Saturday, February 28, 2015

Betting on Hope

Maggie Hope is an advice columnist whose background leaves her with little advice to give . . . and it’s beginning to show. When Maggie fills in at an interview with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan, the on-camera chemistry between them is undeniable. Maggie’s bosses know this is the opportunity she's been looking for to launch her career—and their bank accounts. In order to save her column, Maggie takes Tru up on the bet that he can teach her to ride a quick-stepping cutting horse like any cowgirl, despite the fact that she has never been on a horse. And in the meantime, she can get the scoop on the man under the cowboy hat.

Tru has been on the competition circuit for longer than he’d like, but he knows it's the only way he can afford to keep the Four of Hearts Ranch that means so much to his ailing grandfather. So when his sponsors see the opportunity for Tru’s fans to get to know the star on a more intimate level, he knows he must oblige. To his dismay, Maggie not only invades his small town of Wishing Springs, but she also invades his heart, and that is something he cannot let any woman do—for her own good.

In Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart’s desires.

My thoughts: This is the first time I have read any of Debra Clopton's stories, so I was quite pleased with just how much I enjoyed it! Her characters were well developed and I love that she brought the small town to life. Some of her characters were, well, real characters! I love the ministry that makes it's appearance in the small town. I also could relate to one of the characters dealing with a grandparent who has Alzheimer, since my family is going through something like that.
This book is a fun, light hearted read with some surprising depth to it.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Letters to My Future Husband

As a child, Sophia Stark is given a journal by her dad, who encourages her to write letter to her future husband in it. As the years pass, the tone of her letters begins to mature from telling him to go away to actually putting some thought into the qualities she would like him to have. When her grandma provides her with a trip to Italy during college, more than just Sophie's traveling dreams come true, since she reconnects with an old crush. Her letters written over the years just might come in handy when it comes to figuring out who to spend the rest of her life with.
My thoughts: I enjoyed Sophie's story! She is funny and quirky. As the story progresses, the other characters are well developed and easy to love. Well, for the most part. I do wish that she had reconciled with one of the characters, since their relationship didn't come to an understanding like I thought it would, after all her soul searching about parent/child relationships. It just kind of ended at her thinking about it, and not actually doing anything to change things, if that makes sense. But, over all, this book is an interesting, quirky read with some fun characters!
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.


After more than a decade as a victim of the commercial sex industry, Annie Lobert shares not only her redemption story but those of others involved in sex trafficking.
Annie Lobert was not so different from most girls. She grew up in a small town and had common struggles with friends, school, and boys. Her home was filled with turmoil, and, as happens far too often, she was sexually abused by a family friend. She knew heartache, but she didn’t know love. Sadly, Annie’s story is not uncommon. Young people are stumbling into the arms of the waiting world of the sex industry. Human sex trafficking and involvement in the sex industry – whether by choice, force, or coercion – is a sad world full of broken dreams.
Hookers for Jesus , a non-profit ministry, was founded by Annie to address the harmful effects of prostitution and sex trafficking. Its mission is to Hook, Give Hope, Heal, and Help those who have been negatively affected by sex trafficking and the adult entertainment industry.
- See more
My thoughts: What a heartbreaking story! But, it is also a beautiful one, since it shows the redeeming power of God's love, even when we hit rock bottom and think there is no where else to go. I really admire Annie's honesty as she shares her story of getting caught up in the world of sex trafficking. My heart broke for her, as she fell for a man who she later comes to realize is a pimp, causing her to become his slave. She is very open and honest about what her life was like, and for that reason, I would recommend this book for older teens and above, due to some of the subject matter. I think it is a powerful story though.
If you are interested in learning more about Annie's ministry, visit her site
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Remember the Lilies

Interred by the Japanese, missionary Irene Reynolds comes across a mysterious note while working at the censor’s office. She memorizes the parts she must black out and delivers it to wealthy nightclub owner Rand Sterling. Before she knows what’s happening, she’s drawn into a web of secrets and danger.

