Elemental Reality Winner

Congratulations to Erin L. of

Sharpsburg, GA!

You have been chosen as the winner of Elemental Reality byCesya Marae Cuono!

Thank you all for participating and be sure to grab your copy of Elemental Reality!  A special thank you to Revolution Publishing for including me on the tour and for hosting the giveaway!

August 30th, 2011 Giveaway Winners! 0 Comment

Playbook for Men

Playing Hurt by Brian Goins

Thank you to LitFuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of Playing Hurt in exchange for an honest review.

About Playing Hurt:

A marriage book that husbands will actually want to read!

Everyone admires people who play hurt, from the superstar athlete to the journeyman player who finishes the game even when hurt, sick, or falling apart. Everyone looks up to these athletes and wants to mimic their “never give up” attitude. Except when it comes to marriage. Most husbands are willing to take a bullet for their wives in a life-and-death situation; but when his bride fires the bullet–hurls an insult, disrespects him in public, ignores his foreplay in private–he’d rather throw in the towel than play through the pain.

Playing Hurt is a biblical playbook for marriage that speaks in the language most men understand—the language of sports. Using a sports analogy to explain the motivation, means, and methods of playing hurt, author Brian Goins shows men how to overcome the temptation to stay on the bench. Playing Hurt is more about inspiration than instruction. It’s about finding the motivation to stay in the game, despite the pain. It’s about becoming like the One who knew more about nails and thorns than any superstar athlete. Using Ephesians 5 as a biblical basis, this book will call husbands to be the heroes they long to be–men who play hurt in order to win at marriage.

My Thoughts (as well as my husband’s):

When I got the copy of Playing Hurt in the mail, I turned to my husband, handed him the book and said, “oh, yeah, this book is for you.  I need you to read it and then let me know what you think”.  He was thrilled (not really).  He complied and read the book as I hoped he would.  His opinion was very simple.  He pretty much got it.  He felt that the relation to sports made some things a little easier to understand.   I know that my husband took a lot of Playing Hurt to heart as I have seen him make more of an effort to play through the pain.

While I had my husband read Playing Hurt first, I found it very helpful for me, a wife, as well.  It was a very easy read and even though it is geared towards men/husbands, I learned quite a bit.  Goins does a wonderful job of making it simple.  I can honestly say that I have a new perspective on how to play hurt in a marriage.  I like the numerous scripture references throughout the book and I had found that the scriptures helped solidify Goins’ statements.  It made them more real and the scriptures helped to soften my heart more than just “advice” would have.  To take from page 127, “The right answers come from the head, but the real answers come from the heart”.

There are many quotable parts, if I recited all of the quotes I enjoyed, I might as well rewrite the book on my site.  I am pretty sure that would not go over too well :)  One of the pages I really liked was the last page.  Neither my husband and I had very good marriage role models in our lives.  Both from broken, dysfunctional homes, we set out into the world.  My initial plan in life was to never marry and to never have children.  I never wanted to mess up another human as much as I felt my parents did my sisters and I.  I was going to look out for me.  I met my husband and, well, here we are.  Early in our marriage I remember my husband asking me what I wanted out of life and I responded, “a happy family”.  His response was a complete fumble, “…something tangible…”, I was defeated.  Much like Joel Goins, I was determined to reverse the curse and spare my future children and myself from the same wounds my parents inflicted on our family.  My husband was too hurt and too young to know that he needed that determination as well.

If you are currently married, were previously married, or think that one day you might get married, I highly recommend that you make the small investment in a copy Playing Hurt, the returns on your investment will be priceless.

Don’t forget about the giveaway!!!

Kregel Publications is sponsoring a $50 Amazon.com giveaway!!!!!!

To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using @litfuse) about Playing Hurt or share about it on Facebook!

If you tweet we’ll capture your entry when you use @litfuse. If you share it on Facebook or your blog, just email us and let us know (info@litfusegroup.com). Easy. (All Litfuse bloggers who post a review are automatically entered and do NOT need to email us.)

Not sure what to tweet/post? Here’s an idea.

TWEET THIS: Playing Hurt by Brian Goins-coaches men to win the 1 game that truly matters–marriage! http://ow.ly/6arVa RT 4 a chance at $50! @litfuse

FACEBOOK THIS: Everyone admires people who play hurt, from the superstar athlete to the journeyman player who finishes the game even when hurt, sick, or falling apart. Everyone looks up to these athletes and wants to mimic their “never give up” attitude. Except when it comes to marriage. Learn more: Playing Hurt by Brian Goins http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13375058

To purchase a copy of Playing Hurt just click the cover image below and you are one step closer to learning how to play hurt!

