Friday, December 28, 2012

Come to the Table

Even though I haven't read any of Neta Jackson's Yada Yada Sisters, I did read the first book in this series, so I was thrilled at the chance to read and review the second book in the SouledOut Sisters. This one is another winner!
Starting up where "Stand By Me" left off, Kat Davies and her friends have welcomed Rochelle and Conny (the homeless mother and son that God brought into their lives) into their apartment and lives. But, things are never as easy as they should be. With new people in the household, relationships change and have to be re-defined. Nick works toward being a pastor, Kat continues to volunteer at the summer tutoring program while applying for a teaching position, and Bree keeps up with her large family while working at the coffee shop.
I love that this series challenges people to get involved in their community and reach out to those around you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Change of Fortune

After losing everything to the very people her family trusted, Lady Eliza Sumner undertakes the responsibility to recover her stolen inheritance. Shedding her title to be better able to play the sleuth, Eliza heads towards America and working as a governess for the Watson's. A hilarious comedy of errors and propriety ensues as Eliza goes on the adventure of a lifetime.
This book isn't quite what I thought it would be. I figured it would be more serious, while it was more like "The Importance of Being Earnest" without the sophistication of Oscar Wilde. I felt like the characters could of been developed more, but the author might of been going for over the top quirky. If that was the goal, then it was more than met.;)
I did like that this novel wasn't solely about romance. The story was busy enough that the romance complimented it, rather than took over.
Another good element is that Eliza's faith is tested and she must learn that sometimes God allows us to go through valley's in order to better experience the mountain tops. That sometimes being in the center of God's plan is to lose all you think you love.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Peace on Earth

This is one of my all time favorite Christmas songs! When Casting Crowns put it on their Christmas cd, I couldn't of been more thrilled. It is such a great reminder that, even when things look bleak, when hate is strong in the world, when there doesn't seem to be peace in this world, that God has everything under control. He offers us hope and peace, joy in times of sorrow. We may not know why things happen in this life time, but His arms are open to offer comfort. The world will revolve from night to day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

To Whisper Her Name

The Civil War cost Ridley Cooper more, in some ways, then it did many others. Branded as a traitor by members of his own family, he decides to turn his back on the Southern way of life and fight for the Unions. Sent on a mission to uncover a Confederate General's thoroughbreds, Ridley makes a choice that will change the course of his future.
Years later, Ridley shows up at Belle Meade plantation to learn how to handle horses before heading out west to forget the war. Things never go as planned and Ridley must learn that God has a plan for him.
I enjoyed this tale, as it had a lot going on with the characters and dealt with the heartache of rebuilding the United States after civil war. If you are looking for a good, engrossing read, this is it!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Moon over Edisto

"Moon over Edisto" is the story of a beautifully flawed family who must find forgiveness and grace they didn't realize they need after one person's choice tears their family apart.
Julia Bennett chooses to deal with the tragedy of her college years by hiding in NYC, living life as a professor of art, enjoying acclaim that other artists only dream of. Her perfectly crafted world is threatened when her old roommate, and part of the cause of the tragedy, shows up out of the blue with a request for Julia to watch her three kids while she goes in for surgery to remove cancer from her lung. Does Julia have the courage to face her past and move on in order to fully live in the present?
I decided to review this book on a whim, and I am so glad I did! It is one of the best books I have read this year.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Every Perfect Gift

Ten years after "Beauty for Ashes", readers are again invited to return to Hickory Ridge, this time through the eyes of Sophie Caldwell, the grown up orphan who was taken in by the Wyatt and Ada. Having gone to school and encouraged to work in the newspaper business, Sophie buys the local paper and decides to try to resurrect it, making a name for herself in the writing business.
When Sophie meets Ethan Heyward, all she has worked for is threatened. Both Ethan and Sophie must work through painful childhood memories and experiences before they can choose love.
Like revisiting a favorite small town, the last book in the Hickory Ridge series does a wonderful job of bringing readers up to date on the goings on in this quaint town. I like that there was "catching up" to do with a lot of the secondary characters, that life has moved forward and changed for many of the residents, not just the leading characters. I like that this book has a lot going on, not just with Sophie and Ethan, but with progress coming to Hickory Ridge and another romance with the bankers daughter finding love as well.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

8 Important Money Decisions for Every Couple

"8 Important Money Decisions for Every Couple" by Russ Crosson challenged my thoughts on money. President and CEO of Ronald Blue and Co. (a financial planning and investment firm), Russ Crosson uses a Biblical approach when it comes to money, saving, investing, and how a couple handles money can affect their marriage.
After laying a foundation as to how we should look at money (as a tool, not as something that is going to solve all our problems and make us content), the book goes into common money decisions that are made in a marriage and how to avoid pitfalls. Whether you are single, dating, engaged, or have been married for some time, this book is an excellent tool! It challenges one to budget, save, and find contentment in a relationship with the Lord rather than in something temporary. One of the best things about the book is that, even though it challenges a couple to possibly do without, the Crosson's practice what they preach in their own marriage.
Two thumbs up!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Firefly Island

