Thursday, August 27, 2015

The New Sugar and Spice

Raise your desserts to a whole new level of flavor with The New Sugar & Spice, a collection of more than eighty unique, unexpected, and uniformly delicious recipes for spice-centric sweets. Veteran baker Samantha Seneviratne’s recipes will open your eyes to a world of baking possibilities: Her spicy, pepper-flecked Chile-Chocolate Truffles prove that heat and sweet really do go hand-in-hand, and a fresh batch of aromatic, cinnamon-laced Maple Sticky Buns will have the whole family racing into the kitchen.

Discover new recipes from around the globe, such as Sri Lankan Love Cake or Swedish-inspired Saffron Currant Braid. Or, give your classic standbys a bold upgrade, such as making Raspberry Shortcakes with zingy Double Ginger Biscuits. Filled with fascinating histories, origin stories, and innovative uses for the world’s most enticing spices—including vanilla, cinnamon, peppercorns, and cardamom —The New Sugar & Spice guarantees that dessert will be the most talked-about part of your meal.

My thoughts: What a fun cookbook! I love that Samantha Seneviratne takes recipes we are familiar with and add a new spin to them. I like that a lot of the spices are things most of us have in our spice cabinet but rarely use. The recipes are easy to follow and use a lot of basic ingredients, just in a whole new way. I love how she adds pistachios to chocolate chip cookies and apples to sticky date cake. I am having fun trying the recipes in this cookbook!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Scripture Princesses

Bring the scriptures to life for your little princess with this beautifully illustrated book featuring all her favorite scripture heroines. Each chapter tells the story of a different scripture princess, from Rachel and Leah to Abish and the Lamanite Queen, and even Emma. With women your little girl can look up to, this book makes a perfect present for baptisms, birthdays, or any occasion.

My thoughts: Most little girls are all about princesses when they are little. This sweet chapter book brings to life the lives of different women in the scriptures and focuses on their strengths. I love that each chapter focuses on a strength that the woman had, like being prayerful like Hannah, or brave like Queen Esther. The illustrations are lovely! If you are interested in a free printable for tiaras or a free coloring page of Miriam, among other goodies, be sure to check out Rebecca's site.
I received a copy of this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Take ten

My top ten list this week is made up of the top ten books I would have on my list if I taught a class on children's books.

1. Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett and Steve Cornell
This is such a fun book on counting!

2 . The Dot by Peter Reynolds
I love how this book shows that each of us express our creative side in a different way. And, it is a great book on the impact a good teacher has on their students.

3. Press Here by Hevre Tullet
This is an incredible, interactive book that teaches kids that reading is a blast!

4. Mix it up! by Hevre Tullet
Another wonderful, interactive book. This one is a fun way to teach kids about primary and secondary colors.

5. L, M, N, O Peas by Keith Baker
One of my very favorite books on teaching the alphabet, with it's adorable illustrations and rhymes.

6. The Day the Crayons Quit
I just love how imaginative this one is! And, a sequel recently came out, which I look forward to reading with my daughter.;)

7. The Museum by Susan Verde
This is a great book to introduce some famous art.

8. ABC verses 123 by Mike Boldt
I love this one! It is another fun way to teach the alphabet and counting.

9. Monsters Love Color by Mike Austin
This one teaches primary and secondary colors.

10. Are You a Cow? By Sandra Boynton
This one teaches animals in a fun way.;)

What would be on your list of kid books?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Until My Name is Known

The Exodus of the Jews from Egypt is a love story between God and His people. God woos His people to Himself as He prepares them to leave. Before leaving, God must fight Pharaoh for possession of His people. See how God changes all people: some for the better, others not. None stay the same. How will He change you? Can you trust a God Who destroyed a nation before your eyes? Would you want Him as your Friend?

See God free His people from Egypt’s bonds before a watching world. Trace His Finger in the lives He touches. The time: 2450 BC. The Place: Old Kingdom of Egypt where Pharaoh is god. His people worship him. Israel’s God arrives. He challenges Pharaoh. His power touches all people. They must change. Some do not concede. They suffer. Others yield. They find freedom.

