Monday, February 29, 2016

The Red Door Inn

Marie Carrington is running from a host of bad memories. Broke and desperate, she's hoping to find safety and sanctuary on Prince Edward Island, where she reluctantly agrees to help decorate a renovated bed-and-breakfast before it opens for prime tourist season.

Seth Sloane didn't move three thousand miles to work on his uncle's B&B so he could babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her. He came to help restore the old Victorian--and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart.
The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just three months will take everything they've got. Can these two wounded souls find hope, healing, and perhaps a bit of romance on this beautiful island?

Step into the Red Door Inn, a lovely home away from home tucked along the north shore of fabled Prince Edward Island. It's a place where the wounded come to heal, the broken find forgiveness, and the lonely find a family. Won't you stay for the season?

My thoughts: I was blown away by this story! It is an excellent, well written one about two hurting people who have to learn to look past their hurts and stop seeing others through them in order to find what they have been looking for all along. I love that the story is told through the eyes of several characters, giving readers a fun glimpse into the minds of each person. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, since this one was wonderful!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Take Ten: Books to read if you are in the mood for a sweet romance

1. The Hearts We Mend

While I adored the first book in this series, I think this one was even better! It is a beautiful story of two people who find love despite the odds.

2. Change of Heart

Another great romance that I've recently found myself in love with.

3. The Red Door Inn

I loved that this one is set on Prince Edward Island!

4. Edenbrooke

I need to go back and re-read this one, since I really loved it the first time around.;)

5. Through Waters Deep

The way the romance in this story develops over time makes it the perfect 1940's era read.

6. At Love's Bidding

This one has such cute and quirky characters with the fun backdrop of an old fashioned auction house.

7. Blackmoore

I wish that Julianne would write more stories, since I have loved the ones that I have read up to this point!

8. A Noble Masquerade

This one took me by surprise at just how good it was! The premise of the story was just so much fun.

9. The Hesitant Heiress

The attraction of the couple in this story is hard to miss from the get go!

10. Lie A Flower in Bloom

I loved the unconventional heroine in this one.

What other books should I have included?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Roots and Sky

When Christie Purifoy arrived at Maplehurst that September, she was heavily pregnant with both her fourth child and her dreams of creating a sanctuary that would be a fixed point in her busily spinning world. The sprawling Victorian farmhouse sitting atop a Pennsylvania hill held within its walls the possibility of a place where her family could grow, where friends could gather, and where Christie could finally grasp and hold the thing we all long for--home.
In lyrical, contemplative prose, Christie slowly unveils the small trials and triumphs of that first year at Maplehurst--from summer's intense heat and autumn's glorious canopy through winter's still whispers and spring's gentle mercies. Through stories of planting and preserving, of opening the gates wide to neighbors, and of learning to speak the language of a place, Christie invites readers into the joy of small beginnings and the knowledge that the kingdom of God is with us here and now.
Anyone who has felt the longing for home, who yearns to reconnect with the beauty of nature, and who values the special blessing of deep relationships with family and friends will love finding themselves in this story of earthly beauty and soaring hope.

My thoughts: Christie does a wonderful job of writing such beautiful chapters about gardening, moving to their lovely home, and family. I appreciated her lovely style of writing, which reminded me to see the beautiful in the every day. Almost poetic without being too flowery, I enjoyed the insight she gives readers into her life.
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Collage this Journal by Eleanor Shakespeare

This irrisistibly iteractive journal is filled with dozens of clever ideas for recording your life, such as "Make balloons out of photos from special and happy occasions" or  "Fill the genie's lamp with wishes." The author/illustrator's wonderfully layered photo-illustration montages invite readers to mix media, too, and make this keepsake truly their own.

My thoughts: It's no secret that I love all things paper and crafty, so this journal is the epitome of fun in my book! I love that it sparks creativity and dares the journalist to have fun and get creative. It's the perfect gift or just a fun splurge!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Ringmaster's Wife

Rosamund Easling is no stranger to opulence. As the daughter of an earl, she’s grown up with every comfort money can buy. But when hard times befall the family’s Yorkshire estate in the aftermath of the Great War, Rosamund’s father sells her beloved horse, setting the stage for a series of events that would extend beyond even her wildest dreams.

