Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

We love peach cobbler and I was ecstatic to find a crockpot recipe on Pinterest.  It's delicious and so easy!  So great for those family get togethers!
Ingredients
  1. 29 oz Del Monte Sliced Peaches in Heavy Syrup
  2. 1 tsp cinnamon
  3. 16.5 oz yellow cake mix
  4. 3/4 cup pecans (chopped)
  5. 1 stick butter (sliced)
  6. Non-stick cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Spray crock pot with non stick cooking spray. Layer remaining ingredients into crock pot in order shown. DO NOT MIX. Just sprinkle the ingredients on top of each other. Turn the crock pot on high for 2 hours. Remove from heat and enjoy with ice cream!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rumspringa's Hope (Spirit of the Amish, Book 1) by Beth Shriver

Book Description:  Torn between the affections of two men, will Emma's time away from home help her choose?


Although promised to the widowed neighbor Zeb, Emma is considering leaving her Amish community to watch over her younger brother Mark when he leaves for Philadelphia to explore the outside world during his Rumspringa.
There, she reconnects with her former beau Caleb, who protects the Amish teens, introducing them to his life evangelizing and helping the homeless. Unbeknownst to Emma, Caleb is glad for the opportunity to spend time with her and hopes to win her back.
Struck by the power of evangelism and outreach, Emma begins to feel a draw to Caleb's way of life. When she doesn’t return home when she promised, Zeb goes to the city to find her, forcing Emma to choose in which of their two worlds she really belongs.

My Thoughts:  One thing I've found out about Beth Shriver's books is that the reader will either love them or hate them.  I happen to be in the first category...I love them.  Yes, for some readers this read may be a tad slow but one must read on for the information about what is going on.
This is the first book in the Spirit of the Amish:  Three young Amish women face overwhelming obstacles and must struggle to find out who they are and what they believe. Although each is dealing with her own unique situation, they all must discover how to follow their dreams and stay true to themselves, whether their journeys take them away from--or back to--their Amish communities.
This read is more about what Amish teens do on their rumpspringa...their "running around" time.  So, for me it was not "the usual" Amish read.  I found it to be quite fascinating and was drawn to Emma's story. 
I found the "evangelism" of this read great!  It's so refreshing when christian fiction is actually christian and the reader feels the love of God through the written word.
Loved this story!
*This book was provided for review by Bookteria*


  • Series: Spirit of the Amish (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Realms (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1621365999
  • ISBN-13: 978-1621365990

Monday, July 21, 2014

Murder Simply Brewed (Amish Village #1) by Vannetta Chapman

Book Description:  When the coffee shop manager is murdered in Middlebury's Amish Artisan Village, two women from different walks of life must join together to solve the mystery. Spring has arrived in Middlebury, Indiana, and Amber Wright is optimistic about the growing profit from her collection of Amish shops---until she receives a call that Ethan Gray is dead. Hurrying over to A Simple Blend, she finds a solitary hole in the front window and the store manager lying next to the espresso machine, dead from an apparent heart attack. All the money is still in his register. When Amber hires a young Amish woman, Hannah Troyer, to take over the shop's duties, the two women become fast friends---as well as amateur sleuths. The police believe Gray's death is a by-product of vandalism, but Amber and Hannah aren't convinced. Clues that don't add up, a neighbor who is pulled into the midst of the investigation, a town with secrets to hide, and a blossoming romance---all will combine to push Amber and Hannah into unfamiliar roles in order to reveal answers to the mysteries around them.

My Thoughts:  I've read all of the Amish mysteries that Vannetta Chapman has penned.  And now she has a new series:  The Amish Village series where there is a lot of action happening in Middlebury, Indiana.
Amber Wright is an English woman who owns a collection of unique shops in Middlebury. As part of her shops she owns a coffee shop, Simply Brewed, which is run  by Ethan Gray.  Amber receives a call that Ethan is found dead by the espresso machine, maybe a heart attack.  However, Amber doesn't think so!
Amber hires a young Amish woman, Hannah, to run the coffee shop. Soon fast friends . . . Amber and Hannah become "detectives" as things about Ethan's death don't add up.  
To me this a cozy mystery.  There's a murder but it isn't gruesome or gory.  There is friendship between an English businesswoman and an Amish woman who seems to have the strength and business skills to run a coffee shop.
Simply Brewed is a wonderful suspense novel that includes coffee, more coffee and Amish quilts with friendship thrown in for added spice. 
Loved this read!  If you enjoy friendships, coffee and Amish quilts then this the read for you!
*This book was provided for review by BookLook*
  • Series: An Amish Village Mystery
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (March 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310326168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310326168

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dear Mr. Knightly (a novel) by Katherine Reay

Book Description:  Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others—namely, her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story—by giving that story to a complete stranger.

Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.
But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.
As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.
Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.

My Thoughts:  I don't usually like books that are written in the first person and in a journal type writing BUT Samantha (aka. Sam) is one of those human beings who pulls on the reader's heart strings.  
Sam loves books!  In fact, they may just be closer to her than humans. She lives and breathes Jane Austen.  And Sam is an orphan.  Sam has been bounced from one foster home to another but she always has her best friends along....her books!
Mr. Knightley is a mysterious donor who not only supplies the money for her Master's degree in journalism but Mr. Knightley also encourages Sam.  So, when Mr. Knightley and Sam begin to compose letters and write back and forth...Sam's heart begins to shine through.    
A sweet, somewhat coming of age book as Sam learns about life and love.  
I liked this book!  In my opinion, you'll either like this read or dislike it.  But try it, you just might like it!
*This book was provided for review by BookSneeze*
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140168968X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401689681