Until My Name Is Known brings all to see the one true God. Read it to see Him. Today’s historians and archaeologists puzzle over the fall of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, But the world at that time heard of God. The world knew that He is the Lord. His Name was proclaimed in all the earth.

My thoughts: I thought that Sonya did a wonderful job bringing to life the story of Moses, Pharaoh, and the Hebrew people. The story is well researched and shows the story from different view points, some different than I have thought about. She did an excellent job bringing the Old Testament to life! I know a lot of research and thought went into the story and I appreciated that it made me look at a story I take for granted in a whole new light.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Flim Flam, and other such gobbledygook

It’s party time in the barnyard! But some of the animals don’t want to invite everyone. This adorable rhyming children’s book reminds us that little differences don’t matter and that we can be friends with everyone, even if we don’t all look the same. Contains fun words to read and has colorful illustrations. It’s a perfect bedtime book to enjoy again and again!

My thoughts: This one is a winner! My daughter has already had me read this aloud quite a few times, often wanting me to repeat the story multiple times in one setting.;) The colorful illustrations and important message about getting along despite differences are both wonderful. I like that the story has some new words for kids to learn, with a glossary in the back for kids to learn what those new and fun words mean.
I know that this will be a book we enjoy time and again!
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Bronte Plot

When Lucy's secret is unearthed, her world begins to crumble. But it may be the best thing that has ever happened to her.

Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious measures to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy's secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt, and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.

In a sudden turn of events, James's wealthy grandmother Helen hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy's predicament better than anyone else.

As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen's wisdom, as Helen confronts the ghosts of her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters' beloved heroines, who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of change.

Now Lucy must go back into her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that's been waiting for her all along.

My thoughts: It is no secret that I love Katherine Reay's stories, since they make it onto a lot of my Top Ten lists.;) With The Bronte Plot, she outdid herself! While I didn't always like the main character, she is real, interesting, and easy to grow to love as she faces her family's demons and the impact they have had on her life. I like that I can relate to Lucy and her love for reading. I finished this book feeling like I had made a new friend.;) And, I now have a new favorite book to add to my list! I especially enjoy that the reader doesn't always know where the story is going to go, and that the characters are so well developed that you half expect to pass them on the street. I can't recommend this book enough! The only downside is that the story is hard to put down.;)
I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

God Speaks

No matter how familiar or unfamiliar you are with the Bible, God Speaks will bring its timeless truth alive as you view it with fresh eyes and apply its restorative power to your life.

Far from a dusty old book of do’s and don’ts, the Bible is a relevant and eternal message of love and reconciliation that holds the power to shape society and transform lives. Dr. Craig Evans, a consultant on Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s blockbuster miniseries The Bible, unfolds Scripture with compelling clarity. God Speaks will equip you to provide answers to skeptics’ questions about the Bible’s true message.

By taking readers on a journey through each part of the Bible, God Speaks…

Examines the Bible as a force for progress in economics, justice, charity, and human rights
Explores the Bible’s power to shape culture and transform individual lives
Extols God’s deeply resonant message of forgiveness and hope for all
Equips readers with tools to understand Scripture to apply its ever-enduring precepts to daily living

My thoughts: This is an excellent book that will inspire readers to look at the Bible as a timeless classic, one that still applies to us today. I like that Dr. Evans starts in Genesis and works through the Bible with a simplicity that will inspire all ages to look at the Bible differently and to encourage the reader to go pick up the Scriptures and experience them for ourselves.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Justice Burning

Widowed Fire Investigator, Aidan McLeod determined never to fall in love again, but when he meets Morgan Daryl, a counselor and graphologist, he may have to change his mind – and soon, because Justice, Missouri is being terrorized by an arsonist and it’s up to Aidan to stop him before someone ends up dead.

