An Inspirational Romance? ~ Review and Giveaway

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 10.29.17 AMWhen I was about eleven years old, a lady in the neighbour invited me over after school to pick up some novels for my mother. She said that they’d soon be good for me. As an avid reader I pulled the books out as soon as I got home and saw that they were romance novels. Ew, romance. After my Mum died, I pull these books out a few times in an attempt to read them, but I never made it through a full book. They seemed a bit cheesy. The love scenes seemed forced or out of place. They just weren’t my cup of tea.

I have to say that when I was given the opportunity to review a series of three inspirational romances I was a bit intrigued. The fact that the romance novels also promised to be a good mystery was also a plus – mysteries I do like. I gladly took up the offer and received the first three books in the Texas K-9 series just as the whole family came down with the flu. I managed to pull mattresses into the living room for all of us and we spent three days in a fevered, achy state. We did not move than we absolutely had to. I was so glad to have these e-books available to read at the times when I was well enough to focus, but too sick to do anything else. I devoured the books in about five days.

The series follows the members of a K-9 unit as they first look for missing boy, but then realize that there are much more widespread issues in their town. Each novel has a self contained story, but the crime ring arc spreads through each novel and you learn more and more as each story progresses. The story was based on caring relationships and not just spur of the moment “I’m hot for you” story lines – that was much appreciated. The books were kept clean with handholding and later the occasional kiss being the extent of the romance. No bedroom scenes here. The designation of an inspirational romance comes for the occasional mention of God or someone reading a bible, though I would have liked to see more depth to that.

I think these books were good, light reading for when I wasn’t feeling well. I was anxious to get through each book for the mystery/crime ring focus. I enjoyed the fact that the books were centred around the K-9 unit as I know how strong a bond can be with one’s dog and that shone through the stories. I feel that there could have been a bit more development of the characters as I would have liked to know more about them and their past and maybe a little bit of a deeper exploration of their faith, however, these were fine books and I very much want to read the last three in the series to find out how everything ends. Here’s a little bit more from the publisher.

Texas K-9 Unit Series Books 1-3: Tracking Justice\Detection Mission\Guard Duty (Available at Amazon)

Love Inspired Suspense authors Shirlee McCoy, Margaret Daley and Sharon Dunn will get your pulse racing with tales of Texas cops and their loyal K-9 dogs tracking down a crime ring. Enjoy three action-packed Texas K-9 Unit romantic suspense novels in one box set! When a boy goes missing from his bedroom, a police detective must assure a desperate single mother that he and his trusty bloodhound will find her son. A woman with amnesia has to rely on an officer and his border collie to stay alive when she can’t remember who tried to kill her. An FBI agent is called in to protect a single mother when the rookie K-9 officer witnesses a murder and becomes the killer’s target.

About the authors:
Shirlee McCoy

Shirlee McCoy has always loved making up stories. As a child she daydreamed elaborate tales in which she was the heroine — gutsy, strong and invincible. Though she soon grew out of her superhero fantasies, her love for storytelling never diminished. Shirlee knew early that she wanted to write inspirational fiction and began writing her first novel when she was a teenager. Still, it wasn’t until her third son was born that she truly began pursuing her dream of being published. Three years later she sold her first book. Now a busy mother of four, Shirlee is a homeschool mom by day and an inspirational author by night. She and her husband and children live in Maryland and share their home with a dog and a guinea pig.

Margaret Daley

Margaret has been writing for over 35 years. She started writing in the late 1970s because she wanted to see if she could put a whole story down on paper. That book is still in the drawer and will never see the light of day. But she was able to finish a book, which was her goal. She loved teaching and working with students with special needs, and recently retired from teaching to write full-time. When she isn’t working, she loves to read, travel, and go to lunch and a movie with a friend. She and her husband, Mike, to whom she has been married for over 40 years live in Tulsa. Besides teaching and writing, she is also a mother of one. Her son, Shaun, is married with four daughters.

