2.20.2019

Restoration Series: Jonathan's Walk ~ Prison Fellowship


Prison Fellowship has released a brand-new documentary series, Jonathan's Walk, with 5 videos averaging about 5 minutes in length following one man who has been incarcerated since age 18, for 15 years, as he re-enters civilian life.

Jonathan found saving faith in Jesus Christ while in prison, with the help of Prison Fellowship Academy. He also met his loving and faithful Christian wife Nikole, with whom he shares a young daughter. While in prison he has missed out on big moments in his family's life, and his wife has had to be mother and father to their daughter. I loved how the documentary talks about the challenges of re-entering society, recidivism is at a high, with 2 out of 3 released being re-arrested. This is is just a snap-shot of a few of the challenges faced by families with a member coming out of incarceration, but is gives me hope seeing their faith, and how God can completely turn around even the most broken of situations.



The Academy is a program in select prisons that teaches prisoners to live holy God-glorifying lives, productive, and full of purpose, inside and outside of prison. They learn to identify unhealthy and relapsing behaviors, how to be a responsible family member, as well as money-management, life-skills, with a Christ centered focus.

This docu-series shows the story of one man, his family, and how Christ changes everything.

You can find out more, as well as about how you can donate, volunteer, and pray by visiting the Prison Fellowship website: https://www.prisonfellowship.org/






To watch the rest of the 5 part series: HERE

“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.

2.19.2019

A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden ~ Review ~ Just Read Tour ~ Rafflecopter Giveaway



On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A Desperate Hope
(Empire State #3)
By Elizabeth Camden
Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 352 Pages
February 5th 2019 by Bethany House Publishers

Eloise Drake's prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she believes is finally behind her. A mathematical genius, she's now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.

Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town--but he needs Eloise's help to succeed.

Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he'd lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them.

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My Review:

CPA Eloise Drake likes her life to be orderly and stable, with straight columns that add up neatly into nice round figures, a stark contrast to her unconstant childhood, with unloving parents and fraught with conflict. When her newest assignment, assessing and valuing properties in preparation for the new reservoir, brings her face to face with her adolescent indiscretion, will she take a chance on love or stay with what is safe and predictable?

Alex Duvall never forgot the red-headed Eloise Drake from his childhood, and when she comes with the crew sent to blow up his town of Duvall Springs they find themselves at odds. Alex's enthusiasm for his town, and his charismatic, indefatigable spirit gives Duvall Springs hope in the face of a state takeover, and he finds an unlikely ally in a copper-headed friend from the past. Will Eloise and Alex be able to save the town of Duvall Springs, or will the conspiracies and sabotage dash all of their hopes?

Alex is a passionate dreamer, and born leader. As Mayor of Duvall Springs he takes personal responsibility for his citizen's well being and security. He is loyal and never gives up fighting for what he believes in, and is willing to try new things. I loved that he respects and admires Eloise and her brilliance with mathematics, he supports her, and encourages her to dream big too.

Eloise is cautious, and has had to walk on eggshells her whole life, she has learned to love safety and predictability. She is clever, organized, compassionate, and a people pleaser. I admired her determined spirit and all the hard work she put into attaining her certification and putting her past behind her.

While written as the third in a series, it works wonderfully as a stand alone read, though if you have read the previous two books in the series, Eloise's story will pack an even bigger punch. I will admit that I missed the legal tension that was a strong component of the prior books, but I did like how this book tied in, and that we got to see another side of the previous events.

 A story about love, hope, community, determination, and faith. There is intrigue, mystery and the stakes are high as the citizens of Duvall Springs risk it all to fight for their way of life. I love how Ms. Camden brings the excitement and industry of the early 1900's to life, with strong, independant, and intelligent heroines. A fast-paced read with winsome characters, highly enjoyable, I didn't want to put it down!


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."



Other Books in the Series


About the Author


Elizabeth Camden is the author of twelve historical novels and two historical novellas and has been honored with both the RITA Award and the Christy Award. With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. She lives with her husband in Florida.



