Monday, June 27, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway Info: Spring for Susannah

About the Book:
Booklist says, "Inspired by [folk] lyrics, Richmond arrives on the inspirational fiction scene with a moving debut novel. Readers will be filled with hope that Susannah will learn the true meaning of love. Highly recommended where inspiring, romantic historical fiction is in demand."
Hundreds of miles from home, Susannah faces an uncertain future as a mail-order bride on the untamed Dakota prairie.
When her parents die suddenly, and no suitors call, Susannah resigns herself to the only option available: becoming a mail-order bride. Agreeing to marry her pastor's brother, Jesse, Susannah leaves the only home she's ever known for the untamed frontier of the Dakota Territory .
Her new husband is more loving and patient with her than she believes she deserves. Still, there is also a wildness to him that mirrors the wilderness surrounding them. And Susannah finds herself constantly on edge. But Jesse's confidence in her-and his faith in God's perfect plan-slowly begin to chip away at the wall she hides behind.
When she miscarries in the brutal Dakota winter, Susannah's fledgling faith in herself and in God begins to crumble. Still, Jesse's love is unwavering. Just when it seems like winter will never end, Susannah finally sees the first tentative evidence of spring. And with it, the realization that more than the landscape has changed.
She looks to the future with a renewed heart. Yet in her wildest dreams, she couldn't predict all that awaits her.
My thoughts
I have been reviewing books in the Christian fiction genre for a little while now and keep waiting to find one that is overly preachy, like I remember these types of books being.  Spring for Susannah has a lot more talk about religion and God, but not in a way that makes the reader feel like they are sitting in a Sunday sermon.  I did get a little concerned when the author broached the subject of "Mormons" in the book, as sometimes there can be inaccuracies in the way they are portrayed.  The author handled the topic accurately (at least for the time the story takes place, polygamy is no longer practiced by the "Mormon" Church) and in no way bashed any other religions.  On another note, this is a book about the growth of married couple, who did not know each other, as well as the growth of Susannah, the young bride.  My husband found it funny that every time he asked me what was going on in the story,  at least throughout the first part of the book, Jesse and Susannah were about to do what married couples do, especially when they are interested in trying to have a baby ;)  Of course I explained to him that the book is about much more than that and that other things were going on as well, but it did take a few months before she was ready to consummate the marriage and once they did, it seemed like were doing "it" in every chapter.  
My recommendation
I recommend this book to those who enjoy romance novels, stories of personal growth or stories about homesteading during the mid 1800's.  If you are not one who likes a lot of talk about God, I caution you that there is quite a bit, but it is not in an offensive way at all.  In fact, I kind of found the way Jesse interpreted scriptures refreshing and I plan to encourage my sister to read this as she is one who tends to have a different take on scriptures, herself.

About the author
Catherine Richmond was focused on her career as an occupational therapist till a special song planted a story idea in her mind. That idea would ultimately become Spring for Susannah, her first novel. She is also a founder and moderator of Nebraska Novelist critique group and lives in Nebraska with her husband.
For more about Catherine, please visit
About the giveaway
To celebrate her debut novel, Catherine and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away a Spring For Susannah Prize Package worth over $150!

One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen

* Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond (for KINDLE)

To enter just click one of the icons below and then tell your friends! But hurry, giveaway ends on June 27th. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 28th at 5 PM (6PM MST, 7PM CST, & 8PM EST) during Catherine's Spring for Susannah Book Club Party on Facebook! Catherine is rustling up some fun for the party - she'll be chatting about the story behind her novel, hosting a book club chat, testing your mail-order bride trivia skills, and giving away some GREAT prizes! Don't miss the fun and tell your friends!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

To visit more participants of this blog tour, click here. 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway Info: A Reluctant Queen

 A Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther
About the Book (from a press release)
You know the Bible story. Now discover the love story.

Experience the intimate, profoundly stirring story of Esther, a simple Jewish girl, and the Great King of Persia, who finds in her the companion of his soul.