Sharon Dunn

Sharon Dunn first fell in love with mystery and suspense about the time she read Nancy Drew mysteries in the fifth grade. Her first book in the Ruby Taylor mysteries Romance Rustlers and Thunderbird Thieves was a finalist for the Romantic Times Inspirational Book of the Year. The second book in that series Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante was voted Book of the Year by American Christian Fiction Writers. Her hobbies include reading, working out, hiking, trying to find things around the house and making pets out of the dust bunnies under the furniture. Before she started writing, she used to sew. Now she just collects fabric and patterns and fantasizes about projects. After nearly twenty seven years of marriage, Sharon lost her beloved husband in 2014. She lives with her three nearly grown children, two cats and a nervous border collie named Bart.

Check out the Facebook Page!

I will be giving away a copy of the next book in the series, Protection Detail, to one lucky winner. Just leave me a comment and let me know what your favourite dog is and I will enter your name into a draw for the book on March 23rd, 2015. Remember, each book can stand alone, so you don’t have to have read the other books to appreciate this one. However, I do recommend them!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”


Susie’s Hope ~ Review and Giveaway

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 6.20.07 PMWe love animals in this house and we have a  special place in our heart for rescues – cats, in particularly, but we do love dogs as well and hope to one day rescue one of our own. We were very excited to be given the opportunity to review Susie’s Hope, a movie based on the true story of an amazing dog rescue that changed the lives of many and helped heal wounds of the past.

Here’s a little more about Susie’s Hope:

Based on the true story that successfully passed Susie’s Law in North Carolina, which seeks stricter punishment for animal abusers, Susie’s Hope brings to life the inspirational relationship between pit bull attack survivor Donna Lawrence and Susie, a pit bull-mix puppy found beaten, burned and left for dead. Recognizing reflect and abuse were to blame for the tragic attack that nearly claimed her life 10 months earlier, Donna resumes the battered animal and accepts her as family. Together, they learn to heal, love and forgive as thyey lead a historic effort to seek justice and protection, not only for Susie, but all animals. Starring Emmanuelle Vaguer (40 Days and 40 Nights), Burgess Jenkins (Remember The Titans) and Andrea Powell (Ender’s Game, The Twighlight: Breaking Dawn Saga: Part 2), Susie’s Hope is an incredible story of love, loss and redemption.

Watch and share the Susie’s Hope trailer here!

securedownloadI watched this movie with my 9 year old daughter who is very interested in animal rescue. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk to her about the work and money that is needed in order to help animals that are very much in need. We also took the time to talk about the laws and how Susie’s abuser was not going to get into very much trouble until things changed (I won’t say too much here as to not give it away), but it was an interesting conversation to have and my older son joined in as well. I also used the time to talk a little bit about pit bull breeds and how they got their bad name (and how each decade seems to have their “bad” dog that everyone gives a bad name). My daughter poured over the booklet that we also received that showed the actually images of Susie (and the injuries her owner received on account of another dog). In the end it was a wonderful learning opportunity and we were so happy that the laws have changes in Susie’s state on account of her story and her owners battle to make changes for all animals.

To find out more about Susie, please be sure to visit her site.

If you would like a chance to own and see this movie for yourself please leave a message here and I will choose a winner (at random) on Monday, December 15th. I wish I could share a copy with each of you!


Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wizzy Gizmo ~ A Mosaic Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review Wizzy Gizmo’s Fast Track Bible Pack as part of Home & School Mosaics. My oldest son was once very much interested in the Bible and while we aren’t doing formal Bible studies this year, I thought that he would still be interested in looking at this product. There were a couple of different options to choose from, but because my son was older we decided to go with The Fast Track Bible Pack as it would give him more to work with over time. Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 7.51.41 PM The Fast Track Bible pack gives you child an overview of the New Testament by teaching them about the main themes of each book though informative cards. On one  side you are given more general information about the book and an overview of what you will learn about as you read it. The information is divided into sections:

  • It’s position in the New Testament;
  • The number of chapters;
  • The author (if known);
  • The date of writing;
  • The theme and and an overview.

The reverse side includes even more information for further study , including:

  • An outline,
  • The key chapters (and there relevance);
  • Key passages;
  • Key doctrines;
  • Key people.

