Archive for April, 2014

Book review and Kindle sale: Shadow Hand, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

I recently had the chance to read Shadow Hand, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. This fiction book was published on March 4, by Bethany House.

About this book (from the back cover):

By her father’s wish, Lady Daylily is betrothed to the Prince of Southlands. Not the prince she loves, handsome and dispossessed Lionheart, but his cousin, the awkward and foolish Prince Foxbrush. As her wedding day dawns, Daylily flees into the dangerous Wilderlands, her only desire to vanish from living memory.

But Foxbrush, determined to rescue his betrothed, pursues Daylily into a new world of magic and peril, a world where vicious Faerie beasts hold sway, a world invaded by a lethal parasite.

A world that is hauntingly familiar.

Final Verdict:

When I received this book, I had never heard of Anne Elizabeth Stengl. I had no idea this book was the much-anticipated 6th in a beloved fantasy series. I only knew the cover was pretty, and I liked the idea of a prince pursuing his runaway bride.

However, when I finished, I had the feeling there must be other stories out there. It wasn’t until I checked Amazon’s reviews that I learned about all the other stories of Goldstone Woods that preceded this one. I read from other reviewers that you shouldn’t read this book until you’ve read the previous five, and while that makes sense to me, I really enjoyed the experience I had reading this stories as a “newbie”! While the central plotline revolves around Prince Foxbrush and his runaway bride, Princess Daylily, many, many other stories were referenced, and to me, they just added to the whole tapestry of the setting, even when I didn’t know anything about the characters being referenced. It just felt like the central story in this book was taking place in a world where every story was connected with a hundred more. The author gives enough details about all the past storylines that you can piece everything together, if you’re willing to use your brain a little. The beginning was really pretty confusing, and I really had to concentrate to keep the details straight, but once I got going – and once I channeled my inner Nancy Drew to remember and recognize passing references that would have come more easily to fans who had read the other books – I really enjoyed this story! You’ll want to stay with it just to get to the ending, because it’s absolutely fantastic. I love the idea of characters who, having grown up loving the Shadow Hand fairy tale, slowly realize that it might be more than just a fictional tale for children. Oh, and there’s also time travel and a Bad Guy that has no form or voice of its own, and while those elements are super confusing at first, it all gets explained in the end, I promise.

While my experience reading this book was very different from that of someone who had read all the previous stories, I am glad I entered the series where I did, and I think others will be able to enjoy this book as a stand-alone as well. I will, however, be going back to read the other five books in this series. All in all, I highly recommend this book!

If you’d like to check out Shadow Hand it is currently on sale for $3.99 for the Kindle version. (Regularly $14.99.) If you prefer a paperback copy, it’s currently on sale for $11.46. Remember, Amazon’s prices can change at any time.

The featured product for this review was provided to me at no cost by Bethany House. All opinions expressed are my own. If you’d like to sign up to receive review copies from Bethany House, visit

Add comment April 16, 2014

Get $5 off a Living Social purchase; includes great class deal for Loopville

Get $5 off a $15+ purchase on Living Social, today only, with code TAXDAY5!

One deal you might consider is the voucher for Loopville in Knoxville. With this code, you can get one knitting or crochet class plus $20 in supplies for $11! I’ve actually bought and used this deal in thepast, and I really enjoyed my class! They only take 5 people at a time, so you get a lot of one-on-one instruction – which I needed! – plus the $20 gift certificate more than covered my pair of knitting needles and a pretty magenta yarn I’m using to make a scarf for my girls. Highly recommended!

You will want to reserve a class spot ahead of time. Loopville is located on Kingston Pike near Salon Azure, and a few doors down from Serendippity.

Add comment April 15, 2014

Tax Day pizza specials: Papa John’s and Papa Murphy’s

Papa John’s Pizza has a Tad Day special, today only: get a large 5-topping pizza for $10.40! This offer is good for delivery or carryout orders, but your order must be placed online using promotion code TXSPCL. Go here to order.