Though expected to marry for a title instead of love, Rosamund feels called to a different life – one of adventure outside the confines of a ladies’ parlor. She abandons all she’s known and follows in pursuit as her horse is shipped to the new owner – an American entertainer by the name of John Ringling. Once introduced to the Ringling Brothers’ circus and knowing she has much to learn, Rosamund agrees to a bareback riding apprenticeship in the shadow of the Ringlings’ winter home—Ca’D’Zan. It is at that mansion, in what would become the last days of the enigmatic Mable Ringling’s life, that Rosamund finds a deeper sense of purpose in the life she’s been given, and the awakening of faith in her heart.

With a supporting cast of characters as mysterious and dazzling as the Ringlings’ big-top world, Rosamund’s journey takes her from the tradition of the English countryside to the last days of America’s Roaring ‘20s—a journey that forever changes what one life might have been.

My thoughts: Kristy does a fabulous job of bringing to life the Ringling's circus in the early 1900's! I loved finding out about Mabel Ringling, since she sounds like she was a kind person in real life. Kristy does a wonderful job of putting together what is known about Mabel and John while filling in the gaps seamlessly with some delightful details.;) I love that there are two couples in this story, one based on facts and the other on fiction.
While I would of loved more details when it came to Mabel's courtship and the time in between her chapters, this book is well written and an excellent read! It's a new favorite.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Take Ten: Books I have fallen in love with this year

I know that it seems like (well, at least it does to me!) we just celebrated the start of a new year, but I already feel like I have fallen in love with some great books! So, instead of sticking strictly to the subject for this week (books that I enjoyed that weren't my typical genre/type of book), since I am not sure that I read a lot of books out of my comfort zone (I enjoy a wide variety, which keeps me busy enough to not venture to far out in left field, I suppose) to do a whole list.

1. Hope Unfolding

While this book isn't totally out of my comfort zone, I don't take the time to read a lot of mommy non fiction. This one was just what I needed though! It is an excellent source of encouragement for mom's in all walks of life.

2. The Gathering

While I would of loved more details/world building, this one is definitely worth picking up as the series is hard to put down!

3. The Giftsnatcher

This one is out of my comfort zone, since I wouldn't think that I would care for speculative type stories. And yet, this one blew me away! If you read one book of my list, PICK THIS ONE! lol.

4. Where She Belongs

This one was excellent! I like how the story developed and that it was told from several different characters view points.

5. The Hearts We Mend

I fell in love with this one, since the main characters are AMAZING!

6. The Indian Family Cookbook

This one is different for me, since I hadn't really tried very many Indian dishes before receiving it. I know it isn't a book that I read, but it is still one that took me out of my comfort zone.;)

7. Collage this Journal

Another one that I am not exactly reading.;) I have never done anything like this (I've been eyeing the Wreck this Journal set), so I figured it was worth adding to the list! It's a fun way to record life.

8. If I Run

9. The Ringmaster's Wife

Once upon a time, we went to the circus as a family. There is something magical about it when you are a kid! I can only imagine how it was in the early 1900's. This book is an incredible story of fact and fiction.

10. You're the One I Want

While the genre didn't take me out of my comfort zone, this book did because I was fairly certain I wouldn't like the hero since he was such a jerk throughout the series.;) Susan works her magic though, and I love the book!

So, what books have surprised you this past year or so?

The Gifting Series

The Gifting
"If science is right, then I am crazy. And crazy is dangerous."

In a world where nothing supernatural exists, Tess Eckhart is positive she’s going crazy. After her complete freakout at a high school party, her family is too. So much that they pack their bags and move across the country, next to a nationally-renowned facility for the mentally ill.

Tess is determined to fit in at her new school, despite the whispers and stares. But when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy in her class, she’s unused to a stare that intense. Then the headaches start, and the seemingly prophetic dreams that haunt her at night. As Tess tries harder to hide them, she becomes increasingly convinced that Luka knows something—that he might somehow be responsible.

But what if she’s wrong? What if Luka Williams is the only thing separating her from a madness too terrifying to fathom?

