him. And eventually, David became a great king. But David was also a man of God. Learn more about this hero from the Bible and his exciting place in history. Discover what it was like to grow up in ancient Israel and then be a king of God’s people. King David - part of the Get to Know series - will teach you everything you need to know about an imperfect young man whom God used to do great things!

My Impression: 

King David is part of the Get to Know God series by Zonderkidz that is aimed at children ages 6-10. My seven year old son loved this book. Beautiful illustrations, bright colors, bold lettering draw in the visual learner. The pages are thick enough that they do not rip easy, and have a glossy feel to them making them easy to turn without the pages sticking together. I appreciated all the intricate details in the illustrations. My son picked the pictures apart asking questions from what they were wearing, holding and the scenery in the background. The illustrations and maps really captured his attention and held it while I read the stories. 

This is a unique book in the way it is set up. Within each chapter you get a great story filled with biblical accurate information, a word bank, eyewitness accounts, did you know section, and a bible hero section. Each one of these elements help the reader gain a better understanding of the text by creating a well rounded view of the chapter text. Each section also has its own visual keys so your child knows what type of information he is receiving. For example, the bible hero uses a orange sandaled (not sure that is a word) foot which gives more detailed information about that specific person mentioned outside of David. The eye witness accounts uses a red eye and gives you information on a witness to a event or archeological evidence supporting the text. The Did You Know? section is recognized by a blue clay jar that gives the reader fun facts. My sons favorite fact was found on page 62 " When someone heard bad news in David's day he ripped his clothes to show his grief. Then he put on a sack cloth, a rough fabric .....This showed how sad he felt." My son compared this to the Incredible Hulk ripping his shirt when he got angry. 

At the end of the book there is a great colored time line of David, but even more interesting is the author lines up a world history time line to coincide with the life of David allowing for deeper discussion into how these aspects might have effected the life of David.  I think its also a great section for those that have older kids to dig deeper into as well. The glossary, found at the end, goes back over all the word bank words that were used without. 

My son went on so much about this book and kept asking questions throughout the day that my daughter, 14, wanted to know what he was talking about and sat in on most readings as well, even reading a few of the chapters to her younger brother and asking him questions. Overall this looks like a fantastic series. I cannot help but fall in love with biblical accurate and sound books that bring my family together and help them grow deeper in their faith and knowledge of the Word.  I cannot wait to get the next one.

About the Author: 

Nancy and Jeff Sanders make their home in southern California. They have two adult sons, Danny and Ben. Their cats Sandman and Pitterpat add lots of hilarious moments to their family.

Jeff is an elementary teacher who loves to work with kids, enjoys telling stories, and finds delight in music. If not reading a biography of Bach or Beethoven, you might find him playing the piano, strumming the guitar, or picking the banjo. He is a native of California.
Nancy grew up the youngest of seven children on a dairy farm in Everett, Pennsylvania. She helped milk the cows, bale the hay, drive the tractor, and pick giant weeds out of their humongous garden. After moving to California when she was 20, Nancy and Jeff met and were married. As a stay-at-home mom for more than 20 years, Nancy found true enjoyment in taking pen to paper and learning the craft of writing.
Much of Nancy’s time is spent writing books and working on various manuscript projects. Her favorite topics to write about are God, Bible stories, educational subjects, and African American history.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of BookLook Review Crew.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Vegan Living- Making the switch

