Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Christian's Hope

When Christian Hochstetler returns to the Amish after seven years in captivity, he finds that many things have shifted.

Captured as a child during the French and Indian War, Christian has spent much of his life among Native Americans, who cared for him and taught him their ways. Now that Christian is home, his father wants him to settle back into their predictable Amish life of farming, and Christian’s budding friendship with Orpha Rupp beckons him to stay as well.

Yet Christian feels restless, and he misses his adoptive Native American family—who raised him as their own son. When faced with a life-altering decision, will Christian choose the Amish identity that his father desires for him? Or will he depart from his family and faith community yet again?

Christian’s Hope tells the story of the younger brother of Joseph and son of Jacob, whom readers have come to love in the first two books in the Return to Northkill series. Based on actual events and written by a descendant of the Hochstetler family, Christian’s Hope brings the sweeping epic of the Return to Northkill series to a soul-stirring end.

My thoughts: While I haven't read the previous books in the series (which, I wish I had, since it is excellent!), I feel like the author does a wonderful job of having this story stand alone, even though it is somewhat of a continuation of the previous books. The series centers on an Amish family where the father and two of his sons are taken by the Native Americans, and then each book is about one of the characters. I love that this book is based on a true story! It was fascinating to read about Christian's transition back into life with his people. This is a fascinating read for history fans!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Martha Stewart's Vegetables

In this beautiful book, Martha Stewart—one of America’s best-known cooks, gardeners, and all-around vegetable lovers—provides home cooks with an indispensable resource for selecting, storing, preparing, and cooking from the garden and the market. The 150 recipes, many of which are vegetarian, highlight the flavors and textures of everyday favorites and uncommon varieties alike. The recipes include:

• Roasted Carrots and Red Quinoa with Miso Dressing
• Swiss Chard Lasagna
• Endive and Fennel Salad with Pomegranate Seeds
• Asparagus and Watercress Pizza
• Smoky Brussels Sprouts Gratin
• Spiced Parsnip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Martha Stewart’s Vegetables makes eating your greens (and reds and yellows and oranges) more delicious than ever.

My thoughts: We grow a lot of our own vegetables, so I was thrilled to get this cookbook to come help me come up with some more ways to cook and enjoy the variety that we grow. Especially since we started growing some of the less common things parsnips.;)
This cookbook has a wonderful array of vegetables, both common and those harder to come by, which makes it a fun cookbook if you garden or are part of a farmers market or CSA that offers a wide variety of vegetables. This book is delightful and a wonderful resource! I always enjoy Martha's recipes!
I received this cookbook from Blogging for books in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Waves of Mercy

Austin Returns with a Multi-Generational Historical Novel

Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from the Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she's asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions hidden all these years, including the story of her one true love.

At the nearby Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of a broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after a violent storm aboard a steamship stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.

Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.

My thoughts: I love the way that these two heroines and their stories were woven together in this novel! Austen does a fantastic job of drawing the reader in when we meet Geesje and Anna. I love how Geesje is writing her story as one looking back, while Anna has come to a cross road in her life where she can discover who she is and what she wants to pursue. I feel like the end of the story was really the beginning of a new one for the characters and hope that there will be more to their story! The characters are enjoyable and I like stories like this one where there is a past and present story going on.
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Good Fast Eats

Food that’s fast, but not Fast Food! These recipes are healthier, delicious, and easy to make. Featuring Beef and Potato Picadillo, Sweet and Spicy Chicken Black Bean Enchiladas, Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet, and Baked Breakfast Taquitos. You won’t have to spend a fortune or a lot of time cooking or cleaning up. Your family will love these fresh and perfectly balanced meals with amazing ingredients and spices. Cooking has never been simpler or more satisfying!

