Wednesday, December 31, 2014

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

New Year's Eve Treat!

Caramel Pecan Apple Bars
Ingredients
  • 1 spice cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix together cake mix, egg and butter.
  3. Pat into a parchment lined, greased 9×13″ pan.
  4. Peel and chop apples.
  5. Toss with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  6. Sprinkle chopped apples over the cake batter in the pan.
  7. Top with chopped pecans.
  8. Drizzle with sweetened condensed milk.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Critical Condition by Dr. Richard L. Maybry, M.D.

Book Description:  Dr. Frasier couldn't save the gunshot victim on her front lawn. Now she's fighting for her own life.


It began as a quiet dinner party honoring Dr. Shannon Frasier's colleague, but became a nightmare when a man was shot on her lawn, reviving emotions from a similar episode a decade ago. Then a midnight call from her sister, Megan, causes Shannon to fear that her sister is on drugs again.



Her "almost-fiance" Dr. Mark Gilbert's support only adds to Shannon's feelings of guilt, since she can't bring herself to fully commit to him. She turns for help to her pastor-father, only to learn that he's just been diagnosed with leukemia.



Shannon thought it couldn't get any worse. Then the late-night, threatening phone calls begin, the rough voice asking, "What did he say before he died?"



With everything around her in a critical state, simply staying alive will require all the resources and focus Shannon has.



My Thoughts:   This is a fairly fast paced read!  

It begins with Dr. Fraiser hosting a dinner party and a man is shot on her front lawn!  Oh! the horror!  Dr. Fraiser can't save him.  Like a terrible dream! A replay of that night ten years ago! 
And then she learns that her sister is on drugs. Again! 
And her boyfriend, almost fiancee, wants a commitment.
And her father is diagnosed with the dreaded illness. 
And the phone calls!  
AGHHH!
The feelings of inadequacy, the emotions, the hospital OR, and the suspense!  
It all seems so overwhelming and so unreal.  However, the way that Dr. Maybry pens this wonderful story makes the reader feel as if she is right there, in the middle, trying to figure out the why of it all.
Of course, faith in God and prayer are intermingled throughout out the read, for Who else can we turn to in times of trouble and tragedy?!?
Sometimes our lives/souls are in critical condition and only trusting in the Savior can "fix" it all.
This is one great read!  Go grab a copy!
*This book was provided for review by BookLook*


  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401687407
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401687403

Monday, December 29, 2014

COTT {Clash of the Titles} December Clash Victory

The December Clash Victory Goes To... 

KINSALE KISSES


Congratulations, Elizabeth Maddrey! Kinsale Kisses received enough votes to claim the win! 

This clash received more votes than any other clash in COTT history. So we offer a big thank-you and a standing ovation to each of our contestants: Rachel A James with The Forgotten Princess of ElmetiaHeather Gray with QueenJulie Arduini with EntrustedCaryl McAdoo with A Little Lower Than The Angels, and Janet Sketchley with Secrets & Lies. We're honored to have had you with us!

And now, let's hear about our winning title!

About the Book


She wants stability. He wants spontaneity. What they need is each other.

Colin O’Bryan cashed out of the software company he founded and started a new life in Ireland. Content to wander from town to town as a traveling musician, he had no goals beyond healing from the betrayals that led to his career change, and finding his next gig.

After the death of her parents, Rachel Sullivan hoped her aunt’s B&B on the Southern coast of Ireland would be a place for her to settle and start a new life. Though she can’t deny the sparks in Colin’s touch, his lack of concern for hearth and home leave her torn. Can this free-spirited minstrel win her heart or will Rachel choose roots and stability over love?

This gentle inspirational romance will take you on a journey to Cork County, Ireland and give you a glimpse of Kinsale, Charles Fort, Blarney Castle, and Cobh as Rachel and Colin undergo their own journey of self-discovery as they learn that God's plans are bigger than their own and that waiting on Him is worth the insecurity it brings.