In this meticulously researched novel, you'll journey into the mind and heart of Esther. Experience her first frightened days in the king's harem and her gradual awakening love, her anguished realization that she is God's chosen instrument, and her courageous defiance of Persian law that ultimately saved her people from destruction. 

What has for been a powerful historical story for thousands of years will come alive when seen through fresh eyes as a tender love story. Be immersed in the richness of the culture, be thrilled with the political and personal intrigues, and be inspired by the incredible act of faith of one young woman-chosen by God "for such a time as this."

The story of Queen Esther is full of romance, suspense, and danger. A Reluctant Queen, The Love Story of Queen Esther (Thomas Nelson, June, 14 2011, ISBN: 1595548769, $15.99) is a fresh account of the journey of biblical heroine Esther from common orphan to queen of Persia. Master story-teller Joan Wolf sees Esther and King Ahasuerus as a young couple on a difficult road together: Esther is wracked with guilt for lying to her husband about her heritage, and the king, despite his vast kingdom, is a lonely man. Haman proves to be a cunning antagonist, seducing the king into trusting him implicitly, while threatening the existence of the king's love, Esther, and her people. The fate of the Jews is in Esther's hands-but her own life is at risk no matter her decision.

Author Joan Wolf says, "A Reluctant Queen is a fresh look at the story of Esther, the book in the Bible that for me has always held the seeds of a deeply moving love story." 

More than a fairy tale, the moral imperatives of A Reluctant Queen go far beyond the Brothers Grimm and turns Esther into one of the great heroes of the Old Testament. A beautiful heroine, an exciting and complex hero, an evil villain, a stirring love story - the story of Esther has it all, and Wolf brings it vividly to life. It's the story of a love that triumphs over hate because a woman stands up for her God, becoming a courageous hero to her people throughout the ages.  

What I thought
I absolutely LOVED this book.  I have also always been drawn to the story of Esther, but had not really given it a whole lot of thought.  A Reluctant Queen quickly drew me in and I hungrily read every word.  I find that many books are easy to put down in the beginning, and a good book slowly gets more difficult to put down the farther you get in reading it.  This book is nothing like that.  From the very beginning, I just could not put it down.  I took it with me everywhere and read it every spare moment I had, even if it was only a few sentences at a time.  It has quickly become a favorite book of mine.  

My recommendation
You do not need to be familiar with the Biblical account of Esther to enjoy this book.  If you like love stories, I am certain you will love this, whether you consider yourself religious or not.  For those who are religious, this is an Old Testament story so it will appeal to both Christians and Jews alike.  While religion is a major part of the story, it is not preachy at all.  If you want to see how Esther may have felt during her life, the author does a great job sticking to the Biblical account and historical records, using poetic license as necessary. I highly recommend this book to all who enjoy a good love story and to those who enjoy reading about strong women from the scriptures.

About the author
Joan Wolf was born in New York City but has lived most of her adult life with her husband in Connecticut , where she raised two children and countless numbers of assorted animals. Joan is the author of numerous historical novels including The Road to Avalon which Publishers Weekly lauded as “historical fiction at its finest.”
For more about Joan and her other books, please

About the giveaway
To celebrate Joan Wolf’s debut Christian Fiction title, A Reluctant QueenReluctant Queen, Joan and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away A Reluctant Queen prize package worth over $150!

One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen

* A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf (for KINDLE)

To enter, just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, the contest ends on June 20th. Winner will be announced on June 21st during Joan’s A Reluctant Queen Book Club Party on Facebook (details below)! Hope to see you there – bring your friends!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Join the fun on June 21st! 

Joan will be wrapping up the blog tour and Kindle giveaway promotion during her A Reluctant Queen FACEBOOK party on her FB author page. During the party she'll announce the winner of the Kindle, host a book chat discussion, test your trivia skills (Is Esther's story in A Reluctant Queen fact or fiction?), and more. Don't miss this chance to meet the author and make some new friends! 