From Capitol Hill to the small town of Moses Lake, Mallory Hale's life is turned upside down when she falls in love with a young researcher. Realizing that Daniel Webster Everson is her other half, Mallory marries him after just a month and moves to Texas, where he has accepted a job doing research for an eccentric millionaire. But all is not as it seems at Moses Lake, where cowboys and friendly neighbors have secrets. Can Mallory survive in a world so different from the one she was raised in?
I loved this book! Its told in first person, as Mallory is looking back on events, so at times the story will skip over chunks or gloss over parts as someone writing from memory would do. It took me a bit to get into the story, but once I did, I was hooked! The characters are life like, going through struggles and making mistakes along the way, so one can relate to them. I found it easy to relate to Mallory, as she learned to navigate through working on an old house and being married after a life of independence.
Two thumbs up!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


In "Unbreakable", readers can return to the small Mennonite community of Kingdom that was introduced in "Inescapable". This time, the small town is viewed through the eyes of Hope Kauffman, the gentle and kind hearted owner of the quilt shop in town. Life for Hope is predictable, she is engaged to her childhood friend, and leads a quiet life. When evil penetrates the town, targeting religious buildings and organizations with a raging hatred, the church elders and townspeople must choose for themselves if they are going to hold to their teachings of peace or pick up their guns and defend themselves.
While I liked the first book in this series, I thought this one was even better! The story is riveting and there is a very real debate within the book about whether it is trusting God to pick up a weapon when you are threatened, a question every person must ask themselves.
Two thumbs up!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving time

A while back, one of my friends came to visit me at market with an interesting challenge. "What if we would spend ten minutes a day praying for God's kingdom to come on earth? I tried to do it and had a hard time spending ten minutes just focused on praying for the Kingdom, so I spent the remaining time praising God."
Needless to say, that comment, which was actually just thrown out there as she breezed by to get some bread, stuck with me. What would happen if we became a praying people and hastened the coming of that New Jerusalem? I figured it was worth a try.:)
Have you every prayed for ten minutes about one topic? Can you be single minded for that long? She wasn't kidding, it's hard! I couldn't do it. So, I started praising God in the time that remained. You know what? It felt good to praise God. To think over those things that make Him omnipotent and all around wonderful. You know what else? It got me thinking "who am I?". Who am I, that the God of the universe would love me. I'm not a good friend to Him. I try to talk to Him a lot, but it's generally about things that I'm petitioning for. And yet, He loves me. And guess what? He loves you too. Praising Him doesn't change who He is, but it can change how we look at Him.
If you were to praise God and think of three attributes of His that really blow you away, what would they be? I know Him to be a just and merciful judge. He is my strong tower when the world's storms batter me. But most of all, He is my Savior. He sees the lovable when I am being anything but lovable. He gently speaks to me when I am unreasonable. When I think about that, I feel humbled.
So, this Thanksgiving, when you are thinking about all your blessings, take a second to praise God for what He is to you.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Right Where I Belong

Another winner from Krista McGee!
Natalia Lopez shouldn't be surprised when her father announces that he is through with his third marriage, leaving with the shallow excuse that he has fallen out of love (again) and wasn't meant to be with just one woman for the rest of his life.
In order to help her former step-mother, Natalia feels that God is leading her to move from Spain to Tampa to help Maureen recover, especially since she feels owes Maureen for leading her to the Lord.
When they arrive in Florida, Natalia feels unprepared to deal with using English full time, transferring to a new school, and dealing with Maureen's bitterness. Thrown in to the mix is Brian Younger, the pastors son, who tries Natalia's desire to remain single so as not to pass on any of her family's dysfunction.
Learning to lean on the Lord and turn her heart to want the things that God has for her may be the hardest lessons for Natalia.
Loosely based on the story of Ruth in the Bible, I found this book a wonderful, entertaining read. Light hearted and warm, the story also has deeper messages about following God even when it isn't the plan we had in mind. I love that Krista McGee's books are sweet stories while talking about the importance of keeping a relationship Christ centered. Two thumbs up!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Three Films

Movies I could watch over and over again.;)

1. Emma (the one with Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam)

2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

3. The Incredibles (I know, so mature:))

The Shadowed Onyx

Joy Christianson losses both of her best friends in one tragic night. Left to cope with the grief and feelings of betrayal, she turns to new friends to show her how to work through her heartbreak, little knowing that their path is one that is intertwined with the occult. Caught in a world she doesn't understand, and questioning the things that she has been taught at church, Joy wants someone to help her get out of the world she has created, but is afraid of the consequences to those she loves. In a desperate attempt for her parents to help, Joy is sent to Diamond Estate, a place for young women to re-connect with God and heal. Is it to late for Joy to find peace?
This is the first book I have read by Nicole O'Dell and I have mixed feelings on how well I like her style of story telling. It might just be because I jumped in mi-series, but I felt like her story could of had more development. She did a wonderful job with writing about spiritual battles that go on around us, especially since I think we don't give enough thought to what goes on around us in the spiritual realm.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Flora's Wish

