Monday, March 28, 2016

Take ten: the top ten of my most recent 5 star reads

1. A Haven on Orchard Lane

Oh my, this one surpassed my expectations! I was worried that I remember her writing being more amazing then it actually is (since, a lot of things can seem better in one's memories. lol), but this book was the perfect blend of period sweetness and depth. I adored it!

2. One Plus One Equals Trouble

I never know what to expect from debut authors, but this story was excellent! A fun combination of spunky, wit, and charm. I look forward to the next book!

3. The Hearts We Mend

This one will most likely wind up on my re-read list, since it was just that good.;)

4. Change of Heart

I adored this story!

5. The Red Door Inn

6. Letters to My Daughters

7. The Ringmaster's Wife

8. The Giftsnatcher

9. The Gifting series

10. Where She Belongs

A Haven on Orchard Lane

Much-Loved Lawana Blackwell Delivers Another Charming Victorian-Era Tale

In difficult circumstances, Charlotte Ward, once a famed stage actress, tries to restart her career--only to experience disaster. Against her better judgment, her estranged daughter, Rosalind, comes to her mother's rescue and moves her to a quiet English coastal village.
Charlotte is grateful to get to know Rosalind after years apart. As one who has regrets about her own romantic past, it's a joy for Charlotte to see love blossom for her daughter. For Rosalind, however, it's time away from teaching--and now she must care for the mother who wasn't there for her. And what could be more complicated than romance?
Together, mother and daughter discover that healing is best accomplished when they focus less on themselves and more on the needs of others.

My thoughts: I was thrilled to see that Lawana Blackwell had a new title coming out this year, since I adored her novels when I was in high school. There was a part of me that was a bit worried that perhaps my taste in books had changed over the years or that this novel would be drastically different from her other titles, but I need not have feared, since this story is excellent! The characters and time period come to life and weave a beautiful story about a mother and daughter forced to reconnect and settle into a small town. I love how there are secondary characters who have interesting stories as well. This is a new favorite! I sincerely hope that we won't have to wait as long for her next book as we did for this one.;)
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Everyday MOMents

Discover the divine purpose in your motherhood! Each inspiring chapter moves through another hour in a mother’s day, highlighting spiritually symbolic insights and describing how Christ is by your side even during the daily routine. From sun-up to bedtime, this entertaining and uplifting book will help you find the inherent divinity hidden in the every day details of motherhood.

My thoughts: This book is a wonderful, fairly short book filled with stories, scriptures, quotes, and thoughts on how God wants us to view motherhood. It's so easy to get caught up in the mundane that can go along with housework and being a mother, but this book was a much needed reminder for me that everything was created by God and that the wonderful job of being a mom is made up of all the wonderful little, day to day moments.
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Letters to My Daughters: The Art of being a Wife

Barbara Rainey Offers Sage Advice on the Art of Being a Wife
Radio personality and bestselling author Barbara Rainey knows firsthand the challenges newly married couples face. Dismayed by Hollywood depictions of marriage and the seemingly easy solution of divorce, she sees a desperate need for a voice of experience, a mentor who has been there and understands--and can encourage, coach, and care.
As her daughters began their married lives, Barbara wanted to share with them, and now you, some of the lessons learned throughout her own marriage as well as those gleaned from years of ministry to couples. In these heartfelt, insightful letters, she answers the tough questions and addresses the realities of marriage. Through personal stories--including her own mistakes--and practical advice, Barbara provides the tools and direction to help you become a godly wife and determine your part in achieving a better marriage

My thoughts: This book is just gorgeous! I love that it is not only an excellent resource on marriage, but it is also gorgeous enough to be a keepsake. The format, letters from Barbara to her daughters/daughters in law, answering some of their questions on being a wife, is a fun way to read a book on marriage. I like that she has backed her letters with her own experiences and added insight from marriage books that touched her own union.
This book would make a wonderful wedding shower or wedding present, but is also an excellent resource for those of us who have been married for a while.
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

A Powerful Secret

Sean Worthington is shocked when he hears his older brother Will announce that he will not run for New York's Senate seat. In fact, he's angry. All of his efforts as Will's campaign manager are now for nothing--and Sean is left to handle questions from the press while Will walks away without a backward glance. Throughout his life, Sean has felt like an outsider in his own family. And not being told about his brother's plans is just one more piece of evidence that he's right.

