Saturday 28 May 2016

Autism Assistance Dogs. Purina Walk for Dog Guides, Our Story!


It’s comforting for Olivia to have her constant companion Jovi in life’s unpredictable moments.

Olivia is eight and has autism, and so does her brother. A couple of years ago I came across an article about dog guides and applied right away knowing in an instant my son would benefit from a dog guide,  a year and a half later we received Waylen a Black Standard Poodle.  Later when our daughter was diagnosed I applied again for her to receive a dog guide. I knew right away this would work for our family dynamics. A few weeks later, we were approved for a dog from the foundation’s autism assistance program.

The wait was roughly about a year and a half before I got the call to go to Oakville, Ont., for a 10-day dog guide handler training course for our first dog Waylen. Jovi came 6 months after that; he is an apricot Standard poodle.

Jovi is a calming influence; a constant Olivia can rely on in her life.
When they go out, Olivia knows she is safe by holding onto his harness, she feels confident and relaxed. Jovi, though, is the one who is all business once he puts his harness on he is ultra-focused on her. Jovi is like superman a normal everyday dog when out of his harness and all business once in harness, ready to calm and reassure at a moment’s notice!

The Lions Foundation does wonders in training dogs to adapt to any child they work with, but daily training is a must to keep a guide dog working well in the community and home. That’s why it is super important to not pet or distract a working dog; they really are doing a very important job!

This Sunday at 10 am, there will be a Purina Walk for Dog Guides in Courtenay at the Bosley’s store location. Come out to the walk and support this wonderful cause!
The Lions Foundation of Canada has six programs to train dog guides to assist Canadians:

Canine Vision for people who are blind or visually impaired

Hearing Ear for people who are deaf or hard of hearing

Autism Assistance for children who have autism spectrum disorder

Service for people who have a physical disability

Seizure Response for people who have epilepsy

Diabetic Alert for people who have type 1 diabetes with hypoglycemic unawareness

You can donate by following the link at the top of the page. Thank you so much for supporting families like ours!

Thursday 26 May 2016

Book Review: The Beautiful Pretender

From the Back:

After inheriting his title from his brother, the margrave has two weeks to find a noble bride. What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise?
The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble born ladies who meet the king’s approval to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.
Avelina has only two instructions: keep her true identity a secret and make sure the margrave doesn’t select her as his bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.
Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences
My Reflections:

Once upon a time there was a fabulous author named Melanie Dickerson, who could spin a ferry tale with the flick of her pen. She brilliantly wrote with the reader in mind, weaving tales filled with courage, faith, romance, betrayal and danger. Not once did her reader let the book drop, and she became that very readers favorite author to the end!

Ok, I have a new-found passion for fairy tales now, eekk thank you Mrs. Dickerson!

Loosely based on the classic Beauty and the Beast, Dickerson's novel "The Beautiful Pretender" is everything you could want in a fairy tale. This is book two and although I have not had the pleasure of reading her first book I was easily caught up in the story-line and feel that this book could be read as a stand alone. Although I am eager to go out and purchase book one "The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest" just as soon as I can! The setting was fantastic, who wouldn't want to loose themselves in a medieval castle in Germany? Even though this is geared towards young adults, I am certain anyone with a love for this type of genre will be utterly over the moon to immerse themselves in this engaging story.

This book was provided free of charge from Book Look Bloggers program, in return for my honest review. Thank you so much Book Look!

About the author: 
Melanie Dickerson's Profile Photo  About Melanie:
Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama.

She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine. 

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

Book Review: Sins of The Past

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From the Back:

Secrets and Lies. Danger That Will Never Go Away.
Join Three Beloved Masters of Romantic Suspense for Novellas Where the Past Will Not Stay Buried.

Dee Henderson - "Missing"A Wyoming sheriff is called to Chicago when his elderly mother goes missing from her retirement community. Paired with a savvy Chicago cop, the two soon launch into a race against the clock when they realize something dark may lie at the heart of the disappearance.

Dani Pettrey - "Shadowed"Adventure, romance, and danger collide when a young Alaskan fisherman nets the body of a Russian open water swimming competitor. Another swimmer, who'd been the dead woman's roommate years ago, is pulled into the search for answers as it grows more and more clear that something sinister is at play.