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Tour Giveaway


One Grand Prize winner will receive print copies of all three books in the Empire State series: A Dangerous Legacy, A Daring Venture, and A Desperate Hope
Two additional winners will receive a print copy of A Desperate Hope
- US only
- Ends March 1, 2019

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2.10.2019

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate ~ Review

My Review:

I don't usually pay much attention to best sellers lists, but Lisa Wingate is an author that I was mildly aware of and I kept hearing rave reviews from all of my friends. I was intrigued. So I went to my local library and checked it out. This book wrecked me. It explores the dark history of modern adoption through the eyes of children who survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society ran by the now infamous Georgia Tann.

In the modern day, Avery Stafford is political royalty, her father is a much respected senator with secretly failing health, and she is being groomed to continue his legacy. But when Avery meets a woman named May while visiting a nursing home, that encounter sets her on a quest to find out the truth of her family's history.

1939, Rill Foss at 12 yrs old is the oldest of 5 siblings, they make a living on the river. When her mother's life is on the line while delivering twins, Rill and her siblings are taken to the Tennessee Children's Home Society, lured by promises of being reunited with their parents, but as the days drag on that they realize that they have become a part of something much darker.

Rill is the oldest of her siblings, and she holds herself responsible to keep them safe. She is cautious and will do anything to care for her siblings. Mature beyond her years, she is forced to make decisions and tread carefully. I admired her quick wit, mixed with compassion and selflessness.

In the modern day Avery struggles to find her voice amidst the pressures of her high profile family and her looming wedding to fellow political-powerhouse-in-the-making, fiance. She welcomes the diversions of discovering the truth behind an old photograph, leading her to a small community, realtor Trent Thompson. I really liked Avery, for her drive, her heart for others, and desire to break through the glossy deceptiveness of appearance to fight for something real.

This book is a heartbreaking story of family in its many forms, through the losses and additions, and the love that holds them together. Well researched, this book realistically brings the horrors of Georgia Tann's despicable operation to life in this heart-wrenching story, that despite the darkness still shines with a strong message of hope. I can't recommend this book enough, I learned so much about the state of adoption during the 1930s and 40s, and the dichotomy of Georgia Tann's legacy.  Absolutely deserving of all the acclaim, and well worth the read. This story stuck with me long after the final page was turned. 

2.06.2019

The Sewing Sisters' Society: Historical Romance Novella Collection by Ruth Logan Herne ~ Blog Blitz, Excerpt & Rafflecopter Giveaway

sewing sisters society blog blitz

Welcome to the Blog Blitz  & Giveaway for The Sewing Sisters' Society, a collection of historical novellas by Ruth Logan Herne, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sewing Sisters Cover 2 (4) Title: The Sewing Sisters' Society  
Author: Ruth Logan Herne  
Genre: Historical/Western Romance novellas
Release Date: January 22, 2019

Hattie McGillicuddy might not look like your typical matchmaker, but Hattie makes things happen in the little town of Second Chance, South Dakota. With the arrival of the railroad and official statehood, Hattie’s determined to bring brides west, and not just any brides. Brides who need the wide open prairie as much as the prairie- and the prairie men- need them! Three pioneer stories of unlikely love are woven around a little town full of homespun characters that take us back to another place and another time but with the same faith, hope and love we cherish today.

Macy can’t sew a lick, and she’s come to town with a sacrifice and a secret, but when Hattie’s first apprentice is attracted to the pastor of the only church in town—the man raising her illegitimate son— will the truth set her free? Or make her leave the town and her son behind? (The Pastor Takes a Wife)

Unjustly accused, Nellie comes west to escape the law. She has a way with tucks and gathers, and every Western town could use more tucks and gathers. She’s determined to improve the drab look of the prairie and manages to brighten hearts as well. But will her quick speech and firm ideas of women’s suffrage draw Levi Eichas closer or send the somber carriage maker running? (Second Chance Christmas)

Grief has robbed Ann Hazel, but when her aunt pushes her to go west and help an ailing Hattie McGillicuddy turn hems, Ann’s shamed into it. She’s managed to avoid life for awhile, but when Sol Eichas’s nanny comes down sick, Ann reluctantly agrees to help. As she winds her way around Sol’s heart and home, can the two troubled souls leave the past behind to embrace a future together? (Second Chance at Love)

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon
 
...and COMING MARCH 2019!

