Suz's love for COWS + Allan's work with LASERS = one unique blog name! Welcome to our blog filled with race recaps, pictures of our labs, and everything else we share with blogland!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Saying Goodbye to My Brother


Two months ago yesterday my brother passed away and as time passes the pain will lessen but he will remain in my thoughts and my heart forever . Memories of those I've lost resurface in the most unlikely places and I'm not ashamed to admit that when they do I have a good cry and thank God they were a part of my life.

I posted the above last night on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It's taken me awhile to figure out if and how to talk about losing my brother and even now I'm not sure my thoughts will be very coherent. I felt like it was time to put it out there and to continue the healing process. His passing brought with it a myriad of emotions and some of those I'm still sorting through. I have a lot of regret and while my head knows there's nothing I can do to change things now, my heart still breaks for what might have been.

If I have learned anything from this it is to tell the people you love that you love them. Don't put things off to another day because that day may never come. Don't feel pressured to move on or to speed up the grieving process. Every loss is different and you know better than anyone how long it takes your heart to mend. I have also been reminded to trust the Lord to hold you up and see you through the rough days.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Daisies Are Forever by Liz Tolsma

World War II is one of my favorite time periods to read about. Daisies are Forever takes us on a journey from Prussia to Berlin as Gisela escapes Prussia with her nieces, befriends an English POW, and reunites with her mother. It's what happens on the way to Berlin and once they arrive that molds a wonderful story. When Gisela hears Mitch (an English POW parading as a SS officer) speaking with a German woman questioning why he isn't off fighting in the war she detects an English accent. In order to save Mitch from being reported she pretends he is her husband and in turn takes both he and his friend under her wing. As her journey to Berlin continues her traveling party grows in size as Kurt (a wounded German solider) joins her party as well as Audra, a German woman who has her sights set on getting out of Germany and making a better life for herself. Perhaps my favorite part of the story is the two older Holtzmann sisters that unfortunately have dementia but their comments about where they think they are and what they think is going on is hilarious. They certainly provided a much needed comic relief in what is otherwise a very grim and serious situation at times.  The relationship between Gisela and Mitch is interesting and often complicated as Kurt and Audra try to interfere. I really don't want to give away the meaning behind the title of the book because I feel as though that is truly the heart of this story so I encourage you to read this one and find out for yourself why daisies are forever. This is the second in a series but I haven't read the first one and I had no problem reading this one without having read the first one.

Book Description

Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country.
Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.
However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch’s identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her “marriage.”
Their journey to Gisela’s mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella's daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.
In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.

I received this book free of charge from BookLook  Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade

Becky Wade is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her books continue to suck me in from the very beginning and I have a difficult time getting to a "stopping point" or merely finding a spot where I can manage to close the book and do anything else. From the very beginning of the book my heart went out to Celia. Clearly she had loved Ty for years but unfortunately they were not on the same page even after finding themselves married in Las Vegas. What started out for Celia as a girl's weekend in Las Vegas (during which they saw Ty bull riding) turned into a weekend that changed her life. Years later when he shows back up into her life she's quick to guard her heart against that kind of pain. As they get to know each other all over again it's amazing to see how both Ty and Celia have changed and continue to change as their lives take another twist. Can they both achieve their dreams and find a way to be together or has too much time passed for them to stand a chance of being together?

I really enjoyed this book and even if you haven't read the first one in the Porter series you won't have any trouble keeping up with what's going on in this one. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will get to read Jake's story in Becky Wade's next novel!

Book info

About the book: 

Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school---irresistible. When their paths cross again after college---still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.
The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia's ready to be Ty's wife, but Ty's not ready to be her husband. He's a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he's long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he's known since childhood.
Five and a half years pass. Celia's buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty's achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn't forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.
How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia's trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

Purchase a copy:

About the author: 

Becky makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her CBA debut, My Stubborn Heart, was a finalist in both the RITA and INSPY awards. Undeniably Yours kicked off her Texas-set Porter Family series. Her newest contemporary romance, Meant to Be Mine, has just hit shelves!

Becky can be found at: website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

 Blog Tour Schedule

Becky Wade's latest novel, Meant to Be Mine, is a keeper! 

Celebrate with Becky by entering her "Dream Come True" $200 Visa cash card prize pack giveaway and RSVP for her June 10th Facebook party!

  One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card
  • Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 10th. Winner will be announced at the Meant to Be Mine Facebook author chat party on June 10th. Connect with Becky for a fun evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Becky will also share an exclusive look at her next book and give away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Meant to Be Mine and join Becky on the evening of June 10th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 10th!

I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Up Side

Up Side is our way of looking at the positive parts of possibly having to redo our shower and tile our bathroom. The up side is that I got to look for some great ideas on Pinterest. Allan and I are going to get to spend lots of quality time together working on this project. More likely than not, my sweet Daddy is hopeful going to help us and not least (but last) I am extremely grateful that we have two guest bathrooms to use while ours is out of commission.