The Awakening
"I can't go home. It's not safe. Nowhere is."

Tess Eckhart isn’t crazy. She’s not suffering from psychosis. She and Luka Williams are part of The Gifting. Before they can find out what that means, the man with all the answers turns up dead. The only thing he left behind? A few patient files that lead to the nation’s most lawless city.

With authorities chasing them, Luka and Tess escape into the very heart of peril and against all odds, find an underground community of people just like them. They aren’t gathered together for the sole purpose of survival, either. They have a plan and a purpose–to awaken as many people with The Gifting as possible. It’s dangerous and deadly work. Tess wants to help. Luka is desperate to keep her safe–a task that proves increasingly difficult as Tess’s gifting comes to light.

Is Tess Eckhart the One they’ve been waiting for? The One with the power to save them all?

The Gathering
"Darkness is a tricky thing. Especially when it cloaks itself in light."

Luka isn’t dead. He’s not beyond saving. Tess knows because she saw him with her own eyes. After what she saw, she’s sure of one thing: If they don’t rescue him soon, Luka won’t be Luka anymore.

If only she could convince the other members of the hub. They’re not sure Tess saw what she claims she saw. And they’re preoccupied by the fact that their kind is being systematically eradicated. Answers lie in an ancient prophecy, one that revolves around a seventeen-year-old girl who never asked for any of this.

K.E. Ganshert’s final installment in The Gifting Series brings readers on an action-packed journey through loss, sacrifice, betrayal, and the impossible choice between what we want most and what we know is right.

My thoughts: Over all, I loved this series! The characters are easy to relate to and I like that each book adds plenty to the story, rather than growing stagnant like some can do. I would of liked to see more development and explanation for the gifted side of things, since the term Believers is mentioned but there isn't an explanation in what they are believing in or that there is even much of another side in the war they are in. The last book needed a few more chapters to explain, in my opinion.;) This series is still an excellent read that it is hard to put down! The writing style is excellent and engaging.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

End Times and the Secret of the Mahdi

Striking parallels exist between the "Beast" of Revelation (the Antichrist) and the prophetic figure in Islam known as the Mahdi. Muslims view the Mahdi as a great savior who will lead a revolution and establish a global Islamic empire over the West. Both the Antichrist and the Mahdi are associated with the end times and the Judgment. Both possess political, military, and religious power, and both head up a one-world religion. How this affects Americans today is revealed in Youssef's prophetic The Secret of the Mahdi.

My thoughts: While I didn't agree 100% with this book, I did find it to be thought provoking, well written, and easy to get through. Michael Youssef does a fabulous job of putting together scriptures, true stories, quotes, and personal encounters to make this book flow nicely and come together. I like how he uses the book of Revelations as the main focal point through the book, while drawing from other scripture verses. While the end times are a weighty subject, I appreciate the overall message is one of hope (which, is really how it should be, but it easy to focus on the negative). This is an excellent book to read through or study with a group.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

An Insider's Guide to Praying for the World

Nothing fuels prayer like seeing a need with your own eyes. Journey with Brian Stiller as he gathers firsthand information and prayer requests direct from Christians around the world. Filled with stories of faith and risk, tragedy and hope, An Insider's Guid to Praying for the World will help you intercede with greater focus and understanding all while learning about other lands. An ideal resource for prayer and study groups, too.

My thoughts: If you are looking to add a breath of fresh air to your prayer life, then this is an excellent place to start! (it's also a great resource if you are looking for more direction in your prayers past your nation) I enjoyed reading the chapters on each nation that is featured, since they include a bit about the country and where it is located, a personal story, scripture reading, and item(s) to pray for. I appreciated the personal aspect, since it helps the reader to connect. I also appreciated that there are chapters on praying for different ministries or specific issues, like those persecuted. This book is an excellent resource!
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Reaching Your Prodigal

Prodigals come in many forms. We often think of the defiant ones as prodigals, but there are other types that break our hearts: embarrassing, intellectual, lukewarm, and religious prodigals. The word prodigal means "wasted." Like the younger son in Jesus' parable, many of our loved ones are wasting their lives. Learn how to love them no matter what form of "wasted" they choose.