Tired of being the odd one out, Sean is determined to forge his own path. Little does he know that it's not easy to escape your family--especially when a powerful secret from the past threatens to explode everything Sean ever believed.

My thoughts: I didn't realize that this book was part of a series when I first agreed to review it. While I think that it would of been better had I read the first book before delving into this one, I still enjoyed the fast pace story and the chance to get to know the characters in it. I like that both authors contribute very different elements to the story: Dr. Leman brings out the difference in birth order for the three Worhtington siblings and how it affects the dynamics of their famil, while Jeff Nesbit does a fabulous job of keeping the story going with all its political twists and turns. This is an excellent read!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

I want it All

God created you for exceptional impact. Exceptional power. And exceptional blessings.

Gwen Smith knows how easy it is to dismiss God’s plans with the thoughts, I can’t make a big difference for God because I’m just an ordinary woman with an ordinary life. Yet God created us to join Him in doing amazing work in the world. He created us to live with abundant joy, courage, and influence. But not the joy, courage, and influence of the world. He offers His grace for each failure, His love that shatters hate, His peace that soothes the turmoil, His comfort, guidance, wisdom, rest, power, and significance. Every blessing He has for us is ours for the taking.

I Want It All will ignite a fire in your heart to experience more faith, more power, and more impact. More of Jesus. All of Jesus. Everything that God has for you.

My thoughts: I needed this book! It is a great reminder that we were called to a life of so much more. To embrace those big dreams. I love how Gwen reminds readers of God's love and grace, which should enable us to reach for all He has for us. I'm making this sound like some kind of cheesy motivational book, but it isn't, since Gwen is very real as she writes and connects with the reader, sharing their trials as a family and how there are blessings in trials. Sometimes, I think we expect life to be easy as Christians, but this book was a great reminder to me to have joy when times are tough.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Tasting Rome

A love letter from two Americans to their adopted city, showcasing modern dishes influenced by tradition, as well as the rich culture of their surroundings. 
Even 150 years after unification, Italy is still a divided nation where individual regions are defined by their local cuisine-- mirrors of their culture, history, and geography. But the cucina romana is the country’s greatest standout. In Tasting Rome, journalist Katie Parla and photographer Kristina Gill capture Rome's unique character and truly evolved food culture-- a culimation of two thousand years of history. 

The recipes here, each selected for the story it tells, acknowledge the foundations of the cuisine and demonstrate how it has transitioned to the variations found today: cacio e pepe is not only a peppery condiment for pasta, but also a filling for suppli, fried rice balls; pollo alla romana is served as a summer platter of peppers stewed with chicken, but also deboned and on hearty sandwiches. Parla and Gill focus, too, oncucina ebraica to highlight the role Rome's Jewish communities have had, bringing dishes such as hraimi con couscous, which incorporates spicy amberjack, and matzoh fritters, pizzarelle, with honey and pine nuts; celebrate the authentic quinto quarto("the fifth quarter") offal, and luscious verdure, which grow all over; acknowledge the baked pizzas and breads that anchor everyday eating; and explore the ever-changing culture of sweets and cocktails. 

With its forgotten recipes, beloved favorites, and street food innovations, the book transports all the flavors of Rome into your kitchen. Narrative features revealing bits of history and gorgeous photography that highlight both the food and its hidden city will immediately inspire you to start Tasting Rome. 

My thoughts: Oh my, what a treat this cookbook is! I love how unique the recipes are. I found that a lot of them were different from a lot of the baking and cooking I normally do, but in a good way. The recipes add a whole new variety to Italian cooking that is so much fun! The book is a gorgeous variety of photos, history, and recipes. A new favorite at our home!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

If your family is like most, breakfast is rushed to get everyone out the door. Lunch is spent at school or work. So where does that leave dinner? Nourish your family's spiritual health as you eat supper together. Adventures in Odyssey and Odyssey Adventure Club want to give you a free resource to help you begin your new dinner tradition of making the most of your family mealtime, beginning this Easter season. Simply head to this page and fill out the form to receive a free sample of Whit's End Mealtime Devotions.


Want new resources to continue to build your family's faith, even after Easter is over? Consider signing your family up for the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC). It offers safe and free content for everyone in your family. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:

  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.
To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit, Facebook, Twitter. and Pinterest.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Suddenly Single Mom

Raising your children alone may not have been your plan, but these 52 encouragements will support and inspire you to thrive in your new role.