Author’s Note

Ireland has always been a place I dreamed about. My husband and I were able to travel there in 2003 and again in 2005. We’re counting the days until we’re able to go back. This novella (short, around 150 pages, or 30,000 words) started as a short break from some of the heavier aspects of writing the Remnants series (Faith Departed, Hope Deferred, and Love Defined) and it turned into something I’m particularly proud of. Rachel and Colin were a delight to get to know — I hope you’ll take the time to spend some time with them, traveling around Ireland and falling in love.

Purchase now and step onto Irish soil in minutes: Amazon

About the Author:

Elizabeth Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who loves a good happily ever after.

Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of computers, math, and organization steered her into computer science at Wheaton College, she always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. This continued through a Master’s program in Software Engineering, several years in the computer industry, teaching programming at the college level, and a Ph.D. in Computer Technology in Education. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity.

She lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys.

Visit her Website

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

We have a tradition at our house, we read, The the Night Before Christmas, on Christmas Eve and then each child gets to open their smallest gift!

Monday, December 22, 2014

COTT {Clash of the Titles} December Clash


It's the most wonderful time of the year!


This is our last clash of 2014, but the year isn't over yet! The Christmas season is in full swing and that means books, books, and more books! Whether you're looking for something to curl up with in front of the fire, or something to gift to your best friend, we've got you covered. Come "peek" at these new releases and cast your vote for the one that makes it to the top of your Christmas wish list.



by Rachel A. James

An epic tale of grace, forgiveness and love as a forgotten princess seeks to reclaim her true identity following the fall of her kingdom.






by Heather Gray

Queen and Owen stumble into each other in pursuit of an investigation involving a bribery plot.  In the process, they discover a family secret that tests their faith and could tear them apart.





by Elizabeth Maddrey

She was looking for stability, he wanted adventure. They found each other.





by Julie Arduini

City-girl Jenna Anderson plows into an Adirondack village and produces change for the grocer, Ben Regan. The balsam fir flies when Jenna's determined to fit in and make the senior center a vital part of the village while town councilman Ben's intent on shutting the center down.

  


by Caryl McAdoo

Seduced by evil, Cain kills Abel then flees with his sister to the land of Nod. Bereaved of all their children in one day, Adam and Eve are heartbroken, but not until they both see a vision of Abel in Paradise with their childhood pets Lion and Lamb does Eve find the strength to wait upon the Lord for His blessing.





Secrets & Lies
by Janet Sketchley

Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Can she protect her teenage son—from organized crime and from himself?



Friday, December 19, 2014

All's Fair in LOVE and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

Book Description:  Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more. 
Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.
But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.
As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself—her—is suddenly in danger of slipping away.
The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

My Thoughts:  Betsy St. Amant pens a "sweet read" in All's Fair in LOVE and Cupcakes!  
I admit that I chose this book based on the title and the picture (shameful, I know!)  But I love cupcakes and was caught up in the reality cupcake bake off.
I like Kat she is slowly coming into her "own."  And then there's Lucas...oh! Lucas!  
Lucas sees Kat's potential and he signs her up for a reality bake off show.  Kat is not sure about going on national TV for a bake off.  But she wants something more in her life than plain chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.  {This seems to be the catalyst of the story.}
The relationship between Kat and Lucas was, at times, a little like plain vanilla . . . they're friends but not sure if they should love each other.  The romance part of this story was clean and best described as young love.  Kat and Lucas like each other and are the best of friends BUT they are in love and can't seem to get the love part out. 
The best part of this story are the cupcakes and bakeoff.  
A fun, light read!

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (September 2, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031033845X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310338451
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

Taste of Home has some of the BEST recipes and these cookies
 are the BEST for a Christmas treat!

Angel Sugar Crisps


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Water
  • Additional white or colored sugar

Directions:

  • In a bowl, cream butter, shortening, sugars, egg and vanilla until
  • light and fluffy. Sift together flour, soda, cream of tartar and
  • salt. Add to creamed mixture; mix until blended. Shape into large
  • marble-size balls. Dip half of ball into water, then in sugar.
  • Place, sugared side up, on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400°
  • for 6 minutes or until done. Cool. Yield: 4 dozen.


Read more: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/angel-sugar-crisps#ixzz3JL7SyMXk

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

Book Description:  Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister. 


Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play...

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor's past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.

This catches Abigail's attention. Hoping to restore her family's finances--and her dowry--Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn't the only one secretly searching the house.

Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past. 

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?


My Thoughts: Yay!  It's been a little while since Julie Klassen had a new read out!  And I was so excited to receive The Secret of Pembroke Park.
I'm not always a fan of historical reads...for me they tend to be a bit boring/slow moving but I enjoy Julie Klassen's books.  
However, The Secret of Pembroke Park is her BEST book, yet!
Abigail and her father are at the point where there is not enough money...financial ruin seems imminent!  But they are offered the opportunity to live in the somewhat abandoned home of relatives...this is where the mystery begins.  Why did the family who lived there before have to leave without taking their possessions? Abigail wants to find out why? Also, why has the manor been locked up for 18 years and now she and her father can live here?  And then, Abigail begins to receive journal pages in the mail and a horrifying mystery begins to unravel...and it seems that only Abigail has the fortitude to unravel this mystery and face the truth!  
Abigail also feels that she is the not attractive...she feels that her younger sister is prettier.  She feels that she may live the life of spinsterhood because she is not attractive.  I loved how Abigail's character is brought out more than her beauty. . . this is true beauty!
This book reminded me a little of Jane Eyre.
A great read!
{Book Trailer}

*This book was provided for review by Bethany House*


  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (December 2, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764210718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764210716

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Windswept Promise (Brides of Assurance) by Brandi Boddie

Book Description:  Pampered town belle Sophie Charlton has always secretly enjoyed the attention of cowboy Dusty Sterling, a hired worker on her family’s farm, even though she’d never tell him so. But can she go against the will of her family, who insist that she make a good match in Assurance’s most eligible bachelor?


My Thoughts:  This is the second book in the Windswept Promise series. 
Sophie Charlton is a rather spoiled, used to wealth kind.of girl.
Sophie secretly likes Dusty the hired worker on her family's farm.  But she knows that her family expects her to marry and make a good match with a man of means who comes from a family with a "high rating" in the community.
The story centers around Sohie and Dusty with other people intermingled throughout.
This is a slower read...Sophie and her ideas and her thoughts.  
It seems that Sophie is kind.of.one sided.
I love the cover of this book.  This is life on the frontier . . . a delicate tea cup, a windmill and a windswept landscape.  The frontier held no promises except what the people brought with them.
It seems that love and romance were held in high regard since there was little else to esteem in the frontier towns.
A good read.

*This book was provided for review by The Bookteria*

  • Series: Brides of Assurance (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Realms (November 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1621362817
  • ISBN-13: 978-1621362814

Friday, December 12, 2014

COTT {Clash of the Titles} Patricia Bradley in the Spotlight

Former Clash Contestant Patricia Bradley is in the spotlight today! A popular romantic suspense author from Mississippi, her latest book "A Promise to Protect" released this fall and garnered high praise from readers. It's the second book in her Logan Point series, with the third releasing next summer.



A Promise to Protect:
In a steamy small town riddled with broken promises, one woman’s secret could change everything.


Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn’t heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn’t mean he can get her—or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago—out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. But all too soon, Ben is charged with a different task—protecting Leigh from the people after her brother. With Leigh doing everything in her power to avoid Ben, it’s no easy task. And the secret she is keeping just may change their lives forever.

Buy A Promise to Protect



The Christian Manifesto says this about A Promise to Protect:
“Patricia Bradley definitely has a knack for creating mysteries that are tough to get to the bottom of. A Promise to Protect proves once again that Patricia Bradley has a knack for writing intriguing, complex mysteries that are difficult to solve. Fans of her first novel won’t be disappointed, and hopefully this book will endear some new readers to her as well.”

JoJo Sutis on Goodreads says:Wow! Wow! Wow! Once again Patricia Bradley has written another hit! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this one from the minute I finished the first Logan Point book. I was so excited to get to read more about Ben (a character from book 1). The interaction between the two main characters was awesome…I love when main characters have a past together. This is definitely an edge of your seat thriller, full of secrets and intrigue. I’m thrilled to have found a new fave suspense author…fans of Lynette Eason, Terri Blackstock, and Irene Hannon don’t miss Patricia Bradley!!!”