While we are not actively doing bible studies this year I appreciate these cards as occasionally questions come up in some of our other work or we are talking about values and it’s nice to be able to use these cards to find relevant passages in the Bible when we need to. I love that each book comes with it’s overall theme outlined. I can see us using these cards to help us with a more complete study in the future. I am thinking that it would be nice to choose one card a week and spend time learning more about God through the stories by looking up that passages and talking about the kep points. The wheels are turning and I am sure that I will come up with a way to use these in our homeschool in the new year.  My son goes through stages of being very interested in Bible studies and I am sure that they bright coloured and logically organized cards will very much appeal to him. For 14.99$US these are definitely worth having in our homeschool. In addition to The Fast Track Bible Pack, Wizzy Gizmo has a number of other resources for Christian Studies including:

  • Who Created Everything (both an audio CD and book)
  • In his Image

Both of these resources sound very interesting as well and from reading some of the other reviews on Home & School Mosaics I am strong considering purchasing them for my younger crew. For more information on Wizzy Gizmo be sure to check them out on social media.

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Reading Eggs ~ Review and Read-a-Thon

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I am pleased to have the opportunity today to introduce you to an online virtual world aimed at helping your child learn to read. Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress have been developed as a fun and interactive way to teach reading skills to your 3-12 year olds. There is also a math section called Mathseeds to explore.

When we first got the program I signed up my eight year old daughter. She has only been reading fluently for about a year and anything that makes reading more exciting for her is always good as she can be somewhat of a reluctant reader. She very much enjoyed the stories that were presented to her in the Reading Express program and I was glad to see her enjoying some non fiction books as well.

She enjoyed exploring her Floating Island and visiting the following areas:

  • The library – Offering books on a variety of topics, from science to animals, myths, art, and fantasy just like a regular library. Books can be filtered by age and each book ends with a comprehension quiz. Your child will be rewarded golden eggs and a trading card for each book that they complete.
  • The Comprehension Gym – Where your child can play daily games, read books and complete activities to test their comprehension (I even had fun with some of these games!)
  • The Studium – Your child can play against other players (or the computer) in challenges that test spelling, grammar, vocab and freestyle usage.
  • The Mall and Appartment – Where you can spend your golden eggs to buy clothes, pets, apartment items and more.

My daughter, who is not competitive, spent most of her time reading books and doing the quizzes in the library and then using her eggs to buy pets for her apartment. She also really enjoyed collecting the trading cards that you are given when you read a book. She did spend some time at the comprehension gym, but found the stadium to be a little bit above her reading ability so she only played with others a few times over the course of the review period.

Overall, she really enjoyed Reading Express and has been bugging me to buy her a year long membership, which we are considering, but would want her to spend more time in The Gym and Stadium as they have a lot to offer as well.

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Because my daughter enjoyed Reading Eggspress so much, I decided that I would activate a Reading Eggs account for my three and a half year old son, Ruadhan. Reading Eggs is the beginner’s program and as my son has no reading experience we started him off at the very beginning without taking the placement quiz (my daughter took the quiz for fun and it placed her pretty accordingly to her skill level, so if you have a reader already then this is a good step). I was excited to see what Ruadhan would think about a reading program of his very own.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 9.21.40 AMWe choose to use Reading Eggs on the iPad (it is also available on Android) as my son is most familiar with that platform. Quickly and easily, Ruadhan was off on an adventure with Sam the Ant. On his first day, he learned about the letter sounds of “m” and “s” and was able to complete the leaning activities with limited help from his older sister. I personally loved it as I have a love hate relationship with electronics and if my little one’s are using it then I want them to be getting something out of it. It warmed my heart to see my two younger kids working together on this program. I asked my son today what he thought of this program and he said, “Well, I kinda liked it.” He did not seem too thrilled when I asked him if he wanted to play on it some more. I do think that he would come and join me rather quickly were I to put it on and start to use it myself. He is likely a little bit on the younger age for this program and we do not push academics on our little kids, so it likely isn’t something that we will be trying to encourage him to use regularly, but I do feel that for families that want their little ones to learn to read at an early age that this is a wonderful app.

