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Heather Rae Hutzel Giveaway: Books + Target Gift Card

Heather Rae Hutzel Giveaway
Books: ESCAPE and The Book of Life



Disclosure: No compensation was received. 
Please note: This is a religious based book.
to this great giveaway event! We are happy to have partnered up with a
lot of great bloggers, to bring you another great prize, and to
celebrate the release of the book, “Escape.” 
Lil’ Blog and Your Strong Tower are very excited to bring you this
giveaway from Best Selling Christian author, Heather Rae Hutzel. There
will be two prizes up for grabs!
The grand prize is a $25 Target
gift card plus signed copies of both of Heather’s books, ESCAPE: Break Free from Mediocre Christianity and Embrace the Radical, Set-Apart Life You were Made for and The Book of Life: The Greatest Story Ever Told.
Second prize is a signed copy of ESCAPE.
If you are resolving to
go deeper in your walk with God this year, reading ESCAPE will help you
do just that. To read a detailed review on the book, click here.
And a big thank you to the helping co-hosts, as well: Forever Dreamin’, Cha Ching Queen, Michigan Saving and More, and Live Learning, & Baking with Valerie.

The Giveaway

Heather Hutzel  had graciously agreed to giveaway 2 prizes, to 2 lucky winners! The
contest runs from February 9, 2017 through February 24, 2017.  Open to US residents age 18 and up. Winners will
be contacted via email and will have 48 to respond and claim their
Entering to win is super easy (as always) with the GiveawayTools form, below:


The bloggers involved in this giveaway were not compensated, and are
not responsible for prize fulfillment.  This event is sponsored by Heather Hutzel.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter this giveaway.
This giveaway starts February 9, 2017, and will end on February 24, 2017 at
11:59 pm. The winners will be emailed, and have 48 hours to respond, or a
new winner will be chosen. Once a winner is drawn and confirmed, the
name will be announced on the GiveawayTools form.

The Other Place – Book Review + Giveaway

The Other Place

Book details:

The Other Place by Elizabeth Roderick
Publication date: July 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
My Thoughts: 
What I liked most about this book was that the main character is not the usual main character; not the expected personality of a main character. Justin is a guy that the majority of the population won’t relate to directly. There are parts of his character I could relate to and there were parts that I had to try to understand in order to really get into the book. That necessity for me to try to understand him was part of what drew me into the book.
The story line kept moving, I never really felt like I was reading a chapter where nothing happened or a chapter that didn’t move the story along. I wanted to know what would come next and I wasn’t always able to anticipate what was going to be on the next page. Definitely a positive thing in my book. If I can anticipate everything that is going to happen I get bored very quickly. Kudos to the author for keeping me interested!
For me a five-star book is one that I would read again and this book doesn’t really meet that criteria, but I would give it 4 stars.  I’m having a hard time writing this review because I don’t really want to give away anything that isn’t stated in the synopsis that follows. Personally I hate book reviews that have spoilers. That being said, I don’t know what else to write that won’t ruin it for a potential reader so I will end it here.
Even if you don’t think it sounds like your cup of tea I encourage you to at least give it a shot!

Living in Justin Flaherty’s mind has never been easy. Unfortunately, things are about to get much worse…

At eighteen years old, most guys are chasing girls or dreams. Justin, on the other hand, wants to draw and be left alone. He’s been diagnosed with schizophrenia, but it’s more than that. He’s in tune with the Dark Energy that surrounds us all, and can see how it controls people’s actions. Sometimes, the Dark Energy will give him visions, to help him on the road to enlightenment.

When his mother hooks up with a Baptist preacher named David who believes Justin’s schizophrenia can be cured with prayer, Justin knows he has to get out—or risk involuntary commitment in a religious facility.