About the Brian Goins:

Brian Goins is the author or editor of numerous study guides, workbooks, and Bible studies that he has developed for Insight for Living (Chuck Swindoll) and Walk Through the Bible. When he’s not traveling across the country as a Family Life Weekend to Remember speaker, he and his family reside in North Carolina.

Learn more about the book by snapping a picture of this QR code!

August 25th, 2011 Books, Giveaways! Yeah! 2 Comments

Elemental Reality Giveaway!


Paperback, 260 pages

Published: August 21st 2011 by Revolution Publishing

ISBN: 0983353719

ISBN13: 9780983353713

primary:  languageEnglish

series:Elemental #1

source: received e-ARC from Publisher, Revolution Publishing

ABOUT: (from Goodreads)

When Callie Pierce was ten, her mother disappeared without a trace. On the eve of her disappearance twelve years later, the Earth seemingly comes alive. The elements speak to Callie, and that’s only the beginning. Everything she has ever known was a twisted fabrication to protect her. Now the truth is set free. Callie and her sister are more powerful than any Faerie ever born. Now they have to use their powers to save their mother and family from the evil hands of fate that threaten to tear them apart. Welcome to her elemental reality.

My Thoughts:

First off, let me thank everyone at Revolution for including me on this tour.  I have really enjoyed the books and authors at Revolution and always look forward to reading all the greatness that comes from them!  Also, don’t forget to enter to win a Print Edition of Elemental Reality!!  I wish I could enter, I think the cover is super pretty and quite honestly, I need to figure out a way for my Nook to scroll through the covers as a screen saver, not having the cover art readily available is a huge downfall of e-readers.

Ok…on to the book.  I really liked the voice that Cesya used.  I felt that all the characters were very easy to identify with.  All of the characters were so real and likable, even the ones I shouldn’t like.  The unlikables weren’t likable in a happy, cheery way, but they were so intricately created that they were enjoyable to read.  Every manipulation and mood swing was felt through the pages.

The storyline was pretty darn good too!  Not your Tinkerbell fairytale, that’s for sure.  I can honestly say, I am now a fan of books about faeries.  And demons.  Very captivating story and certainly an amazing work of art for a debut novel.  I am most certainly looking forward to more from Cesya!

Be sure to enter the giveaway!  Elemental Reality is sure to be a book you will want on your shelf!  Follow the tour for more reviews and more chances to win a copy!

Now, for the giveaway…the giveaway is courtesy of Revolution Publishing and will remain open until Midnight on August 28, 2011!  Enter away and good luck! All you need to do to enter is click on the image of the cover below and fill out the form!


Cici ♥

August 22nd, 2011 Books, Giveaways! Yeah! 2 Comments

Sunday Stew {7}

Happy Sunday! Welcome for the Sunday Stew, a weekly meme graciously hosted by Shannon over at Books Devoured. It’s a great way to take a look at what other blogs have going on around them and I find it usually introduces me to some great people and happenings around the web! Feel free to pop on over to Shannon’s and join in the Stew!

First and foremost I want to say a huge THANK YOU to so many who re-tweeted in search of my husband’s former mother-in-law.  It is amazing what can be accomplished by getting the word out!  I am happy to report that at about 1:00 a.m. this morning she was in police custody in Mississippi.  Thankfully an alert police officer had pulled her over and detained her until a family member arrived.  Of course she didn’t know what all the fuss was about as she was in Illinois the whole time.  It is very sad to see this change in her.  Even though she is the mother to my husband’s ex-wife, she has always been very kind to our family and we refer to her as Nana and consider her part of our family.  We are all grateful she was returned to her family unharmed and without causing harm to anyone else.  Unfortunately, the long road is just beginning.  We are just all thankful for her safe return home.  It sounds like she may have a good tale to tell if she can recall it.

Bookmark of the Week:

Well, thanks to the Nook, I have not had to search for something to shove between the pages :)

Around the Web:

This week I chose to donate 4 copies of To Kill A Mockingbird to Ringgold Reads.  In short, it is a long-term program aimed at rebuilding the libraries of the middle and high schools of Ringgold, GA that were devastated by a tornado on   April 27, 2011.  Please click the banner to see how you can help them out!

Remember the Monday Bites Twilight Re-Read Along I had done?  Well, looks like we are going to continue right along through the series!  It will be hosted by Book Goonie and we will be rolling through the books at a comfortable pace.  It was so much fun to discuss Twilight with other readers as I think I wore the Twilight topic out with my family!  Feel free to join in!!