You can purchase Reading Eggs (including Reading Eggspress and Mathseeds) for 49.95$US for a 6 month subscription or 69$US for a year long subscription. I invite you to check it out and get your own 5 week free Trial by following this link. We have been very happy over all with what we have seen.

There is more good news!

The Reading Eggs Read-To-Cure Challenge

From February 3 to March 7 your child can join thousands of children across the United State taking part in the Reading Eggs Read-To-Cure Challenge – an effort to inspire children to read while raising funds for The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS).

All money raised will help provide financial, emotional, and educational support for children and families battling childhood cancer. Learn more here.

All you have to do is sign up for a 5 week FREE trial of Reading Eggs and encourage your child to read as many books and complete as many lessons as they can. Friends and family can sponsor your child’s efforts and money raised will go to the NCCS. You child will be set up with their own personal sponsorship page on the Reading Eggs website.

In addition to encouraging your child to read and support a worthy cause, there are prizes up for grabs for the 3 children who read the most books and raise the most money.

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*NCCS will earn a minimum of $25,000 from Reading Eggs plus 100% of the donations collected by RTCC participants

I invite you to find out more at the Reading Eggs Website. You can also check out other reviews at Home and School Mosaics.

The 5 Money Personalities ~ A Review and Giveaway

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 12.38.28 PMWe recently bought a house. Here’s how it went:

My husband knew we had to move. He knew that we had some money in the bank. He knew, when we went on our whirlwind trip that we’d come back with a house. He had no issues walking into a bank we the listing for the house we liked and saying that he needed the money so we could get it. He was fine with telling me to walk into my bank and take out all the savings we’d accumulated.

I, on the other hand, wanted to sell our current home first. I was finally comfortable with a bit of a cushion in the bank. I didn’t want to use it all. What if the van broke down? What is the house had hidden issues? I wanted to think and take our time and do things the “right” way.

This led to some tears and heated discussions over the course of the week.

When we came home after our whirlwind tour and house purchase, we found The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking the Same Love and Money Language sitting in our mailbox. No wonder our week had been difficult. My money personality is Saver/Security Seeker and my husband is a Spender/Risk Taker. While we knew we handled money differently, this book really highlighted it for us. We’ve gone over the most important sections together and hope that the next time there is a major (or maybe not so major) purchase, we’ll be able to understand each other a little better!

Here’s a little more about the book by the publisher:

About The 5 Money Personalities
The hidden key to a healthy relationship is not just managing money but understanding how the other approaches money.

Every couple argues about money. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married for 40 years or dating for 4 months, money touches every decision you make as a couple—from the $5 cup of coffee to the $50,000 car. And when the two of you don’t see eye-to-eye on how much to spend or how much to save, that’s when arguments turn into ugly toxic fights that leave both persons feeling hurt and angry. It’s why money has become the #1 cause of divorce in the U.S. Obviously, something needs to change. The reason this crisis has not been addressed is because it has never been identified, defined, or given a name. Scott and Bethany Palmer, aka “The Money Couple,” have identified and defined this problem and offer concrete solutions to fix it.

Once you know your Money Personality, you can get to the root of money arguments and start really working together. You’ll discover what has an impact on your loved one’s money decisions, and you’ll learn how to talk about money in a way that’s actually fun! You’ll figure out how to put an end to money secrets and lies once and for all.

It’s not just about money management, and it’s definitely not just about overcoming debt. It is a whole new way of living that will change everything in your relationship. Tens of thousands have already been transformed. Are you ready?

About Scott & Bethany Palmer
“The Money Couple”, have dedicated their lives to helping others strengthen their relationships with the 5 Money Personalities. With 43 years of combined financial planning experience, they launched “The Money Couple” and are regulars on national TV and radio and speak internationally about love and money. Scott and Bethany enjoy an active lifestyle in Colorado with their two young sons, Cole and Cade.
Now here’s the good news! I have a copy of this book to give to one of my readers. All you have to do is comment and tell me that you would like to win a copy of the book (how easy is that?).
Addition entries (please leave a comment for each).
1) Like Real Life: Unscripted on facebook and tell me about it.
2) Follow me @mamamanuscripts on twitter and tell me your twitter ID so I can follow you.
3) Tweet/retweet about this giveaway and let me know.
4) Blog about this contest and give me your link (3 entries) – Don’t forget to comment 3 times for this one!
Comments will close on January 28th, at 1PM Eastern Time and a winner will be chosen via random number generator.