Lynette Eason - "Blackout"A young woman once implicated in a robbery gone wrong finds herself at risk years later when the real culprit is up for parole. The loot taken that night has never been found and he believes she knows where it's hidden--only her memory of that night has always been unreliable. Can she remember enough to find her way to safety?

"These entertaining, fast-paced mysteries will keep readers guessing and engaged throughout. The chilling stories work well together and also easily stand alone."--RT Book Reviews

My Reflections:

Three great authors in one fabulously packaged novella is a treat to unpack.
I was so delighted to have had the opportunity to review the romantic suspense novella Sins of the Past. Talk about adrenaline, romance and suspense wrapped up in a synergistic bundle!

The first book is by Dee Henderson, titled: Missing.

I have to admit Dee Henderson has not been on my top ten list lately, and her newest book didn't disappoint my mediocre expectations. I found the plot to be slow and predictable. The slow to bud love story seemed forced and slightly awkward. 
I'm not one to write negative reviews but I do need to express my honesty towards this first book.

The story starts with the disappearance of Police chief John Graham's mother. A flurry of detective work, lots of dialogue and crime investigation work ensues. 

The suspect is pretty obvious and I found my self shaking my head at the notion that two very competent police officers, and a slew of other officials could not solve this crime quickly. To top this plot off the conclusion was pretty lackluster and uneventful. 

All in all I was not overly impressed with the first book in this novella.

Thankfully we move to Dani Pettrey and her book, Shadowed

I have read all of Pettrey's works and loved her Alaskan Courage series, so it was especially exciting to read how the McKenna family started, we learn how Libby and Ben met and fell in love.

Libby a competitive swimmer finds herself in Yancey, Alaska where she is competing in a cold-water competition. Deciding to take a much needed break in her training schedule she opts to go on a whale watching tour. The weather is poor and she is the only guest. Ben McKenna the fisherman/ tour guide obliges.
Unfortunately Libby gets more than she paid for when a dead body is discovered, and is found to be her fellow competitor Katrarina Stanic. Foul play is immediately suspected, and Ben is on Libby's side. Can he keep her safe until the real threat is found?

This background story is oh so satisfying, you get a glimpse as to where the rest of the clan gets their tenacity. The writing is classic Pettrey style, filled with suspense, satisfying romantic drama and perfect era storytelling!

Last but certainly not least we have Lynette Eason with: Blackout

Full throttle adrenaline shoots off the pages in Eason's novella. My advice to you is read this one in the daylight hours!

At the age of 17 Macey Adams was unintentionally involved in a crime. Unfortunately she was so traumatized that she cannot recall the pertinent details of those events. Six long years later she is still in the dark and someone wants to keep it that way, that someone is not afraid to take a life to keep Macey quiet. 

Determined to stay alive and to decipher her minds reluctance to remember, she leans on her neighbor, police detective Chad Latham to dodge the next threat.

Eason never fails to impress me with her fast paced romantic suspense novels. Her writing is engaging and characters so life like you feel like you know them. On the edge of your seat action propels this novel forward at break neck speed. I was so disappointed that it had to end!

All in all this is quite the novella! 
Just because I didn't care for the first book, you may find it to be just what you are looking for. Everyone's tastes are so unique! Not to mention that the second two collections are so good you will be glad you invested in this book.
I would certainly recommend Sins of the Past for your summer reading collection!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.


  1. Dee Henderson

    Dee Henderson

    Dee Henderson is the author of numerous novels, includingTakenUndetectedUnspoken, Full Disclosure, and the acclaimed O'Malley and Uncommon Heroes series. Her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards,...
    Continue reading about Dee Henderson
  2. Dani Pettrey
    © Michael Pettrey Photography

    Dani Pettrey

    Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the Alaskan Courage romantic suspense series, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged,ShatteredStrandedSilenced, and Sabotaged. Her books...
    Continue reading about Dani Pettrey
  3. Lynette Eason

    Lynette Eason

    Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series and the Deadly Reunions series, as well as No One to TrustNowhere to Turn, and No Place to Hide in the Hidden Identity series. She is a member of American Christian...
    Continue reading about Lynette Eason

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Book Review: Someone Like You

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From The Back:

"Together With You is a gripping story of forgiveness, love, and family relationships that will captivate readers from the opening chapter."--Booklist 
Single mom Julia Dare has a lot on her plate. A brand new Christian, she's busy trying to run her own business, spend time with her widowed mother, and raise her young son, Max, despite his father's less-than-ideal influence on him. When a big account from her event-planning business sends her to the Caliente Springs resort, she's shocked to come face-to-face with Zeke Monroe, the resort's general manager and her college sweetheart.