"I was in the middle before I knew I had begun." Flora Brimm can relate to the famous Pride and Prejudice quote, since she finds herself engaged for the fifth time to a man she hardly knows in an effort to save her family and their estate. After losing four fiances and being dubbed "Fatal Flora", she has decided the best way to make it to the altar is to jump right into being engaged. Unfortunately, she finds herself in the middle of a Pinkerton investigation regarding her fiance.
Lucas McMinn has a personal reason to be part of the Tucker investigation. Deciding that Flora is his best bet to catching the man, he sets out on an unforgettable journey to bring justice.
I liked the characters in this novel! I thought they were quirky and different, while being incredibly likeable. I thought the story was well written and there was plenty going on with both the main characters and well developed secondary characters. Two thumbs up!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Against the tide

In "Lady of Bolton Hill" we were briefly introduced to Alexander Banebridge. "Against the Tide" goes on to tell what happened to the brass and brilliant trouble maker. On a mission to undo the mistakes of his past, Bane has been on a mission to bring down the opium trade by working with legislation to ban the use of opium in everything from children's medicine to headache syrups. Realizing that going through the government could take decades, he also works to shut down drug runners where he can.
Lydia Pallas is a gifted translator who has been seeking for stability in her life. When Bane waltzes in with a innocent looking job translating menus and other random papers, Lydia jumps on the chance to earn more money to buy a home of her own.
When things head south and they are both caught in a web of Bane's enemies, the two of them must form an unlikely partnership.
I love Elizabeth Camden's novels and this one may very well be her best yet! She does an incredible job with her characters in making them appear life like with realistic personality traits and faults. She also does a wonderful job with writing the message of salvation without coming across as pushy or trite. Two thumbs up!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Four books

I do believe that this one will be the hardest one yet, since I always have a hard time limiting a list of favorite books.;) I'm afraid I will be cheating a bit by using series.... lol.
So, in no particular order:

1. The Scriptures

2. Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

3. Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

4. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Isle of Shadows by Tracy L. Higley

Originally published as Shadow of Colossus and recently edited to delight new and old fans alike, Isle of Shadows is from the Seven Wonders of the World series.
Set in 227 BC, it follows the story of Tessa, a young woman who has it all from first appearance. The companion of one of the most powerful politicians in Colossus who furnishes her with every comfort, and yet not what Tessa most desires: her freedom.
When events beyond her control transpire, Tessa must form an unlikely partnership with a spy and a Jewish servant to uncover a plot by a would be dictator. Is it possible that someone like Tessa could discover forgiveness and love?
Isle of Shadows is an engaging novel for readers of all ages and back grounds. It will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Monday, October 22, 2012

10 Christians Everyone Should Know

10 Christians Everyone Should Know, edited by John Perry
What does a classic literature author, a WWI hero, and former slave have in common? They are three of the ten Christians that this book thinks everyone should know.
Split into ten different chapters, covering the lives of Jane Austen, Sergeant York, St. Patrick, D.L. Moody, Anne Bradstreet, William F. Buckley Jr, George Washington Carver, Galileo, Johann Sebastian Bach, and John Bunyan, this book gives a glimpse of people from all walks of life around the globe who lived for the Lord. Some of them are names we all recognize, while a few have all but fallen into obscurity.
My particular favorites were Anne Bradstreet, who was a poet in the American wilderness, and George Washington Carver, who went from slavery to one of the greatest scientist/inventors.
The only thing I felt could of been addressed a bit better was why these ten were chosen over others out there. That said, I still think this is an excellent book of short biographies to expose one to interesting Christians through the years.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Samantha Crawford's life turns upside down when she gets a call from the police regarding her husband. Left a widow at a young age, life takes a turn for the unexpected when she decides to take matters into her own hands. Thrown into the life of a childhood friend, Sam finds that sometimes the best way to overcome your grief is to put others first.
Based on a true story that has recently been made into a movie. I thought the book excellent and look forward to seeing the movie!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Five foods

1. Avocados, especially when made up into guacamole.

2. A good dark chocolate.

3. Sharp cheddar cheese

4. Pumpkin pie.

5. Fruit.

Today's Shadow's

When Heather Conrad leaves her job in hotel management to follow her pipe dream of opening a coffee shop chain, she lands in Racine, Wisconsin. House sitting for her old boss, and playing nanny to her former boss's seven year old, things quickly deviate from the vacation plan Heather had. Things grow strange as people begin randomly, and not so randomly, popping in to her life. Not to mention, the old house she is staying is has not only secret rooms, but a story of its own.
I like that the story bounced between two sets of characters, one set in 1911-1912, and the other in present day. While it was a bit hard to get into to the story, after a bit, there is so much going on that you want to see how it all ends. The characters were engaging, albeit rather shallow at times. I give this story a four out of five.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins

What would you be willing to do in order to live a normal life again? What lengths would you go to in order to no longer be crippled by grief and fears? That is exactly the question that Lisa asks herself when she applies for a trial to receive and "Empowerment chip". As long as she gets an actual chip and not a placebo, her whole life could change. For the better.
But things are not as up front as they seem. Even though she things the chip actually healed her grief and fear, she begins to have nightmares about a murder. Through the eyes of a man with a dragon ring. Is she going crazy? Or psychic? Or is there more to the chip than meets the eye?
Together with a motley group at her side, they decide to get to the bottom of the visions, even if it means facing fears.
I thought this book was clever. Not to mention, I liked it being from Lisa's point of view, since it gives on an idea of the consuming darkness that can come with depression. I loved the realization that she came to: God is always near. If we can't feel Him, then it is us who needs to move or open the lines of communication.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mother of Pearl

Barrie Graeber has a quaint life: a loving husband, two great kids, and a job as the school counselor, which she loves. When her daughter sees her best friend on a date with her boyfriend, Pearl's (and Barrie's, as a result) world spins out of control. Once close, now Barrie must try to figure out how to reach her and to listen to the Father who is trying to reach both of them.
Filled with emotion, this book was amazing! Messy and unpredictable, and yet very much like real life. I thought the author did a fabulous job with keeping the story moving and pointing readers to the only one who can fix broken hearts.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Tutor's Daughter

Emma Smallwood is used to having it all under control. Deemed a "bluestocking" at a young age for her love of books, she now assists her father in tutoring boys to prepare them for University. When circumstances beyond her control leave their business less than triving, her father decides to take a post teaching two new students in the home of two former ones.
But all is not as it seems at Ebbington Manor, and Emma's world spins out of her control, leaving her to find that sometimes the best place to be is in the hands of the Father.
I've read a few of Julie Klassen's books and have to say that she outdid herself with this one! I think it is the best yet! I couldn't put it down, since it was a delightful combination of the classics and gothic mystery. I highly recommend this one!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Not a tame lion

I've been thinking (always a dangerous thing;)) lately about how most of us are guilty of wanting to put God in a box. I guess it has been a few things that have happened lately where it seems like people want to limit God (and drawing closer to one another, but I digress) to fit in their schedule and fit in their tidy little box, so that it doesn't inconvenience them. It kind of bothers me, even though it really isn't that big of deal. It's made me think about the ways that I put God in a man made box. How my trying to stuff Him into a mold I think He needs to fit in really hurts me. How it effects the way I minister to those around me when I limit the Lord. He isn't a tame lion, but He is good. So, here's a challenge to opening your heart up to discovering who He really is and following where He leads. It's one I'm taking too.

Friday, September 21, 2012

His Love Endures Forever

Following an unplanned pregnancy, Danielle Kent finds herself abandoned by the father of the child and left to figure things out for herself. Committed to keeping the baby and being a better mother than the abusive one she had, Danielle finds herself down an unfamiliar path. When another man feel led to marry her and be a father to her unborn child, the two embark on a beautiful journey to discover how God can turn hard situations around and use them to show His love.
I haven't read any Amish fiction for a long time, but had to try this one out, since I have read some of Beth Wiseman's other novels and loved them. I'm glad I picked this one up! Her characters are real and make mistakes, but she uses those stories to tell of the Savior's love for everyone. I think we all need to be reminded of that love and how God is in control and that His love really does endure forever.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Six Places

1. The United Kingdom. I've wanted to go there since I was a young teen and my Papa told me he would take me, since he couldn't drive in Ireland (I guess they don't allow people over 70 to drive there?). Now that I am older, I don't think I want to drive in parts of Ireland, since Dublin is suppose to be one of the worst cities to get around in.

2. New Zealand, since it looks so gorgeous and untouched.

3. Alaska in the summer time. I want to try Salmon fishing up there.:D

4. Prince Edwards Island. Too much Anne of Green Gables, I know. lol.

5. Kenya or Liberia.

6. Peru. (laugh if you want, Andrew;))

Darkness Rising

There is an evil in East Salem that has been brewing for hundreds of years. No longer content to hide below ground, away from prying eyes, it has started to leak out into the quiet community and wreck havoc.
Danielle Harris and Tommy Gunderson seek to uncover more regarding some mysterious deaths in the area. Drawn in to the spiritual warfare seemingly by accident, they find there is a much bigger role they must play, if they can only heed the angel's warning about someone close will betray them.
Even though I didn't realize this book was the second in the East Salem Trilogy, I found the story very interesting and easy to keep up with. It would of helped to have read the first one Waking Hours, but I didn't feel like it hampered me incredibly to just jump in to the series.
While the series is a bit dark, that it somewhat expected, since it deals with spiritual warfare and demons. I thought it was a bit creepy, but by no means over the top or over done. I highly recommend this book and look forward to the conclusion!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Every Breath You Take

