Month: December 2015

The New Midnight on New Years Eve #StreamTeam


I don’t know about you but ever since I had children, I have not made one New Years Eve ball drop countdown! Our family usually falls asleep around nine and my husband tries to wake us up at the midnight mark. Sometimes he is successful and other times we just can’t get up out of bed. The problem? I am just too tired to stay up until midnight even though I would love to celebrate as a family together.

Enjoy the Midnight Countdown with Netflix

While I thought I may have been one of the few people who fall asleep early, studies have shown that I am not alone. While 97% of families celebrate together, here is how we stack up to other families globally:

  • Parents in the US, UK, Canada and Australia agree 9 p.m. is the new midnight. Nearly half of parents in these countries say they’d countdown those famous 10 seconds by 9 p.m. (49%).
  • Parents down under can’t wait for bedtime. One-third of Aussie parents (34%) admit they’d hit the sack themselves after kissing the kids goodnight — long before midnight.
  • Italian and French parents are getting cozy with their significant others after lights out. Parents in both countries most look forward to spending time with their other half after putting the kids to sleep (51% and 43%, respectively). Now I wouldn’t mind that!
  • Parents love a good party in Spain and Mexico. 50% of parents in both countries can’t wait to kick off the parents-only party after tucking in their little ones. I wish I could do this!!!

Enjoy The Midnight Countdown with Netflix

Netflix is helping parents with the midnight countdown by bumping up midnight to whenever you want to start the countdown. That way your child can experience all of the magic of the New Years countdown and as a family you can enjoy the time with them. Netflix has six on demand specials launching today, including your favourite characters such as:

  • Puffin Rock residents Oona and Baba re-live their adventures from the past year and celebrate with the Northern Lights, nature’s very own fireworks.
  • Care Bears & Cousins head to Share Bear’s Shake Shack to gear up for a belly badge-tastic countdown in Care-a-Lot.
  • Inspector Gadget saves New Year’s Eve from a mischievous M.A.D. agent just in the nick of time for a dazzling firework display.
  • King Julien lives up to his party animal persona with a countdown to dance your way into the new year. My personal favourite guy!
  • Mr. Peabody and Sherman venture around the world to gather their favorite talk show guests for a star-studded countdown event featuring Hiccup and Toothless, Puss in Boots, the Croods and the entire Dinotrux team.
  • Project Mc2 stars McKeyla, Adrienne, Bryden and Camryn team up for NOV8’s most important mission yet: Party!

Check out the Netflix: It’s Almost Midnight Trailer to get a sneak peek.

Enjoy your New Years Eve celebrations!

Disclosure: I am a Netflix StreamTeam Member and receive perks with this affiliation. All opinions expressed are my own.

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At Love’s Bidding by Regina Jennings

Litfuse Book Tour

In At Love’s Bidding, she sells priceless antiques. He sells livestock by the pound. Is he really the man to make a bid for her heart?

At Love's Bidding by Regina Jennings

About At Love’s Bidding

After helping her grandfather at their Boston auction house, Miranda Wimplegate discovers she’s accidentally sold a powerful family’s prized portrait to an anonymous bidder. Desperate to appease the people who could ruin them forever, they track it to the Missouri Ozarks and make an outlandish offer to buy the local auction house and all its holdings before the painting can move again.

Upon crossing the country, however, Miranda and her grandfather discover their new auction house doesn’t deal in fine antiques, but in livestock. And it’s frustratingly handsome manager, Wyatt Ballentine, is annoyed to discover his fussy new bosses don’t know a thing about the business he’s single-handedly kept afloat. Faced with more heads of cattle than they can count but no mysterious painting Miranda and Wyatt form an unlikely but charged partnership to try to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

My Thoughts

A historical novel set in a time where a young lady such as Miranda, had very few options for her future. Her interests lie in her family’s auction business but this is not a position that society would see her in. She is not quite wealthy enough to be accepted by ‘polite’ society but too far above the lower class. What sets Miranda above others though is her compassion and kindness, she would do anything for anyone even at the expense of her own pride and happiness.

When she tries to set right an accident that her Grandfather made, she meets the frustrating and mysterious Wyatt, whom we later learn has many more secrets than she would believe. Together they find a partnership and friendship but could it ever be anything more? If society had its way, they would never be together but can they truly break these bonds?

At Love’s Bidding is romantic, sweet, funny and heartbreaking (with the slow decline of Miranda’s Grandfather). It is hard to know whether their story will be one of happiness or of a heartbreak but every minute is worth it!