After a brush with incarceration, Justin takes off to San Francisco, where his drawings are not just noticed, but admired…

Justin’s bizarre and beautiful drawings create a stir in the art world. Meanwhile, he’s homeless, couch surfing, and trapped in a continuous battle with his mental illness. His salvation is a girl named Liria Czetski with a shady past. They’d met a year ago, and she’s appeared in his visions ever since. It turns out Liria has been sharing those visions, something that is a surprise to everyone but Justin…

When secrets surface, Justin is forced to realize that being a genius has a downside. Surrounded by people who want to exploit his talent, he must fight not only for his career and freedom, but perhaps for his life…


ELIZABETH RODERICK grew up as a barefoot ruffian on a fruit orchard near Yakima, in the eastern part of Washington State. After weathering the grunge revolution and devolution in Olympia, Washington, Portland, Oregon and Seattle, she recently moved to a small cluster of houses amidst the vineyards of California’s Central Coast.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and worked for many years as a paralegal and translator. She is a musician and songwriter, and has played in many bands, rocking some instruments she doesn’t even know the real names for, but mostly guitar, bass and keyboards.

Elizabeth writes novels for young adults and adults; short stories; and memoir which is way more interesting than it should be. Her stories are about love, death, gang warfare, and madness; her characters tend to be of the type that society generally shuns: addicts, convicts, and the mentally ill. She believes if people get to know these characters in stories and in real life, they’ll find them more likeable than they originally thought.

She applies Hunter S. Thompson’s Gonzo method to fiction writing. It often gets a little heavier than what she had in mind, but she chalks it up to forced consciousness expansion.


Follow Elizabeth at her links below:

The Other Place Book Tour

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New Book Release – The Dream Protocol: Descent

New Book Release
The Dream Protocol: Descent by Adara Flynn Quick

The Dream Protocol: Descent
Publication date: May 18th 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult

Looking for a new book?

Check out the information and excerpt below to see if The Dream Protocol: Descent is what you’re looking for! If you have an young adult in your life be sure to share with them also. 


WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T GET OLD. In fiery young Deirdre Callaghan’s home of Skellig City, no one has dreamt their own dream in over a thousand years. Dreams are produced by the Dream Makers and sold by the Ministry, the tyrannical rulers of the city. In Skellig City, years of life are awarded equally and the ruined are cast away beneath the city on their 35th birthday.

Unbeknownst to the Ministry, Deirdre’s handsome friend Flynn Brennan is afflicted with a terrible disease – a disease that accelerates the aging process. Knowing his fate if the Ministry should ever discover his illness, Flynn has lived his whole life hiding from their watchful eyes. When Flynn’s secret is finally discovered, Deirdre is determined to free him from the Ministry’s grasp. But to save him, she will have to reveal herself to a shadowy enemy…one that none of them even knew existed.

Excerpt:  Copyright © 2016 Adara Quick

          It was a rare moment on Skellig Michael. The mist-drenched rocks of the isle were illuminated by a ray of sudden sunlight. Pools of water caught in the rock crevices reflected the light skyward. For an instant, the island glistened like a thousand gems cut from the earth. For a moment, it was something beautiful: a lighthouse promising safety through the dark. And then, above the island, the clouds rushed back in. The island returned to its true form, a black shape jagged against the horizon. There was no safety to be found on Skellig Michael, where deep down in the dark and the damp it was custom to take a life before its natural end. Below the waterline of the island, thousands of feet under rock and concrete, Maeve O’Brian watched a timer tick away the last minutes of her life.
          A thousand years ago, a great hole had been dug through the center of the island known as Skellig Michael. Into the hole was poured steel and concrete and the sweat of thousands to build Skellig City. When they finished their great work, the top was sealed again for the city dwellers had no need for the birds in the sky or fresh air upon their faces. The peace of their wild, natural land was denied to them. With the passing of time, the old country was lost. Anything they desired was provided in sleep by the Dream Protocol. Through the rooms and halls of the great concrete city, the dreams floated on invisible networks to the dreamers. As the decades rolled by, many more things were stolen from them. One of these was the number of years that could be lived.
          On the lowest level of their underground home, the citizens had gathered to witness the Ritual of Descent for Maeve O’Brian. The rite began as it had for generations, in a room filled with the smell of bodies crushed against bodies. Too many people were forced into the small space, a reminder of limited resources in their underground home. The clothing of the crowd was another marker of their dwelling, a sign of the order that ruled the place. At the top were the Minister and his Dream Drone soldiers, all dressed in crisp red uniforms. The spider was the insignia of the corporate state, and the eight-legged creature was stitched in gold thread on the left side of each jacket. Next in the power structure were the Dream Makers, clothed in orange hooded robes with wide, flowing sleeves. Their mark was the Maker’s amulet that hung around their necks. Last in line was everyone else, dressed in worn grey clothing that had seen too many patches and repairs. The threadbare grey rags did little to ward off the cold, but the huddled mass of people provided them a welcome respite.

