Month: June 2016

Like a River From Its Course

Litfuse Book Tour

Like a River From Its Course is an epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope.

Like a River From Its Course Book Review

About Like a River From Its Course

The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little-known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the “killing ditch.” He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Führer’s plans for domination
are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism.

Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

My Thoughts

There are few moments when you receive a book and it just captures your attention and demands to be read. This is one of those books. It is powerful, emotional and full of passion. I cried, smiled and my heart broke at various times throughout the book. I was so attached when I first opened this book, it came with me to soccer practice and I read it the whole time we were there. It was definitely a book I read in one sitting and then re-read over again to further appreciate it.

It tells the story of four individuals all of whom are living during World War II in Ukraine, this gives us such a unique and different perspective of the same events. There was so much to learn from this book, the “killing ditch” was nothing I had ever heard of before but it broke my heart and made me physically sick to think of something so awful that these individuals went through. Reading through the chapters in Frederick’s perspective was so difficult at times. The acts were horrible and you can see the toll they take on him. I thought this was a very interesting perspective to look at, the effects of these acts on the person committing the crime and how long-term they changes their view, faith and beliefs.

In all of the ugliness and dark parts in this book, there are moments of human kindness, compassion and understanding that make you see the good in the world. Ivan is one of those men that make you see the good in people, even though it cost him greatly. He also loses his children to the labor camps but still he finds a way to fight to see the light in it.

Maria is an amazingly strong young woman, her character and compassion made me believe in people again. She was the glue that kept many going. She gave so many hope that needed it. Luda is another amazing character in our story. While being victim to an awful crime, she accepts the pregnancy and loves her child. And while she was abandoned by her own Father, she found family in another family whose connections to her own she never knew. Watching her grow through pregnancy and eventually into motherhood and struggle with not only this but the war around her, brings hope and forgiveness.

The story is an amazing blend of hope, pain and forgiveness. With moments of horrendous pain and suffering, we are also balanced with moments of kindness and compassion that will make you belief again in humanity. This novel is powerful, touching, moving and very special. You will not regret one moment spent with it and share with your friends.

You can find more reviews on the Litfuse blog tour page. You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Rating: 5/5 +++

About the Author

Kelli Stuart is the coauthor of Dare 2B Wise and has written for several brands including Disney, American Girl, and Short Fiction Break. She has served as editor-in-chief for the St. Louis Bloggers Guild and as a board member for the St. Louis Women in Media. In addition to her writing, Kelli has spent twenty years studying Ukrainian culture. Kelli lives in Florida.

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

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Kelli Stuart’s ‘Like a River from Its Course’ Blog Tour and Kindle Prize Pack

Litfuse Book Tour

Travel back in time in Kelli Stuart’s new novel, Like a River from Its Course, as the city of Kiev is bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union. This sweeping historical saga takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little-known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River From Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

Celebrate the release of Like a River from Its Course with Kelli by entering to win a Kindle Fire Prize Pack.

like a river - 400

One grand prize winner will receive:

like a river - prize collage (1)

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 18th. The winner will be announced July 19th on Kelli’s blog.

like a river - enterbanner
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School Is Out For The Summer: Top Netflix Picks!


School is officially almost done for us here in Southwest Ontario and the kids are ready to tackle the summer months. Can you blame them? I am excited for them! Between camps, hiking and swimming, there is always so much to do in Ontario during the holidays.

School is Out for the Summer: Netflix Top Picks!

But what about those inevitable rainy days? Or those super hot humid days where the kids just can’t go out? With one child with asthma, we have had to learn to be creative on indoor days. That is where Netflix steps in to become my number one sanity saver during the holidays.

Here are my Top Summer Sanity Saver Picks on Netflix:

For the Kids:

School Is Out For the Summer: Netflix Top Picks

Check out these fantastic titles for keeping the kids entertained during their downtime this summer:

  • The Good Dinosaur
  • Home
  • Voltron
  • Glitter Force
  • Mr. Peabody and Sherman
  • Dinotrux
  • Paw Patrol (I honestly think our youngest has watched both seasons multiple times but he still can not get enough)

School Is Out For the Summer: Netflix Top Picks

For the teens:

Here are my top choices for the teens in your home:

  • Switched at Birth
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • Glee
  • Degrassi: Next Class

For the adults:

School Is Out For The Summer: Top Netflix Picks

Because let’s be serious, we know we will need a bit of a break in the summer too. Check out my top picks for the parents to take some comic and dramatic relief:

  • Grace and Frankie
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Call the Midwife
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Daredevil

How do you spend your down time during the school-free months? Do you have your own top picks on Netflix? Share them with me!