You can find more reviews on At Love’s Bidding on the Litfuse Blog tour page. You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of A Most Inconvenient Marriage, Sixty Acres and a Bride, and Caught in the Middle, and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Bach, Casals & The Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo: Vol1-4

iRead Book Tours

Bach, Casals & The Six Suites for 'Cello Solo: Vol1-4

Bach, Casals & The Six Suites for 'Cello Solo: Vol1-4

Bach, Casals & The Six Suites for 'Cello Solo: Vol1-4

Bach, Casals & The Six Suites for 'Cello Solo: Vol1-4

Book Details:
Book Title: Bach, Casals & The Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo: Volumes 1-4 by Steven Hancoff
Category: Adult non-fiction, 1189 pages
Genre: Biography / Music
Publisher: iTunes
Release date: June 2015
Tour dates: Nov 30 – Dec 18, 2015
Content Rating: GBook Description:FROM TRAGEDY TO TRANSCENDENCEA Totally Immersive Multimedia Experience.Richly Detailed Text Embedded with More Than 1,000 Illustrations Illuminating Bach’s Masterpiece, from Its Creation to Its Legacy.Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo and 3-CD set Audio Recording of ‘Cello Suites to be Released June 23rd.Exclusively on iTunes and CD Baby.Includes Hancoff’s Complete Recording Of His Acoustic Guitar Transcription of Bach’s ‘Cello Suites.From tragedy to transcendence is the theme that embodies the essence of the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach. “This man, ‘the miracle of Bach,’ as Pablo Casals once put it, led a life of unfathomable creativity and giftedness on the one hand and neglect and immense tragedy on the other,” says Hancoff.Bach’s life was rife with hardship and tragedy from the start. By the time he was nine years old, he had witnessed the deaths of three siblings and then, within a year, his father and mother also passed away.

For all his education and talent, however, his first job was serving as a lackey for a drunkard duke. Subsequently, he spent the next fifteen years in the employ of Weimar’s harshly ascetic Duke Wilhelm Ernst, who cared little for music. When he was twenty-two, he married the love of his live, his distant cousin, Maria Barbara Bach. During the thirteen years they were married, she bore him seven children, three of whom died at birth.

In 1717, Prince Leopold of Cöthen offered Bach a position as the musical director for Cöthen. Bach jumped at the chance. The officials of Weimar, however, threw him in jail for “the crime” of daring to resign his present position. Still, Bach was on the verge of a career breakthrough.

Three years into his happy and contented tenure in Cothen, Prince Leopold and Bach visited the spa town of Carlsbad for a month of vacationing and music-making. Unfortunately, upon his return Bach learned of the death of his wife and then only when he entered into his home. Imagine the shock, the impact. He never even discovered the cause of death.

Yet this tragic setback in Bach’s life was a major turning point because he came to grips with his personal tragedy by unleashing a flood of masterpieces for which he is and will be forever revered. First came the Six Violin Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo and then the Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo.

In the ‘Cello Suites we hear Bach expressing his own seeking, yearning, love, loss, sorrow, grief and determination and their overtones of surrender, resolution affirmation and transcendence. He aspired to articulate an ultimate personal confession, a revelation, entirely unique, entirely sublime, as an ultimate act of artistic and creative testimony, a heavenly statement about his own life and even of life itself—as a final gift and an enduring, heavenly send-off for his beloved wife.

Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo invites readers and music lovers into a unique experience, contained in an immersive four-volume e-book from Steven Hancoff – a virtuoso musician’s restless, passionate, multimedia exploration of a musical masterpiece that only grows in stature almost three centuries after it was written.

The many fascinating and inspiring aspects of the book include:

• How Bach struggled and overcame adversity and the lessons his example offer us today.

• The ultimate meaning of the Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo.

• How almost all of Bach’s works would have nearly sunk into oblivion were it not for the extraordinary efforts of Sara Levy, the great aunt of Felix Mendelssohn, to rescue them.

• How Felix Mendelssohn singlehandedly created with the performance of the St. Matthew Passion a Bach renaissance and a legacy that continues to be enjoyed to the present day.

• The miraculous discovery of the six ‘Cello Suites by Pablo Casals in a Barcelona thrift shop and why he studied them for twelve years before performing them in public.

• What Pablo Casals meant when he spoke of “the miracle of Bach.” Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo promises to be an adventure for anyone fascinated by the enduring power of music, art and why they matter.

Buy the music & ebooks: iTunes
My Thoughts On The Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo
I received a two disc set for the Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo to go along with this post and I fell in love with the music. It was soothing, relaxing and unique – a tune so different! I would listen to the disc on my way to and from work and while I was cooking dinner or baking. The music was powerful and touching, a true treat!