Raising your family on your own can be heartbreaking, lonely and hard to navigate. Suddenly, you are the one who has to have the answers. Remembering that God is always with you and that His love is faithful can give you the confidence to face whatever this new life brings. With a foundation of helpful Scripture verses, each message shares a story, a survival tip and a prayer.

Readers will find a faithful companion in this book as they encounter each new experience and learn to embrace their new role. Jeanette Hanscome shares 52 encouraging insights gleaned from her first year as a single mom to two boys. She shares very real struggles and triumphs, from learning to stand on her own to knowing when to ask for or accept help, and deals with both the emotional and the practical challenges of raising her children on her own.

Jeanette Hanscome is an author, writing teacher, speaker, and busy mom. Her work has been featured by Focus on the Family, Standard Publishing, Walk Thru the Bible, and Lifeway. She enjoys cooking, knitting, reading, studying the Bible, and spending time with her two incredible sons. Jeanette was born with a rare vision disorder called Achromatopsia, which means she has no color vision, is extremely light sensitive, and has visual acuity in the legally blind range. Jeanette lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

My thoughts: This is such a wonderful resource! I love that Jeanette is open and honest about her struggle with raising two boys after becoming suddenly single. The devotions are set up nicely, with a scripture, the author's personal experiences, a prayer, a thought to consider, a Scripture passage to look up, and a survival tip. This is the perfect devotional for Single mothers! If you aren't a single mother, but know some, then this book would make a perfect gift to encourage those mothers!
I received this book from Worthy publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Playing the Part by Jen Turano

Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan's interest turns threatening. Lucinda's widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta's life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson's estate to hide out.

Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there's much more to him than society knows.

Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail's matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can't ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it'll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he plays.

My thoughts: I think I enjoyed this book the best out of Jen's stories, up to this point! I loved the heroine and thought she has such a fun personality and history! It was interesting to see how the story played out.:) This is a fun, lighter read to enjoy as the weather warms up!
I received this book from Lit Fuse in exchange for my honest review.

By the Stars by Lindsay Ferguson

When Cal finally gets a chance with Kate, the girl he’s loved since grade school, their easy friendship quickly blossoms into a meaningful romance. But the WWII draft calls him to the war in the Pacific, and with his small chance of return, Cal prepares to part from Kate for good. Inspired by a true story, “By the Stars” shows that love, faith, and perseverance can overcome any obstacle.

My thoughts: This is a fun story that brings to life the 1940's. I love that the story is about young friends who grow to be sweethearts. The story is rich with details and brings the time period to life. I look forward to reading more by this new author!
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Swan and Shadow

Aislin is cursed. A regular college student at night and a swan during the day, Aislin can only break the curse by finding her true love. But when her beloved discovers the truth, will his fear override their love? This modern adaptation of Swan Lake will help you discover what love really means.

My thoughts: I think the author did a fabulous job of bringing the characters to life, especially the twin sisters who are both affected (though, one way more than the other) by the family curse. I like that the story flip flops back and forth between Aislin, who is dealing with being cursed, and Maeve, who is trying to help her sister figure out how to break the curse. For the most part, I felt like the story moves along nicely, though I would of liked more development, especially with the ending! Over all though, I think the author did a wonderful job of re-telling the story of Swan Lake!
I received this book from Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Here's some trivia for you. Enjoy!