Want to Know More?

Check out the Goodreads page or buy your own copy at Amazon!

Author Biography:

Irish-American author, Adara Flynn Quick, is the writer of The Dream Protocol series.  Early in her career, Adara was fascinated by dreams, the unconscious, and the healing stories of many cultures.  As a contemporary author, she writes young adult literature that brings ancient myths and legends into futuristic worlds.  She is an accomplished visual artist and uses her background as a psychotherapist to inspire the finest and darkest moments of her characters. 

Driven to distraction by her computer, Adara writes all of her stories longhand.  Pen and paper are two of her favorite things.  The author tortures her husband with a passion for downtempo electronica and too many pillows.  She is a firm believer that there are never enough pillows.

The Dream Protocol Blitz

Now for the Giveaway!

The giveaway is for 2 signed copies of the book and a painting framed in silver leaf. (Painting shown below.)


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Children’s Book Review: Nurtured and Nuzzled

**This post contains an affiliate link.**

The Math Lovin Momma Reviews: Nurtured and Nuzzled

Recently I got the chance to read and review “Nurtured and Nuzzled by Mike Speiser. This is an adorable book intended for children from newborn to age five. (Of course, you don’t have to stop reading it when your child turns 6, but it is definitely written for a young audience.)

Nurtured and Nuzzled” is written in English and Spanish. So it’s a great way to introduce your child to another language and maybe even become a little more bilingual yourself! 

The illustrations are bright and cheery with just the right amount of detail to keep the interest of a small child. Dragonling loves to point out the animals on each page, with special attention given to the babies, of course. She especially enjoys the page with the mother breastfeeding the baby, that page gets some extra “Baby? Momma? Baby. Momma.” when we read.

"Babies are breastfed"

Although this is not a board book, the pages are thick and durable so they stand up to the rough handling of a toddler, which, at least in this house, is a very good quality to have. We are hard on books. They get read over and over, Dragonling drags them around the house to various locations to find the best “reading” light. Cats sit on them. Occasionally they get shoved under the couch or the TV stand. Covers and pages bent. This book has held up and, so far, seems to show little wear and tear. 

Nurtured and Nuzzled” can be purchased from Platypus Media or from Amazon for $9.95.

Want your own copy? Click here to buy on Amazon now!

I received this book complimentary in exchange for my honest review. I only review items that I would consider purchasing for myself or my family.

Check out my YouTube review here!


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Count Your Blessings: My Unexpected Night Off

Count Your Blessings

Life has been pretty crazy at home lately. Trying to teach full-time, be a full-time graduate student, wife, and mother all at the same time is taking its toll.

In addition to being more sleep deprived than usual, I have been having some serious attacks of the ‘Mom-Guilt’ persuasion lately, so when my evening unexpectedly opened up I took full advantage of the family time that has been so rare lately.

The original game plan had been to get home from school at about 4:00, hang out with Dragonling for a half an hour or so, and then retreat to my desk to do school work until supper. I planned to eat supper with Dragonling and Science Lovin’ Papa and then return to my school work. I had hoped to finish the assignment that was due at midnight before bedtime (8:30) so after I put Dragonling to bed I could start the training for the distance standardized test scoring that I will be doing as a short little side job. Last time the training took a couple hours so I expected to be up till 11:00 or midnight to check that off my ‘to-do’ list.

But Someone must have known that this Momma needed a night off to spend with her family because the stars aligned and I suddenly found myself with none of the deadlines I had anticipated.