Kristen Conner is back! After recovering from her encounter with the Cutter Shark who terrorized the people of Chicago, Kristen is immediantly put on the case to find the murderer who brutally killed one of the cities wealthiest men.
Thrown into a world totally different from her own, Kristen must navigate through on line dating sites and fancy dates to uncover the truth.
Over all, I thought Every Breath You Take was an excellent follow up to Cuts Like a Knife. A lot of the same characters come back into this book, while there are plenty of new people to get to know. I have to say, though, that it is a bit of a over kill for it to be stated in the first book that Kristen rarely receives male attention, and then practically every man she meets has a thing for her. The good vastly outweighs the impractical though. I love that the mystery is lightened up by humor and that there are on going mysteries and story lines. Eveyr Breath You Take is another winner!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sneak by Evan Angler

The second book in the Swipe series finds Logan Langly on the run after becoming a flunkee in the mark system. With a tip on the whereabouts of his sister, Logan sets out on a journey to see if he can't save her from a special prison for the markless.
Joining forces with the very people he thought were the enemy, Logan embarks on a wild journey with both old and new friends, experiencing things he never thought possible.
While I liked the first book in this series, I thought that the sequel is 100 times better! The characters and plot is more developed in this one. Not to mention, it has several unique twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat! This series is the best of dystopian fiction! A unique look at how the events in Revelations could pan out.

Prayers of a Stranger by Davis Bunn

When Frank Wright's health problems catch up with him during the holiday season, leaving him unable to accompany his wife on a trip to the Holy Lands. In her place, they ask Amanda Vance, a young woman still reeling from the tragic events of the former Christmas. Little do the two families know how much the trip will impact them and leave their lives forever changed.
I loved that part of this book is set in the Holy Lands, and that the place comes alive in this novel. The characters are interesting and have depth to them, while the story line is interesting. Davis Bunn is one of my favorite authors, since he never fails to write an engaging story. Prayers of a Stranger is a winner!

Friday, September 7, 2012

House of Mercy by Erin Healy

A young woman who has the gift of healing makes the decision to not listen to her conscience, which results in tearing her world apart. An older gentleman dealing with the question of God. Two seemingly unrelated stories that will intersect through a series of tragedies. How can God work so many terrible events into something that will display His glory?
A beautiful story of miracles and the power of God. This is the first book I have read by Erin Healy, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that her stories are not the norm. They don't follow how we want life to be, but rather how it is. The beauty that comes with the unpredictable. I look forward to reading more by this author!

Seven Wants

This one might be the hardest one yet...:D

1. I want to find the perfect ice cream recipe, one that doesn't get all weird after being in the freezer for a while (and yet, it needs to versatile too)

2. The master bedroom to be done.;)

3. To live on a farm someday, one that has a massive orchard!

4. To see New Zealand.

5. To plant a successful garden next year. The drought ruined our attempts this year...

6. To learn a second language well.

7. To go kayaking. It just looks like a blast.;)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sometimes blessings come through raindrops

It rained this weekend. Which, we were in a drought, so the rain was a blessing. It brought to light just how much I think the world revolves around me though. This is always the biggest weekend at market, so I was a tad bit sad that it rained and kept the crowds away. Don't get me wrong: I know we needed the rain, and I was thankful for it, but part of me was discouraged it finally came on Saturday.
Isn't that how we can be though? We get to thinking that something isn't an answer to our prayers because it didn't turn out the way we thought it would. How could a house be the place we are suppose to be when there is so much work to be done? Or where is the blessing in car trouble? And yet, we don't see how God is working behind the scenes. That the "terrible" house is paid off in no time and winds up being a great project for a couple to work on together. Or, that the car problems kept one from getting in an accident.
Next time you pray, think about adding "Thy will be done", since He really does have the best interest of everyone at heart.