10. The author's favorite character is based on a crush she had in 10th grade. They even share a first name.
9. Because the book is set in Boston, the author tried to stay true to the demographics. She grew up knowing Iranian, Saudi, Irish, Italian, Czech, Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, Greek, Spanish-speaking and Armenian immigrants and first-generation Americans fairly well.
8. The protagonists' family lives in her cousins' house in Cambridge, MA.. Not literally, but she describes the neighborhood and house layout based on memories of that home.
7. The author and her editor had very different ideas about the ending. Neither of them actually got the ending they originally proposed, but the author came up with something completely different and her editor declared it to be her favorite of the ideas.
6. At one point, a character's introversion is hatefully mistaken for developmental delays. This conversation was inspired by the author's own experiences. She went through speech therapy as a child and was taught to speak slowly and precisely. As a result, her best friend in Boston originally thought that she had wandered off from the Special Education room at school. The speech pattern changed when she became bilingual and discovered that Spanish conversation moves at the speed of light. When she returned from 18 months of Spanish-speaking work, her mother asked why she spoke so fast in English.
5. The "Interludes" in the book are not plot-driving, just family stories that they all know. One that did not make it into the final book is about the swan maiden learning how to fly. After she tried taking flight from the roof and broke her foot, her sister taught her how to dive and adapted that to aerodynamics.
4. This book has interrupted two others. In 2012, the author was querying an urban fantasy thriller set in Philadelphia when a friend from Boston mentioned the premise to an editor. That editor read the first 50 pages and asked for the rest, but never responded to the finished product. In March 2015, the author was working on a story involving politics, fairy godmothers and a matchmaker when an acquisiions editor at Cedar Fort books approached her about publishing the book. The author is now writing the book that was interrupted in 2015 and intends to finish it this time.
3. All Boston-centric events--the Fourth of July Boston Pops concert, First Night and The Nutcracker at the Wang Center, etc. --are drawn from Olsen family pastimes. In fact, one proofreader had to point out to the author that she had no idea why a character would be carrying buttons in her pocket on New Year's Eve. This led to the explanation of First Night lapel pins and the inability of the author to think of buttons without smirking.
2. The characters spend almost all of their travel time on the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority trains. This is because the author got in the habit of riding the T everywhere for high school and thinks that driving in Boston is nonsensical.
1. The author chose to send the swan maiden to Boston University because she was a Boston University Academy student for two years before transferring to her alma mater, Lexington Christian Academy. During her BUA years, she discovered that the BU libraries were open fantastically late and this helped her with research papers and Physics assignments. Like the swan maiden, she had no exact curfew, but had to let her parents know where she'd be if she stayed out late.

Finding God in the Ruins

When the reality of your pain doesn’t line up with what you’ve been taught in church, then what? While many abandon their faith or embrace hopelessness, it is possible to discover the God who heals your heart in the midst of the pain.

Matt Bays has been where you are. His unforgettable stories of loss and healing will usher you into a life where gratitude overpowers anger, hope overcomes despair, and hunger for God replaces indifference to God. With a fresh and original writing style, Bays demonstrates that true redemption is far more powerful than the temporary fixes of sanitized Christianity.

My thoughts: I appreciated the honesty of the author in this book, since he is very open about the sexual dysfunction that was in his home during his childhood and teen years that caused him to doubt God's love. This book does a great job of sharing the stories of brokenness and how God works through our hurts. I thought Matt does a great job of sharing his heart. I do have mixed feelings about his use of some scriptures, but overall feel like this is a great book to read about the difficult subject of God and pain.
I received this book from Lit Fuse in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

On Lone Star Trail

If there's one thing Gillian Hodge never wants to see again, it's a man on a motorcycle. Her last encounter with one left her right hand crushed, ending her promising career as a concert pianist. But as she heads to Rainbow's End Resort, a sudden thunderstorm causes a motorcycle to crash in front of her.

When TJ Benjamin's wife died, he lost more than his best friend; he lost his faith. He's spent the past year wandering the country on a motorcycle, trying not to think about his future. When he finds himself stranded with a busted bike and a reluctant rescuer, he has to wonder about God's sense of humor.

Can this woman without a future and this man running from his past find romance in the present? Or are they too tied to the way life used to be?

My thoughts: While I didn't read the first and second books in this series, I felt like I was able to follow the story just fine, since each book is about a different couple. Now that I have read this one, though, I would like to go back and read the others! Amanda does a fabulous job of bringing the characters to life, writing with depth about their individual heartaches that have brought them to Rainbow's End. I like that there is a lot going on with the story. I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Easter Devotions and Activities for Your Whole Family


We're down to the final two weeks before we celebrate Easter and Jesus' resurrection. Do your children understand and grasp the full meaning of why we celebrate the holiday? Adventures in Odyssey and Odyssey Adventure Club want to provide your family with a week of meaningful, fun Easter activities to help make the holiday come alive this year. Simply head to this page and sign up to download your free PDF full of family devotions, egg wraps, recipes, crafts, and cards. Oh, and as a bonus, here's a free activity sheet from Focus on the Family!