My thoughts: While I had a harder time getting into this story than with April's previous ones, I still found it to be an interesting read. I love that there is mystery and romance in this story. The characters are well written, coming alive with their struggles and heartache as the story progresses. Not only are the main characters well written, but April also does a wonderful job of bringing to life the secondary characters, something I always appreciate in a story.;) I found myself laughing over some of the antics of Aiden's children!
I give this story a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It has a wonderful message that sticks with the readers after the last page.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Secrets She Kept

All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah determines to unlock the secrets of her mother’s mysterious past and is shocked to discover a grandfather living in Germany.

Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte’s father is quickly ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, and a proper marriage for his daughter could help advance his career. Lieselotte is in love—but her beloved Lukas is far from an ideal match, as he secretly works against the Reich. Yet Lieselotte never imagined how far her father would go to ensure her cooperation.

Both Hannah’s and Lieselotte’s stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who is hiding wartimes secrets of his own. Longing for connection, yet shaken by all she uncovers, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family’s tragic past and how their legacy will shape her future.

My thoughts: I was surprised how, for a Christian book, this story has a lot of the nadty side of war in it. I know war is nasty and shouldn't be sugar coated, but I felt like parts of this story could of been handled better. That said, it does show what the war was like. I did appreciate that Corrie Ten Boom has a part, since she is one of my hero's with her incredible message of forgiveness, which is shared in part in this story.
I think this book is a sad reminder of how horrible things can ruin the rest of our lives and future relationships, if we let them.
I give the book a 3 out of 5.
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Take Ten, Authors on my auto buy list

This week, the topic over at the Broke and Bookish is top ten authors on my auto buy list.;) (each author's name will take you to their page on Goodreads, you are interested in seeing what titles they have written)

My picks
1. Julie Klassen

2. Kristy Cambron

3. Jenny B. Jones

4. Lisa Wingate

5. Katherine Reay

6. Cathy Gohlke

My daughter's picks

7. Keith Baker

8. Mike Boldt

9. Sandra Boynton

10. Mo Willems

11. April Erwin

Glory Days

The wilderness. Maybe you know it well.

The Israelites sure did. After all, they spent forty years wandering the desert. Victories were scarce. Progress was slow. They were free from Pharaoh but not free from fear. Saved but stuck.

Sounds a lot like midlife misery. Caught in a rut. Stalled out. Running on empty. Are you mired in the same?

You can name the day you became a Christian and escaped Egypt. But you can’t remember the last time you defeated a temptation or experienced an answered prayer. You’re fighting the same battles you fought the day you came to Christ. You’re out of Egypt, but Egypt’s not out of you.

Isn’t the Christian life supposed to be better than this?

Jesus offers abundant joy. Yet you live with oppressive grief. The epistles speak of grace. You shoulder guilt. You are more than a conqueror yet are commonly conquered by temptation or weaknesses.

But there’s good news. With God’s help you can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be. Like Joshua and the Israelites, you can move from a wilderness existence into a promised inheritance.

This is God’s vision for your life. You, at full throttle. You, as you were intended. You, as victor over the Jerichos and giants. You, minus the stumbles, hurts, and hate.

You and your Promised Land life.

My thoughts: In the most recent book by popular author Max Lucado, he parallels the life of Joshua and the Israelites to that of church members. Most importantly, you and me. I love how Max started out talking about the percentage of church goers who are like Joshua, on fire for the Lord. The number was shockingly low! From there, he goes on to weave the Scriptures together with stories from his life and the lives of others, all fitting together nicely with the time of Joshua.
This is an excellent book that is a great addition to a personal library,
church library, or as a gift. I loved that it challenges readers to be better Christians.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Learning to See Creatively

Product Description

Completely revised and updated throughout, Bryan Peterson's classic guide to creativity helps photographers visualize their work, and the world, in a whole new light by developing their photographic vision. 
     Fully revised with 100 percent new photography, this best-selling guide takes a radical approach to creativity by explaining how it is not just an inherent ability but a skill that can be learned and applied. Using inventive photos from his own stunning portfolio, author and veteran photographer Bryan Peterson deconstructs creativity for photographers. He details the basic techniques that go into not only taking a particular photo, but also provides insights on how to improve upon it--helping readers avoid the visual pitfalls and technical dead ends that can lead to dull, uninventive photographs. This revised edition features a complete section on color as a design element and all new photographs to illustrate Peterson's points.  Learning to See Creatively is the definitive reference for any photographer looking for a fresh perspective on their work.