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

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Beauty and the Highland Beast

Beauty and The Highland Beast

Sometimes we suffer so badly from the circumstances around us that we seem broken and lost to those around us. In Beauty and the Highland Beast, two broken souls must help guide each other to find forgiveness and acceptance for things that they can not change.

Beauty and The Highland Beast

About Beauty and the Highland Beast

Powerful and dangerous Highlander Dair Sinclair was once the favored son of his clan, The Sinclairs of Carraig Brigh. With Dair at the helm, Sinclair ships circled the globe bringing home incredible fortune. Until one deadly mission when Daire is captured, tortured and is unable to save his young cousin. He returns home breaking under the weight of his guilt and becomes known as the Madman of Carraig Brigh.

When a pagan healer predicts that only a virgin bride can heal his son’s body and mind, Daire’s father sets off to find the perfect wife for his son. At the castle of the fearsome McLeods, he meets lovely and kind Fia MacLeod.

Although Daire does his best to frighten Fia, she sees the man underneath the damage and uses her charm and special gifts to heal his mind and heart. Will Daire let Fia love him or is he cursed with madness forever?

My Thoughts

I LOVE historical romance, even more so when you throw in a Scottish hero (those accents!!). In this story, we have a young man in his prime who is torn over the loss of his cousin. He takes full responsibility and turns to alcohol to help him deal with his grief and nightmares, except they make this all the worse. His Father is desperate to help him and calls in a pagan healer. The healer knows there is nothing she can do but instead tries to tell the Clan leader, that only a virgin bride could heal his son.

Here is where we enter Fia, she is not the bride that Daire’s Father pictures for him. Instead he sees her gentle nature, kindness and compassion with others and hopes that this too will heal Daire. We watch Fia struggle with her own fears and desires to help this man who is hurting so much on the inside. The two of them are drawn together but Daire fights it at every chance to avoid hurting her. He doesn’t want to hurt her the way his cousin was hurt.

The ending blew my mind! It definitely was not what I expected to happen from the beginning but about half way through you get the sense that something is not quite right with the nightmares that plague Daire. I can’t tell you too much as it will spoil it but it was definitely the ending that you want and need!

Beauty and the Highland Beast is a sweet, simple story of forgiveness, healing, hope and love. A great summer time read.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

Lecia Cornwall lives and writes in Calgary, Canada in the beautiful foothills of the Canadian Rockies, with five cats, two teenagers, a crazy chocolate lab, and one very patient husband. She’s hard at work on her next book. Come visit Lecia at, or drop her a line at

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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The Ringmaster’s Wife

Litfuse Book Tour

In The Ringmaster’s Wife, an ounce of courage and a split-second leap of faith changes two women. Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life–one that’s reimagined from what they might have become.

The Ringmaster's Wife

About The Ringmaster’s Wife

In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures to call her own, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny–a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.

A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling of Yorkshire, England, boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her life is planned out for her. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties in the grandest ballrooms the country has to offer. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.

When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, instead choosing the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.

A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the greatest show on earth!

My Thoughts

An incredibly powerful story of hope, trust, family and forgiveness. In this wonderful story from one of my favourite authors, Kristy Cambron, we have a tale that spreads throughout the years. This is all set in the thrilling backdrop of the Ringling Circus!

We start off with a young girl who is forced into a life that she does not suit. She wants and needs excitement and doesn’t fit into the typical role of young women during this time period. When a young man, who is scouting for the Ringling Circus, he sees so much potential in her to be so much more. He offers her the opportunity of  a life time but only if she is courageous enough to take it on.

It is in the circus that Rosamund shines. She takes a leap of faith and finds out who she truly is. She puts her trust in the circus and finds a new family. The circus is a strong family unit that defend, protect and help their own. When she meets the mysterious, Mable, she finds the courage to become who she could really become. Mable’s story is told throughout the novel and I love watching how her story unfolds. Both women are so brave and put so much trust in their faith and dreams. This trust is what keeps them moving forward.

I loved how this story unfolds, both Rosamund and Mable’s stories make you cry, laugh and warm your heart. It is a tender book full of patience, love, hope and forgiveness. A novel that you can cherish and that you will not want to put down!

You can find more reviews on the Litfuse blog tour page. You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal Reviews’ “Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction)” for February 2015.

Cambron is an art/design manager at storytelling ministry. She holds a degree in art history from Indiana University and has nearly 15 years of experience in instructional design and communications for a Fortune-100 company. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.
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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