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday} Taco Soup

Taco Soup is a favorite soup around our house, no matter the season.  SO, I was excited when I found this recipe on Pinterest:

Ingredients
  • 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3-4 carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 1 pkg. frozen peas (the small pkg.)
  • 1 can (16 oz) tomatoes
  • 1 8oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning or roughly 1/4 cup
  • 1 can corn (undrained)
  • 1 can chili beans (undrained)
  • 1 can green beans (undrained)
  • 1 can kidney beans (undrained)
instructions
  1. in a large pot add a drizzle of olive oil and place over medium heat. cook the onions until tender, about 3 minutes. add the carrots and potatoes and add just enough water to cover them. cook until tender.
  2. in a separate pan, over medium heat cook the hamburger, drain the grease and add to the water and tender veggies.
  3. add all of the remaining ingredients and cook until heated through. serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and fritos!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Butterfly and the Violin (A Hidden Masterpiece Novel, Book 1) by Kristy Cambron

Book Description:  A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz—and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.
Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl—a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.
My Thoughts:  Two plot lines, present day and World War II (historical), the author, Kristy Cambron, does an excellent job of writing two different perspectives at one time. The faith of two women is amazing.{not an easy feat}
The story of two women, Sera and Adele, who have been betrayed by those they love.  
World War II  . . . tangles and untangles in lives that are connected by  a painting.  A painting that seems to have a story all of out's own.  
Secrets abound but what is the secret of the painting that seems to bring so much pain?  
World War II stories are some of my favorite reads AND this is an amazing story!  However, I was more fascinated with and more engaged with Adele's story.  Adele risks everything as she begins to smuggle Jews out of Vienna.  Sera's story is more modern day and she is trying to find the "mystery" of the painting.
This is a  great read for history buffs and those who enjoy reading about World War II.
*This book was provided for review by BookLook*
  • Series: A Hidden Masterpiece Novel (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401690599
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401690595


Monday, July 14, 2014

COTT {Clash of the Titles} Winner of the May Release Clash

And the winner is....


OF THE PERSECUTED by Angie Brashear

Congratulations, Angie!


This month's clash was a record-breaker from day one. As a hostess, one of the greatest things is seeing the voting numbers climb higher and higher. And I was thrilled to see so many turn out to vote during my clash. I love it! So thank you to everyone who voted and to our competitors-- C.E. Laureano, Clare Revell, Hallee Bridgeman, and Kimberly Rae Jordan.

Here's what some of our voters had to say:

  • Angie is the best writer ever! Can't wait to get all of her books!
  • Nice job,was nicely written, I could understand enormously, and was amazed how much I loved this book. Waiting on another book by this lovely lady.
  • This book captures you from the very beginning. It is extremely well written. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down.
  • As usual, they didn't make it easy for us this month. Well done, everyone.
  • Angie's hook is powerful, and I want to know more about her character just from that one sentence. My second choice would have been A Carol for Kent by Hallee Bridgeman. I love a good suspense too.
  • they ALL look good, but had NOT heard of Angie Brashear's book.....WOW, that one is DEFINITELY going on my to be read list pronto!! my vote is for both books: Oath of the Brotherhood and Of the Persecuted.....soooo cool :)
  • I am always so blessed by Christian novels! Thank you so much for using your God-given talent to bring honor to the Lord!

Back Cover Blurb:

Laila Pennedy awaits death by hanging. For the Rendow Clan rules the Woodlands Region, aiming to slaughter the Faithful. And she deserves to die. But Lars Landre, the man destined to lead the Faithful out of persecution, has other plans hidden behind his rare and mysterious blue eyes. Rescue.

Following the daring escape, Laila seeks the path of a warrior and vows revenge against the Rendow Clan. She embarks on a dangerous journey with Lars, one in which they endeavor to reach the promised safety of a magical village, to train for battle, and to ultimately assure freedom for those with faith in the Maker.

Clashes of weapons and souls. Brutal loss of lives. Unrequited love. How in all the Woodlands will Laila survive?




Author Bio:
When Angie Brashear isn’t working or taking care of her family, she writes. Usually at night after her kids fall asleep. She’s a fan of speculative fiction and an avid runner, both of which perplex her nonfiction-reading, football-loving husband. Saved in her early twenties, Angie is grateful for the Lord’s presence in all aspects of her life. She is originally from Rockland, Maine and currently resides in Cameron, Texas with her husband and three children. Follow her athttp://angiebrashear.com
and
https://twitter.com/AngieBrashear. The majority of her interaction with readers occurs on Facebook.

Links to Of the Persecuted:


Reviews:
>What a breath of fresh air! This is not my typical genre, but I am so glad that I branched out and gave it a try. This story will draw you in from the very beginning, and by the time you finish you won't want it to end. The characters are believable and endearing. The plot takes unexpected turns, and leads the characters down paths that you had not imagined. You will finish this book renewed in faith and reflecting on your own spirituality. I highly recommend Of The Persecuted for adolescents and adults, but be prepared to miss out on some sleep. You won't want to put it down! K.P.

>I read this book in one day front to back without putting it down! I am an 8th grade student and I loved everything about this book from the Christianity, to the adventure. It was an exciting and thrilling book to read and I would recommend it to anyone! G.D.

>This is a gripping fantastic story of faith, sacrifice, and adventure. The author pulls you in from the very first line of the book. I was truly captivated with this story and read it all the way through in one sitting. It is an amazing and suspenseful book that compares the things the characters went through to the Bible in a fantasy sort of way. I just absolutely loved this book and I can’t wait to read more by this author.

>This book gets 5***** from me and I am highly recommending it to anyone and everyone. It is a must read story of faith, determination, adventure and suspense. You will not be disappointed. S.W.