If you're looking to dig into the Easter holiday more and want to build your kids' faith, consider signing your family up for the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC). It offers safe and free content for everyone in your family. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:

  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.
To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit, Facebook, Twitter. and Pinterest.

Expectant Blessings

Written from a mother’s heart and born out of a mommy’s desire to connect with her unborn baby, these powerful prayers, devotions and original poems will touch the heart of both mother and baby alike

My thoughts: This was such a fun devotion for me to read, especially with expecting a little blessing of my own soon. I appreciated Susanna opening her heart to expecting mothers. I could relate to basically all of the thoughts she shared! The prayers for one's unborn baby, experiences with sharing your exciting news with loved ones, and dealing with all the emotions that come with pregnancy. It's such a special time, dreaming of the new little one.
This would make a fun baby shower gift!
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Sweeter off the Vine

A cozy collection of heirloom-quality recipes for pies, cakes, tarts, ice cream, preserves, and other sweet treats that cherishes the fruit of every season.

Celebrate the luscious fruits of every season with this stunning collection of heirloom-quality recipes for pies, cakes, tarts, ice cream, preserves, and other sweet treats. Summer's wild raspberries become Raspberry Pink Peppercorn Sorbet, ruby red rhubarb is roasted to adorn a pavlova, juicy apricots and berries are baked into galettes with saffron sugar, and winter's bright citrus fruits shine in Blood Orange Donuts and Tangerine Cream Pie. Yossy Arefi’s recipes showcase what's fresh and vibrant any time of year by enhancing the enticing sweetness of fruits with bold flavors like rose and orange flower water inspired by her Iranian heritage, bittersweet chocolate and cacao nibs, and whole-grain flours like rye and spelt. Accompanied by gorgeous, evocative photography, Sweeter off the Vine is a must-have for aspiring bakers and home cooks of all abilities.

My thoughts: I was thrilled to receive this cookbook, since my husband and I have added quite a few fruit trees and berry bushes to our little plot of land since moving here. Now that they should be producing more, I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed at coming up with ways to use all the fruit.;) So, I enjoyed looking through this recipe book and seeing the variety of fruits and recipes! I won't be making just jams and pies with our fruit.;) I love the frozen treat recipes especially, though I look forward to trying all of these recipes through the next year.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Flirtation Walk

West Point History Comes Alive in this Warmhearted Romance

Trying to escape the shambles her con-man father has made of their reputation, Lucinda Curtis arrives in West Point, New York, determined to land a husband from the military academy. Campbell Conklin is first in his class and preparing to embark upon a storied career in the U.S. Army. Lucinda thinks Campbell will make the perfect husband . . . as long as he does not find out about her father.

Seth Westcott also has taken a liking to Lucinda. He's kind, smart . . . and working extremely hard to graduate last. Tradition states that the worst cadets are assigned to the cavalry out west. And west is where Seth must head to track the swindler who stole all of Seth's mother's money. Seth is smart enough to vie for the top spot, but life isn't fair and this is his chance to catch the man who ruined his family. It's too bad Campbell is all shine and no substance, but Lucinda will surely see through all of that, won't she?

My thoughts: I was thrilled to see this book come up for review, since I am a fan of Siri's stories! While this one took me a little bit to get into, it did live up to the expectations I had for it. I love that both the hero and heroine struggle with doing the right thing and changing who they are. Siri does a wonderful job of developing her characters as the story goes along, giving readers an interesting look at life as a West Point cadet in the 1850's, as well as the change in thought that could occur for a con man's daughter as she adjusts to a "normal" life. I liked the characters and how things played out in the end. This one is a great read to add to your "to be read" list!
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.


Synced encourages you to emulate the way Jesus lived His life. With real-life stories of people walking closely with Jesus, finding themselves in the right place at the right time, readers are challenged to examine what staying in step with the Spirit looks like. National best-selling author and known prayer expert, Jennifer Kennedy Dean, uses the familiar passage of the Lord’s Prayer as anchor points to present the way Jesus lived His life in step with the Father through prayer.

Every moment is pregnant with purpose. Every moment is drenched in power. Prayer is no longer the means by which you attempt to get God to perform for you and becomes, instead, the means by which you connect with His heart and mind. A praying life is a life of peace and soul-rest. A praying life is lived in sync with the heart of Jesus.