A Most Inconvenient Love - Front Cover

A Most Inconvenient Love - Ruthy's first full-length historical novel! 
Set in Second Chance, South Dakota (like The Sewing Sisters' Society)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ruth2blogan2bherne

Best-selling, multi-published, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne is the author of nearly fifty novels and novellas through traditional publishers and her own independent works. She loves God, her family, country, coffee, chocolate and dogs, and wishes possums would leave the cat food on the side porch alone. And yet… they don’t. With over a million books in print, Ruthy is living her dream of touching hearts and souls by writing the kind of books she likes to read.

She lives on a pumpkin farm in Western New York where they grow all kinds of cool things for fall from sumptuous squashes and veggies to gorgeous stacking pumpkins. Ruthy’s farm is quickly becoming the place to be every September and October!  

CONNECT WITH RUTHY: website | Facebook | Twitter

Excerpt from Second Chance Christmas:


She’d escaped with the money sewn into the hem of her petticoat, the clothes on her back, and the one simple frock she’d snatched from the clothes line before the Allegheny City police came to arrest her.
Nellie Bausch glared out the window of the west-bound train, half-wishing she’d stayed in Pittsburgh, just to show up the troop of interfering old biddies. Common sense took hold, though.
Money would have ruled the day as it generally did along Ridgewood Avenue, and she would have spent the next two years languishing in prison. She’d been riding high the past three years, her beautiful clothing in demand by all of the wealthiest ladies of Pittsburgh. Blessedly, she’d lived well beneath her means and she’d been smart enough to squirrel money aside.
Money she’d earned by the work of her hands, despite the well-staged story cooked up by several of her wealthy clientele. As a plain, dusty, brown town came into view up ahead, she stared out the window, stared hard, and in her mind she didn’t see the drab, dust-strewn buildings rising before her.
Nellie saw potential.

God had given her a lace-making mother and a clever eye for making things pretty and from what she saw right now, Second Chance, South Dakota could use all the help it could get in the ‘making things pretty’ department. The train groaned to a stop and Nellie lifted her satchel and one small bag. She didn’t have to wait while others disembarked, because she seemed to be the only person making this sleepy, prairie town a final destination.

Sewing Sisters blitz giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will win a 'books and chocolate' prize pack from the author (US only), including at least:
  • (1) print copy of The Sewing Sisters' Society
  • (1) print copy of Christmas on the Frontier
  • chocolate!
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight February 6, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm February 13, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.



Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops
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2.03.2019

Sola: How the Five Solas are Still Reforming the Church edited by Jason K. Allen ~ Review

My Review:

Concise with chapters by various authors, clearly laying out the fundamental importance of sola scriptura, sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus, and soli Deo gloria in defining our faith and how we live.

This was an enjoyable read, to the point, and while I am very familiar with the history of the Reformation and Martin Luther, I found this to be a great reminder. The chapters are all well laid out and explained in layman's terms, with good analogies and similes to illustrate the points, as well as good historical context. It was interesting to learn the true origin of Soli Deo Gloria, and its connection to Sebastian Bach.

Overall, a great resource and is well suited to serve as an introduction to the 5 solas and how they form the foundations of our Christian faith, or as a great refresher and reminder of the importance of the simple yet powerful doctrines that define our faith.


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."

1.28.2019

Protecting His Secret Son by Laura Scott ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

The explosive conclusion to the Callahan Confidential Series!

Private Investigator Mike Callahan has been searching for answers concerning his father's death, and his job has given him more resources than his siblings. When his old flame Shayla  comes back with a young boy in tow, he feels obligated to help protect them. But he wonders if she might be tied up in the convoluted crossfire that killed his father.

