Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Ten difficult reads
For this week, the subject for Top Ten Tuesday is 10 books that were hard to get through, for various reasons.
1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I tried to get into this one, I really did. Part of my difficulty might of had to do with the pile of books I needed to get through. So, once that pile is down a bit, I will most likely pick it up again.
2. The Story Kepper by Lisa Wingate
I really wanted to read this one, so I stuck it out this last week. I am so glad I did! It is one of those rare books that, while the beginning might be a bit slow, totally sucks one into the story until the last page. I highly recommend it!
3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
I finished this one, but I haven't picked the other books up in the series. They are on my someday list....
4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is another one that I tried to read and still haven't made it through the story. Which, is a shame, since I think it is right up my alley!
5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Another one that I had a hard time getting into, so I set it aside. My aunt is bringing me her copy to read, so then I won't have an excuse.;)
6. War and Peace by Tolstoy
I made it through, but I don't remember a lot of the details of the story.;) It was a bear to keep all the characters straight!
7. Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky
Another one I made it through, but should of stuck with the cliff notes on.;)
8. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
I love the main character, since Molly is so sweet! I have to admit, her step sister drove me NUTS. And, the author died before finishing the story, though you know the gist of the ending.
9 The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by Lewis
I was pretty young when I first started the series, and didn't think I would ever get into it. Now, it is one of my very favorites!
10. Lord of the Rings Tolkien
My uncle, bless his heart, sent me some of his favorite books from his childhood. It took me a while to see the beauty of those books, like this series and Narnia, but I eventually did! I can see why they were his favorites, and they have become some of mine too.;)
What are some of the books you found hard to get through?
Monday, September 29, 2014
Food Network Magazine editors have picked their all-time favorite treats and put them into one amazing book. In Sweet, you?ll find over-the-top brownies, super fun cupcakes, show-off layer cakes, one-of-a-kind cookies and so much more.
This great collection includes recipes for any occasion, with step-by-step instructions and full-page color photographs to help you along. You don?t need to be an experienced baker to get started. Every dessert in this book is easy to follow?and totally foolproof. Each recipe has been triple-tested, so you know it?ll come out just right. Flip through and you?ll find some fun surprises, too: a bowl made of chocolate, a spectrum of frosting colors and a cake that looks like a giant caramel apple
My personal favorites are the Samoa tartle, the lemon raspberry sorbet cake, and their peanut butter and jelly filled macaroons.
I appreciate that most of the baking recipes are totally from scratch, since I prefer not to use mixes when I bake. With this cookbook by your side, you will be the hit of any party!
I received this cookbook from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.
Hidden in the Stars
A quilt holds the secret to a killer still at large—and who his next victim will be.
Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21‑year‑old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn’t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.
Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer—still at large—silence her forever?
My thoughts: I picked this book up rather skeptically, since I wasn't sure how such a story could be packed into a relatively short book. Well, the author succeeded! I fell in love with the characters, as they try to unravel the mystery of Sophia's attack and her mother's murder. I like that the mystery had several layers to it, along with unexpected twists. It was well written and had awesome secondary characters. I look forward to trying out more books by Robin Caroll!
I received this book in exchange for my honest review.
Friday, September 26, 2014
Your baby deserves the best in life — food is no exception! Feeding Baby is the ultimate guide to preparing and feeding wholesome foods for your infant, with helpful nutritional tips, picky eating solutions, and over 80 recipes. Once you discover how easy and affordable it is to make baby food at home, you’ll take comfort in knowing your child is receiving the best nutrition possible.
As a mother, I want to feed my little girl the best diet possible, to help her growth and development. In Feeding Baby, Clancy Cash Harrison provides parents with wonderful guide lines to help their babies to thrive. I like that she breaks down how to know when to feed your child what foods, and that she goes through some common ingredients in mass produced foods and gives parents the information necessary to make informed decisions on what they feed their little ones. I love having this book in my own collection and will look to buying more copies of it to give as gifts.
Buy the book.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Buried Beneath the Words
Words! Words! Words!
Words all over the place. Accusing, blaming, and degrading words are the worst of all. After hearing those words over and over again, we begin to feel the weight of them threatening to crush the very life out of us.
Buried Beneath the Words cleverly shares a true life story about the different ways someone can end up buried beneath the weight of negative words. Then it shares a Christian course for how God’s word can revive us. By putting the advice given within these pages into practice, you will experience an awakening of the real you—the you that has been buried way too long.
My thoughts: I enjoyed reading Betel's own experience with learning how to rise above different words or phrases that had defined her life. How she challenges readers to do the same thing. This book is a wonderful help, since it is full of scriptures and questions (complete with areas for one to write!) to get one thinking about how the book applies to your own life. This is an excellent tool!