My thoughts: I liked that the author starts the book by showing how Christ lived a life in sync with God, and how He is to be our example. Jennifer goes on to use scriptures to back up her chapters and points. I like that she also had several Andrew Murray quotes through out the book.;) While I didn't agree with everything in the book, over all it is easy to read and she had a lot of good points.
I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Take ten: books on my Spring TBR list

I am so ready for Spring this year! The weather has been nice (for the most part) for a while now, but it will be nice to have Spring officially here.;) With the new season, comes a list of books I would like to read before it turns to Summer.

1. Letters to my Daughters

This book is just gorgeous! I admit that I already started it, since it was just too pretty to set in the pile.;) It will probably take me a bit to complete though!

2. A Haven on Orchard Lane

It's killing me that this book is on my Kindle and that I am unable to start it at the moment!

3. Expectant Blessings

4. On Lone Star Trail

5. From this Moment

6. Thy say we are Infidels

Quite interested in this one.

7. Finding God in the Ruins

8. Back in the Saddle

9. That's Not Hay in my Hair

10. Dawn at Emberwilde

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Hearts We Mend

For young widow Evie Bennett, moving forward will mean deciding what to leave behind . . . and what to keep.

Widowed at the age of twenty-five when her firefighter husband was killed in the line of duty, Evie Bennett has spent the last thirteen years raising their son, Cody, in the close-knit community of Banister Falls. As the women’s ministry director of her church, Evie encourages women to boldly pursue God’s plan for their future . . . while she is content with her memories of the past. But Evie’s well-ordered life begins to change when she meets Jack Vale.

As Evie gets drawn into Jack’s world—a world that isn’t as safe and predictable as the one she’s worked so hard to create—he challenges her to open her eyes to the problems in the community . . . but will Evie open her heart to love again?

Because even though Jack isn’t anything like her late husband, he just might be everything she needs.

My thoughts: Ever since, well, forever, Evie has lived life on the safe side. When Jack comes into her life, that world is turned upside down. No longer is she just content with her role as young widow and women's ministry leader in an affluent church. Jack makes her branch out of her comfort zone and embrace life and people from all walks of life.
I loved this book! While the first book in the series was incredible, I think that I liked this one even better, since I saw a little bit of myself in Evie. It's easy to get caught up in living a safe life and forget about the interesting people around us that come from different backgrounds. This book is definitely a new favorite! I love Kathryn's style of writing, and she does a fabulous job of making her characters come alive. I also love that she has a lot going on with the secondary characters, making their stories come alive. I look forward to the next book in the series!
I received this book from Lit Fuse in exchange for my honest review.

The Bible is no doubt a timeless book, but often it's seen by the younger generation as ancient and antiquated. How can we make the stories of the Bible—particularly the Easter story—alive and exciting for our children? Adventures in Odyssey has created a free activity kit for families to experience the Easter story brought to life through eight days of Christ-centered and fun activities. Click here to sign up and download the kit for free.


If you're looking to bring the Bible to life further during the Easter season, consider signing your family up for the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC). It offers safe and free content for everyone in your family. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:

  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.
To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit, Facebook, Twitter. and Pinterest.

Friday, March 11, 2016

My Mother's Quilts

Inspired by thirty family heirloom quilts, each devotion depicts the enduring legacy of faith, family, and tradition. Rich, personal, sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, each reading provides a lesson and encouragement from the faithful women who crafted the quilts.
Full color photographs of each quilt show the style and artistry of each beautiful work. The quilts, sewn by several generations over more than one hundred years are as unique and lovely as the hands that created them. The oldest was buried to keep safe during the Civil war and the author's mother created the newest in the last years of her life.

My thoughts: I love the idea of centering a devotion around quilts and the history that they can provide! While I am not a quilter, I do like to sew and can appreciate the work that goes into a quilt. With all handmade gifts, there is a lot of love and beauty that goes into a piece.
Quilters will be delighted with this lovely devotion, since the author does a wonderful job putting the devotions together, and the pictures are enjoyable to see. I love the history that is included!
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Good God

If we are honest, at some point we all struggle with the question, "Why does God allow pain, suffering, and evil?" Good God introduces the God we all want to believe in but have been too fearful to embrace. With the Bible as his guide, Lucas Miles takes readers on a journey, tipping over some "sacred cows" along the way, to uncover the lost and forgotten nature of the Creator of the Universe and discover a real relationship with him through the person of Jesus Christ: God's goodness incarnate.

