Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Princess Spy (YA Romance Fairy Tales #5) by Melanie Dickerson

Book Description:  Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha—one of the few who speaks his language—understands the wild story.
Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin’s message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself “Lord Colin” is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy—not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she’s sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook’s wicked plot.

My Thoughts:  I have been waiting and waiting for this read to become available!  
The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson is technically a YA read...noticed my word technically {Smile}.  I love and have read all of the Fairy Tales that Melanie Dickerson has "rewritten."
But I'll admit that The Princess Spy is my favorite of all the fairy tales.  I loved this well written story!
The Princess Spy is The Frog Prince story retold.  Oh! My!  So good!
Margaretha is bold, spunky, unafraid to do right, she is just a great spy princess!  
Sword fighting, intrigue, spying and light romance!  
Even though this is suppose to be a "rewriting" of the Frog Prince, this story reminded me oh!so! much of the Princess Bride...I love the story of the Princess Bride!  There is more spying and intrigue in The Princess Bride, though!  And to be honest one cannot really compare these stories since each story has its own complex inner workings and the characters have their own unique personality traits.
This is a fantastic read!  A read that teens and adults alike will want to read!  
This is one of those books that makes a great gift too!  

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (November 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310730988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310730989

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

I was looking for an easy but yet "healthy/no flour" cookie and found this recipe by barefeet in the kitchen on Pinterest. I love this Flourless Chocolate Turtle Cookies:



COOK'S NOTE: The parchment paper in this recipe is a requirement. 

Flourless Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies



3 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cups dutch process or special dark cocoa powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
2/3 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup caramel bits
1/2 cup chopped pecans, plus a few more for topping if desired



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt.                                                 

Add the eggs. Whisk again until smooth. 

(Using an electric mixer will make this even easier, 
but it's quite simple by hand.) 
Stir in the chocolate chips, caramel bits, and pecans.



Drop by tablespoons onto a parchment lined baking sheet. 

Top each cookies with a few extra pecan pieces, if desired. 

Bake 12 minutes, until the cookies are just set. 
They should be puffy and cracked across the top.
 Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet 
before transferring to a wire cooling rack. 
Let cool completely before 
storing in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Threads of Faith (Fabric of Time Series, Book Two) by Andrea Boeshaar

Book Description: Can Julianna and Daniel start a new life in a new country?
Julianna Wayland is running for her life! She hides in a crate on London’s dock, only to be loaded onto a ship bound for America. During the voyage she meets Captain Daniel Sundberg, and by the time they reach New York’s harbor, she is certain she’s in love with him. The only problem is, Daniel has plans for himself--plans that don’t include her.


As Julianna struggles to find her way in a new world, will trouble from her past derail the life she is looking for?

My Thoughts: Threads of Time by Andrea Boeshaar is the second book in the Fabric of Time Series.  Having read book one, Threads of Hope, I was anxious to read this book, book two.  
I was enthralled with the cover of this book and the title...Threads of Faith brings to mind many pieces of string that are woven together to make a beautiful fabric . . . in my mind somewhat of an imagery of our lives and how God, through our lives, makes a beautiful fabric from our faith and hope in Him.
It seems that book one is about the courage of Kristen but book two is about Julianna and she's running away.  In fact, she becomes a stowaway on Captain Daniel Sundberg's ship by accident!  Julianna had hidden in a crate not knowing it was to be loaded on a ship.  And that the ship would be sailing immediately.  Oh! the horror!  Oh! the fright!  
Julianna and her "accident" become a thread. . . .another thread in her 
faith.  
This story seemed like a stand alone read . . . Julianna's story. But it never hurts to read the first story before reading the second {smile}.

A great adventurous read incorporating love and faith!  

A truly enjoyable read...this book/this series would make a great gift for that reader on your Christmas list. 


*This book was provided for review by Bookteria*
  • Series: Fabric of Time (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Realms (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616388412
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616388416

Monday, October 27, 2014

COTT {Clash of the Titles} Announcing the 2014 Laurel Award Winner!



2014 LAUREL AWARD WINNER

Author Ruth Reid's novel 
A MIRACLE OF HOPE
is the winner of Clash of the Titles's fourth annual Laurel Award.


CONGRATULATIONS, RUTH!

