Friday, November 28, 2014
A dramatic shipwreck emancipates Riki Hammad, but the island where she finds refuge is compromised. Unless she finds a power truly great enough to defeat her dark past, she will choose death over returning to captivity. Lord Vétis, high priest of a cultic underground, will stop at nothing to reclaim their chosen one. Using black magic, he manipulates Riki and her four self-assigned bodyguards, triggering a battle that consumes the entire island. The underground will never allow Riki to live out her dreams of a normal life…something she has never known.
My thoughts: This book wound up being different than I thought it would be, but not in a bad way! I thought that the story of Riki was an interesting, albeit sad, one. When she finds herself shipwrecked due to the sacrifice of the only one who has ever loved her, she must find her own way to battle the evil forces that have been such a big part of her formative years.
I loved the spiritual aspect of this book! And, for the most part, I enjoyed the characters. I look forward to reading the rest of the series and seeing how things play out! Though, I will say that this book wrapped up nicely and didn't totally leave one hanging. I would rather have a little bit of closure.;)
I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.
The Brother's Keeper
A friend’s deception. A family’s dilemma.
While cataloging looted antiquities in Brussels, archaeologist Grace Madison learns that her daughter has disappeared in France, and daughter-in-law has been attacked in Switzerland. But before the Madisons can save themselves, they must rescue an old friend—if he’ll let them. Navigating a deadly, four-thousand-year-old artifact trail that crosses three continents, they jeopardize hearts and lives against a foe as old as time—as time runs out.
Because choosing what’s right is all that’s left.
My thoughts: I looked forward to reading this book, since it sounded like quite a fun story! It is a good tale, though I would be remise if I didn't put in my review that I was a bit disappointment with some of the writing. At times, the author would go into lengthy descriptions that I felt detracted from the story. That said though, I still enjoyed the story and that it catches readers up on the Madison family. It's hard to talk a lot about this book without giving away the story. Suffice it to say, there is a lot going on and it is worth reading.
I thought that the story was interesting and look forward to the third installment!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
With thankful hearts
As I snuggle with my little girl before embracing the delightful craziness of Thanksgiving, I can't help but reflect on the blessings that God has given me. A loving husband, a beautiful daughter, wonderful family, an incredible church family, a roof over our heads (it's even a new one! lol), health, my MIL making it through surgery and radiation, and most of all, His grace.
I have a lot to be thankful for, yet I don always choose to focus on the blessings. So, I want this coming year to br different. I want to choose to focus on what I am thankful for, and challenge each of you to do the same.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Winter to be read list
I know, even though it may feel like Winter some days, doesn't mean that it is actually Winter. This one is early, with all the end of the year themes that Broke and Bookish is doing.
So, here is my Winter TBR list!
1. The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist
I'm sure I have said it before, by I am a total sucker for fairy tale type stories. So, I can't wait to dive into this gorgeous book!
2. Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn
This story looks cute! It just arrived in the mail from Lit fuse, and I look forward to starting it.
3. Luminary by Krista McGee
I love this author! Her young adult stories are amazing! I can't believe that I am only just now getting around to reading this book...
4. Pawn by Aimee Carter
Has anyone else read this book? It looks like it could be fun. I just got it in from the library..
5. Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
I like this author's stories, but I also feel just a tiny bit torn over them. I hope that this book will solidify her as a favorite author!
6. This is What you just put in your mouth? by Patrick Di Justo
I probably shouldn't read this one.... Call it morbid fascination with what the FDA allows in our food.
7. The Top Ten Most Outrageous Couples of the Bible by David Clarke
I figured I would include some non fiction on this list, since I do enjoy it.;)
8. Happy Habits for Every Couple by the Lipps
Another fun marriage book.
9. Persuasion, Captain Wentworth, and Cracklin' Cornbread by Mary Jane Hathaway
I really need to read this one, since Persuasion is my favorite out of Jane Austen's novels!
10. In the Fields of Grace by Tessa Afshar
Another favorite author that I can't believe I haven't read her latest book yet!
So, what is on your list?
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
“As I took the ultrasound probe in hand, I could not have imagined how the next ten minutes would shake the foundation of my values and change the course of my life.”
Abby Johnson joined Planned Parenthood as a college student because she wanted to help women in crisis—a goal she believed the organization shared. As she rose through the ranks to become a clinic director, however, things started to shift. Finances grew tighter, clinic practices changed, and Abby became increasingly unsettled about what she was being asked to do. But it wasn’t until she helped perform an actual abortion procedure that Abby fully realized what she’d been a part of all those years.