Dodging danger at every step, it seems like the people who are after them know where they are and what they are doing. Mike and Shayla must work together to put together all the pieces, while Mike wonders if Shayla is someone he can trust.

Mike admires Shayla, and her strength, he sees that she is a good mother and she makes it look way easier than it is. Brody is a good boy, big for his age and always hungry, he really likes Mike and enjoys hanging out with him.

I loved this action packed conclusion to this fantastic series, and how the brothers all are so supportive of each other, and work together. I love how Mike and Shayla affirm their faith and give love a second chance. You won't want to miss this one, especially if you've read the other books in the series.

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."

1.21.2019

Secrets at Cedar Cabin by Colleen Coble ~ Review

Lucie's Review: 

Nurse Bailey, escapes to Cedar Cabin in the wake of a false marriage and her mother's murder. While at Cedar Cabin she uncovers dark secrets about her past, and joins forces with FBI Agent Lance Phoenix, who is looking for answers to his sister's disappearance.

While you might be able to read this one as a stand alone, but because I had read the previous books in the series, I was jumping up and down in excitement as the dots got connected, as this is everything I've been waiting for since the first book.

Characters from the previous books blend together with the newcomers, Bailey and Lance, in this thrilling, fast-paced conclusion to the Lavender Tide Series. Bailey and Lance work together to unravel Bailey's past, I loved seeing all the pieces fall together with pieces I knew from the previous books, and things I didn't know at all. There is great pacing, as secrets are revealed, and near misses, all leading up to a climactic conclusion!

Lance is dedicated to his work, but finding his sister Ava, has always been in the back of his head. He admires Bailey, her giving spirit, and how much she truly cares about others. Bailey has a strong faith, and through her upbringing was tumultuous she managed to find a family wherever she went. Bailey's cat is amazing!

Overall, an amazing conclusion to a  fantastic series. I loved how all the pieces fell into place in this gripping read, it had me glued to the pages and holding on tight, the pace gave room for great character growth and interaction. I don't want to give too much away, but you won't regret reading this fantastic series!


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."

1.18.2019

Who I am With You by Robin Lee Hatcher ~ Review, Prism Blog Tour, and Rafflecopter Giveaway

Lucie's Review:
Artist Jessica Mason is pregnant and still trying to come to terms with her late husband and daughter's deaths, she keeps to herself most days, working from home. Her mother gives her an old family Bible that was her great-grandfather's, as she reads she sees how her great-grandfather's faith held them fast through the Great Depression.

Ridley Chesterfield retreats to Hope Springs to hideout after a political scandal that has the media after his head. He moves into the house next door to Jessica, and when a stray dog shows up on the property it brings them together.

The last thing that Jessica and Ridley are looking for is love, but they appreciate the camaraderie and encouragement. Will God turn their tears to joy?

Two parallel storylines almost a hundred years apart, that of Jessica and Ridley, and her grandparents, Helen and Andrew. Their faith is challenged, as they weather the storms of life, through heartache and betrayals.

I loved the natural pace of the storytelling, there is a gentle flow to the story as all the pieces fall apart and into place in varying chapters of the story. I loved Andrew and Helen's story as they weather hardships and challenges of a new marriage during the 1930's, and how it connects to the present day.

Ridley is a strong Christian, he is determined to stick to his standards and turn the other cheek amidst the turmoil of the scandal. He is looking to disconnect from the outside world when he meets his hermit-ish neighbor, Jessica.

Jessica has gone through a lot in the last few months, but I liked her strength in her vulnerabilities, and turns to the Scriptures for comfort.

Overall, a beautiful story with excellent pacing and flow, nothing seems forced or unnatural in the timeline. I liked the realistic way that the book gave Jessica space and time to grieve, and how she and Ridley take their friendship one day at a time. A beautiful story about how God redeems the ashes, refining us through hardships, yet giving us the strength to see us through.