My thoughts: I love that this recipe book is all about healthy, quick options for meal time! It has a wonderful, wide variety of different dishes, set up in different categories like meatless, seafood, various meats, soup, and sweets. As the weather gets cooler, I am the most excited about the new soup recipes to try out.;) The Cauliflower Cheddar soup looks amazing! This book has such a fun variety, it makes the perfect addition to most kitchens, since we all have busy days where it is hard to plan a nice, healthy meal. This is the perfect cookbook to have on standby for those days!
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Amy Flanigan is the founder of the popular cooking blog, Belly Full. Her recipes have appeared on, in HERLIFE Magazine, The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and all around the Internet.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Life Creative

What was God thinking when He created you creative and then gave you children?

Creative moms often feel as though they must lay their passions down. But God had something special in mind for the creative woman during this intense season of mothering.

In this Pinterest age of handcrafted children’s parties, Instagram photos of beautifully decorated homes, and blogs filled with poetry and prose, it is clear that we are in the midst of a brand new artistic renaissance. Not one born in Italian cathedrals or Harlem jazz clubs, but rather in kitchens, nurseries, and living rooms around the world. Mothers, working in the cracks and crevices of each hectic day, are adorning the world with their gifts, and they’re showing all of us the beauty of this Life Creative.

In this book, you’ll learn:

—Why the world needs your art
—How this Life Creative begins at home
—When art can turn a profit
—Your part in this modern day Renaissance

Life Creative paints the stories of moms, just like you, who are fitting their inspired lives into the everyday, ordinary places of motherhood. Women like home decorator Melissa Michaels and jewelry designer Lisa Leonard, author Angie Smith, recording artist Ellie Holcomb, and many more.

My thoughts: This is a great book for mothers of all ages! I enjoyed all the stories in this book and feel like it is a wonderful, easy read for busy women. It's a fun call to pursue your talents and make a home beautiful. I feel like I especially needed this book, since we have been doing a huge remodeling project with our home and have only just gotten to the point where I feel like I can actually decorate and put the little touches on our house that make it more of a home. This book helped to inspire me.;)
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

10 Myths of Teen Dating

Few topics are more difficult for parents to discuss with their daughters than dating and relationships. Due to their lack of knowledge about the world their teens face coupled with the scant dating information they received as teens, many parents feel ill-equiped to guide their daughters through the minefield that is teen dating.

In The 10 Myths of Teen Dating, this father and daughter team combines the latest scientific research with poignant, personal stories to help parents engage their daughters in wise conversations. Weaving in solid biblical truths with practical application and discussion starters, Daniel and Jacquelyn seek to equip parents to teach their daughters how to date for today … and tomorrow.

My thoughts: If you have a young daughter, then this book is for you! I love that the myths were compiled by a father/daughter team, both of whom teach, so they have a front row seat to watching teen dating in the present time. Really though, a lot of these myths are great for girls of all ages who are in the dating scene.
I like that they not only approach it from a dad's point of view, but also offering insight for the single mother too.
This book is an excellent resource to help your daughter develop her interests and character outside of dating, so as to help her make smart decisions when dating and to realize that she is worth so much more than whether or not she has a boyfriend.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Sound of Diamonds

In Reformation-era England, a converted rogue wants to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk Godfrey knows he has only one chance at redemption.
An independent Catholic maiden seeking refuge in the Low Countries finds herself at the center of the Iconoclastic Fury. Jaded by tragedy, Gwyneth's only hope of getting home is to trust the man she hates, and she soon discovers her poor vision is not the only thing that has been blinding her.
But the home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, will the saint and the sinner hold to hope...or be overcome?

My thoughts: This book is excellent! It starts off at a fast pace from the get go, with Gwyneth in the middle of the Iconoclastic Fury and in need of rescue. I didn't know a whole lot about this particular turbulent time in the history of Europe (during Queen Elizabeth I reign), but I feel like Rachelle does a fabulous job of helping the reader not get lost. This story is a perfect blend of historic events and personal growth. I love how Gwyneth has been raised Catholic but suddenly has questions about why there is such a struggle between Catholicism and the Protestants. While these questions and soul searching will be explored more in the following stories (I am sure), I like that some things are concluded in this story. I'm not a fan of series that leave you hanging after every book, so I appreciated this.
If you are looking for a well written, adventure filled historical read, then I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from the author as part of a blog tour. All thoughts are my own.