In the pages of Unplanned, you’ll also discover:
What Abby found so attractive about the mission and goals of Planned Parenthood
The personal secret that Abby had kept buried for years
The things she’d believed and told patients that she discovered not to be true
An insider’s perspective on Planned Parenthood’s practices as well as the heartfelt but misguided efforts of some radical antiabortion activists
The courage and resilience she’s seen on both sides of the fence—from staff members to clients in crisis to prayerful volunteers.
My thoughts: Wow, I was blown away by this book! As a young woman who has been on both sides of the argument of abortion, this book is a must read for anyone who debates about abortion.
This book is also a powerful tool for Christians and those in ministry to know how to better reach out to those who have had a abortion. I think this is a powerful tool to equip us individually or to help reach out to those who have experienced the ripples of abortion.
Whatever side of the argument you fall on, I think that this is a wonderful book for you to read, since Abby Johnson is a passionate author/speaker about what she believes.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I Have Seen God
The miraculous founding of a top class hospital for some of the world’s poorest people
Klaus-Dieter and Martina John–both brilliant, talented, and highly qualified doctors–turned their backs on lucrative careers to follow their dream to open a first-rate medical facility for the Indians of the Peruvian Andes, some of the world’s poorest people. The Peruvian Andes natives suffer appallingly from the diseases of poverty and, although they make up approximately 40 percent of Peru’s population, are ignored by the authorities.
Having studied at the universities of Harvard, Yale, and Johannesburg during his training as a surgeon, Dr. Klaus-Dieter John together with his wife, Dr. Martina John, a pediatrician, developed a concept for a modern hospital in the Peruvian Highlands.
Turning down other offers, including a professorship, they set themselves the task of raising the millions of dollars needed. God opened the hearts and consciences of individuals and companies to create not just a health center, but a fully equipped hospital. Their story and vision has captured attention around the world and today they have the backing of 180 corporations and 50,000 private supporters.
The hospital’s name, Diospi Suyana, means “we trust in God” in Quechua, the native language of the people it serves. It is a testament to their experience that with God the impossible can happen. The incredible conviction and profound faith of the Johns will refresh your heart and stir your spirit.
My thoughts: This is such an exciting book of testimonies of what God can do when people seek to show His love to others! I very much enjoyed reading through this book, though sometimes it was a bit stilted, I think due to being translated. That didn't take away from the message that Klaus-Dieter and Martina share through their work!
This is an excellent book, I highly recommend it.:)
I received a copy of this book from Lit fuse in exchange for my honest review.
Greg Singer coordinates consumer sports shows for powerboats, four wheelers, snowmobiles, and jet skis-macho toys for outdoor men like himself. But the job puts tremendous stress on his marriage with Nicole, who for the first time notices the handsome lawyer at the end of the block. “Greener pastures?” When the recession hits Greg’s industry, he thinks the crisis is merely an opportunity for God to bless him with unmatched prosperity, a promise he hears preached each Sunday, and he steps out in bold faith . . . But is he being “pound foolish”?
The fourth in the Windy City Neighbors series, Pound Foolish explores the economic upheaval and uncertainties challenging every family. Intersecting with Penny Wise (book three), the Jacksons employ the innovating storytelling technique of “parallel novels.” Though each book follows its own drama and story arc, the characters’ lives become intertwined and affect one another. Pound Foolish returns us to Beecham Street-a typical American neighborhood . . . where a growing friendship brings new meaning to prosperity.
My thoughts: I have long enjoyed the Jackson's stories, starting at a young age with their Trailblazer books (which, if you haven't read them, I highly recommend them! I think I need to complete my set of them before Aster can read...;)). With the Windy City Neighbor series, the Jackson's have brought a new type of series, where the stories run parallel to one another (something I haven't experienced until this series!). New characters and old friends are brought into play with this series about God working with a community. I think this book is relevant to what a lot of families are going through with the economy such as it is. This book also has a wonderful reminder of being happy with what we have. Two thumbs up!
The Secret of Pembrooke Park
Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.
Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play...
The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor's past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.
This catches Abigail's attention. Hoping to restore her family's finances--and her dowry--Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn't the only one secretly searching the house.
Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.
As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?