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise
Laura Story

Monday, August 27, 2012

Harvest of Rubies

In an attempt to win her fathers love and attention, young Sarah taught herself to read and write in a culture where the average person isn't literate. Discovering she has a talent for picking up languages, her cousin, Nehemiah, encourages her to become a scribe for Queen Damaspia.
Sarah spends much of her time seeking the approval of those around her, trying to prove her worth. When she does the Queen a great favor, her reward turns her life upside down. Sarah must learn that her self worth shouldn't be dependent on those around her and to place her trust in the God of her people.
The characters in this novel are rich and life like. I thought the story line excellent, since there was plenty going on to make it interesting, and yet not to dramatic. Best of all, Sarah's relationship with the Lord is very personal. I look forward to the sequel!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Eight Fears

1. That the bats will invade our attic again. Thankfully, we have made it over a year without their returning, so I think we sealed their entrances.:D

2. Dropping my Kindle in water. I would probably cry if this happened.;)

3. Things continuing on as they are now. Especially in the political sense...

4. Not being able to taste. Can you imagine how boring life would be if you couldn't taste chocolate? :D

5. To die without having seen more of the world.:D

6. Passing out at a very public place in front of a ton of people is up there on the list of things I would rather not do.;)

7. I'm always terrified that I will find someone hiding out behind the shower curtain.;)

8. To have lived without fulfilling my full potential.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Best Advice I Ever Got on Marriage

The Best Advice I Ever Got On Marriage is a collection of advice that different Christian couples have either received, learned through their own marriage, or read and applied to their marriage. Each chapter is written by a different couple, most of which are well known Christian authors who have written their own books on marriage. This book is a wonderful blend of stories, advice, and practical ways to apply the knowledge to one's own marriage. I think it would make an excellent gift, whether for newlyweds who are trying to set Godly patterns in their marriage or couples who have been married a while and want to take a look at how they can improve their marriage. Most of the couples who contributed have been married for quite a while, although there is a good blend of age differences. When you want solid marriage advice, you ask a couple who has been through several seasons, so I think its good that most of the couples have been married at least 20 years.
I highly recommend this one!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cuts Like a Knife by M. K. Gilroy

Kristen Conner knew what she wanted to do with her life from a young age: follow in her dad's footsteps and work for the Chicago Police Force. Her dream job starts to take over her life and friendships when a serial killer comes to town. The "Cutter Shark" is unlike anything they have ever come up against before, since he has wrecked havoc on several cities, leaving almost 50 dead.
Written in first person, I thought the author did an excellent job at getting inside both a detective's and a criminal's head. I thought that the characters were well developed and enjoyed the banter between Kristen, her family, and co-workers. Kristen has a hilarious sense of humor that makes her quite likeable. The story is fast paced and thrilling, keeping you on the end of your seat till you turn the last page. I'm looking forward to the next book!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt

Chase Caldwell left Sycamores to his descendants in an unusual way: they were allowed to keep the place for 50 years, but then it would go to the county. Fast forward 44 years, and Sycamores is now the home of Darlene Caldwell Young and her sister, Nolie. The two sisters have weathered a lot of heart ache in the family home, but things are about to come out in the open when their Broadway star sister, Carlene, comes home for a visit.
It took me a while to get into this book, since the characters seemed a bit unusual and hard to relate to. Once I got into it though, I found the story line interesting and well worth it!

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Deposit Slip by Todd M. Johnson

How far would you be willing to go to recover 10 million? Jared Neaton never had to ask himself that question until he is approached to represent a client who is trying to discover why her deceased father had a deposit slip for over 10 million in a safety deposit box. Left with a depleted bank account after his last big case went south, Jared decides to help Erin Larson out as a means to redeem himself and prove he isn't like his father.
Fast pace and original, I loved this book! The author did a fabulous job of providing details and yet didn't let the story become bogged down with excessive details. I think the story is all the more well written because the author is a lawyer himself, so he writes about what he knows. The characters were well developed; really the only thing I didn't care about with how the villain was dealt with in the end.
This story has a wonderful, gentle message about forgiveness and God's love. I look forward to reading more books by this author!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble

Libby is just trying to make ends meet by combining her love of old homes with a job helping investors return old homes to their former glory. When she witnesses her partner's kidnapping on Hope Beach, life becomes much more complicated. In between her attempts to find Nicole and discovering a family she never realized she had, Libby must discover who she is.
I thought this novel was wonderful! The author did a great job of combining mystery, suspense, and the constant struggle to live up to the standards that Jesus set for Christians. The characters are believable and the suspense riveting. I think one of the things I personally enjoyed about the book is that Libby has a love for old homes, so the story features several. I liked that, since my husband and I are remodeling an old home.:D

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Best tomato soup ever!

Roasted tomato soup


3 pounds tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 cups chopped onion
1/4 cup minced fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
Salt and pepper to taste


Core tomatoes; place in a roasting pan. Drizzle with 1/4 cup oil; sprinkle with garlic and thyme. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 1 hour, turning occasionally.
In a large saucepan, saute onion in remaining oil until softened. Add roasted tomatoes and basil; cook for 5 minutes. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 5 minutes.
Put through a sieve or food mill; return puree to pan. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm cream (do not boil). Stir the cream, salt and pepper into soup. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Veil of Pearls by Mary Lu Tyndall