My thoughts: This is an excellent book! I love how this book offers a message of hope for parents or loved ones dealing with a prodigal. I like that Phil Waldrep gets to the heart of the issues that families deal with when a loved one strays from what they are taught, whether it is a parent, grandparent, or sibling. I also like that he makes some wonderful points about the guilt one might feel and how people have their own agency, though it is good to uncover past hurts and ask for forgiveness. This book is excellent to read on your own or with a study group, since there is plenty to think over or discuss.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


This is not your average soft-focus "journey to Asia" kind of cookbook. Koreatown is a spicy, funky, flavor-packed love affair with the grit and charm of Korean cooking in America. Koreatowns around the country are synonymous with mealtime feasts and late-night chef hangouts, and Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard show us why with stories, interviews, and over 100 delicious, super-approachable recipes.
It's spicy, it's fermenty, it's sweet and savory and loaded with umami: Korean cuisine is poised to break out in the U.S., but until now, Korean cookbooks have been focused on taking readers to an idealized Korean fantasyland. Koreatown, though, is all about what's real and happening right here: the foods of Korean American communities all over our country, from L.A. to New York City, from Atlanta to Chicago. We follow Rodbard and Hong through those communities with stories and recipes for everything from beloved Korean barbecue favorites like bulgogi and kalbi to the lesser-known but deeply satisfying stews, soups, noodles, salads, drinks, and the many kimchis of the Korean American table.

My thoughts: I love that this book is hard core Korean food! I have wanted to try some more Korean recipes, especially Kimchi variations, which this book has quite a few of.
I would say the recipes are not hard to follow and well explained. I am looking forward to the variety that this cookbook will add to our menu!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Gift of Friendship

Whether next door or in the next time zone, our friends provide some of our most important relationships. We cherish time spent with them, bemoan time spent apart, and look forward to the next time we can have coffee or rush to greet them as they walk toward our door. And nothing warms our hearts like stories of true friendship.
Collecting over fifty true stories from some of today best writers, Dawn Camp offers readers a chance to sit back and experience the gift of friendship. With its beautiful photographs and poignant prose, this collection is a great gift for a dear friend and the perfect pick-me-up any time you need a boost. Contributors include Crystal Paine, Liz Curtis Higgs, Tsh Oxenreider, Myquillyn Smith, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Lisa-Jo Baker, Jessica Turner, Lysa TerKeurst, Bonnie Gray, Holley Gerth, Renee Swope, and many more

My thoughts: I think more than anything, this book was a great reminder to me about how to be a great friend. I loved all the different sections, but I think the one about "It takes a friend to be a friend" was just what I needed to read.;) I love that there is a section on family and friendship as well.:)
This is a great collection of true stories that celebrate the gift of friendship!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Come Empty

When a water vessel is filled with dirt and stones, it cannot be used to quench a thirst.

But, when this vessel is emptied, there is an opportunity to fill it until it overflows with fresh, cool, life-giving water. Water that quenches. Refreshes. Soothes.

Our souls are the same: filled with fear, doubt, and disappointment. Running over with unanswered prayers and lingering questions. When we empty the mess of our lives in the presence of God, we’re offered an invitation to come. An invitation that allows us to come empty – so that we can be filled until we overflow.

Come Empty: Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love guides you through fifty days of experiencing the fullness of God’s love and His ability to overcome life’s hurts. Each day, you will receive assurance of God’s presence in your difficult situations. Each devotion gives new vision and perspective when you’re hindered by emotional blind spots, and leads you to experience God’s peace and wholeness. When His invitation is accepted, He will set your captive mind and heart free to live fully by His grace. The question is not if you will get an invitation. The question is, will you come?

My thoughts: I really appreciated this book, since Saundra does a fabulous job of relying on personal experiences and those that she has had as a medical doctor to address the need to take your fears and doubts, problems and pain to the Lord and have Him fill you. This book covers a wide variety of hurts and painful situations that covers quite a range. I like how the book is divided into sections, so that the reader can pick and choose what they need to work on. This is a wonderful tool to help believers fill their cup with God's peace and love.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Take ten: songs I would love to turn into books

1. Dancing in the minefields by Andrew Peterson
Such a interesting way to sum up marriage, but it's spot on and could make a beautiful love story.
"'Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price
For the life that we have found"

2. Wonder (If She'll Get it) by Superchick
This song makes me chuckle when I hear it, so I think it could make a cute YA story.