My thoughts: I was not disappointment with this story! I think that Julie Klassen's stories get better and better.:) I love that this story has a lot going on, Abigail's personal struggles from letting her family down, dealing with feeling inferior to her younger sister, uncovering the mystery of Pembrooke Park. It's wonderful! The mystery is so engrossing, this book is hard to put down! Why has the house been abandoned for 18 years? As Abigail returns the house to its former glory, she begins receiving letters from someone who once lived in the house. Can she help bring light and healing to old wounds?
The only thing I had against this book is that it felt like some of Abigail's actions would not of been those of a lady in the Regency period, since she has all kinds of characters coming and going from her room. It's just one of those little things that bugged me, since that would of ruined a lady's reputation back then, I am sure. Otherwise though, the story is wonderful and engrossing, a perfect companion on these colds days!
I reviewed this book from Netgalley.com in exchange for my honest opinion.
Monday, November 17, 2014
top ten sequels or books I can`t wait to get my hands on
1.Illusionarium by Heather Dixon
I'm not sure that this is technically the sequel to Entwined, but it might be.;) I need to look up more about the book. All I know is that I have been waiting for ages for Heather Dixon to come out with another book!
2. Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden
3. The Woods Edge by Lori Benton
4. Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
5. Princess of the Silver Woods by J. D. George
6. Return to Exhile by Lynne Gentry
The first one was interesting, so I look forward to seeing how the characters fare.
7. The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki
8. Deceived by Irene Hannon
9. Murder Tightly Knit by Vanessa Chapman
10. The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson
Sunday, November 16, 2014
In this imaginative retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Bella is a spoiled brat who’s sent to the Beast’s castle as punishment for her selfishness. More than just their personalities clash! As Bella improves the Beast’s manners, she also finds herself changing for the better. Bella must choose whether to follow the path she’s always dreamed of—or risk it all for something even greater.
My thoughts: I love a good re-telling of a fairy tale, especially of my favorite one: Beauty and the Beast! I was quite thrilled to get this in my mail the other day, and couldn't help starting it.;) Bella was not at all how I would of pictured her, as she sacrifices those she loves in order to obtain the things she thinks will help her secure a wealthy husband who will rescue her from her humble home. When her selfish nature causes her father to owe a debt he cannot pay, her siblings offer Bella as a servant to the Beast. As Bella grows up and learns the meaning of true beauty, it is easy to start to like her and enjoy her journey. I love the characters in this story! It is filled with unexpected twists and is one that I would love to revisit in the future!
About the author: Sarah E. Boucher spends her days instilling young children with the same love of literature she has known since childhood. After hours, she pens her own stories and nurses an unhealthy obsession for handbags, high heels, baking, and British television. Sarah is a graduate of Brigham Young University. She lives and teaches in Ogden, Utah. Becoming Beauty is her first novel.
Friday, November 14, 2014
1. This quartet is amazing! You can listen to at least one of their songs on youtube, though having the whole album us even better.;)
2. 'Tis the season to reflect on our blessings. I adore this printable. It serves as a wonderful reminder to live a life full of gratitude. A couple of years ago, a dear friend sent me One Thousand Gifts . What an awesome reminder to savor the little things that make life so wonderful!
3. The song Dancing in the Mine fields by Andrew Peterson.
"I was nineteen, you were twenty-one
The year we got engaged
Everyone said we were much too young
But we did it anyway
We bought our rings for forty each
From a pawn shop down the road
We made our vows and took the leap
Now fifteen years ago
We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for
"I do" are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I've heard
Is a good place to begin
'Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price
For the life that we have found
And we're dancing in the minefields
We're sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for
So when I lose my way, find me
When I loose love's chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith, till the end of all my days
When I forget my name, remind me
'Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man
So there's nothing left to fear
So I'll walk with you in the shadowlands
Till the shadows disappear
'Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos, baby,
I can dance with you"
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Lizzy and Jane
Lizzy and Jane never saw eye to eye. But when illness brings them together, they discover they may be more like Austen’s famous sisters after all.
Lizzy was only a teenager when her mother died of cancer. Shortly after, Lizzy fled from her home, her family, and her cherished nickname. After working tirelessly to hone her gift of creating magic in the kitchen, Elizabeth has climbed the culinary ladder to become the head chef of her own New York restaurant, Feast. But as her magic begins to elude her, Paul, Feast’s financial backer, brings in someone to share her responsibilities and her kitchen. So Elizabeth flees again.
In a desperate attempt to reconnect with her gift, Elizabeth returns home. But her plans are derailed when she learns that her estranged sister, Jane, is battling cancer. Elizabeth surprises everyone—including herself—when she decides to stay in Seattle and work to prepare healthy, sustaining meals for Jane as she undergoes chemotherapy. She also meets Nick and his winsome son, Matt, who, like Elizabeth, are trying to heal from the wounds of the past.