Ruth will receive the following: a beautiful banner to display on her website; a year-long page on COTT dedicated to the winning book, A Miracle of Hope; a "Heart of the Matter" radio interview with author and Christian Authors Guild board member, Cynthia L Simmons; a feature tour on COTT's Blog Alliance; a lovely plaque.

A Miracle of Hope was chosen by a panel of judges who narrowed the list of competing authors to three. From there, the panel put their choices to a straight vote. Ruth finaled in last year's Laurel, but this year her novel, A Miracle of Hopetook home the crown.

Special thanks to each of our judges who volunteered their time to this contest!

BRIEF SUMMARY OF A MIRACLE OF HOPE
Lindie Wyse is pregnant out of wedlock and thinks an arranged marriage is the only way to preserve her future. Josiah Plank is certain he’ll never love again, but he needs someone to care for his eight-year-old daughter, Hannah. The two take on their arrangement tentatively at first but soon realize they are each in for more than they imagined.
Stay tuned for the full-length feature of Ruth's winning novel, A Miracle of Hope!


****

OLYMPIA OPENING SOON!

Authors, take note! 

In ONE WEEK, Clash of the Titles opens its doors for submissions to the 2015 Olympia.


The Olympia is COTT's yearly contest for unpublished writers. The submissions are judged by their audience—readers well versed in Christian fiction yet not associated with the CBA industry.
Authors write for readers, so why not have readers be the judges?
Finalists in the contest will also have their work read and judged by three industry professionals!

With a submission fee of only $15, easy electronic submission, a bevy of prizes, and judges devoted to Christian fiction and author encouragement, the Olympia is a contest like no other.

But once our doors are open, you'll need to act quick! Slots are limited. To avoid overburdening our volunteer judges, we are limited in the number of submissions we can accept.

Submissions:
Oct. 31, 2014-Dec 12, 2014 

For more details, please visit our site.

Stay tuned for updates by 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

SoooGoood!  Pumpkin Pie French Toast!
I won this cook book from $5 meals
and love this recipe for a fun supper:


Ingredients
  • 12 slices whole wheat sandwich bread 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin 
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Butter and syrup for serving 
  • Fresh fruit or smoothie as side 
  • Set out the bread for dipping.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pumpkin and pie spice until smooth.
  • Dip each side of the bread and cook on a hot, greased griddle or skillet. Flip after 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Once all are cooked, serve with butter and maple. And a side of fresh fruit or bacon/sausage.  
  • If freezing, let cool completely to reduce freezer burn.
  • Enjoy this perfect fall “breakfast for dinner”!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Matter of Heart (Lone Star Brides) by Tracie Peterson

Book Description:  Texas born and raised Jessica Atherton is a wealthy young woman whose heart was broken when the man she intended to marry wedded another. But her world is upended when two new men come into her life, and both manage to stir her heart.
Harrison Gable is a successful young lawyer with ambitions that match Jessica's dreams. His warm, attentive manner and thoughtful gifts make her feel special.
Austin Todd, a former Secret Service agent, enjoys working now as a Texas Ranger cattle inspector. But after learning of forged gold certificates and missing printing plates, he's drawn back into the world of intrigue and agrees to help solve the case. Jessica is drawn to his kind nature and the unspoken pain she sees in his eyes. 
If Jessica follows her heart, where will it lead?

My Thoughts:  Tracie Peterson is another favorite author of mine.  In A Matter of Heart we meet Jessica Atherton.  Jessica is a Texan. . . I love books about Texas!  Anyway, Jessica was all set to marry and her intended ran off and married another.
Then enter not one but two eligible men!  Harrison is a lawyer, warm and attentive to Jessica. Austin in a Secret Service Agent.  
This is not a spoiler alert---I kept rooting for Austin because well, his name is Texan and he's kind.of tough and mysterious.  I love that he's a secret service agent.  I liked Harrison, too, but lawyers are a dime a dozen.
When forged gold certificates and printing plates are missing Austin is on the job.  
There's mystery and intrigue in.this.here book!  And as a reader I enjoyed it immensely!
This is the third book in the Lone Star (Texas, ya know) Brides "series." I didn't get a change to read the first two books and was not lost because this is a stand alone read!
This is a great read by Tracie Peterson!  Enough good clean romance and mystery to keep the reader involved and turning the pages!  Enjoy!!