3. Wishes by Superchick
Kind of a sad breakup type song (I like a lot of those.... What does that say about me?), but I really like it and think it could make a good story. Who knows, there could still be a happy ending after all.;)

4. When I say I do by Matthew West
This is one of those songs that makes me fall a little more in love with my husband every time I hear it, since it makes me think of our wedding day. I would love for that to be felt in a story.;)

5. Must of Done Something Right by Relient K
Totally cheesy at times, but it would make an adorable story!

6. Best thing by Relient K
Another cheesy, but cute song that would make a fun chick lit or YA story.

7. I'll Wait for You by Moriah Peters

8. So She Dances Josh Groban

9. Boat Song by J J Heller

10. Until You Came Along by J J Heller

Friday, February 12, 2016

Kissed by a Cowboy

Cassidy was looking for a home and a place to belong . . . not for a cowboy to steal her heart.

Having lived through her parents’ endless string of “matrimonial bliss gone wrong,” Cassidy Starr knows when the odds are not in her favor. Divorced and humiliated, her faith on rocky ground, Cassidy is through with love. She’s been bucked off that horse far too many times. Instead, she returns to Wishing Springs, Texas, and the rundown farm she’s inherited from her great aunt Roxie. She’ll reopen the strawberry farm and a bed & breakfast and follow in her aunt’s footsteps, remaining forever-independent, happy . . . and single.

Rancher Jarrod Monahan’s hands are full running the ranch, looking after his ailing grandfather, and chasing down a group of rustlers on the loose. He’s pushed his longing for a family to the bottom of his list of priorities. Besides, he was in love once but ran scared and lost his shot at happiness. But suddenly, the biggest regret of his life has moved in next door with a wounded heart, determined to become a spinster . . . and that’s a challenge that Jarrod can’t pass up.

Jarrod sets his mind to breaking down the walls around Cassidy’s stubborn heart. How can he show her that a cowboy’s kiss lasts forever? For the good folks of Wishing Springs, falling in love has never been so much fun to witness.

My thoughts: I loved returning to this series! The town that it is set in is full of some fun, quirky characters.;)
I seem to have a thing going for books about couples who should of got together when they were young, but didn't.:) I didn't do that on purpose! This one was a bit different than Change of Heart, since the couple were actually a couple before circumstances pulled them apart. Now that they both have some hurts and regrets behind them, they are trying to start anew. It is a fun story of unlikely second chances! The only sad thing about this book is that it is the final one in the series.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Change of Heart

A Colorado senator’s wife, Evelyn Brandt seems to have it all. But her carefully constructed life comes toppling down when the FBI crashes her society brunch with news that her husband has been arrested for embezzlement, and he’s far from repentant. It turns out this was only the start of his indiscretions―for which he has little regret.

As the weeks following the scandal turn into months, Evelyn withdraws, even shirking her duties with the philanthropic Valentine Volunteers. The inquisitive women of the group are determined not to let Evelyn’s divorce destroy her. They have big plans for her to use her long-forgotten artistic talent to reimagine the city’s iconic lamppost hearts. But doing so will force Evelyn to work closely with Trevor Whitney, her ex-husband’s former best friend. Though she and Trevor used to be close―and he’s been letting her hide in his guesthouse―his gruffness conveys his unease with the situation.

Amid the beauty of Trevor’s farm and the comfort of a paintbrush, Evelyn starts to reclaim the dreams she sacrificed to become the perfect politician’s wife. And as creativity inspires them both, Whit begins to see the girl he fell in love with before his friend―and his own mistakes―stole his chance. Possibilities for a new beginning emerge, but long-kept secrets threaten to ruin everything. After so much time, is a change of heart too much to hope for?