I received a free copy of  The Reluctant Queen from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review and participation in this blog tour.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pepto Party in a box giveaway information

To help kick-start summer celebrations, Pepto-Bismol is sharing the fun with an exciting sweepstakes! Through the end of June, you can enter to win a "Party-in-a-box" through Pepto-Bismol's Facebook page.  Entering is easy, just "like"the page and then click "Party in a box" on the left-hand size under the picture of Pepto-Bismol.  There is a winner each week and upcoming Pepto “Party in a box” prizes include t-shirts, Pepto pink aprons, $100 Visa gift cards to and one the following:  
  • BBQ tool set
  • Cooler
  • Theme park passes
  • Pink party set
Fans of the Pepto-Bismol Facebook page can enter to win on a weekly basis on the “Party in a Box” tab at

I received a Party-in-a-box gift set in exchange for this post.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wendy's Berry Almond Chicken Salad and giveaway

I was hoping to post more while on the road, but the few nights I actually had time to blog, we were at hotels who either had their wifi down or no wifi in the rooms.  I still plan to blog about our trip as we go and I am hoping to have some time to do so in a few days.  In the meantime, here is a review of a yummy new salad from Wendy's and a giveaway for a $25 Wendy's gift card.

Shortly before our road trip, I received an invitation to attend a Memorial weekend picnic with some fellow bloggers, sponsored by Wendy's, in order to review their new salad, Berry Almond Chicken Salad.  Since the picnic fell during our road trip, I was unable to attend it, but was still given the chance to review this yummy new salad.

About the salad
My family and I enjoyed this salad for lunch on Saturday while we were in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The salad is a mix of romaine and iceberg lettuce, combined with a spring mix.  This is topped with fresh, juicy blueberries and huge, sliced strawberries, as well as shaved Asiago cheese and a warm grilled chicken breast.  A side of sliced almonds, roasted with sea salt and a package of fat-free raspberry vinaigrette, finish off the salad.  This salad is available as a full or half-size, but in order to ensure that only the freshest berries are used in the salad, this salad is only available during the summer.  Wendy's other Garden Sensation salads are available year-round.

My thoughts
I tend to dislike fast food restaurants in general, but Wendy's has always been one of my favorites.  This is partially due to their healthier options and partially due to the fact that their food is just tasty.  Having said that, I am also hesitant to order salads when I am out simply due to the fact that often they are made with an abundance of iceberg lettuce and I prefer other types of lettuce much more.  The Berry Almond Chicken Salad is made with some iceberg lettuce, but it was just enough to give it a nice crunch, and still allow the flavors of the other greens come through.  I have always enjoyed fruit in my salad, but have never used blueberries.  What a mistake!  The strawberries were great, but the blueberries added little flavor bursts throughout the salad.  Together, the berries almost eliminate the need for any dressing at all, but the fat-free raspberry vinaigrette is perfectly sweet and tangy at the same time.  The chicken was warm and tender and the almonds added a salty crunch that was perfect.  As for the cheese, I honestly could not really taste it, so I could take or leave that part.  I really enjoyed this salad and definitely would order it again.  I was also very pleased with the nutrition facts for this salad as well.  A full-size salad contains one full serving of fruit and has 450 calories.  Plus, berries are a good source of both antioxidants and vitamin C. 

The giveaway
I have been given a $25 Wendy's gift card to give away to one of my readers, so that you may try the new Berry Almond Chicken Salad for yourself.  Here are the ways you can enter:

Mandatory entry:  Tell me which of Wendy's salads you are most excited to try.

Extra ways to enter (leave a comment for each one you do):
- subscribe to The Happy Wife
- follow The Happy Wife
- share this giveaway via your blog or other social networking site.
- Follow me on Twitter
This will be a longer giveaway than normal, due to the fact that I forgot to bring the gift card with me soo I could mail it to the winner.  The winner will be chosen at some point on June 15th, and they will have 48 hours to get back to me or a new winner will be chosen.   The prize will be mailed out around June 21st or whenever we return home.

I will be receiving a stipend for participating in this review.  I also received a gift card to purchase the salad I reviewed and the gift card for the giveaway.  Wendy's and the Motherhood provided me with the gift cards and stipend.  Regardless of what I received, my opinion is always my own and not influenced by anyone else.