Mallory’s search for happiness leads her to a faraway place. There she finds heartache, betrayal—and danger.
Mallory Hammond is determined that no one will stand in the way of her goal—to save a life. She had that chance years ago, and she failed to take it, leaving her adrift and in search of the real meaning of her life. Finally, she meets a man online from a volatile corner of the world who offers her the chance to find that purpose. But she will have to leave everyone she loves behind in order to take it.
Tate Webber has loved Mallory for many years. He understands that Mallory will never be happy with him until her deepest heart’s desire is satisfied. When Mallory decides to travel across the world to fulfi ll her dreams, Tate begs her not to go but tries to give her the space she needs. Mallory embarks on her dangerous journey only to discover how swiftly and easily promises can be broken. And Mallory can only pray that she will make it out alive.
Inspired by actual events, The Promise is a riveting love story that asks the question: how far will we go for love?
My thoughts: I enjoyed that this story is loosely based on a true story, and that it seeks as a warning, since Mallory's dilemma is not an uncommon occurrence (I don't know that I want to give away part of the story! Suffice it to say that, if a man over seas want's to marry an American woman just as a "good deed", be on your guard!) in today's world. I thought that it was well written and quite engaged! The only thing that I disliked about the story is that it was insinuated that some of the couples weren't waiting for marriage. This disappointed me, since this book is labeled as Christian. Otherwise, it is a wonderful story that is engaging and interesting. I found it quite enjoyable, while being educational as well!
I received a copy of this book from litfuse in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts on the book are my own.
The Sacred Year
The Sacred Year: Mapping the Soulscape of Spiritual Practice How Contemplating Apples, Living in a Cave and Befriending a Dying Woman Revived My Life
One searcher’s honest and fascinating journey to encounter God, love others, and discover his true self through a year of spiritual practices.
Frustrated and disillusioned with his life as a Christian, motivational speaker Michael Yankoski was determined to stop merely talking about living a life of faith and start experiencing it. The result was a year dedicated to engaging in spiritual practices, both ancient and modern, in a life-altering process that continues to this day. Whether contemplating an apple for an hour before tasting it (attentiveness), eating on $2.00 a day (simplicity) or writing simple letters of thanks (gratitude), Michael discovered a whole new depth through the intentional life.
Stirred on by the guiding voice of Father Solomon, a local monk, Yankoski’s life is slowly transformed. Both entertaining and heart-wrenching, Yankoski’s story will resonate with those who wish to deepen their own committed faith as well as those who are searching – perhaps for the first time – for their own authentic encounter with the Divine.
My thoughts: I was excited to get this book, since I read Michael Yankiski's other book, Under the Overpass, which really changed the way I look at homeless people (it really is a must, if you haven't read it! One of my top ten favorite non-fiction books). This book is very different. I don't mean that in a bad way either.
The Sacred Year challenges us to apply our faith to our lives. To unplug from a busy world and focus on the Lord and His beautiful creation. This book is beautifully poetic and will challenge and strengthen you as you seek the Lord in the everyday and the mundane, discovering that nothing is really mundane.
Monday, September 22, 2014
Top ten books on my Fall to read list
1. The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate
I have this one started and everything! I just need to sit down and finish it.;) The story is rather engaging so far.
2. Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers
I just got this one in at the library, and I look forward to reading it! I enjoyed her Mark of the Lion series and Leota's Garden, so I look forward to giving this one a go.
3. Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay
This is really at the top of my list.;) I really just need to bump it up to the top of my pile!
4. Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll
This looks like a fun mystery surrounding a quilt and one woman's silence.
5. The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts
I received this one from Litfuse. It looks heartbreaking, and yet, full of hope.
6. Citizen by Rob Peabody
Another title from Litfuse.
7. The Brickmaker`s Bride by Judith Miller
I haven't read one of her books in ages, but I remember her stories as being rich with historical detail. So, I look forward to this one!
8. Driftwood Tides by Gina Holmes
This one intriques me.
9. Sophia by Paula Kremser
I think, personally, this looks like a cutr story!
10. The Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd
I haven't really cared for her other books, but this one looks promising.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray.
But wouldn't we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency?
Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests.
We aren't the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested.
And Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn't we use the same?
In Before Amen best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin.
I thought this book was an excellent call to pray. A reminder to Christians of the importance of prayer and how we need to go to our closets and pray for the concerns and needs we have. I appreciated (as a young mother) that this book is easy to pick up and read quickly, while having a lot of depth to it.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Thief of Glory
Jeremiah Prins enjoys life in the Dutch East Indies in 1942. Life is comfortable as the son of a school headmaster. But, all that comes tp a sudden halt when the Japanese invade and split his family apart, sending his father and step brothers off to a work camp, leaving Jeremiah to care fot his mother and younger siblings in their camp.