I often get asked what do vegans eat? Why did you go vegan. What about the kids, are they forced to eat this way? 
Well, to answer the first part, we eat pretty much what the rest of the world eats minus anything that comes from an animal, including all dairy products. I am still not 100% vegan but our family is working on it. Ive been going down with path for about 6 months now and it has it's challenges and benefits. I have tons more energy. My hair and skin are healthier. I sleep great and I feel healthier overall. Plus, I've managed to drop a few unwanted pounds!
But, with all the benefits I have my challenges as well. I grew up eating meat and frankly I liked the way it tasted. I still have moments when I smell a steak or burger and really,really want to get one. Afterall, I ate this way for over 30 years, it will take time, practice and forethought to change my habits and patterns. Rome was not built in a day and neither were my eating habits. 
Plus, if I want to be  honest its cheaper to eat non-vegan/non-vegetarian. All the products that are healthy for us are expensive. I can go to McDonald's and feed my whole family off the dollar menue for the price of one salad.Vegan burgers cost almost double that of a regular one. I can fill up my grocery cart with junk, box foods, meat and dairy for around half the cost of fruits,vegetables, non-dairy items and ingredients to make meals from scratch. Cost is a huge factor and a huge struggle with maintain this lifestyle. My food budget went from around $300 a month for a family of 4 to around $600 when we made the switch. Another disadvantage is that I have to go grocery shopping almost weekly living a vegan lifestyle. Fruits and vegetables just don't last a month in the fridge. Its hard to really stock pile. 

Co-ops are non existent in my area and the ones that I have seen really do not give you that much bang for your buck. Farmers markets are great, if you want to haggle and wait for the last day it runs when people are willing to bargain, but it is time consuming and I am one of those people that really hate to haggle. 

I am not sure if this one is a perk or not but since I went vegan I have watched alot of videos on farming practices, animal cruelty and the lot. It leaves very vivid images locked into my mind when I go to eat chicken and eggs especially. I almost cannot eat them at all even when I have a moment of weakness and buy them. I get these images running through my head of the torture they went through, the way they are killed, the conditions they are forced to live in and the abuse so many endure with no medical treatments. It disgusts me. It's the main reason our family is living this lifestyle and will continue to.  Plus, I look at how wasteful we are as Americans. How much food we toss to the trash because of overproduction. I know it drives prices down, but it also makes innocent animals suffer for what, to end up in the garbage unused? It makes no sense to me.

Which brings me into do I "force" my kids to live this lifestyle. Yes and no. I only cook vegan in our home. Sometime vegetarian, but 90% vegan. My kids have seen the same videos I have. They voice the same problems, concerns that I have and do. They have not  complained to me about the food switch the way I thought they would. They know at home what we eat and why, but I do allow them to eat what they want when we go out in public. Sometimes they still eat meat/dairy other times they do not. My two sons love this lifestyle and love the food. My daughter struggles more with it, but I feel it is more of wanting to fit in with her friends then the food-although I could be wrong.  Either way I do not force them. I encourage it and I have set boundaries that they know to follow at home and give them options when they are out and about. For school, my youngest normally wants to pack him lunch and eat the vegan lifestyle, although some days he wants to eat what everyone else is eating at school. I try not make an issue out of it. My daughter is homeschooled so she eats whats in the house and on occasion I will let her order her lunch. My eldest is in college and can fed for himself in the food department, but when he is around he eats only strict vegan.
I would love to hear how your family has adopted to switching to a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. Any tips or tricks you wish to share. If you are insterested in making the switch here are several past posts you can check out: 
Steel Cut Oats with Cinnamon and Vanilla


2 cups water
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
Pinch of salt
1 cup steel cut oats
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup walnuts
1-2 tsp agave syrup


  1. Add the water, milk, salt, oats, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and raisins to the pressure cooker.
  2. Bring the cooker to high pressure over high heat, then lower the heat and cook under pressure for 3 minutes. The cooking time starts once the pressure is up. Then, remove it from the heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. During this time, the oats will continue to cook.
  3. Then, carefully remove the lid and check to see if the oats are cooked enough. Mine were not at this point. If not, remove the pot from the heat, lock on the lid, and let them sit for another 10 minutes.  They will continue cooking during this time.
  4. Remove the lid. Then remove the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick and set aside. Stir in the cinnamon, walnuts, and agave syrup to taste. 