Meet the author:
Bach, Casals & The Six Suites for 'Cello Solo: Vol1-4

Steve Hancoff began playing guitar when he was 13 years old, captivated by the folk music craze of the 1960s. Within a year he was performing in coffeehouses around Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

For nearly 15 years, he toured the world—about 50 countries—as an official Artistic Ambassador representing the United States of America. His recordings include Steel String Guitar, New Orleans Guitar Solos, Duke Ellington for Solo Guitar, and The Single Petal of A Rose. He is also the author of Acoustic Masters: Duke Ellington for Fingerstyle Guitar and New Orleans Jazz for Fingerstyle Guitar. He is a graduate of St. John’s College, home of the “100 Great Books of the Western World” program and has a Masters degree in clinical social work. He is a psychotherapist, a Rolfer, and a practitioner of Tai Chi. An avid hiker, he is also a member of the Grand Canyon River Guides Associations.

Connect with the author: Website   ~  Twitter  ~   Facebook

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The Month of #NetfliXmas:Baking,Family Time and Netflix


It is hard to believe but it is almost time for one of our favourite family holidays – Christmas! The month of December for us is always busy but to make things fun we try to do family activities like baking, hiking and spending time watching movies on Netflix. What better way to get into the Christmas mood with #NetfliXmas theme movies?!

Besides how easy it is to use Netflix (one button on our Smart TV and wham – Netflix is there!), one of the best features of Netflix is the crazy amount of holiday favourites which includes films that I enjoyed from my own childhood!

Get Into the Spirit of #NetfliXmas with Netflix family favourites! So while our Elf, lovingly named Captain, terrorizes our home with his silly pranks (I have to admit I prayed that an Elf would never visit our home – I sure am happy to have this one in our home!) and we practice our baking skills with popular recipes such as Amaretti cookies and chocolate dipped snicker doodles, we are getting in the #NetfliXmas mood with some very popular titles that includes Christmas with the Kranks, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Santa Paws.

Get Into the #NetfliXmas spirit with Netflix!

Looking for more #NetfliXmas spirit makers? Why not check out these titles: Caspers Haunted Christmas, My Little Pony: A Very Minted Christmas, The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Swan Princess Christmas. There are many titles to help you make the holiday movie night a hit!

Get Into the #NetfliXmas spirit with Netflix!

To help you and your family get into the #NetfliXmas spirit, Netflix Canada is giving two of my readers a six month free subscription to Netflix! Pretty awesome, right?! My Canadian readers, eighteen years of age and older can enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Premiering December 24th is DreamWorks Dawn of the Croods, get a small preview now!

Disclosure: I am a Netflix #StreamTeam member and receive perks with this affiliation. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Pieces on Earth

Pieces on Earth Review

In Pieces on Earth, a Christmas Novella, find out how Liv finds God’s peace during the midst of life’s pieces.

Pieces on Earth Review

About Pieces On Earth: A Christmas Novella

As the wife of a naval aviator in sunny Pensacola, Florida, Liv Tulley eagerly anticipates the first Christmas in several years with her husband, daughter, and extended family. Then her husband is unexpectedly deployed for an undetermined amount of time, smashing her white Christmas dreams to pieces. Can she find God’s peace in the midst of life’s pieces?

Book Excerpt

Liv finished filling out the necessary paperwork in the medical clinic waiting room, doing her best to keep her fears at bay.

She rose to her feet and carried the clipboard with the completed paperwork to the receptionist. The harried woman took the clipboard without so much as a glance her way.

“Have a seat. A nurse will call you back momentarily.”

Liv trudged back to the worn gray chairs and slumped into one of them, once more cognizant of her reason for being here. October marked her second month without her period. For most women her age, that would be a sign of promising things to come, but no such luck in her case. She’d known since her daughter’s birth that having more children just wasn’t in the cards for her. A fact that made Chesney’s life even more miraculous.

She gnawed the inside of her lip and watched a little boy–probably about two years old–playing in the floor with a toy car. Without warning, the fear returned, bringing with it only one thought. Was it possible that she’d somehow inherited the gene that lead to the ovarian cancer that claimed her grandmother’s life? Was that the reason for her current symptoms?

Liv pressed her lips together and forced her thoughts to happier ones. How wonderful it would be to add a fourth member to their clan. Chesney would make such a great big sister, and Jeff would be ecstatic to have another child. Since being promoted to lieutenant a few months ago, he had qualified for a stateside assignment as an instructor pilot at Pensacola NAS. How wonderful would it be to be able to raise a child with his or her parent actually around to help out? Even the few short months of having her daddy at home had made a huge difference in Chesney.

A pent-up sigh whooshed from her lungs. This current line of thought was landing her nowhere except in the dumps. There wouldn’t be another baby. She grabbed her large sack of a purse and rummaged inside until she found an old envelope. Forcing the baby blues away, she started a to-do list of things to accomplish for her family’s first Christmas together since before Chesney was born.