Rand Sterling wants nothing more than to reopen his nightclubs once the war ends. But slimy Frank Covey wants his hand in the till—and has news that could threaten Rand’s reputation if it became public. More importantly, beautiful and intriguing Irene Reynolds cannot discover this information if he expects to persuade her to become his wife.

When Irene is attacked by a sinister Japanese guard and their secrets are exposed, they must learn the true meaning of forgiveness—if they can stave off starvation until the American troops bring freedom.

My thoughts: I think is my favorite out of Liz Tolsma's stories! There is a lot going on, between Irene, Rand, Mercedes, and their families.  I found the history of the Japanese pridon camps on Manila interesting, especially since I haven't read a whole lot (in comparison ) of how Workd War II affected the Pacific. I fell in love with the characters as they struggle with living in a camp for so long. I'm sure that it was hard to get past that experience and learn to forgive those who put you in that situation,  but this story has a beautiful part about that process.
Two thumbs up! 
I received this book from Lit fuse in exchange for my honest review. 

Anna's Crossing

When Anna König first meets Bairn, the Scottish ship carpenter of the Charming Nancy, their encounter is anything but pleasant. Anna is on the ship only to ensure the safe arrival of her loved ones to the New World. Hardened by years of living at sea, Bairn resents toting these naïve farmers--dubbed "Peculiars" by deckhands--across the ocean. As delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions afflict crew and passengers alike, Bairn finds himself drawn to Anna's serene nature. For her part, Anna can't seem to stay away from the aloof carpenter, despite warnings. When an act of sacrifice leaves Anna in peril, Bairn discovers he may not have left his faith as firmly in the past as he thought. But has the revelation come too late?

My thoughts: This book is very different from a lot of the popular Amish fiction stories (and I mean that in a nice way!), since it goes back to when some of the Amish came to America to settle. Anna's story takes place in 1737, and is the story of a young woman who thinks to make the journey to America as a translator, and then return to her aging grandparents. But, as she gets to know the ship's carpenter, she discovers that God might have other plans.
I love the history in this story! I haven't read a whole lot about the first Amish settlements, so I especially enjoyed the friendly history lesson (if you don't care for history, you will still like this book, since it isn't dry at all!). I like all the characters that are woven into the story and look forward to reading the rest of the series! This book is a fun, new experience.
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Jesus, Jihad, and Peace

Is there any hope for peace in the world? Or is terror our destiny?

In our post-9/11 world, Westerners in general—and Christians in particular—remain targets of Islamic terrorism. From the White House to 10 Downing Street, radical groups like the Muslim Brotherhood are appeased and allowed to operate freely in the West.

In a world that cries out for peace, which will prevail—Jesus or Jihad?

Bible-believing Christians wonder: What does Islamic extremism mean in terms of Bible prophecy? Do today’s turbulent events have prophetic significance?

In Jesus, Jihad and Peace, Dr. Michael Youssef provides answers that are concise and biblically accurate, explaining how trends within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam fit into prophetic history. You will be filled with hope as you see God displaying His character and purpose through current global events.

My thoughts: I very much appreciated this book and the hope that it offers! Well researched, with tons of facts, this book is a wonderful wake up call to those concerned about what is going on in the Middle East. Dr. Youssef does a fabulous job of explaining some of the differences between Judaism, Islam, and Christianity and what those differences mean to us today. I think this is an excellent resource that will open ones eyes to what is going on in the world around us! I think it is important to look at the warnings that God has given us through Scripture and see how it applies to us today.
I received this book from Worthy publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Twisted Innocence

Holly Cramer’s past choices have finally caught up to her, but she never expected them to endanger her baby.

Though Holly’s stumbled through most of her adult life as a party girl, she longs to live a more stable life for her daughter. Then police show up to question her about the whereabouts of Creed Kershaw, Lily’s father. She has kept his identity a secret from friends and family—she never even told him about the pregnancy. Now he’s a person of interest in a drug-related murder case.