Also, if you’re a member of the Papa Murphy’s text club, you received a text coupon good for a large 1-topping pizza plus a FAVES pizza (I believe that means cheese, pepperoni or sausage) for just $10.40 total. If you don’t yet get Papa Murphy’s text coupons,  just text the word “papamknox” to 90421. You’ll also get a text coupon for a a free cheesy bread just for signing up.

Hope I’ve helped you out with dinner tonight!

Add comment April 15, 2014

Weigel’s freebies through April 18: Butterfinger, Hype energy drink, more

Here are the current freebies at Weigel’s. Get one of each of these free through April 18 when you wipe your loyalty card.


Get a Butterfinger, beef jerky stick, and Hype energy drink.


Add comment April 15, 2014

Book review and Kindle sale: The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful, by Myquillyn Smith

I recently had the chance to read The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful, by Myquillyn Smith. This nonfiction book will be released on April 29, 2014 by Zondervan. (And it’s currently the #1 bestselling book in Interior Design on Amazon!)

About this book (from the back cover):

Perfection is overrated. Popular blogger and self-taught decorator Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) is all about embracing reality—especially when it comes to decorating a home bursting with boys, pets, and all the unpredictable messes of life.In The Nesting Place, Myquillyn shares the secrets of decorating for real people—and it has nothing to do with creating a flawless look to wow your guests. It has everything to do with embracing the natural imperfection and chaos of daily living.Drawing on her years of experience creating beauty in her 13 different homes, Myquillyn will show you how to think differently about the true purpose of your home and simply and creatively tailor it to reflect you and your unique style—without breaking the bank or stressing over comparisons. Full of easy tips, simple steps, and practical advice, The Nesting Place will give you the courage to take risks with your home and transform it into a place that’s inviting and warm for family and friends.There is beauty in the lived-in and loved-on and just-about-used-up, Myquillyn says, and welcoming that imperfection wholeheartedly just might be the most freeing thing you’ll ever do.

My Verdict:

I currently live in a home that’s absolutely gorgeous, kind of small, and almost always messy, so Myquillyn Smith’s philosophy in home decor really speaks to me. Smith, who runs the popular blog The Nester and is featured on the Art of Simple blog (where I first heard about her), is of the mindset that if you strive for constant perfection, you’ll end up living in a house you hate, because real life doesn’t lend itself to perfection. She compares popular home decor magazines/blogs to wedding photos in that they show the ideal, and aren’t bad, but don’t reflect real life. She gives the example of a friend who put off painting her bathroom because she didn’t reel like removing the fixtures that blocked the hard-to-paint spaces. Smith advises to go ahead and paint the bathroom, ignore the hard-to-paint spots, and be happy now. Something to note: I read the electronic version of this book, and while I first uploaded it to my Kindle, I noticed there were a lot of photos, and I figured I wasn’t getting the full effect since my Kindle is just black-and-white. I ended up loading the book to my laptop where I could see the color photos, and it was worth the extra effort. So, if you’re getting the electronic version of The Nesting Place, make sure you have a Kindle Fire or other e-device that allows color. Highly recommended book for anyone who wants to make their home a more enjoyable place while stressing less about the process.

If you’d like to check out The Nesting Place it is currently on sale for $7.99 for the Kindle version right now (Regularly $19.99.) If you prefer a physical copy the hardcover version is currently on sale for $14.94. Remember, Amazon’s prices can change at any time.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”



Add comment April 15, 2014

Free Zarbee’s Naturals Seasonal Relief at CVS this week

Free sample of Zarbee's Seasonal Relief

You can get Zarbee’s Naturals Seasonal Relief for free this week at CVS. Just purchase Zarbee’s Naturals Seasonal Relief for $7, and you’ll get $7 back in Extra Care Bucks!

This deal is valid at CVS now through April 12, 2014.

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Add comment April 8, 2014

Get free books at the library’s Bookmark Cafe on April 23 (World Book Night)!

World Book Night is April 23, 2014, and to celebrate, the Bookmark Cafe at the Blount County Public Library will be giving away free books! Our librarians have signed up to be givers, and they’ll be giving out the books they received by distributing them at the cafe. So, stop by, get a coffee, and bring a friend who is a light reader so you can get them hooked on a really good, FREE book! (Or just bring yourself, if you’re a light reader!)