Around Me:

Well, aside from the ‘excitement’ from Nana, we had a pretty good week.  My little baby girl celebrated her 7th birthday yesterday!  She certainly keeps us entertained!  She is my book buddy and I love retelling the stories I am reading to her.  Of course I clean them up a little bit to make them all appropriate :)  Be sure to check out the birthday giveaway being held in her honor and also the little story of how she became a Tara Hudson fan and self-proclaimed BFF.  I love this girl…

Again, thank you all for the re-tweets, prayers and kind thoughts for Nana.  I know that they were heard.  AWESOME people you all are! Here’s to a wonderful week!


Cici ♥

August 7th, 2011 Weekly Happenings! 4 Comments

Hereafter Birthday Giveaway

Happy birthday to my little girl!!  She turns 7 today and she couldn’t be happier!  This little girl is our Rhode Island baby :)  She has been an unbelievable blessing!  Recently during we had a whole week just us girls, it was so much fun!  One of our dates was out for dinner at Macaroni Grill and then off to Barnes and Noble to listen to Tara Hudson read from Hereafter and do a signing.  My daughter was SO excited to meet someone famous!  One of our favorite places to go is to the bookstore.  Of my three children my little girl is my book buddy, so she was super psyched to meet a “real” author.

A little background on how my princess knows about Tara’s book…she sees me read and is always asking questions about my books.  Usually at bedtime she will ask me to tell her a bedtime story about what I am reading, so I do.  Of course I G-Rate the story and give her a brief summary of the chapters that I am reading.  She really enjoys sharing my books with me and feels as though she has read them too.  Hereafter was the same way.  So when we went to meet Tara, my daughter had felt a little connected to the author as well.  I must say, Tara’s story was much better than my G-Rated version!  So, my daughter had gotten a couple of books for herself (a girl should never leave the bookstore empty-handed) and when it came time to have Tara sign she had a certain page picked out in her Baby Mouse book.  Tara was so kind to take the time to chat with her and sign her book, princess was on cloud nine!  When we got in the car she let me know that Tara was her new BFF :)

Soooooo, for her birthday she wanted to put up for grabs a SIGNED copy of Hereafter. Of course, followers of all kinds are great (GFC, Twitter, Facebook), but not necessary to enter, but will count as extra entries.  All you need to do is leave a comment and be sure to include an email address in your comment.  Leave a separate comment for each extra entry with your follower name.  Feel free to tweet about it too!  Leave that link and it will count as an extra entry as well!

tweet this: Happy Birthday Giveaway! Win a signed copy of HEREAFTER by @thudsonwrites http://bit.ly/noICkQ @cicistheories

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!!



Giveaway will be open until 11:59 p.m. August 31, 2011.  Winner will be chosen by random.org and will be notified via e-mail.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

August 5th, 2011 Giveaways! Yeah! 64 Comments

TGIF {8}

Thanks to Ginger over at GReads for hosting TGIF.  The weeks have been just flying by and it is hard to believe that summer is winding down and school is getting ready to start!  TGIF has been a fun weekly meme to participate in and I encourage you all to jump in and link up!

This week’s question is:

Taking it Personal: Which books have

effected you on a personal level and lingered in your mind

long after you closed the pages?

I will have to say that many books from my younger years have always lingered in my mind.  To Kill A Mockingbird, Catcher In The Rye, In Cold Blood, Huck Finn, Great Gatsby, all were personal favorites and books that I still reflect on.  I think they had such an effect because they all got me thinking beyond the Walworth County Line.  Living in a small town, growing up relatively poor, the thought of what was out there for me often seemed grim.  While those titles aren’t the YA glamour of today, they allowed me to really dream beyond a factory or hum drum country life.  Each introduced me to a little something different or a different way of thinking.  I have found that sometimes small towns encourage the ‘same way of thinking’.  These titles have stuck with me because I can definitely remember thinking larger after reading them all.  I’ll never forget the first time I stood on the bank of the Mississippi River after I left Wisconsin and joined the Navy.  I vividly remember in my mind saying, “Here’s to ya Huck”…silly, but you never know what a book will do.

Now, to explain In Cold Blood a little.  It was one of my first readings of something horrific like that.  Where I grew up we didn’t have cable and quite frankly nothing ever really happened.  I vividly remember hearing about Adam Walsh on the news and remember how terrifying it was.  It seemed like world’s away, because nothing ever happened in our town.  The story of Adam has stuck with me, it was real, I remember the news.  As a parent it does still come back and haunt me once in a while.  As for In Cold Blood, reading something so horrific allowed me to truly visualize the details.  I felt like I was right there, almost inside their heads.  That book is one of my favorites, probably because I feel like it opened a different level of visualization for me.