As the war brings out a brutal side of some people, it also draws the best out of others, as they reach their hands up to God. Will Jeremiah find peace in the middle of strife?
This book shows some interesting history, which is also a bit nasty. It is horrible what went on in the camps! I was a bit surprised at some of the story. It's not one of favorites, due to some of the very realistic scenarios it portrays. I think it is well written though, and I like that the author includes some of his own family history at the end.
Rubber band jewelry is all the rage right now. With this fun book, parents and teachers can incorporate faith and life lessons into rubber band jewelry. Filled with fun designs, this book is sure to delight kids!
My cousin enjoys making rubber band jewelry, so I got this book for her. I haven't seen most of the designs before, so I think she will have a blast making something new.
Two thumbs up!
Raising Kingdom Kids
Parenting is tough, and life today is busy. Creating a kingdom mind-set in your home may sound like more than you can handle. But by starting small and starting today, you can produce benefits that last a lifetime!
I thought that this book was excellent! It has a lot of practical wisdom from those who have raised children to adulthood and tthat wisdom is backed up by scripture.
I also like how the chapters are divided, they start out with talking about establishing a kingdom mindset, then cultivating a kingdom atmosphere, than finally, to installing kingdom attributes.
With a young child of my own, I was thrilled to read this book and review it for Tyndale.
I think that this book is perfect for kids of all ages, and in many situations.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Treasury of Bible Stories: Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times
Children ages 4-8 will be delighted by these rhyming Bible stories pairing spiritual truths with playful illustrations. Featuring lyrical stories full of lighthearted moments, this colorful collection of Magnificent Tales is perfect for reading out loud. As families read these stories night after night, they will make memories together while learning about the Bible.
I very much enjoyed reading this collection of Bible stories to my little girl! She enjoyed the illustrations and, I have to admit, I had fun reading them to her. It's quite fun to read these lyrical stories, as it puts some of our favorite Bible stories in a new light.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Chicken tomatillo soup
2 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 red pnion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
3 Tablespoons butter
2 medium potatoes
1/2 cup cabbage
2 Tablespoons dried cilantro
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 cups roasted tomatillos puree
4 cups chicken broth
Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and allow yo simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked. Enjoy with some salt or sour cream!
Monday, September 15, 2014
Top Authors I've Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More
1. Katherine Reay
I LOVED her book Dear Mr. Knightley and look forward to reading her next novel!
2. Sandra Boynton
Aster only has one of her books, but received another one for her birthday yesterday. While I know they are super easy board books, I look forward to reading more of them to my little girl! The kids at her birthday party told me they like her books.;)
3. Elizabeth Ludwig
I accidentally started in the middle of her East of Freedom series. So, now I need to go back and read the rest!
4. Jody Hedlund
I read one of her books and was impressed with the historical detail. I believe I have another one or two on my Kindle from Netgalley that I need to read..
5. Melanie Dickerson
Another one whom I keep hearing about!
6. Melanie Dobson
I read Chateau of Secrets, which was quite good! My sister tells me that I need to read more of her books, since they are engaging and a bit different than the norm (in a good way!).
7. Kristy Cambron
I read her first novel, The Butterfly and the Violin and can't wait for her second novel to come out!
8. April Erwin
I read one of her books, Dysfunction Junction and adored it! She does such an awesome job bringing her characters to live and portraying solid friendships. A lot of authors fail me when it comes to bringing their secondary characters to life, but not April!
9. Hillary Manton Lodge
I loved her book A Table by the Window, since I can relate to working for a family business that has to do with food.;) I look forward to reading the second book in the series!
10. Camille Elliont
I rather enjoyed her book Prelude for a Lord since she set it in the Regency era, but didn't try to make it another Jane Austen type story. Don't get me wrong, I love a good re-telling of the classics. I just enjoy fresh ideas too.;)
So, there is my list for the week! I thought it was going to be hard, but it wound up being a lot easier than I thought. I suppose that is because I never have a shortage of books that I hope to read and I love trying new authors.
Feeding Baby giveaway!
The New Conservative Woman Speak Out
Sunday, September 14, 2014
When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious---and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth's heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.
Elizabeth wants to refuse---to stay far away from the man who hurt her---but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she's older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.
Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her---or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth---or risk losing his chance at love forever.
I enjoyed returning to Sugarcreek and the sweet Amish community in this book! Unlike some Amish fiction, I feel like this series has a lot more going on, with the introduction of new characters and the continuation of other stories from previous books. I also appreciate that, while there is a lot going on, it isn`t sensationalized. This is a lovely story and a wonderful addition to the series!