I'm off to wake up the dragon Allan for another day of ripping things out of the bathroom. It should be fun!

Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter

I always enjoy Denise Hunter's books and this one is no exception. She finds a way to tell Jade and Daniel's story so anyone can relate even if you haven't been in their exact shoes. People don't often comment on the cover or title of the book but in this case I want to take the time to say how much I love both. If you've ever spent a summer night running around catching fireflies and taken a moment to appreciate how beautiful a night like that can be then you can't help but love the title and cover chosen for this book. Then you read this amazing story and it's impossible to find anything short of wonderful!

After reading and reviewing Barefoot Summer I have been patiently waiting for this book to come out! While this is the second in her Chapel Springs Romance series you can read this without having read Barefoot Summer but I'd encourage you to check out that one as well because it's a great read. While this book does cover some sensitive issues I believe Denise Hunter did a wonderful job handling it. I will say that I am a sucker for a story in which the guy has been in love with the girl for years and instead of telling her he continued to act like a brother. Thankfully guys/boys grow into men and usually gather the courage to admit how they've felt all along. I hope you all enjoy Jade and Daniel's story as much as I did and I can't wait to see what Denise Hunter has in store for us next!

Book Info

About the book: A Chapel Springs Romance

Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.

Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she'd never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.
The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He's loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she's back, his feelings are stronger than ever.
As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she's hiding secrets from her family, and she's strangely attracted to the man who's always called her "squirt." Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.

Purchase a copy:

About the Author: Denise Hunter is an internationally published best-selling author. Her books have won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and was a RITA finalist. In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all of her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps, too. When Denise isn't writing, she's busy raising three heroes-in-the-making with her husband.

Learn more about Denise at:

 Blog Tour Schedule

Don't miss Denise Hunter's latest Chapel Springs Romance, Dancing with Fireflies. Reviewers have already labeled Dancing with Fireflies "swoon-worthy" and "the perfect love story." 

Join Denise in celebrating the release of her new book by entering her Kindle HDX giveaway and RSVPing for her April 10th Facebook party.

One winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX
  • Dancing with Fireflies and Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 10th. Winner will be announced at the Dancing with Fireflies Facebook Party on April 10th. Connect with Denise for an evening of prizes, book chat, and an exclusive look at the next book in the series.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN on the event page. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 10th!

I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.

A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley

The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover. As little girls my sister and I spent a lot of time picking blackberries and returned home from the pasture many a time with blackberry-stained hands. In my opinion the most critical point of this book centers around an afternoon of blackberry picking with Laura, Sean, Cassie, and Tigger. Unfortunately it takes the entire novel to understand why this particular afternoon would play such a huge impact on the rest of their lives. Laura's dad, Elliott, finds them picking blackberries by the railroad tracks and reminds them to keep a close eye on Cassie's little sister, Tigger. Although they promised they would, once Sean leaves to go to the lake Cassie is quickly able to persuade Laura to leave Tigger so they can go back to Cassie's house and paint their fingernails. A bulk of the story takes place when Laura returns home to bury her mother and sort through her things. More than saying goodbye to her mother this trip becomes all about digging into her father's disappearance and assumed drowning that had occurred twelve years prior, just before Laura left for college. Rumors around town claim that her father has been seen recently. Laura sets out to discover if there's any truth to those rumors and before long Sean, her best friend and high school sweetheart, is helping her but finding it difficult to imagine the man he idolized could have walked away from his family but in the back of his mind he knows it could be possible. It becomes apparent that not everyone wants Laura looking for her father and after a few incidents Sean refuses to leave Laura alone for fear that someone might harm her.

Now that you've got a good summary of what's going on I'll give you my opinion of how everything comes together. I was disappointed and I'm not entirely sure why. I think perhaps I didn't like how the search for Laura's father drug on and on and then at the very end of the book there were too many twists too soon and not enough time spent explaining the why behind them. While I would still say this is a good book I just don't feel it's as good as it could have been but it's a wonderful story that takes a harsh look into the possibility of a man walking away from his family and the lingering effects that his absence had in the lives of Laura, her mother, Sean, and friends of her father. I only wish certain parts of the book had been expanded a bit more. I also wish the end had been a bit different with Laura and Sean. Once I read the ending I completely changed my mind about how I felt about the two of them as a couple.

If you think this sounds like a book you'd be interested in you can get more information about the book here, check out the author's website here,  and read her bio here. Meg Moseley can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. I highly encourage you to check out Gone South, one of her previous novels that I also had the privilege to review. It was a wonderful book!

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Quick Fly-By

Tomorrow I'm leaving Charleston, SC, to go home to the farm and celebrate my Daddy's birthday. This week I've been cuddling my best girl friend's new daughter and playing with her white Labrador retriever. Hunley (the baby) and Pearl (the lab) are already quite the pair and I just love them both!

Hope you all are having a great week!