*This book was provided for review by Bethany House*

Series: Lone Star Brides (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764210602

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Heart's Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher



About Book

A jilted bride desperate to save her family from ruin. A bounty hunter seeking vengeance for a ravaged past.  An arduous trek toward justice—or redemption.

Silver Matlock and Jared Newman know traveling together is a bad idea. Bad for Silver’s already tarnished reputation in her small Colorado town. Bad for bounty hunter Jared’s secret, single-minded mission for revenge. But Silver is determined to track down the rogue who left her at the altar and stole the last remnant of her father’s fortune. And Jared’s in a hurry to hunt down the murderer who destroyed his family—even if Silver is too distractingly beautiful for comfort.

The pair takes off over mountain and desert, past bleak homesteads and raw mining towns, hot on the trail of the two villains who took what wasn’t theirs to take. Soon supplies dwindle, secrets emerge, and suspicion leave Silver and Jared at odds when they need each other most. To confront an enemy deadlier than desert rattlesnakes and rocky cliffs, Silver and Jared must learn to forgive and trust and face the question they haven’t dared voice: What happens next?

Recorded May 10, 2014

About Author

Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, the Romance Writers of America's Lifetime Achievement Award and numerous other awards and recognitions, Robin is the author of 70 novels/novellas. Her books have been translated into Dutch, French, and Chinese (to name a few).

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She and her husband  their home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon and Pinky the feline terror.

Join her on her Facebook: (http://www.facebook.com/robinleehatcher).

Website: http://www.robinleehatcher.com/

Twitter: @robinleehatcher 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

{Kregel Blog Tour} Noah: A Wordless Picture Book Hardcover by Mark Ludy

Book Description:  Mark Ludy s latest book will appeal to adults and children alike. Digging deeper than the Sunday school tale of cuddly animals on Noah s ark, the story follows the biblical text and illumines Noah s relationship with God, his wife, family, nature, and humanity. Ludy s world-class artwork lets people see, as though for the first time, the beauty within this story - revealing a clearer picture of the nature and character of God and his relationship to humankind. It s immersive and epic in scale and scope. The wordless format invites conversation and storytelling, key building blocks of literacy. And as with his previous books, Ludy's signature mouse Squeakers appears hidden on every page.

My Thoughts:  We all seem to know the story of Noah and the Ark but have you ever tried to tell the story to a youngster with out words?  This incredible book and I do mean incredible has no words...it is a wordless picture book.  I've never seen such a beautifully illustrated book in all my life.
There isn't a need a for words...the pictures really do tell a story all their own and may inspire a conversation between you and your child about the Bible!  As much as words are descriptive and we need words, words aren't needed to "read" this story AND there are no words to describe the illustrations in this book!  
This book is such a joy "read" through.  The pictures are bold and bright but more than that they are {almost} jumping off the page in 3D illustrations!  Don't forget to look for Squeakers the mouse .... on ever page.  So much fun!
I love this book!  
This book makes a GREAT gift for a child {actually an adult would love it, too}!

This picture is from the book to show you an example of the                       greatness of these illustrations:


*This book was provided for review by Kregel Publications*

  • Age Range: 2 - 18 years
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Plough Publishing House; Sew edition (October 24, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874866391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874866391

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

A favorite cookie at our house...give it a try this fall! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

When Morning Rains, A Novel (The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy, book one) by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Book Description: She left, heavily weighted with secrets.

But God reveals all things, in His timing. 
And He redeems them.
 Suzanne Zimmerman was only seventeen and pregnant when her shamed mother quietly sent her away from their Old Order Mennonite community in Kansas. With her old home, family, and first love firmly behind her, Suzanne moved to Indiana, became a nurse, and raised a daughter, Alexa, on her own.
Now, nearly twenty years later, an unexpected letter arrives from Kansas. Her brother asks her to bring her nursing abilities home and care for their ailing mother. His request requires that Suzanne face a family that may not have forgiven her and a strict faith community. It also means seeing Paul Aldrich, her first love.    
Paul, widowed with an eight-year-old son, is relieved to see Suzanne again, giving him the chance to beg her forgiveness for his past indiscretion. But when he meets Alexa, his guilt flickers in the glare of Suzanne’s prolonged secret—one that changes everything. 
Suzanne had let go of any expectation for forgiveness long ago. Does she dare hope in mercy–and how will her uncovered past affect the people she loves the most?