My thoughts: Oh my goodness, this is the perfect February/Valentines read! The town of Loves Park is a fun one to "visit"; especially during this time of year.;)
I started this book hoping it would be every bit as good as the first one Paper Hearts, and was thrilled to discover that it surpassed my expectations! I wasn't sure what to think of the story line at first, since Courtney takes on some tough issues for her characters to deal with. I thought she handled them beautifully, and the ending was so satisfying.;) This is one of my new favorites! I love the characters and how they deal with the challenges that life throws there way. I love that these stories have a lot going on and that this one brings back the Volunteers from the first story.;) Two thumbs up!
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Keeper of the Stars

Because it’s not always love at first sight!

When her mother died from pneumonia, Penny Cartwright was heartbroken. But now, after burying her younger brother just 12 years later, she is devastated. Anger, guilt, and sorrow cloud Penny’s mind, and the last thing she wants is to be reminded of her pain—but that’s exactly what happens when a stranger comes to town.

Trevor Reynolds has been chasing fame for more than a dozen years, but his musical career can’t get off the ground. While on the road, an accident kills his young drummer, Brad Cartwright. Trevor wasn’t behind the wheel, but he still blames himself… and so does Brad’s sister, Penny. Now Trevor finds himself in Kings Meadow, determined to follow through on his final promise to his friend.

Still feeling the pain of Brad’s death, Penny and Trevor must learn that forgiveness is the only thing that can heal their hearts. And if they do forgive, something beautiful may rise from the ashes of heartbreak.

My thoughts: I think this might be my favorite King Meadows book yet! I love that both characters have to learn to forgive and move past the grief that separates them in order to love. I really liked the main characters! Robin does a wonderful job of bringing both of them to life. Those who have read the other books in the series will enjoy some of those characters popping into this story.;)
I think another of my favorite things about this story is that there are flash backs to let the reader get to know Penny's brother, who's death plays a big role in the story.
This is a wonderful book to read, whether you have read the others in the series or not!
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

American Heart Association, Healthy Fats, Low Cholesterol cookbook

he classic cookbook for achieving heart health and wellbeing through a diet that is low in cholesterol and saturated fat--updated and revised with 200 recipes (including 50 new to this edition)

Lose the bad fats, but not the flavor.

Now in its fifth edition, American Heart Association Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook provides the most up-to-date information on heart health and nutrition. Good-for-you food should also be satisfying, and the American Heart Association reveals how easy it is to replace the bad fats in your diet with healthier ones. This classic cookbook offers more than 200 tempting dishes, 50 of which are new, including:

· Fresh Basil and Kalamata Hummus
· Triple-Pepper and White Bean Soup with Rotini
· Taco Salad
· Hearty Fish Chowder
· Chicken Pot Pie with Mashed Potato Topping
· Balsamic Braised Beef with Exotic Mushrooms
· Grilled Pizza with Grilled Vegetables
· Stovetop Scalloped Tomatoes
· Puffed Pancake with Apple-Cranberry Sauce
· Mango Brûlée with Pine Nuts

The perfect companion for today’s healthy cook, this indispensable collection of recipes proves you can eat deliciously and nutritiously.

My thoughts: This is a great, educational cookbook on how to incorporate healthy fats into your diet. I love that they have taken a lot of favorites and come up with healthier alternatives. There are also a lot of different and fun recipes in this book. My husband's family has a history of heart disease, so am always looking for healthy alternatives to help both of us out. The recipes are easy to follow and tasty. Two thumbs up!
I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Someone Like You

Realistic Characters Shine in Bylin's Latest Romance

Julia Dare is trying to run her own business, raise her young son, Max, and help her widowed mother. Her biggest worry, though, is keeping Max's father from being a bad influence while still allowing the boy to spend time with his dad. When an account from her event-planning business sends her to Caliente Springs resort, she's shocked to encounter Zeke Monroe, her college sweetheart.

Zeke is determined to keep Caliente Springs running despite financial trouble. When Julia walks back into his life, he's surprised at the feelings she stirs up. As they work together on an important client's wedding, the fate of the resort soon depends on their success. With Zeke and Julia both pushed to their limits, will their history put up walls between them or bring them together?