As she tends to Jane's needs, Elizabeth's powers begin to return to her, along with the family she left behind so long ago. Then Paul tries to entice her back to New York, and she is faced with a hard decision: stay and become Lizzy to her sister’s Jane, or return to New York and the life she worked so hard to create?
My thoughts: Katherine Reay has solidified her position as one of my favorite authors with this story! I may have liked Dear Mr. Knightley best, but this one is still an amazing story of two sisters working through their old hurts and building a future. I could relate to Lizzy, as she struggles with re-discovering her passion. I love the concepts she pulls into her cooking!
The characters in this novel are flawed and very real as they struggle with their emotions. I think their struggles make me love them all the more.:) I also like the journey that this story takes readers on. This is definitely one of the best books I have read this year!
Friday, November 7, 2014
These are a few of my favorite things
This week`s favorites will tell you a few things about me. I love British teas, re-tellings of fairy tales, and new journals. I also shouldn't be trusted at TJ Maxx... (I found the journal and tea there)
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Hope for the Caregiver
In a world hung up on trying to make sense out of hard times, Peter drives the point home that "we don't have to understand—God understands, and that's enough." This is THE book for caregivers, written by one with scars and immense credibility.
—JEFF FOXWORTHY, Comedian, Author, Television Host
Written by one who has "been there and done that," Peter offers caregivers practical advice for everyday living. This book is an important resource for caregivers—and for those who care for the caregivers.
—KENNETH L. FARMER, Jr., M.D.
Major General, U.S. Army (Retired)
Former Commanding General, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and North Atlantic Regional Medical Command
Peter is authentic in his understanding and awareness when he writes about caregiving—he knows the journey intimately. He is also theologically wise in the midst...when he says,"we are stewards not owners."
—KEITH G. MEADOR, M.D., ThM, MPH,
Professor of Psychiatry and Health Policy
Director, Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society
Associate Dean, Student Health and Wellness
None of us ever plan to be in a position like Peter, but it happens. When I was helping to care for a stroke-ridden father for many years, I wish I had had this book to lean upon!
—JOE BONSALL, The Oak Ridge Boys
I would imagine that most of us don't put a whole lot of thought into being a caregiver, until that day comes. In this book, Peter Rosenberger shares his journey as a caregiver to his wife, an adventure that started sooner than he would of thought. Beautifully written and filled with honesty, this book will encourage those who are in a caregiver roll.
I haven't been put in the role as a caregiver yet, but I know that the chance has been there several times, just never materialized (with my grandparents). I read this book with the future in mind, I guess you could say.;) While I didn't personally relate to this book, I think it would be a wonderful resource for churches to have on hand to help ministers know how to relate to those who are caregivers and also for caregivers in the congregation to be able to turn to and find support. I can imagine that having a strong support base would be so important when a caregiver.
So, to sum up my thoughts, I think this is a wonderful book for caregivers!
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom Review and a Giveaway
Tragedy brings heartache to the community of Apple Blossom. A car takes the life of 6-year-old Mary Noel Simmons’s best friend—her dog—and nearly destroys Mary Noel’s spirit as well. Now she lies in the hospital, traumatized and silent, while the medical bills are piling up with no way for her parents to pay them.
That is, until Mary Noel’s teacher, Amber Kellen, breaks out of her quiet, lonely life to help.
With the help of her new friend Paul, Amber sets out to solve the family’s financial problems by involving the entire community. And as the two friends work together, they discover that creating a Christmas miracle may also have some unexpected benefits. Filled with romance and kindness, this story of hope and faith will warm your heart.
My thoughts: Normally, I am not really a fan of novellas, since I like more character development then most offer. I'm glad that I didn't let that stop me from picking this book up! This story is a sweet tale of a holiday miracle that takes place in a small town, after tragedy has struck. As the town pulls together to help cover the bills of poor Mary Noel, love blossoms for her kind teacher. This story is filled with some surprising depth! I feel in love with the characters and their quaint town.
I reviewed this book for Cedar Fort and they have generously donated a copy of this novella (in e-book format) for one lucky winner. If you are interested in reading A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom, just leave me a comment with a way to contact you (through email, your blog, or Facebook). I will draw a name on Monday, November 10th.
If you are coming from Facebook, please leace a comment here, so I know you want to be entered in the giveaway!