When I went up to my desk after school I opened up my online portal for my graduate classes and saw an announcement from my professor. The due date for the assignment that was due tonight had been extended. Knowing I had a few more days I decided to start my test scoring training to get it out of the way, so I went to my email to find the link to the training page only to find that instead of starting on April 6th I had misread the date. Scoring training doesn’t start until April 16th. As I let this news sink in I suddenly realized that for the first time in many days I had a night where I could actually put things off and not make it worse in the end.

I took full advantage of this small blessing.

Science Lovin’ Papa cooked dinner, then we all sat at the table and enjoyed a relaxed supper. We had time to talk about our day and I could sit and enjoy the time without thinking about how late I was going to be up to finish my homework.

After supper, Dragonling and I played with Play-Doh. Mostly we just smashed it because Dragonling is only one and a half, but it was the most fun I’ve had with Play-Doh in years. Watching her eyes light up when I molded the dough into a cat face or a caterpillar warmed my heart.

When she was finished with the Play-Doh, Dragonling looked at me and very sweetly said, “Car?”

“Where do you think we should go?” I asked.

Shhlide? Shlide.” she replied.

“You think we should go to the park and play on the slide? Ok. Let’s find your shoes.”

All I heard after that was excited squealing and frantic running about looking for anything she might possibly need to get that show on the road. She found my purse, Papa’s hat, her shoes, and her coat.

We piled into the car and headed for the park.

At the park, there was only one other child on the equipment and he took off after his parents soon after we arrived. I followed her up the steps, over to one of the slides, then she sat on my lap as we went down. Then she hopped off and raced around to the stairs to do it again. We did this over and over and over…

Most nights I would have been ready to stop after the fourth or fifth time down the slide with her, but tonight was different. The weather was beautiful, a little windy, but sunny and not too cold. All I could think about was all the times I had missed taking her to the park already and all the times in the coming months that I would have to do homework instead of spending time with my baby. (Cue Mom-guilt.)

My night off wasn’t planned. I didn’t spend it doing the things on my ‘to-do’ list. It was spontaneous and it was perfect.

When we got home from the park, I Dragonling and I showered and then she had a bath to play a bit in the water. Bath time is usually a task taken on by Papa Dragon but tonight I really wanted to do it. I let her play in the water longer than usual and Papa came and watched her while I got the after bath things ready. We got pajamas on and then went downstairs for a small snack, one episode of ‘Puffin Rock’, and snuggles.

Then it was bed time. We read a book and then we cuddled in the rocking chair. When I laid her down in her crib she looked up at me and said, “Wuv you, Mama.”

“I love you too, Aurora.”

I kissed her forehead like always and she grabbed my face and kissed my cheek.

A perfect end, to a perfect unexpected night off.

Count your blessings. Savor the moments, especially the ones you didn’t know you were going to get.

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Numbers Game Book Review

Numbers Game

Story Synopsis:

Treena (Ametrine) is nervous for Rating Day. A single number will brand her forever—a valuable citizen, or a pathetic waste of space. Her top-Rated boyfriend is confident their scores will coincide so they can attend the academy together. But when the big day arrives, her true number shocks everyone.

To get her life and boyfriend back, she must go undercover and expose a military spy. Doesn’t sound too hard, except that someone wants her dead. And then there’s Vance, the mysterious soldier with a haunted past and beautiful brown eyes. Together, they discover a dark numbers conspiracy, one that shatters the nation’s future. Treena must join up with Vance if she is to survive the dangerous game of numbers—and the terrible war that rages within her heart.

My Thoughts:

From the minute I started reading I was hooked. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Treena and her friends, especially after the unexpected turn of event in the Rating ceremony. The characters all have their ups and downs and there were moments when I wasn’t sure I wanted to finish, but I’m glad I did.

The story line is somewhat predictable – but I think you’d be hard pressed to find me a YA novel that isn’t, at least a little bit, predictable.