With his faith in tatters, Zeke Monroe is determined to keep the historic Caliente Springs resort running despite financial difficulties. But when Julia walks back into his life, he can't ignore the feelings she stirs up. As they work together on an important client's dream wedding, the fate of the resort soon depends on their success. When Zeke and Julia are pushed to their limits both personally and professionally, will their history put up walls between them or bring them together?

My Reflections:

Once you crack the cover of "Someone Like You" by Victoria Bylin you will be completely hooked line sinker, done!

Bylin's picturesque town of Caliente Springs was quaint and captivating. The towns people were authentic and engaging, a place you would love to visit! This author has immense talent, she draws her readers in weaving a tale that will utterly captivate and melt your heart leaving you sighing with utter satisfaction!

Julia and Zeke the two main characters, have both experienced adversity in their lives. Zeke battles with his relationship with God and Julia's past still haunts her. Both have changed quite a bit since college, some for the better some for the worse...
 A chance reunion of the two may be just what they both need to move ahead in their lives. 

Readers will be delighted with a few bonus characters and side stories including a goat named Ladybug, you may find that you simply cant control the bubbles of laughter erupting from you over this character! It made me glad that I have re-though the whole goat phase in my life. 

A must read if you enjoy engaging heart felt romance.  

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc


  1. Victoria Bylin
    © Scott Walz

    Victoria Bylin

    Victoria Bylin writes contemporary and historical romances known for their realistic, relatable characters. Her work has finaled in contests such as the Carol Awards, the RITAs, and the RT Reviewers' Choice Award. A native of California, she and her husband...
    Continue reading about Victoria Bylin

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Book Review: Loving My Actual Life

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From the Back

What if you could actually love the life you are living right now?
In life, there is the ideal: fulfilling work, thriving relationships, financial security. Not to mention an orderly and beautiful home and children who never misbehave. And then there's reality: frustrations, illness, feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. We can wait around for our circumstances to change and in the process miss the goodness right in front of us. Or we can choose to love our actual lives, right here and now.

In this entertaining and insightful book, Alexandra Kuykendall chronicles her nine-month experiment to rekindle her love of her ordinary, actual life. After wiping her calendar as clean as a mother of four can, Kuykendall focuses on one aspect of her life each month, searching for ways to more fully enjoy her current season. By intentionally adding one thing each month that will make her jump for joy, she provides a practical challenge you can easily replicate in your life. With humor, poignancy, and plenty of personal stories, she shows how a few small changes can make this crazy-busy life one of holy contentment.

My Reflections:

Alexandra Kuykendall's new book "Loving my Actual life" grabbed me from the first glance. I am in the "busy season." That season of life when you thought kids should become easier instead of harder, the time when age has started to creep up and zap your peppy happy self. Not to mention the busy season of spring on a farm!

Alexandra Kuykendall's book reads like a memoir, you will be greatly encouraged to read about  her journey and her "life experiment." This author has spent nearly a decade pouring into woman's lives through an organization called MOPS (moms of preschoolers.) Having been a regular attender of a local MOPS group I can attest that the encouragement and refreshment I experienced as a new mom changed the way I parented.

"Perma-exhaustion," "yes Alexandra, that is me," This book was a God send, it resonated with me on so many levels, and while I still have lots of work to do on my attitude towards life I feel more hopeful than I have in months. 
Do you often find yourself on auto pilot running from activity to activity not really engaged in any of it? Kuykendall found this and started to make small but meaningful changes in her life. I certainly could spend less time on social media! You will love her ideas and encouraging voice of reassurance! Her natural story telling abilities will entertain and enlighten you all at the same time.