Get the Christmas shopping done. Well, that was a no-brainer. But this year it was especially important, since they’d also be buying gifts for nieces, nephews, siblings, aunts, and uncles. How fun it would be to have both sides of the family all together again in the mountain cabin vacation rental her mother had located online.
Now happy thoughts wound their way through her insides. Liv leaned her head back against the Plexiglas partition and allowed the happiness to wander unchecked. Warm sweaters, cups of cocoa, a gigantic tree stuffed with presents, laughter of loved ones, and fluffy white snow.

Though she loved the sunny weather of Pensacola where Jeff was stationed, during the holidays she always yearned for the cold weather and snow of her Colorado upbringing. This year it would finally become a reality.

She straightened in her seat, checked the clock above the receptionist window, and returned to her list. Buy Chesney some cold weather clothing. Hmm, maybe she could order a ski bib online, since there was very little to no chance that she’d find one in Pensacola.

One thought led to another, and Liv scribbled as quickly as possible, unwilling to let even the smallest detail escape. A few minutes later, she brushed some escaped frizzy hair from her face and once more scanned her list. Yeah, that should do it. Now if she could just get these health concerns out-of-the-way so she could concentrate on more pleasant tasks.

Liv glanced at the clock once more. Unbelievable. She’d been here for a half hour already. At this rate, she’d never make it to Chesney’s preschool in time to pick her up. She grabbed her cell phone and hit speed dial for Darcy, one of many military wives in her group who all looked out for each other.

Her friend picked up immediately. “Hi Liv. What’s up?”

“My blood pressure.”

Darcy’s contagious giggle sounded through the phone. “Let me guess. You’re still waiting to see the doctor.”

“How’d you guess?”

“Umm, ’cause I’ve been there and done that. Need me to pick up Ches?”

“Yeah, if you don’t mind. And if a miracle occurs and I get out of here in time, I’ll shoot you a text.”

“Sounds good.”

Liv had just dropped the phone back into her purse, when a short blond nurse in pink scrubs called her name from the doorway that lead to the exam rooms. She followed the nurse through the door where the dreaded scales awaited. After getting off the scales, fresh resolve took root in Liv’s mind to cut back on carbs and lose those ten extra pounds that had plagued her since Chesney was born. Four years was way too long to lug around the unwanted weight. She followed the woman down the hallway and dutifully entered the room to which she motioned.

The nurse smiled and pulled the door toward the closed position. “Dr. Amy will be with you soon.”

Liv perched on the edge of the exam table, once more on pins and needles about the potential problem. Lord, please let me be okay, and please, please, please, don’t let this affect our Christmas plans.

My Thoughts

While this may be a novella, the story is full of intense emotion, faith and will make you laugh, smile and cry.

My favourite quote from this book: “Peace…I know. It means being complete and whole, not being broken.”.

It can be extremely difficult to remember God’s words during trying times. We don’t feel at peace with our thoughts, our own words and even our faith. We are tested in every aspect of our lives. This was true for Liv. She had to deal with so much but she could not see those around her that wanted to help her and guide her. This is something I think so many of us can relate to (maybe not the exact situation but the feelings of hurt, anger and desperation). Cathy brings us an amazing story of faith, as Liv struggles with her own faith as she guides her young daughter. I love how Cathy uses easy to understand explanations from the Bible (we are never too old to learn more about the Bible!). She helped me to stop, focus on my faith path and use some of the teachings in my own life. Christmas can be a very trying time for so many of us and the true meaning of Christmas can be lost. It is the celebration of the birth of “the Fixer” who came to bring us peace and make us whole again.

Pieces On Earth, a Christmas novella, will be a story you can treasure for a long time. It will make you smile, laugh, cry and more importantly think.

You can purchase a copy of the book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Amazon best-selling author Cathy Bryant loves to write heart-stirring stories of God’s life-changing grace, and has done so through six Miller’s Creek novels, two Bible studies, one Christmas novella, and two devotional books written in collaboration with other Christian authors. She’s also written for The Upper Room devotional magazine. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her rummaging through thrift stores, romping in the great outdoors, or up to her elbows in yet another home improvement project in the mountain cabin she shares with her minister husband of over thirty years. You can connect with Cathy in the following online spots, including her website:, where you can download a free eBook copy of one of her novels.

Pieces on Earth Review

Pieces on Earth Giveaway!

In celebration of the release of PIECES ON EARTH, Cathy is giving away a $200 Amazon Gift Card. The contest closes on December 21, 2015. Winner will be announced via social media channels on Cathy’s Reader’s Group Newsletter. Click here to enter.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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