I was surprised at the variety this cookbook has! I guess I thoight that the recipes would be mostly those devpted to using a crockpot. I'm happy to be wrong! I like that this cook book gives one so many great ideas on what to make in an iron skillet, pressure cooker, slow cooker and more!
Another thing I really appreciate about this cookbook is that a lot of the recipes are fun ways to use seasonal produce. Perfect for those of us who garden or enjoy going to farmers markets!
I think this book is wonderful, and I look forward to usi.g it more!
I received a copy of this book from Blohging for books in exchange for my honest review.
Monday, November 3, 2014
Pickled okra recipe
My mom makes the best pickled okra. When we first started going to farmer's markets in the area, there were a couple of farmers who figured out just how good her's is, so they were more than happy to give her okra at the end of the day in exchange for a few jars of it pickled in return. It was a good trade for all of us (even if I was one of the ones who had to peel all that garlic!).
Now that I am married and have a home of my own, I want to be sure to always know where to find mom's recipe for pickled okra. So, I am putting it on here.;) And this way, others can enjoy this treat! (seriously, it is the only way to eat okra!)
3 1/2 pounds small okra pods
1 pint white vinegar
1/3 cup canning salt (non iodized)
3 small Thai peppers per jar (even if you don't usually care for hot food, be sure to include these. I didn't the first year I canned these on my own and the okra was almost bland in comparison. The peppers don't really add heat so much as flavor)
1 quart water
6 cloves of garlic per jar (pickled garlic is every bit as tasty as the okra! And, it is so good for you)
3 Tablespoons pickling spices
Wash okra and pack firmly in hot, sterilized jars. In each jar, be sure to place your garlic and peppers in! Make a brine with the vinegar, water, salt and spices. Boil the brine for a minute, then reduce heat. Pour the boiling brine over the okra, leaving a half inch headspace at the top. Seal.
Process for 10 minutes in boiling water bath. (be sure to make sure it doesn't need to be longer, depending where you live and where you are in regards to altitude) Pull them out of the hot water. After 20-30 minutes, be sure to check that all of your lids have sealed down. If you filled them to full, then they may not. Either put the unsealed jars in a water bath again (after removing some of the okra) or place it in your fridge. The only bad thing about placing it in your fridge is that you have to leave it alone for several weeks, so the okra can soak up the pickle taste.;)
This recipe also works well if you want to just do refrigerator pickled okra. Just omit the water bath and place the unsealed jar or jars in the back of your fridge. A gallon jar works well for refrigerator pickles.
Another side note: I seem to always have more brine than okra, so I just get more okra out of the garden and pack more jars.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this family favorite!
Top Ten books I would like to re-read:
1. Little Women by L M Alcott
Really, the whole "series". I think I was in my early teens when I first read this one, so it would be nice to read it again.
2. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
I downloaded this one onto my kindle in hopes of reading it this year. Hasn't happened yet.;P
3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
I've read it twice, and I'm ready to read it a third time as a family!
4. Emma by Jane Austen
It's been too long since I last read this one! I need to pick it up again, since I feel like I would appreciate it so much more now.
5. The All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
I remember adoring this series when I was young, so I can't wait to pull it out to read to Aster in a few years.
6. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
This is another one I look forward to reading with my little girl!
7. Persuasion by Jane Austen
Another favorite that I think I would appreciate more the second time around.
8. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
I remember thinking that this one was my favorite of all the Bronte sister's stories. I wonder if that would still be true? A lot can change in ten years. It's interesting how books can seem so different when you look at it through different eyes. Perhaps that is why I haven't picked up a lot of my old favorites again; I'm afraid that they won't be near as magical the second or third time through....
9. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
Another classic children's book to read with Aster!
10. Emily of New Moon by L. M Montgomery
What books are on your list? Do you think you will look at a book differently when you read it through a second time?
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Keep your face to the sun, and you will never see the shadows- Helen Keller
Aster is quite a fan of being outdoors, especially on my parents front porch swing! We were enjoying one of the last days of summer like weather. The weather has been so nice this Autumn! It makes it all the harder now that things have taken a turn towards colder days.
My husband and I are attempting to put up a high tunnel in our garden to lengthen our growing season. Needless to say, we have a steep learning curve (as seems to be the case with any garden type projects we take on!), and the wind has made it hard to keep the thing up. We may have to switch gears and work with cold frames, since they are closer to the ground.;) Our fiasco with the high tunnel may cause us to bump a small green house up the list of things we need on our place... Any tips on how to extend our garden season would be appreciated!