The futuristic world where Numbers Game takes place is similar to many Dystopian novels – a war has decimated the population and the new government has taken over by rating people and assigning their jobs according to their rank. The attitude of the book is similar to The Hunger Games and Divergent series but the actual story lines are very different. In this world, the number you are given is everything. Ametrine, or Treena, our main character and heroine, gets a very unexpected Rating that  brings with it adventure as well as romance.

While I enjoyed following the various characters on their adventures, I did find it a bit difficult to keep track of the character stories with the voice of the narrator changing frequently.

Overall I would say this is a good read for the young adult crew, but older teens and adults probably won’t be as drawn to the story.

Numbers Game (Numbers Game Saga Book 1)

Disclaimer: I received this item for free or at a reduced price in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. I only review items that I would be interested in purchasing for myself or my family. Post may contain affiliate links.


Willakaville: Amazing Adventures of Astronomical Awesomeness


Willakaville: Amazing Adventures of Astronomical Awesomeness is a short story collection. Every story in the collection will have you spell bound with the unique characters and their adventures. The author, Matthew Heinecke, obviously has a brilliantly vivid imagination. I cannot wait to read more of his creations!

In each story the characters have to tackle an odd and unique problem. One story has a tomato attacking the town, another has a villain that makes the citizens be mean to one another.  One day there is an alien attack and the next the people are eating only mushrooms. The citizens of Willakaville are always in line for an adventure of some kind!

This may be a children’s book but I really enjoyed all the adventures too!

If you want to get your own copy click below and download it directly to your Kindle!

Willakaville: Amazing Adventures of Astronomical Awesomeness


M.K. McClintock Book Blast

Below you will find brief reviews and information about some good books from M.K. McClintock. Enjoy!

Alaina Claiborne

Alaina Claiborne is book one of the British Agents series. I enjoyed this book and will definitely be looking to read more from this series in the future. McClintock does a great job of combining elements of mystery with elements of romance, neither overshadows the other. I’m not usually a big fan of “romance” novels but this one was well written and the romance part of the story line wasn’t the only focus of the story.

Watch the official book trailer here:

Here is the book description from the author:

How far would you go to avenge your family and save the one you love?

In nineteenth-century England, Alaina Claiborne had a loving family, a cherished friend, and devoted servants. She spent her days riding across the grassy hills of the English countryside, joyful and at peace.

Then tragedy strikes and her world is forever changed. Searching for those responsible is her only focus . . . until she meets Tristan.

Tristan Sheffield, a man of many talents, searches out those who don’t want to be found. His past is filled with secrets and deeds he would rather leave deeply buried. However, when his life unexpectedly entwines with Alaina’s, he soon discovers they share more than a mutual desire to catch a murderer.

​On their hunt for a man driven by greed, Tristan and Alaina find that love is the greatest weapon against evil, and they’ll stop at nothing to survive.

Blackwood Crossing

Blackwood Crossing is book two of the British Agents series. Just like book one the blending of the mystery and romance genres was done very well. There is currently one more book in this series with an anticipated new release coming sometime in 2015 or 2016.


This is the video trailer for the book:

Here is the book description from the author:

If you had to make a choice, would it be loyalty or love?

Torn between loyalty to her family and refusal to marry a laird she despises, Rhona Davidson accepts a dangerous proposal from a man she knows only as Blackwood.

Leaving behind a life of leisure, Charles Blackwood bravely serves his country with honor and the skill of a trained British agent. When his newest case returns him to the wild Highlands of Scotland, he is faced with a choice between killing a man and saving the only woman he has ever loved.

Charles and Rhona join their lives, only to discover that their choices will result in bloodshed, unless they can uncover a truth long buried, deep in the Highland soil.

The Montana Gallagher Trilogy

The Montana Gallagher Triology is made up of the books Gallagher’s Pride, Gallagher’s Hope, and Gallagher’s Choice. These books are also historical romance but instead of mystery they fall into the western genre. Westerns are generally not my thing.

Once again I was pleasantly surprised with the writing of these books. I probably won’t go searching out the rest of the books about the Gallaghers but as far as westerns go, I have read much worse. I had a hard time really getting into these books, but I think that stemmed more from my aversion to westerns than the writing style.