My thoughts: This is the first book I have finished by Victoria and I must say, it was well worth it! The story is one that will resonate with a lot of readers, since she brings her characters to life with their triumphs and personal tragedies. I love that she has strong secondary characters as well. I especially liked the hero, who had me cheering for him from the get go.:)
The only thing that I didn't care so much for was the ex, who was pretty annoying. I know people like that exists though, and there were some wonderful, thought provoking points about how to deal with people like that as a Christian.
All in all, this is a wonderful read that had me sucked in from the beginning! I'm sure I will be reading more of the author's books in the future.;)
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

A Lady Unrivaled Cover Reveal

I don't participate in many cover reveals (this may only be my second or third?), but I thought that this one was just too pretty and exciting to pass up! The book looks amazing, I can't wait for it come out so I can enjoy it.:) I enjoyed Roseanna's previous series, Culper Ring, and highly recommend it.

About the book: Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile--even if it's just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well the danger that has haunted her brother and their friend, and she won't wait for it to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better. Lord Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he's determined to live a better life. But that proves complicated when old friends arrive on the scene and try to threaten him into a life of crime. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won't budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her--and his daughter--from those dangerous people who seem ready to destroy them all?


Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna’s novels range from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at

Blue Ribbon Trail

Thirteen-year old Kate and her friends came up with the perfect way to raise money for her autistic younger brother and others to attend summer camp—a horse scavenger hunt! As local businesses donate money and prizes, Kate keeps the entry fees in her mom’s antique jewelry box.

But when the box and the money disappear, Kate and her friends must unravel the clues, hold on to hope, and solve the mystery along the Blue Ribbon Trail Ride.

My thoughts: When I was a young reader, there were never enough good, YA series for me to read.;) I am happy to see that things have changed since I was in middle school! Miralee's Horses and Friends series is a great example of a series for middle school readers that has strong, positive messages. I like that the series is about friendships, and how they can develop with those you may of misjudged. I also appreciated that Katie and her friends are trying to raise awareness and funds for her autistic brother to attend summer camp. I think this is a wonderful series for young readers ages 7-12.
I received a copy of this series from Lit Fuse in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Take Ten: Most romantic quotes in literature

With Valentine's day just around the corner, I thought I would chose 5 of my favorite romantic quotes in literature and 5 my favorite couples in fiction.

1. “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you." Jane Austen's Persuasion
(Persuasion is one of my very favorite books, perhaps largely due to the amazing ending!)

2. "Whatever our souls are made out of, his and mine are the same.” Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights
(not my most favorite classic, but I love this line!)

3. “To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.” Victor Hugo's Les Miserables
(One of my most favorite stories about the power of forgiveness)

4. "I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I've led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who's ever lived: I've loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough." Nicholas Sparks The Notebook

5. “Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear.” Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

1. Jack and Evie from The Hearts We Mend

I recently read this one and just fell in love with the couple! Jack is an especially amazing character, since he makes you want to be a better person just reading about him.;)

2. Peeta and Katniss

I cheered for Peeta the whole series, since his love was selfless, wanting what was best for Katniss, not what would benefit him.

3. Jackson and Allison

4. Allen and Gwendolyn

I love that they are both strong characters!

5. Henry and Kate

I wish she would hurry up and write another book!;) This one was SO good.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Merchant of Alyss

Life for Hyam is bittersweet. Admired by the citizens of Falmouth for his heroic rescue mission, he cherishes these peaceful days with Joelle by his side. Yet grief over the loss of his magical skills during the great Battle of Emporis threatens to engulf him. Sometimes he even wishes he had never known magic at all.

When Hyam comes into possession of an ancient Milantian scroll, he is thrilled to feel the surge of power that courses through him whenever he touches it. But what he discerns in the text could mean war. He embarks upon another journey to determine its true meaning and forestall any attack. But as Hyam is seeking answers, he is unaware that the merchant of Alyss is seeking him . . .