I’m Getting Back to Reviewing with Mosaic Reviews!

Screen Shot 2012-12-31 at 2.50.33 PMThere’s been something missing from my blog. Yes, something more than just posts (yikes, I have to do something about that!).


I’ll admit that I had big ideas for this blog after I stopped reviewing last year. I was going to make this blog the place for all us imperfect parents/homemakers/educators. Well, that didn’t happen because well, life happened instead.  When I did sit down to write, I found myself wondering how to write a blog without reviews. For three years, reviewing had been part of my daily life and without it, I felt a little lost. People liked reading my reviews, and I enjoyed sharing my opinions. People didn’t really want to read about my dirty laundry pile or my struggles with my seven year old. Well, maybe some people did, but I didn’t post, because I’d lost my blogging identity.

Well, I’m happy to say that I’m back because I’ve been selected to review for Mosiac Reviews, a venture launched by two dear friends of mine. I promise that I will get back in the saddle and use this blog for its intended purpose (because 2013 is going to be a whole new adventure…stay tuned) but I’ll also be able to bring you information about all kinds of items that I’ll have the opportunity to try out. I’m not exactly sure of the timeline for things but I am looking forward to starting and sharing with all of you. You’ll be hearing more from me on twitter and my facebook page as well, so be sure to follow me there as well.

Here’s to new opportunities in 2013!

The American Bible Challenge ~ Review and Giveaway

  I recently had the opportunity to watch “the making of” The American Bible Challenge. While I will not be able to watch full episodes of this new game show (for charity), I did find the concept interesting. I’m a big fan of trivia and there’s definitely a lot of wonderful material in the Bible to quiz people on! My 9 year old son would have definitely enjoyed watching this show as well. He knows his Bible well and loves trivia even more than I do. He is constantly (seriously) asking us to quiz him on random facts. Another fun plus to this game show, is that it is hosted by Jeff Foxworthy (shhh, I’ve secretly enjoyed his material for a number of years now!) He is engaging and funny and makes contestants feel at ease, I’m sure!

Here’s a little bit more about the show (keep reading because I also have some wonderful items to give away to one lucky reader):

The American Bible Challenge Description:

 Comedian and author, Jeff Foxworthy hosts this studio-based game in which contestants compete based on their knowledge of the Bible. Utilizing current as well as historical references, questions will be drawn from the rich, dense narrative found in the world’s best-selling book. The contestants will share their compelling back-stories and each team will be playing for a charitable organization. The American Bible Challenge is produced by RelativityREAL for GSN, with RelativityREAL’s Tom Forman (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”) and Embassy Row’s Michael Davies (“The Newlywed Game,” “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”) serving as Executive Producers on the project. Nick Stuart and Maura Dunbar of Odyssey Networks are Consulting Producers.
About the Host:
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy is the largest selling comedy-recording artist in history, a multiple Grammy® Award nominee and the best-selling author of 11 books. Widely known for his redneck jokes, his act goes beyond that to explore the humor in everyday family interactions and human nature.
This show has aired weekly for the last two weeks and I encourage you to check it out on the Game Show Network (GSN) Thursday at 8/7c.
For more information:
Twitter: #TheAmericanBibleChallenge and @GSN

And now, for your chance to win.We’re giving away a The American Bible Challenge T-Shirt and Zondervan Quest Bible!

To enter all you need to do is leave me a comment and tell me you’d like to win!.

Addition entries (please leave a comment for each).

1) Like Real Life: Unscripted on facebook and tell me about it.
2) Follow me @mamamanuscripts on twitter and tell me your twitter ID so I can follow you.
3) Tweet/retweet about this giveaway and let me know.
4) Blog about this contest and give me your link (3 entries) – Don’t forget to comment 3 times for this one!

Comments close at 1pm Friday, September 7th, 2012 and a winner will be drawn at random.

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”