My Thoughts:  When Mercy Rains by Kim Vogel Sawyer is the first book in the Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy.  
We meet Suzanne Zimmerman, aka Suzy, who always listened to her mother except for the one time when she made "the mistake."  The mistake cost her a move and she was "removed" from her family because of the child she carried.
Suzy grows up quickly...she delivers a sweet little girl, Alexa.  She goes to school and becomes a nurse.  She has made a new life.
However, after twenty years her brother contacts her and asks that she come home and take care of their ailing mother...these mother/daughter relationships are tricky and somewhat hard to understand.
Suzanne decides it's time to go home.  She meets Paul...the father of Alexa.  Paul wants Suzanne's forgiveness and then he meets Alexa.  Paul seems to feel guilty and he seems to feel betrayed...he never knew about Alexa.
A story of love and forgiveness and also, something much deeper . . .  sometimes other people in our lives don't make the best decisions for us.  And, yet, we follow their advice and sometimes, lose what is most dear to us.  Forgiveness becomes bitterness and yet  . . .  it's the choice of life . . . to forgive or not to forgive?  Not only is it a question it becomes a way of life.  
An interesting read about Old Order Mennonites.
Looking forward to reading the second book in this trilogy, When Grace Sings.

*This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing*

  • Series: The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307731316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307731319

An Amish Second Christmas (Four Novellas) by Beth Wiseman, Ruth Reid, Kathleen Fuller & Tricia Goyer

Book Description:  Celebrate Second Christmas, a treasured, lighthearted time of community, with four Amish romances. 

“When Christmas Comes Again” by Beth Wiseman
Katherine knows the first Christmas without Elias will be hard for her and the children. But when a mysterious Englischer appears with photographs of her late husband, Katherine  begins to wonder what other blessings Christmas could have in store. 
“Her Christmas Pen Pal” by Ruth Reid
Joy was expecting a wedding proposal from Henry; what she got instead was news of another woman. But when her heartfelt letter to a cousin ends up in the hands of a young cabinetmaker, an unexpected correspondence between two strangers gets interesting fast.
“A Gift for Anne Marie” by Kathleen Fuller
Anne Marie and Nathaniel have been best friends since they were kids. Now things are evolving . . . in ways everyone else predicted long ago. But when her mother suddenly decides to remarry in another state, Anne Marie’s new chapter with Nathaniel looks doomed to end before it begins. 
“The Christmas Aprons” by Tricia Goyer
Vanilla crumb pie has been Esther’s mem’s calling card for decades. But when Esther finally gets her hands on the secret recipe, she discovers that vanilla crumb pie is more than just dessert . . . it’s bachelor bait.
My Thoughts:  Christmas reads abound {so excited!}  I love the Christmas season and all the glitz and glitter that goes with this special holiday; however, I knew but never really thought about how the Amish view Christmas.  The Amish have a Second Christmas ... This second day is usually one of relaxation or visiting others. Christmas dinners are a special part of the celebration.  Now, these stories may make a little more sense knowing what a Second Christmas entails.
All of these are great short stories, each story is unique but each story deals with love and Christmas.  And each story centers around The Second Christmas~that special.meant.to.be.moment.  
The Christmas Aprons was laugh.out.loud funny!  How many ladies would love a recipe that was bachelor bait!  
And the sweet story of A Gift for Anne Marie makes the reader know that friends can be more than friends. And sometimes all it takes is a move to get things going.
When Joy is feeling rejected in Her Christmas Pen Pal this inspirational story brings hope and smiles for another love to begin.
When Christmas Comes Again begins with sadness.  But as the season wears on sadness is turned to happiness for a family who has seen too much grief.  A cute read of hope.
Ahh!  The joys of Christmas bound in one book of novellas! I love the "feels" and "smells" this read evokes of Christmases past and present!
It's not too early to begin your Christmas TBR pile! {Smile}  
*This book was provided for review by BookLook*
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401689817


Monday, October 13, 2014

COTT {Clash of the Titles} ANNOUNCING THE LAUREL FINALISTS!