Recipe and photo credit to:

Salsa Verde Potato Salad       


1kg chat potatoes
1 bunch parsley
1 tbsp capers
1 dill pickle, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 shallots, chopped (scallions)

  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the potatoes. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife. Drain and set aside.
  2. Combine the parsley, capers, pickle, lemon juice, vinegar and 2 tbsp olive oil in a food processor. Process until you get to your desired consistency. You can either leave it a bit chunky (like a traditional salsa verde) or continue until it's smooth.
  3. Cut any of the larger potatoes in half, if desired. Stir through the dressing. Sprinkle with chopped shallots (scallions) and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. There is no need to add salt, as the capers are quite salty already. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Very Vegan Chili  


3 cans of beans OR about 6 cups of cooked beans, any variety
1 medium onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes OR about 3 tomatoes, diced
1 can diced green chili's OR your choice of fresh peppers, we like jalapenos
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup chili powder (add more to suit your taste, we use 1/2 cup)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika


  1. Add beans, diced onion, tomatoes, peppers, and tomato sauce to a large sauce pan and cook until onions, peppers, and tomatoes are cooked.
  2. Add spices to suit your individual taste preferences.
  3. Heat until extra liquid, if any, has cooked out.

Raw Strawberry Cheesecake  

1 cup pecans
1 cup almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped

3 cups raw cashew pieces, soaked overnight (or at least 3 hours)
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (alcohol free is preferred for raw desserts)
32 oz strawberries (reserve 9 for decorating), hulled and halved - about 4 cups
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted  
Raw Fluffy White Frosting
1/2 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked overnight
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (alcohol free is preferred for raw desserts)
1/4 cup raw coconut oil, melted
Strawberry Coulis (Coulis is a fancy word for pureed sauce)
2 cups chopped strawberries
3 tablespoons agave syrup

  1. Lightly grease a 9 inch spring form pan with coconut oil and set aside.
  2. To prepare the crust, pulse nuts and salt in a food processor fit with a metal blade. When nuts are fine crumbs, add the dates and pulse until the dough holds together when squeezed between your fingers. Firmly press crust into the bottom of prepared cake pan. Set aside.
  3. To prepare the filling, pulse cashews in food processor until crumbly. Add agave, water, lime juice and vanilla and puree until very smooth, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to make sure you get everything. Feed the strawberries through the top of the food processor and puree until incorporated. The filling should turn a pretty pink. With the processor running, add the melted coconut oil in a steady stream.
  4. Pour the filling into the cake pan. It will look like a smoothie and you'll think no way it will set, but it will! Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to set. Make sure it's level so that your cake doesn't come out wonky. Let set for at least 4 hours.
  5. Prepare the frosting in basically the same way as the cake. Pulse the cashews in the food processor until crumbly. Add the water, agave and vanilla and blend until smooth. With the food processor running, stream the coconut oil in through the top until combined. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill until set, about 2 hours.
  6. Prepare the sauce when you're close to serving. Just mash the strawberries up with the agave until it's all red and syrupy.
  7. To assemble
  8. Release the cake from its springform prison. Use a mini scoop to place 8 mounds of icing around the perimeter of the cake and one in the center. Slice the tops off the reserved strawberries and gently smush them upside down into the frosting mounds. If you don't have a mini scoop, just use a spoon and make them as pretty as you can, they're gonna get smushed anyway.
  9. To serve, place some Strawberry Coulis on the plate and serve the cake over it. Dig in!
Recipe and photo credit to:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Young Love


Post by Tyler Kyrin.

1. Full name: Tyler Joesph Jakob Kyrin
2. What I'm listening to: In The End- BVB
3. Addiction: cats
4. Relationship status: Taken obvi
5. What I'm doing right now: Nothing interesting
6. Who's cute that liked my status: Del
7. Girls I trust: Del, Ravan
8. Boys I trust: James
10. Favorite color: Blue
11. Confession: I had a pet rock named Ronald for 5 years cx
12. Who I miss: My cat
13. Who understands me: Del
14. Someone who is always there for me: Del, James
15. Last person I hugged: Blakey (My lil bro)
16. Who's a stranger that liked my status: Alex
17. Who makes me laugh that liked my status: Del
18. Who i do the craziest stuff with: James
19. Who makes me smile: Del
20. Current crush: Del
— with Delaney Lovesyew