Kuykendall spent nine months re vamping how she spent her time and lived her life, I think it is fair to say that if we balance our time and energy on being present in the now that our future will benefit greatly. I will slowly but surly learn to love the life I'm given, right here and right now, are you ready to do the same?

I recommend this book to women in all stages of life, the premise is the same for all. I dare you!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.


  1. Alexandra Kuykendall

    Alexandra Kuykendall

    Alexandra Kuykendall is on staff at MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers) where she encourages mothers of young children to keep growing as they take on their new mothering identity. She is a regular contributor and consulting editor to MomSense...
    Continue reading about Alexandra Kuykendall

Monday 23 May 2016

Book Review: Think and Eat Yourself Smart

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From The Back:

You have the power to impact your health and wellness!
Scientists are beginning to understand that our thinking has a deep and complicated relationship with our eating. Our thoughts before, during, and after eating profoundly impact our food choices, our digestive health, our brain health, and more. Yet most of us give very little thought to our food beyond taste and basic nutritional content.

In this revolutionary book, Dr. Caroline Leaf packs an incredible amount of information that will change your eating and thinking habits for the better. Rather than getting caught up in fads such as raw foods, vegan, gluten-free, or paleo, Leaf reveals that every individual has unique nutritional needs and there's no one perfect solution. Rather, she shows how to change the way you think about food and put yourself on the path toward health.

If you're tired of traditional diet plans that don't work, if you struggle with emotional eating, or if you're simply not satisfied with your level of health, you'll find that this book is the key to discovering how you can begin developing a healthier body, brain, and spirit--for life!

My Reflections:

Dr. Caroline Leaf has certainly poured herself into the research this book must have taken to write. Her background as a neuroscientist shines though in the context of her newest health and wellness book. 

If you have ever pondered the facts behind the modern food chain you will certainly learn your fair share by reading "Think and Eat Yourself Smart." The amount of information and the way it was presented make for this to be a slow and laboured read for me. 

The basic premise behind the book is to avoid processed and refined foods. Search out your  local 
organic and whole foods. 

Leaf's book is sectioned into three main parts:

-Admit it
-Quit it and 
-Beat it

The amount of information Leaf packs into these three chapters is astounding and some may find this fascinating and exciting all at once. I however am the slow processing type who needs to read process, and read some more. Some of the more technical concepts were a little beyond me and I found my interest waning when the jargon became too technical.

 This is not your quick fix type book which I thought was good in a way, life after all is not about quick fixes right?
It becomes impossible to have read Leafs book and not to come away with a more expanded and educated view of food and how it affects our mind and bodies. I certainly appreciated learning something new and will apply some of the principals to my nutritional choices.

As I stated some of the more technical language included in the book may be daunting for some. I tend to want to know the facts behind the rational, but even my analytical mind was a little bogged down at times with amount of information. For those who want more the last 75 pages includes notes on where the information was obtained.

My favorite part of every nutritional/ healthy eating guide is usually always the recipe section. It is where the rubber hits the road for me. My favorite recipe was definitely her take on the egg cupcakes, because as you may know chicken farmers always have eggs in the house!

All in all a very comprehensive and thorough read, you will most certainly come away with all your questions answered, and then some!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.


  1. Dr. Caroline Leaf

    Dr. Caroline Leaf

    Dr. Caroline Leaf is the author of Switch On Your Brain and holds a PhD in communication pathology from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Since 1981, she has researched the science of thought as it relates to thinking, learning, renewing the...
    Continue reading about Dr. Caroline Leaf

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Movie Review: Courageous

Buy Christian Movies on | Courageous DVD

Courageous is a movie that is sure to touch anyone who views it. There is absolutely something for everyone in this movie, action, drama, good values and great acting.

This movie is not like other Hollywood releases it is filled with family values heartwarming scenes and an inspiring message. I so loved how the movie played out and I will certainly be watching it again and lending it to family and friends.

I would highly recommend you watch this movie as a couple, Christain or not the values are the same. Where are you investing your time? This movie will challenge you and inspire you to really think about how you want to invest in your relationships.

If you are interested in seeing Courageous   or any number of other Christian DVD's, check out 

For a $5 coupon to Fishflix, visit or text 5 Gift to 44222

I received this DVD free of charge in return for my honest review from FishFlix, thank you so much FishFlix!
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