My thoughts: Well, I have mixed feelings about this book. While I see where Lucas is going with a lot of his thoughts, that God is good and wants what is best for us, I also think that it can be a slippery slope. God is good and wants what is best for us, while Satan is the author of confusion. But, God is just and merciful, He has given us agency and will not violate that even if it brings us pain. I agree with a lot of the thoughts in this book, but not all. That said, it was an interesting read that I enjoyed. It made me think about how I look at God and His goodness and love for us.
I received this book from Worthy in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Fool and His Monet

Serena Jones has a passion for recovering lost and stolen art--one that's surpassed only by her zeal to uncover the truth about the art thief who murdered her grandfather. She's joined the FBI Art Crime Team with the secret hope that one of her cases will lead to his killer. Now, despite her mother's pleas to do something safer--like get married--Serena's learning how to go undercover to catch thieves and black market traders.

When a local museum discovers an irreplaceable Monet missing, Jones leaps into action. The clues point in different directions, and her boss orders her to cease investigating her most promising suspect. But determined to solve the case and perhaps discover another clue in her grandfather's murder, she pushes ahead, regardless of the danger.

My thoughts: While I enjoyed this story/mystery (especially Serena's Aunt Martha! She's a fun character), I would of liked for there to be more about the art and how it can be recovered. Part of the mystery seemed a little rushed, but I still found the story to be interesting and funny. It's different from what I expected, but different isn't bad.:) I look forward to reading the next book in the series! I'm thrilled that it should be coming out this Autumn.
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Bedtime Snuggles

This book is an adorable book to read with your little(s) at bedtime, with it's sweet rhymes that go along with the illustrations of different farm and woodland creatures, ending with a mother snuggling her little child. My daughter enjoys pulling this book out when it is time to get ready for bed! It is a great book to help your little one wind down and prepare for bedtime.
I received this book from Worthy publishers in exchange for my honest review.

When You, then God

God loves you unconditionally . . . but could it be true that some of His promises have strings attached?In the groundbreaking tradition of "Not a Fan" and "Jesus" > "Religion" comes this provocative new book from pastor and debut author Rusty George.Beginning with the Old Testament and walking through the life of Jesus, Rusty unpacks seven core promises of God--and reveals what you need to do in order to unlock them. What is it God wants from you? "When" you do it, what can you trust He will "then" do in response? And how can you confidently move forward in life without wearing yourself out trying to guess God's will or somehow earning His unconditional love and boundless grace?Come to know all this and more in "When You, Then God"--a dynamic call to obedience, an invitation to partner in God's work in your life, and a fresh way to experience His blessings.

My thoughts: I remember sitting in on a class about the promises in the Bible and how a lot of them come with a response that we should have before the promise is evident. So, I was interested in this book when I saw it. While this book is a bit more basic than that, going into things like "when you walk with Jesus, God will help you look like Jesus" and "when you show kindness to others, God will show you grace", it was still an interesting read. The author does a great job of weaving scripture verses and personal stories into the promises that he talks about. I appreciated what he had to say about financial blessings, since I do think that sometimes the blessing in financial problems is that God is there for us. I don't believe that God gives wealth to the righteous or because someone is righteous. I don't like that some people equate riches with how righteous you are. But, I digress.
Over all, this book has some great points and is an interesting read.
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Take Ten: literary characters that I just can't click with

1. Draco

Just no. He's annoying and horrible, though he did have some redeeming moments.

2. Tris

I wasn't a fan of her when I read some of the books, but I especially didn't care for how Shailene Woodley portrayed her in the movies.

3. Bella Swan

I just can't abide insipid main characters.

4. Heathcliff
5. Catherine

While I love the other Bronte sisters stories, the characters in this one just do not set well with me.

6. Scarlett O'Hara

She's a horrible brat who doesn't care who she hurts in her quest to get what she wants out of life.

7. Anna Karenina

Another unbelievably selfish heroine.

8. Christian
9. Anastasia

I didn't have to read this one to know that this is another horrible couple whom I can't stand. I think this book is degrading to women.

10. Bathsheba

It's been a while since I read this one, but I remember thinking that she didn't deserve her man.;)

What characters do you have a hard time seeing in a favorable light? Or, are there characters you love that no one else seems to?:)