About the author: BRYAN PETERSON is a professional photographer, internationally known instructor, and founder of The Bryan Peterson School of Photography at He is also the best-selling author of  Understanding Exposure, Understanding Shutter Speed, Understanding Close-Up Photography, Understanding Digital Photography, Beyond Portraiture, and, most recently,  Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide. His trademark use of color and strong, graphic composition have garnered him many photographic awards, including the Art Director Club's Gold Award and honors from  Communication Arts and Print magazines. When not teaching workshops around the world, Bryan makes his home in Seattle.

My thoughts: As a amateur photographer, I was thrilled to receive this book from Blogging for Books, since it looked like a great resource. It is an excellent guide to taking photographs to the next level by teaching the photographer to train their eyes to constrast, colors, and framing. I'm thrilled to have this book on my shelf!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Irish Meadows

Faced with an uncertain future, sometimes all you have left is the courage to dream.

Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their Irish immigrant father expects them to marry well. Recently he’s put even more pressure on them, insinuating that the very future of their Long Island horse farm, Irish Meadows, rests in their ability to land prosperous husbands. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.

Brianna, a quiet girl with a quick mind, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry—as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards of the ideal groom. When former stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from business school and distant relative Rylan Montgomery visits Long Island during his seminary training, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans.

As the farm slips ever closer to ruin, James O’Leary grows more desperate. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to avoid being pawns in their father’s machinations and instead follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?

My thoughts: I liked that this story is about two sisters in the early 1900's. There is a lot going on between the two of them, since the story goes back and forth between their journeys to discovering true love. I think the historical aspect, that of women trying to marry to elevate their family's social standing, was interesting and that the author did an excellent job of portraying the history side of the story.
That said, I would of liked for the story to be a bit more original. It is an interesting, nice read, but it isn't one that will stick with me.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Wild in the Hollow

Amber Haines is a woman haunted by God. Like Eve in the Garden, she craved the fruit that she thought would lead her to freedom. But the whispers of temptation led her instead down a path of isolation, dissatisfaction, and life-altering choices. In her most broken moment, Amber met God waiting for her in the fallout, freely offering her grace and life.

This is a story of the God who makes himself known in broken places.

I always knew there was more than what my eyes could see. Maybe that’s why it’s easy for me to imagine Eden. I have my own version, the place where I clearly remember my early childhood experience as beautiful, wild, and protected.

In prose that is at once lyrical and utterly honest, a brave new voice takes you on a windswept journey down the path of brokenness to healing, satisfaction, and true intimacy with God. Amber Haines calls us to dispense with the pretty bows we use to dress up our stories and instead trust God to take our untidy, unfinished lives and make them free, authentic, and whole.

If you struggle with doubt or hold secrets, if you have ever felt marginalized or like you are missing something, you will find in Amber a sister and a voice inviting you back home, to a place of acceptance, fulfillment, and identity—and into the heart of GodAmber Haines is a woman haunted by God. Like Eve in the Garden, she craved the fruit that she thought would lead her to freedom. But the whispers of temptation led her instead down a path of isolation, dissatisfaction, and life-altering choices. In her most broken moment, Amber met God waiting for her in the fallout, freely offering her grace and life.

This is a story of the God who makes himself known in broken places.

I always knew there was more than what my eyes could see. Maybe that’s why it’s easy for me to imagine Eden. I have my own version, the place where I clearly remember my early childhood experience as beautiful, wild, and protected.