About Patricia:

Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum. But her heart is tuned to suspense. Patricia’s romantic suspense books include the Logan Point series—Shadows of the Past and A Promise to Protect—and Matthew’s Choice a Heartwarming romance. Her workshops on writing include an online course with American Christian Fiction Writers and workshops at the Midsouth Christian Writer’s Conference in Collierville, TN. When she’s not writing, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

Coming in July--the third book in the Logan Point series features Livy Reynolds and Robyn Martin’s story:

It's been more than two years since homicide detective Livy Reynolds's cousin disappeared from Logan Point. Unlike most people in her hometown, Livy has never believed that Robyn left voluntarily. When Dallas private investigator Alex Jennings contacts Livy concerning a missing senator's daughter who was last seen in Logan Point, she notices eerie similarities between the two disappearances. But with self-doubt plaguing her and an almost instant dislike of Jennings, Livy is finding this investigation an uphill battle. With her future in law enforcement on the line, can she find a way to work with a man who is her polar opposite?


COTT NEWS: Don't forget! Submissions for the Olympia are open through next Friday, December 12th, for all unpublished novelists! Get feedback from those who count most: READERS. For submission guidelines, visit us at http://www.clashofthetitles.com/p/the-olympia.html


Thursday, December 11, 2014

An Opportunity for Writers OR Wannabe Writers!

Want to Improve Your Skills?

There's a class for that

BelieversTrust is a non-profit organization created to help writers improve their skills. Membership is available to anyone who wants to write. They are offering classes in just about anything you can think of for writers. Here are some classes you can enroll in now:
  • Intro to Writing
  • Intro to Publishing
  • How to Write a Novel
  • How to Write a Memoir
  • How to Write a Nonfiction Book
  • Intro to Movie Industry
  • How to Write a Screenplay (movie)
  • Intro to TV Industry
  • How to Write a Screenplay (TV)
  • Build Your Platform
  • Get Media Ready
  • How to Work with an Editor

These courses are all mentored by professionals in the industry.  To find out more about these courses and the expanded list of membership benefits, visit BelieversTrust.org. They are offering a free welcome gift and a $50 discount with the purchase of a membership and a course (use code BLOG50).

BelieversTrust is using the Edvance360 learning platform. As a member you have access to the following amenities:
  • Fully integrated and secure social network to build relationships with other writers
  • Discussion forums
  • Mobile capabilities so you can connect on the go
  • A personal blog/journal
  • Real-time chat
  • Video tips from experts in the industry
  • Personal calendar
  • Personal portfolio
  • Writing communities

We hope you and your readers find this information as interesting as we did. Hopefully, next year we'll be reading your book, or watching your movie or TV show. 

Evening Prayers: For Every Day of the Year by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Book Description:  We want to turn to God at the end of each day, but often don’t find the words to express our deepest feelings and longing. This collection of prayers is one of the few daily devotionals especially intended for use in the evening. Blumhardt’s words bespeak a certainty in God’s nearness. The peace that flows from them comes from an unshakeable conviction that God’s kingdom is indeed on the way. In stormy and challenging times like our own, most of us need this reassurance frequently, if not daily.

My Thoughts:  I was quite interested in this book since I had never used a "prayer book" before.  Most Protestant Christians ( I assume) just say a prayer from the heart.
But as I read prayers in this book, it occurred to me that reading a prayer was more like speaking a devotional.  
There is a verse before each prayer and there is a prayer for each day of the year (365!).  
These prayers give glory to God.  Many of the prayers are praise to our Heavenly Father with a supplication to the Father for protection and blessings.
As one reads the prayers aloud it seems that a flow of praise comes from the heart and you may (as I did) add your prayer from the heart at the end of each prayer.  A wonderful addition to your daily devotions!
This is a lovely hardback book, full of peace and praise, that will make a wonderful gift or a lovely beside book.

*This book was provided for review by Handlebar Marketing*

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Plough Publishing House; 5 edition (June 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874868114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874868111