One book per person, while supplies last. Books will include select titles from the list of this year’s WBN selections:


And here’s more info on the program from the World Book Night folks:

Volunteer book givers are central to World Book Night U.S., putting wonderful books into the hands of light or non-readers in their communities.

On April 23, 2013, U.S. book givers personally handed out half a million printed books in 5,800 towns and cities across the country. And we’re doing it again together this year!

We provide the free books, and the book givers seek out light or non-readers, especially people who may not have access to printed books for reasons of means or geography. Book givers receive 20 free paperback copies of one World Book Night title, not too many to carry but enough to share with a good number of potential new readers.


Add comment April 8, 2014

BOGO dinners at Olive Garden – can combine with coupons, too!


Olive Garden has brought back their BOGO dinner deal: purchase a dinner from their special menu for $12.99 and you’ll receive a second dinner to take home for free! Plus, you can combine this deal with coupons, like the $10/$30 coupon they just sent out to members of their email list. This is a great chance to go to dinner with a friend and then take dinner home to your spouse or kids!

To sign up for Olive Garden’s email list, go here.

Add comment April 8, 2014

Half Off Depot: Get 20% off vouchers today only, including Hot Rods 50s Diner!

Today only, use code SAVE20 to get 20% off all local offers on Half Off Depot.  (Not applicable to national products or travel deals.)

This will get you an additional 20% off a voucher to one of my favorite local restaurants, Hot Rods 50s Diner in Alcoa! You can get a $12 voucher for just $4.80! If you don’t see the Hot Rods deal at first, just search under the “Food and Drink” category.


Add comment April 8, 2014

Book review and Kindle sale: The Romance of Religion: Fighting for Goodness, Truth, and Beauty

I recently had the chance to read The Romance of Religion: Fighting for Goodness, Truth, and Beauty, by Dwight Longenecker. This nonfiction book was released on February 4, 2014 by Thomas Nelson.

About this book (from the back cover):

C. S. Lewis said that Christianity works on us like every other myth, except it is a myth that really happened. Dwight Longenecker grabs this idea and runs with it, showing that the Christian story is the greatest story ever told because it gathers up what is true in all the fantasy stories of the world and makes them as solid, true, and real as a tribe of dusty nomads in the desert or the death of a carpenter-king.

In The Romance of Religion Longenecker calls for the return of the romantic hero—the hero who knows his frailty and can fight the good fight with panache, humor, and courage. Conflict and romance are everywhere in the story of Christ, and our response is to dust off our armor, don our broad-brimmed hats, pick up our swords, and do battle for Christ with confidence, wonder, and joy.

Is religion no more than a fairy tale? No, it is more than a fairy tale—much more: it is all the fairy tales and fantastic stories come true here and now.

About the Author:

Dwight Longenecker has served as a parish priest, a chaplain at Kings College, Cambridge and a country parson on the Isle of Wight. Dwight  has written sixteen books and countless articles for websites, magazines, and papers in the USA and Britain. His blog, Standing on My Head, has been voted one of the top religious blogs in the country. He holds a degree in theology from Oxford University and currently serves a local parish in Greenville, SC.

My Verdict:

This book is a sort of “Religion for English Majors.” The Romance of Religion is beautifully written, and I really enjoyed reading it in small pieces. The author is obviously a lover of literature, and I don’t think there’s a page in this book that doesn’t include a literary or pop culture reference. The idea that God loves a great story, that He communicated to us through the written word, and that we are in the middle of a great story ourselves: none of these are new ideas to me, but they are all ideas that I enjoy reading about. The author writes from the perspective of a Catholic priest, but this book is not denominationally specific, and as a Protestant, I enjoyed it as well. I have always preferred fiction to nonfiction, but this book, with its great love for novels and stories, really appealed to me personally. I really enjoyed The Romance of Religion and would recommend it to both Christians and non-Christians alike.

If you’d like to check out The Romance of Religion it is currently on sale for $9.99 for the Kindle version right now (Regularly $15.99.) If you prefer a physical copy the paperback version is currently on sale for $11.93. Remember, Amazon’s prices can change at any time.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

Add comment April 8, 2014

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