In prose that is at once lyrical and utterly honest, a brave new voice takes you on a windswept journey down the path of brokenness to healing, satisfaction, and true intimacy with God. Amber Haines calls us to dispense with the pretty bows we use to dress up our stories and instead trust God to take our untidy, unfinished lives and make them free, authentic, and whole.

If you struggle with doubt or hold secrets, if you have ever felt marginalized or like you are missing something, you will find in Amber a sister and a voice inviting you back home, to a place of acceptance, fulfillment, and identity—and into the heart of God.

My thoughts: If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be poetic. Her writing is whimsical as she relates her own story, one that (at the core) we can all relate to.

Monday, August 10, 2015

I Can Pray Everyday

“Heavenly Father hears my prayers. I know He listens and He cares.” This adorable board book is the perfect way to teach your little ones when, where, and how to pray. With colorful illustrations, rhyming text, and simple reminders of eternal truths, it’s bound to become a family favorite in your home.

My thoughts: My daughter and I have enjoyed reading this sweet picture book together, as it has a wonderful message about praying over all the concerns you have. While it is from a child's perspective and is geared towards teaching children, it is also a great message for those of us who are adults.;) The illustrations are darling. I like that this book can be used one on one or in a Sunday school setting.
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review

Take Ten: Authors I have read the most books

This week, the subject over at Broke and Bookish is top ten authors I have read the most books. So, without further adiue, here is my list!

1. Lousia May Alcott

I read most of her novels when I was in high school and adored them! I really need to try to make time to read them again.

2. C.S. Lewis

I've read the bulk of his books, since Lewis is a thought provoking author. He wrote a variety of books and managed to make all of them interesting.;)

3. Lisa Wingate

I discovered her books in the last 4-5 years and have enjoyed most of them tremendously (there was one or two that I didn't care for). I appreciate that she usually brings a social issue to light in each of her stories.

4. Julie Klassen

While I didn't particularly care for Girl in the Gatehouse, I have enjoyed most of her other books. I think the one pictured above is my favorite to date.;)

5. Susan Meissner

Another author who writes a variety of stories, but seems to have found her niche writing stories split between the past and present day. I'm enjoying the above book right now.;)

6. Jane Austen

I've read all of her books at least once.;)

7. Herve Tullet

My daughter and I have read a lot of his books, but this one remains our most favorite.;)

8. Susan Boynton

Is it sad that this one should be #1?;) Between how many of her books we have read, and how many times we have read each one... I may have several of her books memorized now.;)

9. Keith Baker

Another children's author who we have read ridiculous amounts of his books.;)

10. BabyLit

My daughter and I both enjoy these books! They are a fun way to get children started on the classics at a young age.;)

Not by Sight

With Britain caught up in WWI, Jack Benningham, heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, has declared himself a conscientious objector. Instead, he secretly works for the Crown by tracking down German spies on British soil, his wild reputation and society status serving as a foolproof cover.

Blinded by patriotism and concern for her brother on the front lines, wealthy suffragette Grace Mabry will do whatever it takes to assist her country's cause. When she sneaks into a posh London masquerade ball to hand out white feathers of cowardice, she never imagines the chain of events she'll set off when she hands a feather to Jack.

And neither of them could anticipate the extent of the danger and betrayal that follows them--or the faith they'll need to maintain hope.

My thoughts: This is the first book I have read by Kate Breslin. For the most part, I was impressed with her writing, since she made the characters come alive and did a wonderful job of making the secondary characters come alive as well. A lot of the fictional stories I read don't seem to develop the secondary characters very well, so I appreciated that Kate brought to life the characters surrounding Grace and Jack.
The historical aspect of this story is interesting too, showing how young women would shame men who weren't fighting in WWI by giving them a white feather. I also liked that this book is about espionage during the war.
The only thing I felt could of been better is that I felt like a few things were trivialized at the end, wrapping everything up to nicely (if that makes sense). Still, the story is well worth the read! I enjoyed it very much and look forward to reading more by this talented new author!
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Skinny Life

Skinny Life® provides new tools to help you identify destructive beliefs that sabotage not just your attempts at weight loss, but also destroy your total health and well-being. Hansen shows you how
to replace those saboteurs with healthy new beliefs that create life- long personal health and success. The key: In order to change your life, you must change how you think! Once you do, you can finally become the person you always wanted to be—one that stays healthy, youthful, spiritually strong, and thin for life. Your beliefs drive your behavior, which, in turn, shapes your body.