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Fight Back Against a Culture That Doesn't Care About You
Christmas at Rose Hill
When a "lost" rose is discovered at Rose Hill Farm, Billy is sent to track down its origins. Get in, identify the rose, and get out. That's his plan. The only catch is that he's having a hard time narrowing down the identity of the lost rose, and he can't get those tropical blue eyes of Bess Riehl out of his mind.
As the history of the lost rose is pieced together, it reminds Bess and Billy--and Amos, too--that Christmas truly is the season of miracles.
Join bestselling, award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher for an Amish Christmas to remember. Filled with heart-twisting moments amid the sweet anticipation of love, this story will charm readers into the holiday spirit.
My thoughts: With the weather starting to turn Autumn like, I am ready to stock up on some holiday books.;) This was the perfect read! I enjoyed the story, the characters are charming and there is plenty going on. So, make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy it with this delightful story!
Monday, September 8, 2014
1. The Most Important Year in a Woman`s Life by Wolgemuth and Devries
2. The Most Important Year in a Man`s Life by Wolgemuth and Devries
3. Love Life fot Every Married Couple by Ed Wheat
4. The Act of Marriage by the Lahaye`s
5. The Five Love Languages
6. The Love Dare by Kendrick
7. Any of Gary Smalley`s marriage books
8. Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by the Parrott`s
9. Love and Respect by Eggerichs
10. His Needs, Her Needs by Harley
There. I thought I would do something a bit different this week, since a lot of my book memes circle around the same stories. I have a huge stack of books to get through this next month or so, though, so I should have some new material to talk about.;)
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Heaven Touching Earth
These true, uplifting stories will remind you that even when you don't see obvious evidence of God at work in your life or get quick answers to prayer, there is a loving Father who protects and provides and is always working on your behalf in the invisible realm.
Whether you're simply curious about the supernatural world or longing for a fresh experience of God's presence, these inspiring stories will touch your heart and strengthen your faith in the God of miracles.
Playing by Heart
With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach. Lula doesn't even consider those real subjects!
Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys' coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She's returning to college and her scholarship as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.
However, the more time she spends around Jewel's family, the girls' basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she's given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree. God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she'd expected.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs
Caroline Ashley is a journalist on the rise at The Washington Post until the sudden death of her father brings her back to Thorny Hollow to care for her mentally fragile mother and their aging antebellum home. The only respite from the eternal rotation of bridge club meetings and garden parties is her longtime friend, Brooks Elliott. A professor of journalism, Brooks is the voice of sanity and reason in the land of pink lemonade and triple layer coconut cakes. But when she meets a fascinating, charismatic young man on the cusp of a brand new industry, she ignores Brooks’s misgivings and throws herself into the project.
Brooks struggles to reconcile his parents’ very bitter marriage with his father’s devastating grief at the recent loss of his wife. Caroline is the only bright spot in the emotional wreckage of his family life. She’s a friend and he’s perfectly happy to keep her safely in that category. Marriage isn’t for men like Brooks and they both know it… until a handsome newcomer wins her heart. Brooks discovers Caroline is much more than a friend, and always has been, but is it too late to win her back?
Featuring a colorful cast of southern belles, Civil War re-enactors, and good Christian women with spunk to spare, Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs brings the modern American South to light in a way only a contemporary Jane Austen could have imagined.
My thoughts: I do believe that this series is one of my favorite re-telling of Jane Austen's beloved stories! The author sticks to the original story well enough, though I like that she has added her own style to it, making it Southern and a tad different from the original. Though, never fear, for Emma and Mr. Knightley are every bit as loveable in this one too! I look forward to reading the next book in the series!
Monday, September 1, 2014
1. Katniss from The Hunger Games. Because she is self sufficient and someone you want on your side. In all honesty, she probably wouldn`t want to be at anyones table. lol.
2, 3, 4. Ron, Hermoine, and Harry from The Harry Potter books. There would never be a dull moment with these three! I think I would have a very ecclectic group of kids.;)
5. Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia. She would be quite the peace maker and just sweet. I would of appreciated her stories of another world, even though I wouldn`t of entirely believed her.
6. Sir Percy from The Scarlet Pimpernel. He`s a loveable fop, but brilliant under his facade.
7. Cinder from Cinder. She can fix just about anything, and would be a fun person, er, Cyborg.
8. Lizzy from Pride and Prejudice. Her quick tongue and wit would be great fun to have around!
9. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. Another fun and witty character!
10. Skeeter from The Help. She is interesting and can go against the norm when it means making the world a better place.
So, there you have it! I would have quite the
How Much Do You Love Me?
Sixty years later, Keiko has a stroke and lies near death, while James suffers from Alzheimer's. Coincidentally, ac hance incident makes their daughter, Kazuko, born in the camps, suspect a