Determined to keep him out of their lives and turn him over to police, Holly uses her private investigating skills to search for him. But her bravado backfires when he turns the tables and takes her and the baby hostage. As desperate hours tick by, Holly realizes his connection to Leonard Miller—the man who has gunned down several members of her family. Creed claims he’s innocent and that Miller is after him too. His gentleness with Lily moves her, but she can’t trust a man who has held her at gunpoint . . . even if he reminds her so much of herself.

My thoughts: I have enjoyed the two previous books in this series,  so I was thrilled when the chance to read and review this one came up! While all the siblings in the Cramer family are likeable, in my opinion, Holly is the easiest to relate to. We may not all be party girls like her, but most of us will admit to making mistakes and not living up to the person God would have us to be. I enjoyed this last adventure with the Moonlighters, as they seek to bring Leonard Miller to justice for the crimes he has commited and from taking more victims.  Two thumbs up!
I received this book from Lit fuse in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Take Ten

Top Ten Favorite Fictional Heroines
1. Lucy Pevenise from Narnia

Lucy has been on my list of favorites since I was a little girl.
2. Jo March from Little Women

I wanted to write stories just like her, when I was a kid.;)
3. Emma Woodhouse

Okay, yes she is spoiled and meddlesome, but her heart is in the right place! I love how her character develops as she learns to accept that she isn't always right.;)
4.Lizzy Bennet

Lizzy is just so spunky! (For some reason, I just adore that cover!)
5. Hermoine Granger

6. Lady Merry

7. Emma Smallwood


9. Abigail Pressman

10 Samantha Moore

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Deadly Echoes

As a child, Sarah Miller lost her parents to a supposed burglary gone bad. She and her sister were left orphaned and soon lost contact with one another. Now, as an adult, they enjoy a brief reunion before Hannah dies.  Convinced there is a link to her parents and sister's death, Sarah ignores the warning signs and seks for justice.
My thoughts: I love the mysteries I have read by Nancy Mehl! She combines her mystery with peace loving Mennonite communities, which bring up some interesting questions about what their faith thinks of seeking justice and forgiving those who do evil. I love that Nancy tackles tough issues, rather than glossing over them. She does a fabulous job of bringing her characters and stories to life. I look forward to the next book in this series!
I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Unveiled Wife

As a young bride, Jennifer Smith couldn’t wait to build her life with the man she adored. She dreamed of closeness, of being fully known and loved by her husband. But the first years of marriage were nothing like she’d imagined. Instead, they were marked by disappointment and pain. Trapped by fear and insecurity, and feeling totally alone, Jennifer cried out to God: What am I doing wrong? Why is this happening to us? It was as if a veil had descended between her and her husband, and between her and God—one that kept her from experiencing the fullness of love. How did Jennifer and her husband survive the painful times? What did they do when they were tempted to call it quits? How did God miraculously step in during the darkest hour to rescue and redeem them, tearing down the veil once and for all? The Unveiled Wife is a real-life love story; one couple’s refreshingly raw, transparent journey touching the deep places in a marriage that only God can reach. If you are feeling disappointment or even despair about your marriage, the heart-cry of this book is: You are not alone. Discover through Jennifer’s story how God can bring you through it all to a place of transformation.
My thoughts: I really appreciate Jennifer Smith opening up so much about the struggles she has had with her marriage and the lessons she had to learn about intimacy. As Christians, we aren't usually very open about sex and intimacy (and the difference between the two). Thankfully, there are books like this one to help equip brides and wives who haven't had the luxury of having trusted women to go to about the seemingly taboo subjects. This is a wonderful book to read, no matter how long you have been married! I think it is also a wonderful gift idea for those young women you know who are engaged. There needs to be more resources like this one!
If you would like to read more about Jennifer, check out her website
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Every woman longs for good conversation, a safe place to be vulnerable, and wisdom from women who are ahead of us on the journey. In previous generations, women lived in close-knit communities and encouraged one another in marriage, parenting, and spirituality. In today's world, we often feel isolated. Yet our God-given craving for connection remains.

In Heartfelt, Dr. Joneal Kirby shows us how to embrace the joy of emotional intimacy with other women. Her practical wisdom and personal experience, combined with dozens of real-life stories, equip us to cultivate meaningful relationships with women in all seasons of life.

You may feel you'll never move beyond the small talk of church coffee hour. You may wonder if your current friendships will ever reach a new depth. Heartfelt gives you the practical ideas and inspiration you need to change surface-level interactions into deep relationships that can change lives forever.

Includes prayers, questions for discussion and reflection, and a guide to beginning your own intergenerational small group.

My thoughts: I have often looked at the Scripture in Titus about the older women counseling the younger. I love that this book addresses that and how to make put together a group of women who can lean on one another. How opening your heart and your life to friends can make life richer. I love that there are ideas in this book on how to get started, as well as testimonies and stories of the encouragement that others have found by getting such a group together. I think this is something that can be lacking in churches, especially larger congregations where there is some segregation, due to ages and stages of life.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten book related problems that I have: (this should be fun!)
1. I am addicted to library reading problems. I loved taking part in the summer reading programs that the library would have. I mean, I read anyway, so I might as well win some free books to add to my shelves while I am at it, right? The only problem is, there's an age limit to the reading programs. So, I was thrilled to have a daughter of my own, and that they allow you to start right away in the summer reading program.;) We read as many books together as we could last summer.;)

2. I still haven't moved all of my books into our house.... At first, it was because the library in our house needed to be gutted, but that has been done for over a year. I think it is time to finally empty my parents house of all my books (much to my husband's chagrin!)

3. I always have a stack of books by my side of the bed. Sometimes more than one. I try to limit the pile to books I need to read soon, but somehow, others wind up in there....

4. I can never get out of the library without a bag of books.

5. There are never enough board books/kid books in this house! The library has been such a lifesaver in this house. As much as I love the books we have, I would go crazy if I was limited to just a few.;)

6. I can never have a small purse. It needs to at least fit a Kindle. If not a Kindle and a book or two.

7. When traveling, one of my worst fears is that I won't have enough books to read when on the road or in the air.;) I'm very much a moody reader, I have to be in the mood to read certain books (especially mysteries, for some reason). When I traveled to Australia, I took a huge backpack of books and hardly read any of them... I like to think this problem will be easier to manage now that I have a Kindle, since I have a variety on there that I need to read!

8. I sometimes forget the books that I have on my Kindle. Out of sight, out of mind, perhaps?:)

9. I write in my books. Generally not in fiction, since I will just write a great quote elsewhere (like in my journal), but a lot of my nonfiction books are seriously marked up. Especially C.S. Lewis.

10. I cannot pass up a bookstore, even if I'm not looking for anything specific. Independent, used bookstores are probably the worse, since I can find such good deals that I can't help but buy something!

So, what are your bookish problems?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mothering from Scratch

Trying to follow someone else's rules for mothering can take the joy out of being a parent. But Mothering From Scratch shows you how to develop your own style that helps you be the best mom for your kids.

Full of solid biblical truth, this book will help you
· explore your personality and examine your strengths and weaknesses in order to find what works for you
· tap into the resources surrounding you and get mentoring and support from other moms
· push past the fear of change or doing it wrong and allow room for grace in your mothering

Melinda Means and Kathy Helgemo provide a flexible, customizable approach to help you discover your optimal parenting style.

My thoughts: As a fairly new mother myself, I was thrilled to read this book and glean some advise from two women who have been in the role of mother for a while. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but I have been pleasantly surprised to find that it is full of a lot of helpful advise! Not just on learning what your "mothering style" but also on some things I haven't put a whole lot of thought into, like how to find friends who can help mentor you (and how to spot those who won't give you helpful advise) and being aware of the dangers of social media when it comes to compounding a negative or pessimistic attitude. I appreciate their honesty and openness. This will be a go to book for years to come!
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Last Words of Jesus

This is probably the most powerful sermon Jesus ever gave

The last words of anyone are a powerful legacy, often reverberating across generations. However, the last words of Jesus soar above all others because of who He was—and is.

In the Last Words of Jesus, you’ll experience a fresh encounter with Christ as Stu Epperson recounts the last seven statements uttered by Jesus on the cross, providing unique, thought-provoking insights, and interspersing additional commentaries from many of Christianity’s leading theologians and authors.

This one-stop resource and devotional will help you understand more deeply...

What Jesus said from the cross and why;
What His words mean for your everyday life;
Why Jesus came and why He suffered;
How to help others better understand all that Christ offers through His life, death, and resurrection.

My thoughts: With Resurrection Sunday coming up quickly, I think this book is a great read, since it focuses our minds on the last words of Jesus Christ. It challenges us to look deeper at the statement He made to the thief on the cross. His asking the Father to forgive "them" (us) for not knowing what they were doing, who they were crucifying. This is a beautiful book that helps one focus on the greatest sacrifice.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Blindsided by God

When Peter Chin moved his family into an inner-city neighborhood to plant a church, he was sure he was doing what God wanted. But in the span of a few months his family experienced a heartbreaking miscarriage, a break-in at their home, a breast cancer diagnosis, and the termination of their health insurance. Why would God allow these things to happen?

But God had one more surprise prepared for the Chins: a child, conceived in the most unlikely and dangerous of circumstances, through whom Peter would realize that although God's ways were wild and strange, they were always good.

Filled with twists and turns, deep insights, and surprising humor, Blindsided by God explores the reality of suffering, the mystery of God's ways, and why, even in the darkest times, there's always reason for hope.

My thoughts: No one wants to go through trials. And yet, most of us will be hit with some sort of misfortune. Unfortunately, sometimes several trials hit at ones, like with Peter Chin and his family. Feeling like they need to plant a church in Washington D.C., he and his wife move their young family there. But, follow God's call isn't easy. While there, he and his family go through many different things, including his wife being diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite the pain of the trials, the Chin family is able to see God's hand at work in their lives.
I thought that this book was interesting, since I know I have a hard time looking up to the Lord when trials come. I don't know what I would do in a similar situation, so I appreciate the honesty and humor in this book. One of the best things about it, is that one can read it and realize that you are not alone. Others struggle too, but more importantly, God is there by your side when you go through trials.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Soup Club Cookbook

The Soup Club began when four friends (who, between them, have four husbands and ten hungry kids and several jobs) realized that they didn’t actually have to cook at home every night to take pleasure in a home-cooked meal. They simply had to join forces and share meals, even if they weren’t actually eating them together. Caroline, Courtney, Julie, and Tina happen to be neighbors, but a soup club is for anyone: colleagues, a group of workout buddies, a book club. All you need are a few people who simply want to have more home-cooked food in their lives.

In a soup club each person takes a turn making soup—and sometimes other dishes for sides or for when everyone needs a break from soup, so if a club has four people, in a month each person will have dinner delivered three times—a dish that can start as a full meal and stretch into more dinners or lunches or even morph into a sauce. Soup is forgiving, versatile, and perfect for sharing; it can be spiced to taste, topped elaborately or not at all, and dressed up or down. It travels well and reheats beautifully. The Soup Club Cookbook also has dozens of tips for cooking in quantity and for tailoring soup to individual tastes and needs. Here, too, are simple guidelines for starting your own soup club, anecdotes, and a few cautionary tales that will inspire anyone to share food and eat well.

Recipes include quick and easies, classics, twist on favorites, and dozens of flavor-rich new crowd pleasers:

• Carrot Coconut and Chicken Chili,
• Senegalese Peanut Soup
• Faux Ramen
• Red Lentil Curry Soup
• Potato Cheddar Soup
• Sun Dried Tomato Soup
• Jeweled Rice Salad
• Cheddar Cornbread,
• Summer Corn Hash
• Soy Simmered Chicken Wing

My thoughts: I love making soups! We have a weekly potluck at church, and I generally bring soup, since I love how versital it is and that you don't have to worry to much after putting every thing in a crockpot.;) I also love to make soups at home with all the produce we wind up with out of our garden. So, I was thrilled to get a copy of this from Blogging for Books to review. Not only does it have some wonderful, versitial soup recipes, it also has some fun sides too! I love the recipe for Kimchi, and I can't wait to try their quick pickles.
While some of the recipes have unique ingredients that most of us probably don't keep on hand, I like that a lot of the recipes use things one has in the pantry or freezer. I personally prefer recipes that use a lot of ingredients that I will use up on other meals and not go to waste., which is what this cookbook does.
Filled with colorful pictures and easy to follow recipes, this one is a winner!
I received a copy of this cookbook from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review.

The Bacon Lover's Cookbook

It’s bacon time! With breakfasts, dinners, desserts, and everything in between, this full-color novelty cookbook proves that everything really is better with bacon. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for your bacon-obsessed friend or you’re a bacon aficionado yourself, you’ll love the mouthwatering recipes and fun facts in The Bacon Lover’s Cookbook.
My thoughts: Is there such thing as to much of a good thing? Or, perhaps not good, but tasty.;) It seems like the bacon craze, at times, kind of tests that theory! I think bacon flavored toothpaste or bacon flavored icing is taking things just a bit far, but I digress...
This cookbook, though, presents some tasty looking recipes without going to crazy. I love the recipes for bread with bacon in it, since that is an idea I have been toying with. I also love the ideas for sandwiches and pizza in the book! I'm not so sure about mixing bacon into my brownies, but I have tried (and liked) bacon in chocolate, so I may be won over.;) All in all, if you love bacon, then this is a cookbook you will want in your kitchen!
I received a copy of this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Take ten

Things I dislike when it comes to romance in stories:
1. Characters who aren't faithful. I don't care if they are suppose to have changed because they magically met the right person. I still don't like it, since the cynic in me wonders how long "happily ever" will last.
2. Beautiful, stunningly gorgeous couple who have no depth to them. I'm sure most like pretty characters or handsome heroes, which I  can agree with. It's the books that go on and on about how much the main characters resemble models that really get to me. There is no personality to fall in love with, as a reader!
3. Characters who use love for personal gain. Gale in the Hunger Games was kind of like this, in my eyes.

Things I like:
4. Boy next door. Probably because that's how it worked for me, though he didn't actually live next door.;)
5. Best friends, because I think it's cute to read about friends who try to figure out how to not possibly ruin their friendship.
6.  A great love/hate relationship,  like Darcy and Lizzy.
7.  Snappy conversation with great come backs.
8. Comedy. Seriously, every good romance needs some comic relief.;)
9. Selfless love.  I think it's so sweet when someone loves another person so much, that they are willing to let that person go.
10. A well suited couple.
Top ten is a meme created by Broke and Bookish

I Choose You Today

Married for nearly 38 years, author Deborah DeArmond and her husband have made the spoken declaration, “I choose you today” a regular part of their communication. It’s when we least feel like saying it that we need to remind ourselves that love is a choice, not a feeling. I Choose You Today features 31 scriptural principles that support marriage and help couples develop healthy biblically based behavior.

Built on an introductory anecdotal story, each chapter has an inspirational takeaway of not only what to do, but how to begin applying the principles immediately. Thought provoking questions create talking points for couples to explore their own choices and experiences in each area serve to generate open dialogue of discovery. I Choose You Today is not a book of “shoulds,” but one of clearly identified choices that each individual can make to grow their marriage and align it with the word of God. Every saying ends with a conventional wisdom quote.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this book and the ideas it presents for couples on the different things they choose to do to show their love (or increase it) to a spouse. I like that each chapter is short and concise. Deb does a wonderful job of weaving together her concepts with personal stories, scripture, and thoughts for how to implement things. I love that the book works well for going through as a couple or for working alone. This book is a wonderful gift for those who have been married for a bit and want to strengthen their marriage, though I can see that it would also be a good resource for a newly married couple, since it would encourage them to set up healthy patterns early one.
Two thumbs up!
I received this book from litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Becoming a Spitirually Healthy Family

We all want to guide our children into the abundant life that Jesus offers. But when we pursue the more and better that the world offers above our pursuit of Jesus, we fall into dangerous parenting habits. In Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, Michelle Anthony unpacks six common dysfunctional parenting styles that we fall into out of habit, lack of attention, or just oversight due to busyness. If you long to show your children Jesus but don’t know how to do it, you’ll find hope in this practical guide to creating a relentlessly grace-filled home that is focused on God as first in charge.

Includes Scripture guides, reflection questions, ideas for family rites of passage, and other real life family examples.

My thoughts: I had never thought about things that could be termed as dysfunctional parenting styles, but found that I agree with a lot of what this book has to say! I especially enjoyed the last few chapters on how to change those dysfunctions and make your family spiritually healthy. I loved how the book flows between Scripture verses, quotes from excellent sources, and personal stories. I especially thought that the concept of Raising Pagan Kids in a Christian Home. Wow, I had never thought of it like that!
Even though I know there are other dysfunctions out there, this is a great book for parents to use, one that helps you step back and really look at how your parenting style measures up to Christ. Two thumbs up!
I received this book from litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Colorful Cooking by Jacque Wick

Young children usually are curious about what their parent is doing in the kitchen. With this cookbook, an adult can help turn the kitchen into a fun classroom where kids can learn about nutritious food and how colorful it can be. I love how the recipes are so easy for kids to put together! It's also nice that they center around healthy combinations of fruits and vegetables, though there are plenty of ideas for creative desserts too! I think my favorite recipes would be the sweet potato fries and colorful waffle quesadilla, though the apple crisp cups are fun also. Another thing I love is the introduction, with tips on kitchen safety.
Two thumbs up!
I received a copy of this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Supermarket Healthy

Everyone wants to feel good about what they are eating, serving guests, and feeding their families, but most of us don't do our weekly shopping at pricey specialty stores-- we do it at the local supermarket and we don't want it to break the bank. In her second book, Melissa demystifies the task of preparing nutritious and delicious food by showing exactly how you can make your grocery store work for you. She offers helpful strategies for shopping, cooking, and entertaining, as well as meal blueprints and nutritional information throughout. This book will make you confident about the food you're buying, preparing, and eating. Delicious recipes like Almond Waffles with Raspberry-Basil Sauce, Kale and White Bean Caesar Salad in a Jar, Slow-Roasted Tomato Spaghettini, Flatiron Steaks with Quick Cauliflower Kimchi, and Flourless Fudgy Dream Cookies have something for every type of eater at every meal of the day. No matter your favorite flavors or dietary needs, cooking on a budget is empowering-- and now you can learn how to make every bite count. If cooking at home is the key to healthy living, Supermarket Healthy is the only tool you'll need.

My thoughts: I love that this cook book is geared towards eating healthy on a budget. I live in a small town where the nearest health food store is a good hour or so drive, so (more often then not) I am limited to buying produce from Sam's or Wal-Mart. So, I am thrilled to start putting this cookbook to good use! I think my favorite recipes in this book are probably going to be the salad and vegetable dishes, though I do like her breakfast recipes too (cinnamon popovers, anyone?). I love that she uses a lot of basic ingredients, but also has recipes that will help me get out of my rut by playing with some new spices and blends. This cookbook is a perfect jump start for eating healthier!
I received this book from blogging for books in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Take Ten

Top Ten Christian Fiction books I can't believe I haven't read


I have heard a lot of great things about this author, and yet haven't made it to reading one of her books through, since something always comes up! I must remedy this.;)

2. The New Recruit

I love her Safe Lands series, so I need to try some of her other books!

3. On the Loose

I blame the library for not finishing this series. They don't have the rest of it.:P

4. The Big Picture

5. Exiles

This one is on my list of TBR sometime soon.

6. Bridge to Haven

7. In the Field of Grace

This one is even on my Kindle. I need to remedy this.;)

8.Larkspur Cove

How did I start in the middle of this series?

9.Blue Moon Bay

10. The Giftsnatcher

This is another one on my Kindle that I need to read as soon as the stack of books to review goes down. It looks incredible!

Return to Exile

How far would you go to save the ones you love?

Six years ago, impossible circumstances forced Dr. Lisbeth Hastings to leave behind the love of her life, not just in another country, but in another time. Her work as a top-notch epidemiologist and parenting her little girl helps alleviate the pain, but at night when her exhausted head hits the pillow, images of her beloved Cyprian haunt her sleep.

Cyprian Thascius returns from political exile a broken man. He’s lost his faith, the love of his life, and his purpose. He attempts to move on, to face the danger that is looming over Carthage, but when Cyprian’s true love suddenly reappears, his heart becomes as imperiled as the fledgling church he seeks to save.

Have the years that kept Lisbeth and Cyprian apart created too wide a chasm to bridge? In the midst of a new epidemic and rising oppression, will their love be the most costly fatality? Filled with gripping action and raw emotion, this spell-binding adventure of star-crossed lovers captivates with every turn of the page in this electric continuation of The Carthage Chronicles.

My thoughts: Lynn Gentry does a fabulous job at continuing the story of Lisbeth Hastings in this story! Some time has passed since she was last in Carthage, she came home and gave birth, finished her schooling to become a medical doctor, and tried to put the past behind her. But, when new information about those in the 3rd century comes into her hands, she decides that she must take another leap back in time and do all she can to change things for the better.
I was a bit shocked at some of the turns in the story, so much so that I was tempted to put it down! I am glad that I kept with it, since the story is unique and interesting. I didn't care for how one of the situations was dealt with, since it seemed a bit cliche, but I still enjoyed the story greatly. I like that the author's style is different and that she doesn't try to hid the harshness of life in Roman times. This is a wonderful addition to the Carthage Chronicles! I can't wait for the final book to come out!
I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

In the Kitchen

Savor your favorite family memories—ones that start right in your kitchen. Popular TV personality Allison Waggoner brings her family’s recipes to your table in this beautiful collection of meals. With recipes for brunch, dinner, dessert, and drinks, this cookbook invites you to create your own family memories, full of delicious food, fun with friends, and love that lasts a lifetime.
My thoughts: This book is a wonderful addition to one's kitchen! I love the recipes, since they are both unique and easy to navigate. I like how the recipes are set up, with the list of ingredients in a box to the side of the instructions. It makes meal planning and shopping for the ingredients go a lot easier.
I also like the mix of recipes in this cookbook. There are some that are easy to whip up, since I keep a lot of the ingredients on hand, and then there is a nice group of recipes to use for entertaining, recipes that will impress and yet are still relatively easy to make.
Some of the recipes we have enjoyed the most are: Tarragon Chicken Salad: a fun way to mix up a dish that can become boring; Gruyere Chive Popovers: this one is listed as a breakfast idea, but I think it would also be good as a side with a steak and salad; and Strawberry Almond Scones: we have a lot of strawberries from our garden, so I can see using this recipe a lot too!
Check out the author's blog here
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.