My thoughts: Crystal Dwyer Hansen is a life coach who discovered some secrets in her own life to losing weight and being healthier. In this book, she shares some of those tips with readers.
I think that she has a lot of great points in her program, especially when it comes to changing your mind set and viewing your body as a temple and looking at food in relation to how it will nourish you, not just how good it tastes.;) I also think she has valid points on what to stay away from, when it comes to food.
I enjoyed reading the testimonies she included in the book!
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Through Waters Deep

It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war.

Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them.

Sarah Sundin takes readers to the tense months before the US entered WWII. Readers will encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love, in this hopeful and romantic story.

My thoughts: I fell in love with these characters! The romance was so sweet and came about naturally, I love how the hero and heroine interact with one another! The mystery kept me guessing, with its many twists and turns. And, I loved this historical side, since it showcases what America was like in the year leading up to Pearl Harbor, how we were involved in the war without being officially involved. I think Sarah really outdid herself with this one! It is the perfect historical tale to curl up with and enjoy!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

1, 2, 3 Nephi and Me

Cuddle up with your kids and count your way through the Book of Mormon! This colorful board book is perfectly sized for little fingers and is a fun way to introduce numbers and scripture stories at the same time. With rhyming text and cute illustrations, it’s sure to become a family favorite that your kids will want to read over and over again!

My thoughts: From the first time we opened this book, my toddler decided this is her new favorite vook. Not only is it a fun, lyrical book that teaches counting, it also backs each number up with a verse out of the Book of Mormon.
The illustrations are adorable! This is a new favorite at our home.
I received this book from Cedar fort in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

At Any Cost

When Mike and Hayley set out to adopt a child from Sierra Leone, Africa, never in their wildest imaginations did they dream this venture would lead to the “Jones Dozen.” This dramatically moving story will amaze and inspire any reader. Their stunning observation: “It was the least we could do!” Mike and Hayley Jones set out to adopt one, or maybe two, African children. They had no idea where this chaotic, inter-continental road would take them. How could a search for a child explode into a tribe of eight young kids—who didn’t speak English? The nation of Sierra Leone had no formal adoption process, causing Mike and Hayley to spend many months in Africa that involved more than ten lengthy trips. at any cost traces a heart-wrenching 34-month journey in response to God’s call to Africa. They escaped Sierra Leone before the Ebola crisis racked that nation. You will be inspired.

My thoughts: This book is incredible! I love how open and honest the Mike and Hayley are about the struggles they went through on their journey to adopt 8 siblings from Sierra Leone. The book is an easy one to get through as they share about the obstacles, joys, and eventual triumph they went through in order to follow God's call to open their home to 8 more children.
One of my favorite quotes from the book:
When God says it's time, then and only then is it time. And there is nothing you can do to stop it.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

A Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets

This follow-up to the author’s James Beard award-winning Secrets of a Jewish Bakeris a charming collection of European-style bakery classics, such as coffee cake and strudel.

George Greenstein had a gift for teaching home bakers to think, work, and bake like the pros with his evocative and tactile descriptions of baking. In A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets, he crafts master dough recipes for Jewish holiday baking and European classics, creating a comprehensive set of building blocks for both beginners and baking enthusiasts. Greenstein’s expert guidance for making doughs like bundt, babka, strudel, gugelhopf, stollen, pressburger, puff pastry, and Danish create a jumping-off point for more than 200 variations of classic pastries, including napoleons, coffee cakes, and sweet buns. The book also offers an in-depth guide to ingredients and equipment, including both professional and home ovens, as well as basic recipes for fillings, icings, and glazes. With Greenstein’s steady guidance and familiar voice, home bakers and professionals alike will be encouraged to turn out flawless pastry creations for any occasion.