The entries have been read and the scores have been tallied. Our unique panel of judges, comprised strictly of readers, has determined our three finalists. 

And they are…


Ruth Reid's A Miracle of Hope
June Foster's Deliver Us
Carole Brown's The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman


Congratulations to all three!!

(Of special note, this is Ruth's second consecutive year to final in the Laurel. Well done, Ruth!)
Thanks to all our Laurel entrants for participating—the panel enjoyed reading each of your excerpts! 

The three finaling submissions will be returned to the same panel of judges for a final vote. 

The winner will be announced on 
October 22, 2014. 


Friday, October 10, 2014

Three great books for the upcoming holiday!

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            * Forever Christmas is a  wonderful read to help one look outside of one's self and "see" the blessings of others in our lives. 



*Noah the wordless picture book is an absolutely incredible gift  book for children (and adults)!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Forever Christmas by Robert Tate Miller

Book Description:  This Christmas will change Andrew Farmer’s life forever.
Andrew can’t remember the last time he spent Christmas away from work. The end of the year is crunch time for literary agents. But when your career is your life, your life starts to suffer . . . beginning with your marriage.
When a heart-wrenching accident in a Christmas Eve snowstorm jars this high-powered agent from his obsession with success, a Christmas miracle will give him a second chance at love, life, and gratitude, but only if he can put aside his own ambition and learn to appreciate each moment.
Sometimes it takes a tragedy to change a man’s life—and to teach him to treat every day as if it were his last.

My Thoughts: This is a lovely little hardback book!  Robert Tate Miller is a brand new author to me so I didn't quite know what to expect from this read.  But the title, Forever Christmas, drew me much like a moth is drawn to a flame.
A "different" kind of read in the way that the author pens about a couple on the verge of a break up...a martial disaster . . . when Andrew, the husband, realizes that he wants his marriage to work.  So, he and his wife take off on the spur of the moment for a weekend to their old hometown.  Lots of memories and lots of goodness.
This read reminded me a lot of "It's a Wonderful Life" simply because Andrew realizes the worth of his life.  And he begins to see his wife in a different light.  She is a dazzling creature and she loves him. He loves her.
The title, Forever Christmas, brings to my mind's eye a place where we,humans, can live in a glorious atmosphere full of love and laughter with those we cherish the most...all year long...forever Christmas.  
This may be one of those books that becomes a Christmas classic and maybe, just maybe it will become a movie (wouldn't that be cool?!?!).

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401690637
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401690632

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson

Book Description:  Weary of the expectations imposed on her by her strict upbringing, eighteen-year-old Mazy Pelfrey prepares to leave her home in the Kentucky mountains for the genteel city of Lexington, where she’ll attend secretarial school. She knows her life is about to change—and only for the better. Everything will be blue skies from now on.


But business school is harder than she thought it would be and the big city not as friendly, until she meets a charming young man from a wealthy family, Loyal Chambers. When Loyal sets his sights on her, Mazy begins to see that everything she’d ever wished to have is right before her eyes. The only hindrance to her budding romance is a former beau, Chanis Clay, the young sheriff she thought she’d left firmly behind.



Danger rumbles like thunder on a high mountain ridge when Mazy’s cosseted past collides with her clouded future and forces her to come to terms with what she really wants.

My Thoughts:  Since Mazy Pelfrey wants blue skies...a life of ease maybe, I think the title of this novel, Buttermilk Skies, is an interesting twist to her "blue sky plan" for life.  Since buttermilk tends to be sour and somewhat cloudy, I feel the book is well titled.
Like most young women Mazy wants a life that has some excitement so when she leaves her strict upbringing and her boyfriend/suitor, Chanis Clay, behind she is more than a little surprised how life follows one, where ever one goes.
Secretarial school, city life, and the changing scenery are not what she "really" thought her move to "freedom" would entail.  Well, there must be more to this life than this, right?  
So, when she meets the very charming Loyal Chambers and he sets his hat for her it seems that her blue sky life is looking better and better.  But even blue skies have thunderstorms.
A great read you'll want to read for yourself!

*This book was provided for review by Tyndale Publishing*

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (October 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141438985X