Hope you all have a fun weekend!  My baby girl turns 7 on Saturday so we will be all about her :)  Be sure to pop back for a giveaway on Saturday for a signed copy of Hereafter by Tara Hudson!



August 5th, 2011 TGIF 2 Comments

The Faerie Ring

Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: September 27th 2011 by Tor Teen / Macmillan
ISBN 0765327228 (ISBN13: 9780765327222)
Primary language: English
original title: The Faerie Ring

Summary from Goodreads:

Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…

My Thoughts:

I have never read any story that involved a faerie until I read The Faerie Ring. Well, unless you count Tinkerbell.  Even then, I only did it because my daughter must have REALLY wanted me to.  See, I was never a big “faerie” girl…until now.  I really enjoy I Read Banned Books.  Jen has a really great site and hosts a lot of book tours and is always gracious enough to let me hop on the tours.  I wasn’t going to sign up for The Faerie Ring because it had “faerie” in the title…Boy am I glad I did!  I am now a convert!  I find that books are kind of like chocolate…you don’t really need to try a new combo/flavor because who really needs a new kind of chocolate to enjoy, right?  But boy, when you get a little taste of something different and it is just divine, you now have even more choices of milky smooth deliciousness to choose from right?  Well, The Faerie Ring was my new kind of chocolate!  I never new a story about ‘faeries’ could be so darn good!

I started the book with a bit of reluctance, to be completely honest.  Thankfully I new I had a deadline otherwise I probably would have put off reading it just based on my assumptions of faeries.  I was absolutely hooked from the moment I started reading.  I know, that phrase can often be overused, but I can’t help but say I was hooked.  I felt like I had been drawn right back to London in 1871.  So much so, that I swear I could hear the hooves of the horses clacking and feel the moist, cool air on my face.

While reading this book I felt the full spectrum of emotions.  I could feel the pain and sadness of Tiki losing her parents and the anger, fear and disgust of dealing with a wretched uncle.  The amount of love, compassion and gratitude that was shared with Tiki and her Charing Cross family was pouring from the pages.  Each character brought such tangible characteristics without having spent and enormous amount of energy telling each individual story.  I was amazed (and grateful) and how well the story flowed.  There wasn’t ever a time in the story that I ever questioned how I got there or had to look back and wonder where I had just been for pages.

Reiker brought a new element to Tiki’s story and personality.  It was obvious that he was to play a very significant role in Tiki’s future, but I was very uncertain what that role would be.  I was very certain that he would end up being her adversary and found myself getting rather irritated at his presence.  But, oh wait, no but, I would hate for this to be a spoiler of any kind, so if you really want to know what Reiker does or doesn’t do, you should pick up the book…

Anyway…The Faerie Ring turned out to be an incredibly delectable read.  I guess if I had to describe it I would have to say it was a story with a soul.  It was certainly more than just words on paper telling of a story.  If you are looking to escape for a while, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of The Faerie Ring!

Thanks again to Jen at I Read Banned Books for once again including me on one of your fantastic ARC blog tours!



August 2nd, 2011 Books 2 Comments

Hereafter by Tara Hudson


by:  Tara Hudson

Published:  June 2011

Source:  purchased

Brief Summary:

Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she’s dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she’s trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoy debut authors!  Especially when they are from my new home state of  Oklahoma!  I really enjoyed Tara Hudson’s debut novel Hereafter.  The setting of the old bridge was just haunting with or without Amelia, Eli and all of the haunting history!  I must certainly say that Amelia’s story kind of surprised me.  I would have thought that suicide led her to where she was.  I grew up Catholic, so the hereafter equated to more of a limbo/purgatory place for me.  A place for the undecided souls.  Reading about all of Amelia’s experiences in the beginning really grabbed my attention.  I think that everyone from all religious backgrounds, has a curiosity and an opinion about what happens after death, so I always find it intriguing when an author builds a story on it.

Joshua is introduced into the story and Amelia starts to come to life, so to speak.  It is a little predictable that Amelia and Joshua will have some sort of romantic connection, but it would be a good YA without a little bit of that right?  Of course when Eli is introduced it adds another dimension to Amelia’s non-life life.  I found Eli to be a very interesting character and would have really liked to see a little bit more of his story build up.  I feel he was not given as much depth as I would have liked for a supporting character with a great deal of importance to the story.