My thoughts: I enjoy baking, even after working for a small bakery for over ten years.;) So, I was thrilled to get a copy of this book, since I figured I could learn a thing or two from it. The book is excellent for both the experienced baker and the newbie! The front part is interesting, as he goes over the different equipment, tools, and ingredients that will make baking easy. I also love that there are tips and secrets spread through out the book!
The actual recipes are delicious and fun to try. I love that there is a recipe for making homemade puff pastry! And, the Danish pastries look amazing. This is an excellent resource for those wanting to try one unique pastries.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A new favorite

Wingate's third Carolina book follows the highly reviewed, The Prayer Box and The Story Keeper as well as related three novellas.

From modern-day Roanoke Island to the sweeping backdrop of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Roosevelt’s WPA folklore writers, past and present intertwine to create an unexpected destiny. . .

Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Gilded Age hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at The Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney’s estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney’s only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a depression-era love story change everything.

My thoughts: Lisa Wingate is one of my favorite authors, so I was thrilled to see this book come up for review on Netgalley! I like her current trend, which is to combine past and present into one lovely story. This book was no exception! When Whitney is pulled from her restaurant woes to deal with her ailing stepfather and given the chance to go through her inheritance, she stumbles upon letters written to her grandmother during the depression from a woman who worked as a folklore writer during the depression. As Whitney is pulled into the mystery of who the woman is, she is also given a chance to change her future.
While I haven't read the Novellas in this series (which, I hope to remedy!), I have read the other two books. This one talks a fair bit about the mystery in The Story Keeper, so I would recommend reading the books in order. You could probably get by with reading this as a stand alone novel, but somethings wouldn't make sense.
This is one of the best books I have read all year! I highly recommend it.
I received a copy of this book through Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

What a Bragger

This book is the second in the Adventures of the Sea Kids series. Melissa Blowfish likes to brag that she can swim the fastest, climb the highest, and has the best of everything. Corey finds her crying in the sand box with her broken shovel, the only toy she had. They all chip in treasure coins for her birthday present. Melissa prays giving thanks to God for her friends and learns that true friendship is found in love.

My thoughts: This is the first book out of the Sea Kids series that we have read together, and I was impressed! The story does a wonderful job of being short and interesting for kids, filled with colorful pictures to keep even very young children entertained. My daughter loves this book and has already asked me to read it to her quite a few times, and we only just received it in the mail.;)
I also like that there is a wonderful lesson in the story about having compassion on those you don't get along with, since you never know what kind of story they have. Though this is a kid's book, it has a great message for adults too!
I received this book through Book Crash from GLM publishers.

A Heart's Home

Isaac Liddle is keen to marry Emmie, and she knows she shouldn’t hide her pregnancy from him any longer. But before she can tell him her secret, a widower friend asks the impossible of Emmie: Will she honor her promise to his dead wife by marrying him to care for the orphaned baby?

With the Sioux Wars threatening outside the fort, Emmie’s solemn vow threatens her happiness from within. Will she honor a promise sure to break her heart—and Isaac’s? Or is there another way to find a home for her heart?

My thoughts: I think I enjoyed this story the best out of all the books in the serial! It does a wonderful job of bringing to life what it might of been like to live in a fort on the frontier shortly after the Civil War. I love that there are several different couples and that each of their stories are so different. If you enjoy historical stories, or if you are looking for an easy read, then this is a wonderful series for you to pick up!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Take Ten

Top Ten favorite fairy tales and re-tellings.

1.Beauty by Robin McKinley

I love a good re-telling of Beauty and the Beast!

2. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale.

3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

4. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

5.East by Edith Pattou

6. Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

7. Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis

Cupid and Psyche

8. Entwined by Heather Dixon

9. Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George

10. My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

This was was just a cute, fun re-telling of Cinderella (ish).