The year is 1811 and Adalia Winston has decided to escape from her cruel Barbados master. Though she is able to escape the island and make a new life for herself in Charleston as an assistant to a local doctor, Adalia is soon swept away by the glitter of being a small part of society.
I liked that this book was so unlike most Christian novels in that the author actually portrayed wealth in a different light. While it isn't wrong to want to have a life of ease, it isn't write when one becomes a slave to wealth or addictions. To many times, I think we get caught in the trap of thinking that God wants us to be wealthy, when really, He wants us to choose Him and follow where He leads, even if that means poverty.
The story might be a bit unbelievable, but it has a great message. I highly recommend this one!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Guardian Duke by Jamie Carie

Life is predictable for the Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton. That is, until the Fall of 1818 when he starts to experience a unaccounted loss of hearing and then is called upon to be the guardian for Alexandria Featherstone. The only problem is, his headstrong young ward doesn't believe that her parents are dead. Famed treasure seekers, Alex feels like she would feel their loss. To prove that her parents are still alive, she embarks on an adventure to discover the treasure they were seeking, hoping that it will lead her to them.
I found the characters in this story to be fun and quirky. I liked that it wasn't just a story about a couple of people, but that the secondary characters develop too.
I read the sequels and decided not to do a full review on them, since the first book was by far the best. I would recommend stopped with the first, since the story descends into a truly unbelievable tale.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Nine loves

So, nine things I love. Do I do the obvious? The obvious would be God, my husband, family, and friends. I could extoll the virtues of my in-laws, since I have been quite blessed in that department.;) Instead, though, I think I will go with random again.

1. Baking. Andrew gives me hard time about how I do it for a job and then come home and bake in my free time. I don't know why, but I find it enjoyable to create something yummy.:D My favorite is trying new recipes out.

2. Gerber daisies. Seriously, how can those sunny flowers not brighten your day?:D

3. Photography, though I am afraid that my camera is kind of acting up at the moment. Still trying to figure out what I did to make the colors go a bit... off.

4. Ice cream on hot days (like the ones we have been having!). Whoever invented ice cream, I thank you.:D

5. Australia: you will not find a more welcoming country.;) I dream of taking Andrew to see it for himself!

6. Chai tea made out of a good, strong, black tea. It hits the spot on cold mornings.

7. Old houses, even if they are a tremendous amount of work.;)

8. Going bargain hunting at a thrift store or garage sale and discovering just what you need for a small fraction of the original price.

9. C.S. Lewis, particularly the way his writing makes you think about the simple things in a whole new light. If you have not read Mere Christianity, you need to.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Starring Me by Krista McGee

Somewhat of a sequel to Krista McGee's first novel, First Date, Starring Me tells the story of Addy's friend, Kara McKormick. Although being part of the reality TV show was an enjoyable experience, Kara is thrilled when the opportunity arises for her to be able to embrace her true love, acting. When she is invited to audition for a teen variety show, she jumps at the chance, little realizing how much the audition is going to change not only the course of her future, but her outlook on life as well.
After reading the first book by this talented author, I couldn't wait to read Starring Me! The characters are fresh and fun. I especially like that the secondary characters are more than just props, that they actually go through character development too. I think there is a real need for clean, cute teen fiction. Even if you aren't a teenager, this series is a fun read.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chase small business grant

My sister and I are applying for the small business grant that Chase is offering. Unfortunatly, we just found out about it and only have a week to get 250 votes so we can qualify for the next phase of the grant.
What does this have to do with you? We need your help to get the 250 votes! So, if you could please go here: and vote for Sweet Sisters, we would be most appreciative!

This Scarlet Cord by Joan Wolf

Based on the Biblical story of Rahab and her family in the land of Canaan, saving the spies when the Israelites go against Jericho and bring the wall down. Joan Wolf puts the story in a whole different light, focusing instead on how Rahab became a part of the lineage of Jesus Christ.
Kidnapped by slave traders when she was a little girl, Rahab is saved by a young Israelite and returned to her family. Now, as a stunning young woman, she meets up with Sala again and is sent on an adventure that will change the destination of her life and the lives of her family.
This novel is an interesting fictional twist on a Biblical story. I found it a bit hard to get into at first, but once you get into the story, it goes pretty quickly.:D The story is one of palace intrigue, a house divided, and the Israelites longing to inhabit the promise land. Its a unique approach to how Rahab became part of Christ's lineage. It shows how God can take the weak things of the world to execute His power.
My only complaint is that a lot of the characters are incredibly perfect and I would rather have an endearing, imperfect character because they are easier to love and relate to.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

To Write a Wrong by Robin Caroll

A museum theft gone horribly wrong, leaving one man dead and another behind bars.
With her writing career on the line, Riley Baxter thinks she found her big break when she hears a young girl insisting on her father's innocence concerning the crime that put him in prison. Can Riley write a wrong before its to late?
This is the first book that I have read by Robin Caroll. While I enjoyed the story line immensely, I think it would of been better to have read the other Justice Seekers books before you read this one, since it references the other stories in a way that you need to know what happened before in order to fully appreciate this story.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

first of ten

I don't think I can come up with ten secrets about myself, so I will bend it a bit and do ten little known things about me. Or, perhaps just random tidbits, since I can be pretty random. lol.