My thoughts: I actually wasn't sure what to expect with this book, since the first one was good, but sometimes the sequels fall flat. That was not the case! I like that the story moves along at a nice, steady pace, and that they bring back some of the characters from the first book. I thought the characters were well written and I like the pace of the story. It is a wonderful addition to one's fantasy shelf!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Indian Family Kitchen

A fresh and friendly introduction to South Asian cuisine, The Indian Family Kitchen reflects how we cook today with seasonal and vegetable-forward recipes. This striking cookbook shows how to coax flavor out of your favorite foods by adding Indian spices: rub butternut squash with garam masala before roasting with salty feta and sun-dried tomatoes; marinate chicken wings in a punchy tandoori sauce; and brighten up a quinoa salad with ginger and cumin.

You'll also find classics refined over the years by the granddaughter of the family that brough Patak's sauces and chutneys to households around the world. Throughout, The Indian Family Kitchen demystifies traditional cooking methods with kitchen shortcuts and the spices you should always have on hand—for delicious family meals that'll be loved by generation upon generation.

My thoughts: I haven't tried a whole lot of Indian food in my lifetime, since it was hard to get a hold of in my small corner of the world until here recently. What I have had, I love! So much so, that I recently tried my hand at making a few Indian recipes that I came across online. So, when this cookbook came up to review, I was thrilled to get a copy of it!
I love how the book is laid out, since it is easy to use and the recipes are easy to follow (which is a must in this case for me, since I am not sure what the end result is suppose to look like in a lot of cases, since they are dishes I'm not familiar with). I also love that there is a section where she goes over spices and how to store then, something I have never thought about.:) This book is an excellent addition to anyone's kitchen, but especially for the adventurous chef who is wanting to try some unique and tasty dishes.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

All Things Bright and Beautiful

A joyful, artistic rendering of a favorite childhood hymn. God's touch can be seen everywhere: in the rivers and streams, in the forest and its creatures, and in each of us. And nowhere is this more lyrically celebrated than in the words of "All Things Bright and Beautiful," first published by Cecil Frances Alexander in 1848. Here, artist Katy Hudson brings new joy to this mainstay of churches and Sunday school classes with her fresh and engaging watercolors. Readers will be swept along as they follow three young children who delight in a day filled with the discovery of "all things bright and beautiful.” This striking book is a beautiful reminder that every good thing we see is from God. Ages 4 to 7.

My thoughts: My daughter and I love this gorgeous little book! It is a great way to work with young children on the words to the song by the same title. I adore the illustrations, since they match the words perfectly as they show God's beautiful creation through the eyes of a family on a camping trip. My daughter just may wear this one out, since she asks me to read it to her quite often.:)
If you are looking for a good way to teach children about God's creation, then this book is a beautiful way to go about it.
I received this book from Worthy publishers in exchange for my honest review.

The Calling

Remko Brant had never been so sure of anything as escaping the Authority City with Carrington Hale. But bravado comes easy when you have nothing to lose. Now a husband, father, and the tactical leader of the Seers, Remko has never had so much at risk.As he and his team execute increasingly dangerous rescue missions inside the city, they face growing peril from a new enemy. Recently appointed Authority President Damien Gold claims to be guiding a city shaken by rebellion into a peaceful, harmonious future. But appearances can be deceiving. In order to achieve his dangerous ambitions, Gold knows he must do more than catch the rebels--he must destroy the hope their message represents . . . from the inside out.With dissension in his own camp--and the CityWatch soldiers closing in--Remko feels control slipping through his fingers. To protect those he loves, he must conquer his fears and defeat Gold . . . before one of them becomes his undoing

My thoughts: I have to say, I think that this one has a lot more going for it then the first book. While the first book was okay, I felt like it could have had more to the story. The Calling does a better job of bringing to life the characters, as they seek to keep the rebellion going now that things are growing harder. I found the new characters and changes in the city interesting, I especially enjoyed the new characters.:) While I wasn't surprised with some of the twists in the story, they still added some unique elements. I like the over all theme of faith over fear and especially appreciated Remko's personal journey.
Over all, I would give it a 4 out of 5. It didn't blow me away, but it was interesting and held my attention until the end, leaving me looking forward to the next book in the series (Warning: this one ends in a bit more of a cliff hanger than the last one!). It is a great story to curl up with on a cold day!
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.