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."

About the Book:
For these two broken hearts, the first step toward love will be a huge leap of faith.
Jessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.
Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination. 
When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have broken their hearts, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again.
Who I Am with You weaves together a modern-day romance with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s story from the 1930s, reminding us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever.
Who I Am with You is the first book in Robin’s new “A Legacy of Faith” series.

You can read an excerpt of Who I am With You HERE: https://robinleehatcher.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Who-I-Am-with-You-excerpt.pdf

About the Author:
Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of over 80 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Her numerous awards include the RITA® Award, Christy Award, Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award, and she is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America®. When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon dog and a persnickety tuxedo cat.

Connect with her at www.robinleehatcher.com , Instagram, Facebook or Twitter



a Rafflecopter giveaway

1.17.2019

Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse ~ Review


My Review:

Selene Ravenwood is the heir to her Great House, and to a gift believed by outsiders to be lost, she trains under her mother as a dreamwalker fanning the flames of other's nightmares. Selene tries to deaden herself to the pain that she is inflicting, but continues her training in hopes of sparing her sister a similar fate. Her father encourages Selene to discover other uses for her gift, and believes that she has the power to help bring the fractious houses together, if she can get out from her mother's influence.

Will Selene follow in her mother's footsteps, or choose the less sure path, risking it all and trusting a stranger with her life to bring the Great Houses together against the oncoming invasion?

I didn't know what to expect with this new series, and honestly I was on the fence as to whether I wanted to read this series or not, but I'm sure glad I did! Morgan L. Busse is a previous Christy award finalist, and I'd heard of her books before, but had never read one until now. Ms. Busse is a masterful storyteller, her world-building felt seamless and flowed effortlessly with the story.

 I was instantly drawn to Selene, she is brave, compassionate, and a loving sister, though she must hide many of her feelings behind a mask. She is good at holding the cards close to her chest, and is justifiably reluctant to trust. Selene is self-aware, protective of her sister, bound by duty, she shows the world a cold detachment while locking away her deepest feelings as if afraid to hope. Selene is the kind of heroine that I could cheer for, vulnerable, with an untapped inner strength and longing for more, for purpose.

Damian is the youngest Grand Duke, and he doesn't take his responsibilities lightly. He is a natural ruler, with a heart for the people, bearing the duty of his people's safety. He has a vision of unity amongst the Great Houses. Selene intrigues him, he sees past her mask of coldness, and can't help but be drawn to her and the secrets that she keeps.

An excellent start to a new series, I was instantly drawn into the masterfully crafted world of powerful gifts, nobility, politics, and intrigue. Selene is a brave young woman, mentally strong, with a desire to break the chains of past generations. One of my favorite characters is Caiaphas, he is a wise man who has sacrificed much in hopes of working towards peace and unity. A gripping read, from beginning to end, I liked the way that Ms. Busse brought the chill of Ravenwood's atmosphere to life, with a strong sense of urgency and intrigue. One of the best Christian fantasy books that I have read in a long time, I can't wait to read the next installment in the series!

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."

1.16.2019

The Church in Babylon: Heeding the Call to be a Light in the Darkness by Erwin W. Lutzer ~ Review


My Review:

In this book Erwin Lutzer compares post-modernity to Babylon, challenging Christians to be Daniels in a world that pushes them to compromise.

Mr. Lutzer challenges his readers to live set apart lives for God, unbending to the culture. He uses the Israelites living in Babylon as an example, how God called them to separate themselves from what the rest of the culture was doing, chasing after idols.

Mr. Lutzer explores how we got to this point in America, and how we can prepare for the future. He looks at our culture, the media, our phones and electronic devices, as well as the government and how we as Christians should respond to the political turmoil.

I really liked how he explained his position on how we as Christians should respond to controversial issues, and there was a lot of good food for thought. Mr. Lutzer has really thought through many things, and rallies Christians to respond to their calling to be lights in the darkness, set apart, and uncompromising on God's word.

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."