1. My diploma arrived in the mail yesterday! Oddly enough, when I opened it and saw the very official document in it was when I felt like I had truly finished college.;) I thought it would be when I completed my last Algebra class, but taking the final didn't leave me feeling any different.;)

2. I hated math (with a passion!) in high school, since I felt like I never "got" Algebra. There are other reasons I am glad to have gone back to school, but one of the biggest is that it gave me a new appreciation for math. I don't love the subject, but I now feel like I understand it a lot better. I just have to think of it as a puzzle to solve.;)

3. We are tearing down the old wood lath, plaster, and insulation in (what will be) the master bedroom of the house. Call me crazy, but it is oddly invigorating to haul all the old stuff out and imagine what the room will look like when the new walls are up and the floor is re-done. *happy sigh*

4. I used to be a huge fan of Diet Coke, but decided to quit drinking it since there is no health benefit to it.;) I quit drinking it around the first of the year. Its amazing how some things no longer even appeal to you after you have been away from it for some time.;) Its like "Why did I like that stuff again?".

5. I don't eat gravy. I'm not really a picky person when it comes to food, so its weird that I don't like gravy. I'm pretty sure that I have never liked it. The only exception would be biscuits and gravy made over a camp fire. Now, that's living.;)

6. I totally respected Andrew as a friend when we were younger, but I wasn't so keen on the idea of being in a romantic relationship with him. I am proof that girls don't always know what is good for them.;) I'm glad I listened to my mom and gave him a chance! lol.

7. Despite what Andrew thinks, I am not a huge fan of shopping. If I don't really need anything and there isn't really a great deal to be had on something I need, I would much rather be at home, doing something productive.

8. After the bat invasion last summer, mice (which used to terrify me) are now adorable in comparison.;) We had one living in our house for a while and I thought it was cute. lol. Though, it had to go, since I didn't want to share our food with it.;) To bad we couldn't of made a deal for it to just eat the crumbs off the floor, as then I could of kept it as a pet.;)

9. For some reason, I have always wanted to go to the UK, particularly Scotland. Perhaps someday...:D

10. One of our big dreams is to buy a farm (40 acres would be a good start;)) and try to be self sufficient. Still working out the logistics of how that would work, but it would be nice to live off the grid. We have plans for what we would grow and raise.:D

So, there you have it! This may (okay, in all reality, I'm sure it will be) wind up being a ten post challenge instead of ten day challenge.;)

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren

Prepare to be swept away in the first book of a trilogy set in the Edwardian era. Cora Diehl spends the school year working on completing her teaching degree and spending the breaks from school helping her parents homestead. Life is hard in Montana, along with predictable. When she returns home for the summer to discover that her papa has had a stroke, things quickly spiral out of control. When the series of events brings to light the mysterious giver of expensive gifts through the years, Cora's life is forever changed. Sent on a Grand Tour pf Europe with new found friends and family, Cora must figure out who she really is and what God might have in store for her. While the premise of the story is a bit unbelievable (that's why its called fiction, I suppose), since it is quite the rags to riches tale, the tale is still a cute one. Even though it is unbelievable, the story and characters still have depth to them. There is more going on in the story line, without being to dramatic. I enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it if you are looking for a good, light read.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Through Rushing Water

Sophia Makinoff has her life all planned out. Teaching through an all girl college in the 1870's has put her in the path of a up and coming congressman who would make the perfect husband for her. When "the perfect man" proposes to another, Sophia again makes plans on her own to become a missionary to China, in hopes of returning to her beloved Russia. When she is sent to teach on the Ponco Indian reservation, Sophia learns to walk by faith, plant her feet on solid ground, and ignore the rushing waters around her. Sophia learns to be a person of influence when she lets God lead. To be quite frank, I didn't care for Sophia for the first few chapters. Through the story, she develops into a much more sympathetic and likable character though, showing the reader that we all change and mature as we go through life. I can honestly say that by the end of the book, I liked the characters and loved the story. Its a beautiful novel about the Ponca tribe and the injustices of the governments treatment of the Native Americans.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Angel Eyes

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Brielle Matthews finds this out first hand when she looses her best friend in a tragic accident. Heading home, broken and blaming herself, she soon realizes that she is in the midst of a spiritual battle and that all is not as it seems with her friends death. Meeting up with Jake Shield couldn't of come at a better time. Is it just coincidence, or is a higher power at work? This is the authors first novel, and a wonderful first offering it is! I look forward to reading more of her books, since it leaves you on the edge of your seat, wanting more. This is not just another well written, but fluffy, story. I like that there is a lot of deeper meanings and conversations. This novel leaves you thinking about the heavenly. I look forward to the sequel!