Here are the book descriptions from M.K. McClintock:

Gallagher’s Pride: Book One

She was a on a quest of discovery. He was on a quest for revenge. Together they would discover a second chance.

Brenna Cameron travels from Scotland after losing someone she loves in search of family she didn’t know existed. Alone now in the world, Brenna makes an arduous journey, following the trail of discovery to Briarwood, Montana. Here she meets Ethan Gallagher, and the rest of the Gallagher clan. Only with their help is she able to discover lost family, heal old wounds and embark on a treacherous confrontation with a man who destroyed her family. As head of the Gallagher clan, Ethan has more than enough to occupy his thoughts and time-he didn’t need the complication of Brenna Cameron and he certainly didn’t need the trouble that came with her. Ethan takes on the unwanted duty of self-appointed protector to the headstrong Scot, only to discover there is such a thing as second chances and more to life than revenge.

Gallagher’s Hope: Book Two

She sought a new beginning. He sought what he didn’t know was missing. Together they would discover hope in unlikely places.

Isabelle Rousseau must escape New Orleans and the memory of her family’s tragic loss. With her younger brother in tow, she accepts a position as the new schoolteacher in Briarwood, Montana. Desperate to keep what’s left of her family together, Isabelle joins her life with a stranger only to discover that trust and hope go hand in hand. Gabriel Gallagher lived each day as it came believing he had everything he could possibly want . . . until a determined woman and her brother arrive with a little luggage and a lot of secrets. It will take a drastic choice to protect her and give them both hope for the future.

Gallagher’s Choice: Book Three

He finally had a family to call his own. She now knew what it meant to risk it all. Together they had a chance to find peace at last.

Eliza Gallagher is tough, resilient, and rides a horse like she was born in the saddle—all necessary qualities for someone who runs a cattle ranch. She has more to avenge than any of the Gallaghers, and she is counting on those skills to finally find the justice they all seek—until she realizes it could cost her everything and everyone she loves. Ramsey Hunter finally knows what it is like to have a family and what it takes to keep that family together. He knew coming back wouldn’t be easy, but he never imagined what he would have to risk to keep it.

Visit M.K. McClintock’s website for more information about these and other books.

To purchase any of these books visit Amazon.


Book Review: Wisdom and Peace of the Teachings of the Tao Te Ching

wisdom + peace of tao te ching

It has been a long time since I have read any philosophical books of any kind. I do, however, have fond memories of the time I spent reading about Asian philosophies when I was in college, so I was very excited to have the opportunity to review The Wisdom and Peace of the Teachings of the Tao Te Ching by Matthew S. Barnes. This book is a simple, modern interpretation of the Tao Te Ching written by Lao Tzu around 400 BC.

As someone who has also read the Lao Tzu’s work, I was impressed by the way Barnes was able to modernize the language and still keep the original spirit and feel of the original. I love that his interpretation makes the teachings of the Tao Te Ching more available to the casual reader. The work of deciphering the meaning behind Lao Tzu’s wording is done for you. While I loved taking the time to decode and understand the original writings I can see how many people would not enjoy that part of reading the original.

Some of the main themes of the book include:

  • What is in control of everything (Newsflash: It’s not you or me. Or your boss. Or any other physical being.)
  • Finding your home and keeping it with you all the time
  • How to handle life’s crazy situations and unexpected events in a calm, respectful manner
  • How to find your inner strength and help it endure through life’s challenges

I know some of my readers are quite religious and may be a little put off by many of the ideas in Asian philosophy because they don’t center around the Christian God but rather an  unseen force that impacts our lives. As a Christian myself I would urge you to look at this book, and any other books on the topic, as a manual for a happy, healthy life rather than as something that goes against your Christian beliefs. I truly think that the beliefs and spirit of this book fits perfectly into the Christian lifestyle.

If you think this sounds like a book you might be interested in, you can purchase it at Amazon in either Kindle or paperback.

This post contains affiliate links, so if you click on them and make a purchase I get a small commission.