Adding Grandma Ruth to the mix with her abilities to visualize the spirits and her ‘hate’ for them was a neat addition that I would have like a little more depth to as well.  I hope that in the books yet to follow we will see more from Grandma Ruth and Joshua’s sister.  I feel that the relationship with Amelia and Joshua’s family is going to make for some interesting stories yet to come.  Even though Joshua and Amelia had a few things against them, I did like how their romance progressed.   It was nice and slow.  Very friendly and slowly progressing.   I think I would have like a little more detail as to why he was able to interact with her when no one else could.  I couldn’t help but feel there could have been a lot more information shared about his family and their gift.  I am really hoping to get more of that in the books yet to come!

Overall, I enjoyed reading Hereafter.  I find it has a little bit of what we enjoy from YA, a little mystery, a little unknown, a little romance, a little creepy ghost trying to steal the soul of another ghost and a crazy grandma!  All wrapped up in a beautiful cover!

This book was reviewed as part of the Debut Author Challenge.



August 1st, 2011 Books 0 Comment

Mondays Bite: The End

I am so excited to have participated in the Twilight Re-Read Along!  Many thanks to the hostesses Ginger over at GReads along with Yani, Jacinda, Jasmine, & Lisa.  I hope you all have enjoyed revisiting Forks.  I know that I certainly have enjoyed reading it again and discussing it with you all.

Discussion questions for chapters 21-24 &


Link-up at GReads

1. In chapter 21 James calls Bella telling her he has her mother and the only way he won’t kill her is if Bella comes alone. What would you do in that situation? Come alone or tell Alice and Jasper?

I always found this part a little awkward to be honest.  I probably would feel like I would have to come alone, but knowing that Alice can see things happen, I would assume she would figure it out anyway.  I always felt this was one of the parts of the book that didn’t make much sense.  I figured Alice was a little more in tune that she was at this point in the book.
2. Was everyone else as shocked as I was when I first found out about the Alice/James situation? Do you think this adds to the story line or was it not needed? Why do you think they choose not to include these details in the movie?

I actually love this part being included in the story line.  I think it tells a lot about Alice and I am really disappointed that it wasn’t included in the movie.  If you think back to the time of Alice’s human life and her gift, it is totally on cue that she would be locked up in some form of solitary confinement.  Boy if her friends could see her now :)  I am not sure why they didn’t add them in the movie, I think it would have jazzed up the ballet studio scene and would have added a little extra connection between Bella and Alice.  I also think that it would have made the background scene of Alice ripping James’ head off a little karmic.  I think adding this to the book gives Alice’s character a little more depth.
3. Edward had to do something extremely difficult in order to save Bella from becoming a vampire. Have you ever had a similar situation in your life where you had to push your will power to its limits?

I don’t recall having to do anything really pushing my will power to its limits.  But, I have had to endure some unpleasant things for someone else.  While it is never easy, the outcome is usually best.
4. Bella and Edward get into the “to change Bella or not to change Bella” argument in the hospital. If you were Bella, would you want to become a vampire? Why or why not?

Feeling like it was where I belong, much like I think Bella does, I would want to become a vampire.  If my whole life so far had felt like I was out of step with everyone and everything around me, finding the one niche that I fit in and belonged would probably make me desire to not be the odd man out.  I believe that Bella feels the pulling of her destiny and that is why she feels so strongly about it.  Much how one can change careers without much explanation other than feeling they were called.
5. Twilight ends with everyone going to the prom. Did you go to your prom? Was your experience similar to Bella’s? Feel free to include pictures!!

I went to prom twice…once as a sophomore and once as a senior.  I went with my mom’s friend’s son my sophomore year and it wasn’t anything at all exciting.  My senior year was much more fun as I went with my boyfriend and a larger group of friends.  It was about as romantic as you can get at 17, but it was memorable!  Oh, an no pictures, that would be terrible…. :)

EXTRA: So, it’s over…Final thoughts?
While I don’t feel that Twilight is a literary masterpiece, as I have seen mentioned a time or two, I do believe it is a great love story.  It can be dissected in so many ways that it makes it a great conversation piece.  I have found that the more I read it the more I enjoy it.  I usually see at least one part differently with every read.  After this read though, I found myself thinking that the movie could have been done a lot differently.  I really, really enjoyed reading the book with all the bloggers.  It was fun to go through the other blogs and see what they had to say each week.  I really hope we can all do New Moon and all the others.  Thanks to all the blogs who hosted the weekly questions!

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Colleen's bookshelf: to-read

Of Mice and MenAnimal FarmWhere the Sidewalk EndsThe Great GatsbyThe Catcher in the RyeTo Kill a Mockingbird

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Colleen Cook's to-read book recommendations, reviews, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists