Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Tulip Resistance

Pulled into a war she doesn’t understand, Marieka Cordoven is just a Dutch girl who wouldn’t dare resist the Germans. But helping a wounded German soldier—a defector—changes her mind about everything. This tense historical drama delves into the intricacies of the Dutch resistance, its grit to defy orders, and its plan to do what’s right.

My thoughts: I find reading about WWII interesting, since there were so many courageous people who chose to make a stand when the whole world seemed to be falling apart. This book is an interesting edition to my collection of WWII books. I liked the main character, though I was kind of surprised at how dark some of the other characters are. I was kind of surprised that there were several characters who were hard to like. The story is a bit dark, but I suppose that is to be expected when dealing with war. I also felt like it ended a bit abruptly, though I am happy to see that there will be a sequel coming out! This book is an unique look at history.
I received this book from Cedar fort in exchange for my honest review.

Hutterite Diaries

What would it be like to share all your possessions and live in Christian community?

In Hutterite Diaries, Linda Maendel offers a rare glimpse into the daily routines and communal faith of her people, the Hutterian Brethren. From stories of working together to bring in the fall potato harvest to laugh-out-loud tales of sisterly love laced with revenge, Maendel invites readers into her Bruderhof, or colony, nestled on the prairie of western Canada. Here children and adults work, play, eat, and worship together, crafting a community of goods and living out an alternative to the individualism and consumerism of mainstream society.

Few outsiders know anything about the Hutterites, a Plain Christian group related to the Amish and Mennonites. Maendel’s story invites readers into deeper understanding of this community of faith, calling us to take seriously the example of Jesus and the early church in our daily living.

My thoughts: While I have heard of the Hutterites, I didn't know what set them apart from the Amish and Mennonite communities. In this book, readers are invited to read about how the Hutterite community lives. While her stories are all enjoyable, I think I liked the "day in my life" part the best, since it was interesting to see how the writer spends a normal day.
If you would like to read more about the author, check out Linda's blog.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

the Proposal at Siesta Key

A young Amish woman, yearning for freedom, crosses paths with a handsome Mennonite celebrity in a deeply moving tale of friendship and self-discovery—the second installment in the unforgettable New York Times bestselling author’s new Amish Brides of Pinecraft series.

Penny Troyer rarely disobeys her parents. In the years since her sister’s tragic death, they’ve wanted nothing more than to keep her safe…even if it means never leaving the house.

But tonight, she’s bending the rules because Michael Knoxx, the most famous member of The Knoxx Family Singers, a traveling Mennonite Evangelical family —is scheduled to speak. Penny has heard of Michael—how he lost part of his leg in a terrible accident and uses the experience to inspire others—and knows she must meet him. So, for the first time ever, Penny stands up to her parents and goes out on her own.

Though he speaks about living life to the fullest, Michael knows he needs to take his own advice. Life on the road is grueling and Michael wants to slow down, to rest…to perhaps meet someone who sees him as a man, not just a celebrity. So when a twist of fate allows him the chance to stay a little longer in Pinecraft, Michael knows God is showing him a new path, especially when he discovers how much he and Penny Troyer have in common.

But new friendships can’t stop time. Soon, Michael's time in Pinecraft will be over and he'll be back on the road. Her time with Michael has brought her happiness, but will she be able to follow her heart? Or will she be faced with the one thing she’s sure she'll never have the courage to do?

My thoughts: We all deal with life's hard blows differently. In The Proposal at Siesta Key, Penny's family deals with their loss by wanting to keep Penny close by. When she has the chance to break free, even for just an evening, Penny's life starts to go down an unexpected path.
I thought that this book was interesting! I've noticed it in some of her other books, that the secondary characters are well developed, and I like that she brings back characters from the other book/books in a series, making it like you are a visiting friend and catching up on all the happenings. This book is a sweet story that also does a great job of dealing with loss and moving past tragedy.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

While My Soldier Serves

Prayers for those with loved ones in the military

While My Soldier Serves offers prayers and scripture references for the person at home to pray for the soldier they love and for themselves as they wait. With over 2.3 million active and reserve military personnel, there are that many families who are waiting at home and praying for their well being. While My Soldier Serves features 111 prayers for their soldier and 53 prayers for the one who waits at home. These thoughtful, specific prayers target the needs soldiers face every day such as for wisdom, strength, faith, protection, encouragement, comfort, and their team. Prayers for the one who waits at home include fear, loneliness, patience, faith, strength, and community. Written so that it can be used by anyone who loves a soldier, it is perfect for parents, spouses, friends, or even groups who band together to pray for our soldiers. Foreword by Todd Starnes, best-selling author and contributor to Fox News.

My thoughts: I very much enjoyed this book and the reminder to pray for our troops. Each devotional is a specific prayer that also has a lovely quote with it. Whether you have family in the military or not, this book is a wonderful resource that calls us to lift our military up in prayer. With loved ones who have served through the years, I know that it was a wonderful experience for me to go through this book.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Love's Rescue

When her mother dies, Elizabeth Benjamin heads home to Key West, determined to transform herself into the perfect Southern belle her parents always wished her to be. But nothing goes according to plan. Her crippled brother resents her, the servants do not obey her, and Rourke O'Malley, the dashing man she vowed to forget, refuses to relinquish his hold on her heart. Worst of all, it becomes painfully obvious that her father is not the upright man he appears to be.

As family secrets come to light, Elizabeth is faced with a difficult choice: to do her duty and abandon her dreams, or to leave her life of privilege behind to chase the man her father sees as little better than a pirate.

From the first emotional page, author Christine Johnson throws readers into a world of impossible choices, hidden desires, and heart-melting romance in the steamy south. Readers will cheer for Elizabeth and Rourke as they battle the odds and the elements to secure their future.

My thoughts: This is a fascinating book! I didn't know a lot about what the Florida Keys were like in the mid 1800's, so it was interesting to read about how it would of been like for a young woman of society living in the Keys during then. Christine Johnson does a wonderful job of bringing to life the hardships of slavery in the Keys and the interesting job of being a wrecker in the reefs. The characters were interesting and I look forward to seeing if they show up in the rest of the series!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Shadow of the Mountain; Exodus

Caleb and Joshua Roar to Life in this High-Impact Old Testament Saga

Two men were brave enough to tell the truth about what awaited the Hebrews in Canaan. This is their story. From the slave pits of Egypt to the efforts of an eighty-five-year-old Caleb as he drives out the last of the giants, Shadow of the Mountain is a vivid portrait of two of God's chosen champions, and a meditation on masculine mentorship and the challenges and blessings of growing older.

For the sake of his new God and his loyalty to his friend Joshua, Caleb will not spend his twilight years resting, but taking the battle to the enemies of God's people until his dying breath. From his early days as a mercenary for Pharaoh in Egypt watching the Hebrews suffer under the yoke of slavery, all the way through a desperate fight with giants in the dark forests of the hill country, this is a story filled with epic battles, gritty intensity, and supernatural events that made Graham's Lion of War series a hit. Shadow of the Mountain is sure to ignite a love for the Old Testament in popular culture.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this book immensely, since it really brings to life Caleb from the Bible. Graham does a fabulous job of filling in the details (which, while fictional are very believable) of Caleb's life and what made him the man we recognize from the scriptures. I think this book is especially great for those who like military stories, since Caleb was a warrior.
One of my favorite things about this book? It shows how, no matter what your age is, you can still serve the Lord.
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Take Ten to the Beach

This week, the Top Ten subject is ten reads that I would put in my beach bag. I have the bag, and the books. I just need the beach now!;)
1. Love Arrives in Pieces

2. Justice Burning

3. The First Principle

4. Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor

5. The Charity Chip

6. Desperate Measures

7. Empires End

8. Face to Face with Jesus

9. Hands Free Mama

10. The Tomb

What books would be in your beach bag?

As Waters Gone By

How can a marriage survive when separated by hundreds of miles and impenetrable prison walls?

Emmalyn and Max Ross may have to endure the fight of their lives to mend the tattered fabric of their marriage. His actions ensured she could never be a mother and put him in prison, giving their relationship a court-mandated five-year time-out. On a self-imposed exile to beautiful but remote Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior, Emmalyn has just a few months left to figure out if and how they can ever be a couple again.

Nudged along by the exuberant owner of the Wild Iris Inn and Café, a circle of misfit people in their small town, and a young girl who desperately needs someone to love her, Emmalyn restores an island cottage that could become a home and begins to restore her heart by learning what it means to love unconditionally. Yet even as hope begins to find a place within the cottage walls, Emmalyn still wonders if she’s ready for Max’s release. She may be able to rebuild a cottage, but can she rebuild a marriage?

My thoughts: This is the first book that I have read by this author. I've looked at them a time or two, but never taken the time to sit down and read one of her titles. I am so glad that I received this one to review! The story was different, in a good way. I like that she builds the story, rather than giving you all the information about the characters at once. The secondary characters are amazing and full of depth, which is a huge plus in my book! I also really enjoyed her descriptive way of writing. And, the story itself was amazing! Two thumbs up!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Once Upon a Summertime

Managing the Value Lodge in her hometown was not what Anna Gordon had in mind when she set out in the hospitality industry. But it's a safe choice for a woman whose childhood was anything but stable. Out of the blue, she gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reinvent herself by moving to New York City, where she hopes for a management position at a stylish new boutique hotel. The big city is full of surprises--not the least of which is Sean O'Neil. Her childhood crush has applied for the very same position!

My thoughts: I generally enjoy Melody's stories, since they are a nice, sweet read. Once Upon a Summertime is a fun story about a young woman who gets the opportunity to leave her small world behind for the big city, which is a fun story to read. I liked getting to know Anna and the other characters. Though, I did feel like the ending was a bit rushed. I would of liked a little more development in the story. That said though, I still enjoyed it and seeing how Anna fared with all the changes that happened during the course of the story. If you are looking for a nice, light summer read, then this is the book for you!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Who's the New Kid?

At nine years old, Breanna Bond weighed a whopping 186 pounds. Just walking up the stairs to her room was a challenge. Her legs chafed to the point of bleeding from rubbing against each other, and her school days were filled with taunts of “Hey, Fatty!” Breanna’s mom, Heidi, was devastated and wondered, "How can I get my daughter healthy again?"

Who’s the New Kid? shows readers how Heidi helped her daughter lose weight without the aid of fad diets, medication, or surgery and how other parents can do the same with their kids.

In just over a year, Heidi’s plan worked! Breanna dropped 40 percent of her body weight and was transformed from a morbidly obese child who spent her days in front of the TV eating chips and chocolate to a vibrant, healthy, energetic little girl.

Filled with helpful diagnostic tools, easy-to-make recipes, eye-opening nutritional information, fun exercise ideas, and practical tips and advice, Who’s the New Kid? will not only show parents how to help their kids lose weight naturally but also introduce them to simple, yet effective lifestyle changes that will benefit the entire family.

My thoughts: Obesity, especially in children, is such a big deal right now. I think it is a good thing, when it comes to teaching children to eat healthy foods and get out and play (though I do think there can be a fine line in making sure your children are healthy and not obsessed about weight. But, I digress). In Heidi Bond's book, she shares about her journey to change her way of cooking at home and how that helped to get her daughter to lose weight and become a healthy, normal child. Heidi is honest about the struggles they faced and how they got to the point of having a daughter who started having health problems due to her weight. I love how her solution is fairly simple. Two thumbs up!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Dare to Answer

is only one of the questions Jesus asks.

When Jesus asked a question, the answer was seldom easy and often life-changing. These eight questions, from Why are you so afraid? to Do you truly love Me? will challenge anyone who is willing to answer. Each chapter engages and encourages the reader to think and see how much more there is to be found in a deep relationship with the Savior.

My thoughts: I like how this little book takes 8 questions that Jesus asked and applies them to us today. Each question is accompanied with scriptures to reflect on, ways to apply the question to one's own life, and thoughts to think on. This book is easy to read through, since the author writes about experiences and includes quotes from friends and well loved authors. I think that my personal favorite would be the chapter/question "Why are you so afraid?".
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Three Heavens


John Hagee's breathtaking biblical tour of the three heavens takes you inside the timeless clash between the Kingdom of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness and explains why that battle makes all the difference in this world and the world to come.

In The Three Heavens, Hagee uses the Word of God, science, and incredible true stories of the supernatural to explore the First Heaven. He then exposes Satan's diabolical tactics in the Second Heaven and how they affect each one of us. Finally, he looks at the deep riches of the Third Heaven and how our hope of that eternal home changes our life on earth.

This book brings the very real spiritual battle to life. John Hagee shares Biblical based information about this battle, including the personal encounters that he has had through counseling with demons and the accounts of people who have died and caught a glimpse of what is to come after this life.
I appreciate that he calls out some of the things we do that allow Satan a foothold in our lives, through the books we read to the things we watch and listen to.
This book is a wonderful reminder of what we should be living for, that this life is only a small taste of what is to come.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Take Ten

This week, Broke and Bookish's Top Ten is a freebie, so I think I will go with top ten characters that would be fun family members.
1. Mr. Knightley

He would be an amazing older brother! (I always wanted a kind, older brother)

2. Lucy Pevensie
I have a soft spot for Lucy and would love to have ger as a cousin.

3. & 4. Fred and George Weasley
Obviously, these two are great cousin material! They would probably be a bit much to take as brothers, but their pranks and humor would be fun to have at family reunions.;)

5. Lizzie Bennet
Another sister or cousin is where I would put Lizzie. With her sarcasm and wit, she would be fun to have as a relative and friend.

This list is to be continued.:-)
Who would be on your top ten list?

The Amazing Make Ahead Baby Food Book

Perfect for busy parents, Dr. Lisa Barrangou’s innovative plan features instructions for preparing, freezing, and effortlessly combining puree “building blocks” into quick, tasty meals. With fun combinations like Peachy Strawberry Salad, Coconutty Mango Lassi, Plum-Gingered Brocco-Quinoa, and Purple Papaya Flax Yogurt, The Amazing Make-Ahead Baby Food Book will help your baby cultivate an adventurous palate while providing a rainbow of nutrients.

My thoughts: I love how simple this book makes preparing baby food! The recipes are a lot of fun, since they are colorful, easy to follow, and have great ingredients. With this cookbook, parents can easily maneuver making their own baby food for little tots. I like that it starts out with simple recipes for when a child first starts eating solid foods, then has recipes that are great finger foods for toddlers (and adults;)). This book shows how easy it is to make baby food, and to do it ahead to have on hand. If you are looking to make your own baby food, then this is a great book for you!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Never Say No

The question Mark and Jan Foreman are most often asked is: How did you raise your kids?

Mark and Jan Foreman’s adult sons Jon and Tim Foreman of Switchfoot have influenced their world not only by a successful music career but also through their positive impact on communities around the globe. The Foreman parents instilled in their sons a belief that they could make a difference by living beyond themselves.

This powerful book gives readers an inside look at the process. It begins with both parent and child finding their identity in God. It then explores practical ways to encourage holistic learning while cultivating specific gifts, nurturing creativity in a media-saturated culture, and balancing structure with individual choice. Never Say No inspires readers to raise children to live in the wonder of life by loving others well. Parents will find encouragement for their own parenting journey as they guide their kids to live out God’s purpose in radical ways.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this parenting book! It is written in a great style for busy parents, this book is filled with great ideas on how to parent creatively, raising kids to best use their unique gifts. I love some of their creative ideas on how to make family dinners and time together as a family more fun and meaningful! They use a great combination of personal experiences, stories, and scriptures to bring home important points.
This is a wonderful parenting tool that I will return to again and again.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Liam Darcy, I Loathe You

Lizzie, Nila, Alice, Cate, Vivian, and Fiona- six girls about to begin a writing assignment that changes everything. From cute crushes to dances and dresses, they're recording it all, and so is their teacher. This modern makeover of Jane Austen's beloved novels follows your favorite stories in a high school setting. Perfect for new fans and devoted Austenites alike!

My thoughts: What a fun idea to have a re-telling of Jane Austen's stories! I love the idea of having a lot of the characters all in one story. And, in high school to boot.;) Heidi Jo Doxey does a fabulous job of bringing to life some of the best characters ever written and presenting them in a fun way for new readers. I had fun trying to figure out who was who (some of the characters are easier to figure out than others!), though if you aren't familiar with Jane Austen's books, then there is a "cheat sheet" in the back to encourage readers to read the actual stories and find out more about the characters.
The only downside is that there is a little bit of mild language in the story. It is minor though, and doesn't take away from the story.
I look forward to reading more of the Jane Journals!
I received this book from Cedar fort in exchange for my honest review.


Peter Ryan wakes up on a typical morning only to find his house empty, his wife and daughter nowhere to be found. His world is shattered after a phone call to a friend confirms the impossible: his wife and daughter died in a car accident he does not remember. Haunted by faint memories and flashes of details, Peter becomes convinced that something isn’t right and begins to question reality. When he discovers a note in his daughter’s handwriting, strange memories begin to surface that cause him to second-guess nearly everything he once believed. Suddenly armed men show up at Peter’s home, turning the mysterious puzzle of his past into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. On the run and unsure whom to trust, Peter has to discover what’s real and what isn’t . . . before he loses everything.

My thoughts: This one had my full attention from the get go! Just like his other books, this one is a suspenseful ride as you try to figure out what in the world is going on with Peter Ryan's memories. He does a wonderful job of keeping the pace up and leaving readers guessing up to the end. My only warning is that the book does have a lot of dead bodies, which was a bit much for me at times. Otherwise, though, it is an interesting read that will have you looking over your shoulder!
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Ian Quicksilver

Nerdy foster kid Ian just found out it’s up to him to save the galaxy. But the only way he can do it is with help from the hottest girl in school, Arianna—who doesn’t remember that she and Ian are exiles from another planet—or that they’re betrothed. So . . . that’s awkward. Funny and full of twists, this is one sci-fi adventure you won’t want to miss!

My thoughts: This is a fun, quirky story of a scrawny high school boy who comes to discover that there is more to him than just being an unwanted kid in the foster system. As he finds out more about his quest to save his home planet, he discovers that there is more to him than anyone could imagine.
I liked this story! It is a quirky one, but I mean that in a good way, since it is nice to have a story that isn't terribly predictable. Ian is both funny and awkward, but kind of loveable at the same time. I found this story to be quite imaginative! The only warning I will put on it is that there is some mild language. Oh, and that it leaves you wondering what will happen next!;) I look forward to the next book!
I received this book from Cedar fort in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Keep It Real and Grab a Plunger

Learn how to overcome your natural manipulative, authoritarian tendencies and foster your child’s self-discipline, respect, and emotional maturity. Humorous, insightful, and authentic, this book will get you through the sticky stuff with grace so you can enjoy those parenting moments that make it all worth it.

My thoughts: I just had to review this book when I saw the title of it, since sometimes parenting can be about trying to survive (I don't mean this in a bad way!).;) I love the practical information in this book that helps parents to connect with their kids and help instill good values. I like her ideas for making meal time fun and a chance to connect with your kids and spouse. I also appreciate her thoughts on raising kids in a technology savvy world, how to make sure that they don't have an addiction to social media and teaching them the importance of having meaningful conversations and relationships.
This is an excellent resource for parents!
I received this book from Cedar fort in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Choosing

“Not to be Chosen would yield a cruel fate of my own making.”
Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for—her Choosing ceremony—would end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.

But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. The whispers contradict everything she’s been told; yet they resonate deep within.

Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, but she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.

My thoughts: I was curious to see what a Christian dystopian story would be like, since a lot of the popular ones out there would have a whole new dimension to them if there was a religious overtone or message of hope at the end. This one was interesting, and I thought that the writing was well done. I would of liked for the story to be less predictable, but Rachelle does a wonderful job of building her own dystopian world and making it come alive. While parts of the story remind me of some of her father's (Ted Dekker) stories, she still has her own unique voice and I thought she did a great job of presenting a different kind of dystopian world. One where women are raised for very distinct roles. I look forward to seeing where the next book takes the characters! (I hope there will be some happy endings in store;)) I look forward to some of the characters personalities being more developed.
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

A Heart's Danger

On the brink of war with the Sioux, Sarah risks everything to expose the betrayal threatening the man she loves.
Christmas is coming, and the air at Fort Laramie has turned cold . . . but relations with the Sioux have turned colder. As tensions between soldiers and natives approach a tipping point, a trap has been set for Rand Campbell.
Rand’s new fiancée wants to keep him from returning to Sarah Montgomery . . . for whom his heart clearly still yearns.
Sarah just wants to move on with her life at Fort Laramie, but doing so under the watchful eyes of both Campbell—the man whose love she craves—and Croftner—the man whose lies have cost her everything.
Will Rand fall victim to the conspiracy and go through with his wedding? Or will he declare his love for Sarah and make good on the promises that brought her into the rugged western territories?

My thoughts: The latest installment of Sarah and Rand's story is filled with several twists and turns! I found the history in the story interesting, since I find the Frontier period of American history fascinating (thank you, Little Hoyse books :-)). I think this is my favorite book out of the three so far! I look forward to reading where the characters go from here.
I received this book from lit fuse in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Love like Ours

Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake’s childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion’s reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake’s will, Lyndie’s sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he’d thought he’d lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

My thoughts: With A Love Like Ours, Becky Wade brings readers another heartwarming story of love. I would almost call it an impossible love story, since Jake is dealing with his scars from his days as a Marine and time has separated he and Lyndie, who were best friends in childhood. When Lyndie shows up looking for a job, she must work hard to find the young boy she remembers from childhood in the scarred young man before her. I love the message of hope and love that is in the story! Two thumbs up!
I received this book from Lit Fuse in exchange for my honest review.

Top Ten

This weeks Top Ten meme subject over at the Broke and Bookish is top ten authors I would love to meet. I have to admit, I may be cheating, but I picked 6 living authors and 4 authors who are no longer living.

1. Laura Ingles Wilder
I've mentioned before how much I enjoyed her books as a child. So, it would of been amazing to meet her!

2. Betsy St. Amant
Her new book, Love Arrives in Pieces, just came in today. Her previous book was a fun one and Betsy looks like a fun person!

3. J.K Rowling
Because anyone who creates such an imaginative world must be interesting to talk to.;)

4. Tracy Higley
I would love to hear about her travels!

5.Jane Austen
From what I have read, I feel like I would either of really liked Miss Austen or that her humor would of done me in.;)

6. Elizabeth Camden
I would love to hear about the stories behind her tales.

7. Louisa May Alcott
Another childhood favorite!

8. Julie Klassen
Her stories are lovely!

9. Elizabeth Gaskell
I love how she wrote about social issues of the time.

10. Patrick Carr
I loved his The Staff and the Stone series!

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Discover a happier you in this beginner’s guide to a healthy lifestyle!

There’s more than cookery in this cookbook! Give your body what it wants and your taste buds what they’re craving with these mouthwatering morsels.

Kale, Potato, and Smoked Gouda QuicheShoestring Garlic Parsnip FriesSpicy Quinoa CakesVegan Caramel Cheesecake BitesGreen Piña Colada


Of course you’ll get lots of delicious recipes and meal plans—free from processed foods, gluten, and sugar. But you’ll also find yoga “recipes,” step-by-step exercise routines, and Pilates photos to nurture your mental and spiritual health too.

My thoughts: Christi dors a wonderful job of presenting easy, healthy recipes for those looking to eat a better diet. I love that she incorporates so many great ingredients into this cookbook! There is something for everyone, from healthy snack alternatives to secret sauces. And, of course the main dishes and desserts!
Each recipe is paired with a yoga or Pilates routine, which makes it easy to get started. Two thumbs up!
I received this book from Cedar fort in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Called to be Amish

Fewer than one hundred outsiders have joined the Old–Order Amish—and stayed—since 1950. Marlene C. Miller is one of them.

In this rare memoir, Marlene recounts her unhappy and abusive childhood, how she throws herself into cheerleading and marching band, and how she falls in love with Johnny, the gentle young Amish man who helps her lace her ice skates.

Against the wishes of both sets of parents, Marlene and Johnny get married and begin a family. Follow the author on this unusual journey to find out how God’s love called her out of bitterness and depression and into the warm embrace of her new Amish community.

Accompany her as she dons an Amish dress and prayer covering and gets baptized. Learn how she endures the strain of ten children, a hundred-acre farm, and accidents and tragedy, and find out how she comes close to walking away from it all. Turning Amish has proven to be anything but plain and simple for this former majorette. But nearly fifty years later, Marlene is still living out God’s call as an Old Order Amish woman.

My thoughts: While I enjoyed this story of an Englisher who decided to join the Amish due to finding love in their community, I felt like the story rambled a bit. That said, it is a interesting and sad story of a woman who has seen and gone through a lot in her lifetime. The reader is invited to feel Marlene's struggles and triumphs as she adapts to a different, simpler way of life.
I find it interesting that so few have converted to the Amish way of life in the last 65 years! I guess I can see that it is harder to compete with technology and modern amenities, since the gap between their way of life and the world's has grown a lot in recent years. I admire people who live simpler lives, like the Amish, though I think it would be hard. I enjoyed reading about Marlene's experience!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Heart Sisters

Heart Sisters is for women who want to both be and have better friends and want a helpful guide to take them through the process.

Author Natalie Chambers Snapp uses her own and others’ stories of successes and failures to illustrate what she has learned about girlfriend relationships. Healthy boundaries, honesty, tact, sharing, and agape love all play a part in being and maintaining a circle of close confidants. She also deals with the inevitable challenges that face many relationships including how to handle conflict; life changes like a new baby, move or divorce; and when it is right to “break-up” with your friend.

Discussion questions, space to journal, photos, and quick interviews of healthy female friendships are included within each chapter.

My thoughts: If you are looking for a book to help you develop your friendships more, than this is the book for you! I enjoyed Natalie's honesty about the friendships she has had over the years. Filled with personal experience and Scriptures, this book is a wonderful tool for women to use to deepen their relationships with friends.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Adventures of Pajama Girl

The Book:
A cute, illustrated story about a girl's imagination and her magical pajamas. In this adventure, Ellie's cupcake pajamas pave the way for she and her Sis to take a journey to a land filled with all kinds of sweet treats. Their journey quickly turns into an adventure to help the Cupcake Queen find the missing sprinkles needed for her coronation ceremony. In searching for the missing sprinkles, Ellie and Sis uncover a life lesson that is important for every child to learn.

The Author:
Sandra Hagee Parker lives in San Antonio with her husband, Ryan, and their daughters, Olivia and Elliana - the original pajama girls. A practicing attorney, Sandy is also a part of the music ministry at Cornerstone Church where she and her husband are leaders. When not working or writing, Sandy enjoys traveling with her family and mastering the art of making Pancakes a la Pajama Girl with her two girls.

My thoughts: My daughter and I very much enjoyed reading this book together! It is a cute story that has an important message at the root of the story. The book is a good length for little ones (aka short attention spans), and the illustrations are adorable!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

As Love Blooms

1913. Tessa Gregory has studied horticulture and wants to work for the St. Paul, Minnesota park system. Rejected by the superintendent because of her gender, Tess meets gardener Reese King, who sees Tessa’s designs and realizes he and Tessa can help each other. Tessa dresses like a boy, and the two create a garden with Tessa’s plans. Romance blooms between adventurous Tessa and grounded Reese. Meanwhile, Tessa’s widowed Aunt Sam begins dating an old friend, but the two are on opposite sides of the woman’s suffrage movement – can love overcome such a divide?

My thoughts: The early 1900's were an interesting time for women, as they struggled to find employment outside of the home and fought for the opportunity to vote. I love that this book is set in such a historically memorable time!
Tessa is a fun character who has plenty of spunk, which she needs in order to find a job in her chosen profession: horticulture. With her older sisters examples from the first and second Gregory Sister books (one is a lawyer and another a chef), Tessa finds her place in society, uncovering love and adventure along the way!
While this is the third book in the series, I found that you can still enjoy the book if you jump in here (which is what I did;)). There are references to her sisters stories, and they both play decent roles in this book, which is fun for readers who have read the whole series.
If you are looking for a fun, historical read, then check this book out!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Robin's Reward Giveaway!

Bonita Creek’s librarian Robin Bennett is heartbroken after being abandoned by her husband, Thomas. The mysterious and handsome Jeff Clarke arrives unexpectedly and touches Robin’s life with his wit and warmth. Then, without warning, Jeff’s harsh words and abrasive actions scare her off, and Robin’s hope of finding true love withers again.
Just when it seems Robin and Jeff might have a future, Susan Stinson, whose cruel taunting has plagued Robin since they met as young teens, decides Jeff should be hers, not Robin’s. Susan’s anger and jealousy escalate dangerously. Her vindictiveness threatens the foundation of Jeff and Robin’s young relationship.
Robin’s journey through the peaks and valleys of her life meanders along the twists and turns of new challenges. Is a relationship which began with both parties harboring secrets destined to survive? Can they move past their troubles and the obstacles in their path to find love and happiness together? When their pasts rear their ugly heads, Jeff and Robin must use their faith to remain strong and true. But will it be enough for them to embrace a life of love, trials, and blessings . . . together?

I recently had the chance to read and review this book, and found it to be a sweet story filled with likeable characters. So, I am excited to offer this giveaway! Just leave a comment for me with an email address, and the winner will receive an electronic version of the book. If you would prefer to win a print copy, then be sure to check out the giveaway on the author's site

Parenting Book Trailer "Keep it Real and Grab a Plunger: 25 tips for sur...

The Art of Losing Yourself

Just like in my dream, I was drowning and nobody even noticed.

Every morning, Carmen Hart pastes on her made-for-TV smile and broadcasts the weather. She’s the Florida panhandle’s favorite meteorologist, married to everyone’s favorite high school football coach. They’re the perfect-looking couple, live in a nice house, and attend church on Sundays. From the outside, she’s a woman who has it all together. But on the inside, Carmen Hart struggles with doubt. She wonders if she made a mistake when she married her husband. She wonders if God is as powerful as she once believed. Sometimes she wonders if He exists at all. After years of secret losses and empty arms, she’s not so sure anymore.

Until Carmen’s sister—seventeen year old runaway, Gracie Fisher—steps in and changes everything. Gracie is caught squatting at a boarded-up motel that belongs to Carmen’s aunt, and their mother is off on another one of her benders, which means Carmen has no other option but to take Gracie in. Is it possible for God to use a broken teenager and an abandoned motel to bring a woman’s faith and marriage back to life? Can two half-sisters make each other whole?

My thoughts: I think Katie Ganshert's books get better and better! I love her characters and the way she brings them and their stories to life. This book is a beautiful tale of loss and the different ways we deal with it. I love that there is hope at the foundation of the story, though it isn't given in an unrealistic, cheesy way. I like that they are like real life. This story is a new favorite!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Pharoah's Daughter

“You will be called Anippe, daughter of the Nile. Do you like it?” Without waiting for a reply, she pulls me into her squishy, round tummy for a hug.
I’m trying not to cry. Pharaoh’s daughters don’t cry.
When we make our way down the tiled hall, I try to stop at ummi Kiya’s chamber. I know her spirit has flown yet I long for one more moment. Amenia pushes me past so I keep walking and don’t look back.
Like the waters of the Nile, I will flow.

Anippe has grown up in the shadows of Egypt’s good god Pharaoh, aware that Anubis, god of the afterlife, may take her or her siblings at any moment. She watched him snatch her mother and infant brother during childbirth, a moment which awakens in her a terrible dread of ever bearing a child. Now she is to be become the bride of Sebak, a kind but quick-tempered Captain of Pharaoh Tut’s army. In order to provide Sebak the heir he deserves and yet protect herself from the underworld gods, Anippe must launch a series of deceptions, even involving the Hebrew midwives—women ordered by Tut to drown the sons of their own people in the Nile.
When she finds a baby floating in a basket on the great river, Anippe believes Egypt’s gods have answered her pleas, entrenching her more deeply in deception and placing her and her son Mehy, whom handmaiden Miriam calls Moses, in mortal danger.
As bloodshed and savage politics shift the balance of power in Egypt, the gods reveal their fickle natures and Anippe wonders if her son, a boy of Hebrew blood, could one day become king. Or does the god of her Hebrew servants, the one they call El Shaddai, have a different plan—for them all?

My thoughts: This story is an incredible new perspective on the life of Moses and his times! Told through the eyes of his adopted mother, who was the Pharoah's daughter, this book adds detail and historical depth to the Israelite slavery in Egypt. While this book is loaded with history, it is fascinating! It was a tad dry at times, but I still found it fascinating. It is especially interesting if you enjoy history and learning more about Biblical times. I very much enjoyed the story and characters, both of which are excellent.
I received this book from blogging for books in exchange for my honest review.

Take Ten

This week's Broke and Bookish top ten meme is books that I can't see myself reading. This was actually kind of a hard one, since there are a lot of books that haven't caught my interest up to this point, but I can see reading them in the future.
1. Twilight
To each their own, but this book has never interested me. I think, from what I have heard, her style of writing would drive me nuts as well.

2.New Moon

3. Eclipse

4. Breaking Dawn
I have to admit, I was glad when the last movie came out, so all the hype was over.;)

5. Shades of Grey
This book sounds wrong on so many different levels. I think it is degrading to women. I don't want my daughter to grow up and think that the relationship the main characters have is anything to aspire to. There is nothing redeeming about the story or the way the author writes.

6. Catcher in the Rye
I just don't think I would relate to the story very well.

7. The Maze Runner
I watched the movie and found it semi depressing, so I have no desire to read the books and find out where the story goes as the series progresses.

8. Atlas Shrugged
I just thought I wanted to read this one...

9. The da Vinci Code
I don't have anything against popular books as a general rule, but somehow, a lot of them have made it onto my list!

10. Ulysses
This is another one that I just don't see myself enjoying anytime soon.

What books made it on to your list?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Robin's Reward

Bonita Creek’s librarian Robin Bennett is heartbroken after being abandoned by her husband, Thomas. The mysterious and handsome Jeff Clarke arrives unexpectedly and touches Robin’s life with his wit and warmth. Then, without warning, Jeff’s harsh words and abrasive actions scare her off, and Robin’s hope of finding true love withers again.

Just when it seems Robin and Jeff might have a future, Susan Stinson, whose cruel taunting has plagued Robin since they met as young teens, decides Jeff should be hers, not Robin’s. Susan’s anger and jealousy escalate dangerously. Her vindictiveness threatens the foundation of Jeff and Robin’s young relationship.

Robin’s journey through the peaks and valleys of her life meanders along the twists and turns of new challenges. Is a relationship which began with both parties harboring secrets destined to survive? Can they move past their troubles and the obstacles in their path to find love and happiness together? When their pasts rear their ugly heads, Jeff and Robin must use their faith to remain strong and true. But will it be enough for them to embrace a life of love, trials, and blessings . . . together?

"Robin's Reward, a sweet romance with great characters, is as refreshing as a walk among flowers."
Author Rebecca H. Jamison, Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-Day Tale


Chapter One

"I’m as hot and sticky as the center of a freshly-roasted campfire marshmallow, Miss Praise.”

Perspiration trickled past Robin’s sunburned neck, under her collar, and down her back. Her blouse was plastered to her skin.

“I’m not feeling very feminine or lady-like in this condition, if you catch my drift. This brings us to my next question. What was I thinking starting up with this garden renovation project on the hottest March afternoon ever recorded in Bonita Creek? Am I nuts? Wait—don’t answer that.”

Some sympathy from Miss Praise, like purring or even winding herself around Robin’s legs, would’ve been comforting. Instead, the elderly tabby was dozing comfortably in her cozy quiltlined basket on the shaded porch. Robin was drained from tangling with her vintage hydrangea bush for the past four hours.

She’d read gardening was great exercise, but it gave Robin’s thoughts too many chances to wander. She dreaded those dark, dreary spaces in her mind permanently occupied by unhappy memories and heart-wrenching regrets. Since she wasn’t accomplishing much anyway, she released her shovel to take a break with a refreshing glass or two of her favorite iced tea. She straightened up and stretched her aching arms over her head.

“I’m parched, how about you? Want something cold to drink?” She spoke in the direction of the faded gray cat. Apparently, Miss Praise had heard enough of Robin’s whining. The cat yawned, stretched, flicked her tail, and hopped daintily out of her basket. She lumbered down the brick path to seek refuge in the peaceful back garden. Naturally, Robin hadn’t expected Miss Praise to respond, but talking to the cat helped her feel connected to her Grandma Estelle. The older woman had passed on a few years ago and Robin still ached for her grandmother’s presence. She kneaded her fatigued lower back with her knuckles and sighed deeply.

As she untied the ribbon of her straw hat and shook out her damp curly hair, Robin sensed someone’s gaze. A prickly feeling caused her to rotate her body where she came face-to-face with an unfamiliar—but attractive—man. A hint of amusement lit up his clean-shaven face as he stood on the walkway in front of her garden gate. When the stranger chuckled, Robin’s damp cheeks flamed scarlet. She wondered how long he’d been standing there listening to her grunt and groan and, well, whine.

Since he couldn’t possibly have seen Miss Praise, he probably assumed Robin had been talking to herself. Swell. Just another example of the truckload of awkward moments in life when Robin wished she could vanish on demand. Speaking through clenched teeth, she attempted to use humor to cover up her self-consciousness.

“Instead of breaking your neck staring at me, how about making yourself useful by helping me dig up this stubborn hydrangea?” Her embarrassment grew when the stranger’s sole response was a chorus of boisterous laughter. Lord, please get me out of here—now! Robin’s humiliation took over her common sense, and her sole goal was to flee. Grabbing her garden hat, she slammed it onto the gate post as she wrenched off her work gloves and tossed them on the ground near her birdbath. The sound of the man’s hearty laughter echoing in her ears brought her lifelong dislike of being the object of teasing and taunting racing to the surface.

Like most school children, she’d suffered through her share of teasing and even some bullying. Truth be told, she was still occasionally bullied by a former classmate, Susan Stinson, almost ten years after they’d graduated. Robin had expected—and hoped—in her current stage of life, halfway between twenty-five and thirty, she would’ve overcome this affliction. The scorching feeling in her cheeks told her otherwise. I so do not want to deal with this guy.

Attempting to give the illusion of self-confidence, Robin lengthened her spine and held her chin high as she stalked toward her cottage. In the safety of her cottage’s interior she’d find the solace and peace she was seeking. Far too often in the past she’d allowed her pride and confidence to be battered by a male. Okay, one male in particular. She vowed to handle her reaction in the current situation differently. She was determined to spare herself one more millisecond of humiliation. Today I’m going to stand up to my tormentors. All right, so maybe this stranger isn’t exactly tormenting me. Still, everyone knows laughing at a lady isn’t polite.

Robin wasn’t going to stand there and let some stranger, however handsome he might be— and this guy was definitely above-average in the looks department—laugh at her in her own garden. Hot, briny tears stung her eyes. Time seemed to slow down, and she couldn’t make it to the front door fast enough. Embarrassing incidents from her not so distant past charged to the forefront of her mind as she made her way up the front porch steps.


At the front gate, Jeff froze. He’d offended her. His body felt as if he’d just finished running five miles at a training pace, as it had been since he’d first happened upon the woman. His heart thundered in his ears when he’d first seen her, his vision honed in on a lovely brunette. She was hard at work in her garden on such an oppressive afternoon. He’d never seen anyone so focused on one task. She appeared to be in a frenzy, trying to free the roots of a bush from the sun-dried, hardened soil.

He had to admit, she looked as if she were accustomed to hard work. Strong, fit arms and legs peeked out from her short-sleeved blouse and khaki shorts. She sported a wide-brimmed hat and appeared unafraid of hard work if the sweaty sheen covering her neck and face were any kind of evidence. Smudges of dirt adorned her elbows, knees, and—he couldn’t help but notice—shapely calves.

He’d been walking through the streets surrounding his rental home. Historical architecture was one of his hobbies, and he was checking out the architectural styles located on the streets in this older section of Bonita Creek, California. He’d already identified Craftsman, Victorian, Italianate, Tudor, cottage, ranch, and bungalow style homes. His mind, locked on his thoughts, was jarred when he heard a frustrated voice asking why she was trying to renovate her garden on this hot afternoon. The voice held such conviction he stopped to see if the speaker was seeking his personal opinion. When he realized the sun-kissed gardener was alone in the garden, he became enthralled by her movements and the timbre of her voice.

Unsure of how long he’d been staring, Jeff was jerked out of his trance when the woman turned around and challenged him to come into the garden to help her dig up the bush. Embarrassed he’d been caught staring, his natural reaction was to laugh. Now the woman rushed away from him toward the door of the cottage dominating the center of the property.

This scenario was not unfolding as he wanted. He blamed his complete lack of understanding of women and their mysterious ways for this latest gaffe. Now you’ve done it. You are clueless, Clarke. He needed to come up with something witty and wise to redeem himself. Otherwise, he’d lose a chance to meet this fascinating gardener who had his curiosity.


My thoughts: This is a sweet story of two people trying to connect. It's a great, darling story that is perfect to curl up with on a rainy day (which has been what today has been like!). I enjoyed the author's novella before this and found that she did a wonderful job writing a full length story!

Award-winning author, June McCrary Jacobs, was the winner of Cedar Fort Publishing’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest for her debut novella, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’. ‘Robin’s Reward’ is her first full-length novel, and is set in her favorite location in California—the Mendocino coastal region. This book is the first installment of the ‘Bonita Creek Trilogy’.

June’s original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and blogs in the past few years. When she’s not writing, reading, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, and visiting art and history museums. She also enjoys touring historic homes and gardens and strolling around the many historic Gold Rush towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills. In the summertime you can find June at a variety of county fairs and the California State Fair admiring the sewing projects, quilts, and handiwork other inspired seamstresses, quilters, craftspeople, and artists have created.

June enjoys connecting with readers, authors, aspiring writers, bloggers, designers, sewers, quilters, and crafters. Please connect with June at the following platforms:

Website & Blog:

Facebook: Author Page:

Goodreads Author Page:

The Heart of the Amish

Everyone has been hurt. Everyone experiences conflict, great and small. Everyone has someone to forgive. But sometimes we just can't bring ourselves to forgive someone who has wronged us or we don't take the need to forgive seriously--not like the Amish do. Forgiving others in order to live at peace is woven into the very fabric of their faith. To the Amish way of thinking, "You can't love the stream without knowing the source. " We must forgive others, they believe, because God forgave us.

The Heart of the Amish invites readers into the world of a people renowned for their ability to forgive. Through true stories gathered from a variety of Amish communities, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher illustrates how they are able to release their pain and desire for revenge, and live at peace with others. Her in-depth, personal research uncovers the astounding yet fundamental way the Amish can forgive anyone from the angry customer at the grocery store to the shooter at Nickel Mines. Readers will learn how to invite God into their stories, apply lessons from the Amish to their own circumstances, and find the freedom that comes with true forgiveness.

My thoughts: This is a wonderful book filled with stories of the Amish and their way of extending forgiveness to one another and those outside their communities who have wronged them. From stories of little girls learning to play together to adults showing love to win others over to forgiving ourselves as parents when we don't handle situations with our children in the right way. Some of the stories are about every day forgiveness, while others have to do with forgiving those who cause great pain and tragedy. The thoughts that are included with the stories are beautiful and encouraging for the reader to take to heart the message of forgiveness.
I recveivd this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

No Place to Hide

It's not every day you see your childhood friend and onetime crush on national news. Jackie Sellers just wishes it were under different circumstances. She can't believe that Ian Lockwood is wanted in connection with a terrorist plot, and she's determined to find him and help him clear his name. Unfortunately, she's not the only one looking for him. The FBI wants him captured. The bad guys want him dead. Ian just wants to stay alive long enough to prove his innocence and prevent a catastrophe. 

Lynette Eason delivers nonstop action as Jackie and Ian travel a dangerous road--one that may lead straight to destruction. 

My thoughts: This is a delightful, suspenseful mystery that kept me up late reading! I love the premise of the story, with high school sweethearts meeting up again after years apart, and under interesting circumstances too! There are some fun twists to the story, as well. The characters are well developed and the story flows well. Two thumbs up!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.