Sunday, May 31, 2015

{Kregel Blog Tour} Bible Dominoes

Description:  This domino game helps children to learn about the Bible and Jesus while playing! It also encourages communication, sharing, counting, and matching skills. The pieces are large and colorful, so they re easy to pick up, and the pictures are clear. The set includes 28 dominoes with a mixture of Bible story characters, numbers, and animals to match, as well as instructions and a story booklet explaining the stories featured on the cards. A useful resource for home, school, or Sunday school.

My Thoughts:  Kids love games.  And they enjoy games with colorful pictures.  
Bible Dominoes is a game created for the child who is about 3-7 years old. 
This game is quite colorful with pictures of Bible characters on each domino.  
I used this game in our church Nursery class.  I found it interesting that the little kids would point to a picture and say, "Noah!" or "Look a lion."  And then the teacher would talk about Daniel in the Lion's Den.  So, not only is this a great game for little ones it also opens up a conversation to stories in the Bible that they may have heard already.  
But best of all . . . this is a fun game.  I found that even the older elementary child loved playing it.  
There are no dots just numbers/pictures of Bible characters and animals that the child matches up from one end to another or matches the number word with number of people or animals.  A great pre -learning word/number game.
It's an easy game and lots of fun!  I think even families would enjoy playing together with their younger children.
Makes a wonderful gift, too!

*This games was provided for review by Kregel Publications*

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Publisher: Candle Books; Brdgm edition (March 27, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781281556
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781281550
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 6.3 x 1.8 inches

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Wood's Edge: A Novel (The Pathfinders) by Lori Benton

Book Description:  At the wood’s edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact? 
The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths. 
On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples. 
When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both—Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?

My Thoughts:  Lori Benton is a new author to me.  I was intrigued by the cover of this book and the title.  The Wood's Edge stirs up thoughts of something happening, a secret of some kind.
Well, as I began reading I was not disappointed because in this historical novel as Ms. Benton not only describes colonial life in a real life way but the story begins with a "secret."  A dead child and a stolen child!  I think it's interesting that there is one brown child and one white child...I had read how twins can be very different in appearance and this is an interesting feature of this story.
I wasn't sure how the relationship between the stolen child and the left behind child would come about.  But Ms. Benton's writing brings it all together in a most unusual way, yet true to life.
This was quite one interesting read.  Without giving away any spoilers, it is about twins and how one twin misses/feels the absence of the other. But yet, there is so much more to this read that one should really read the book for herself to get the "whole" picture.
It's a great read about God's grace and mercy and His love for mankind.

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

  • Series: The Pathfinders
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (April 21, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601427328
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601427328

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

Love this Smoothie!  Yes .... they are SO good!
Chocolate Banana Smoothie (Makes one smoothie)
1 cup chocolate milk
1 medium, ripe banana (frozen)
small container vanilla yogurt (either 6 oz or 8oz works)
Add all three ingredients to blender and blend away until smoothie is thick and frothy.  Pour into a glass and enjoy!  :)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Murder Freshly Baked (An Amish Village Mystery) Paperback by Vannetta Chapman

Book Description:  When delicious baked goods become lethal, a trail of poetry leads to a sweet-toothed killer.  
Don’t taste it / Don’t share it /Just throw it away / If you try my bakery pie / You won’t live to see another day.
The Amish Artisan Village of Middlebury, Indiana, might be the last place you would ever expect to find a murderer. But Amber has been managing the Village for decades and there’s nothing she hasn’t seen. Or so she thought.
When poetic notes begin appearing around the bakery, warning that some of the pies have been poisoned, Amber is as confused as she is concerned. Who poisons pies? And more to the point, who leaves poems of warning after they’ve done it? When Amber decides to help the police track down the sweet-toothed saboteur, she enlists Hannah Troyer for another round of Amish-style detective work.
Can Amber and Hannah help the police before the Poison Poet strikes? Both women will need to draw on their faith to preserve the peaceful community they’ve built in Middlebury . . . and to protect the girls who work in the Amish Artisan Village.

My Thoughts:  I love Vanetta Chapman's books and I've been reading them ever since she began writing about the Amish.  This is one of the Amish Village Mysteries.  The first two were, Murder Simply Brewed and Murder Tightly Knit.
Even if you haven't read these two books you won't be lost in this book, Murder freshly Baked, because each book is a stand a lone read even though it's about the same village.  So, you might see names that are familiar, but each mystery is different and about a particular someone  in the community.
This was a fun read for me.  Then Amber begins to get poetic notes that inform her not to sell her bakery goods...that pies have been poisoned.  Amber is confused about who would poison pies and why leave poems to inform her that they are poisoned?  
But this is a serious crime. And Amber doesn't want innocent people hurt of killed so she enlists Hannah Troyer's help so that they can try and find out what is happening and why the bakery is involved.
This was a great mystery!  Probably my most favorite of them all.  Maybe, because I could smell the baked goods and imagine the wonderful pies.  

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

Look for these two books:

  • Series: An Amish Village Mystery
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (June 9, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310322170
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310322177

COTT {Clash of the Titles} April New Releases

Hostess: Michelle Massaro

Writing Gladiators.... Step into the ARENA!

Welcome to another Clash here at Clash of the Titles! Below are FIVE New Releases, hot off the presses in April, for your entertainment. They all look wonderful to us.  
They all look wonderful to us, but YOU will decide which one takes Top Honors this month.

Please check out the covers and descriptions below and vote for the one that most appeals to you. The one that would be at the top of your To-Be-Read Pile. You may vote ONCE, and the polls will remain open through Tuesday night.

The Captive Imposter by Dawn Crandall

Sent away for protection, hotel heiress Estella Everstone is living under an assumed name in the awkward presence of her ex-fiance. However, as hotel manager Dexter Blakeley, slowly captures her heart, will the layers of family secrets and the knowledge of her true identity end up severing his love for her?

Diamonds or Donuts by Lucie Ulrich

With her wedding put on hold, and her fiance halfway across the world, Sarah Alexander makes some much-needed changes. A new job in a new town are just what she needs to wait out her fiance's absence, but what is she to do when a handsome policeman enters the picture?

Pesto & Potholes by Susan M. Baganz

Renata moves to escape the monsters of her past and finds refuge at a church in and in the friendship of Antonio. Savory pesto combine with the inevitable potholes in the process of healing define their journey to . . . love.

Sedona Sunset by Tanya Stowe

Alexander Summers investigates art theft for UNESCO. His quest for the source of priceless pottery leads him on collision course with Lara Fallon's search for answers, putting her heart and her life in danger.

Waking Beauty by Sarah E. Morin

When fairy-Gifted Princess Brierly opens her eyes after a century-long snooze and finds a guy hovering over her with puckered lips, can she trust he’s not just another dream? What if Sleeping Beauty refused to wake up?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Surrendered Sleep: A Biblical Perspective by Charles W. Page, M.D.

Book Description:  Sleep was God's idea! Surrendered Sleep discusses the spiritual component of sleep from a Christian worldview. The reader will explore spiritual principles to deal with specific sleep issues and understand a biblical framefork for how to tackle insomnia and sleep deprivation. This work focuses on specific attitudes that can surface as one lays down to rest.

My Thoughts:  Have you ever had a hard time sleeping? Not just one night but nights on end?  Why can't I sleep you wonder?  Well,                Dr. Charles Page has an answer to your sleep questions in his book, A Biblical Perspective on SLEEP.
I, too, have had some weeks where I couldn't sleep at night.  I thought it's just my hormones or I've had too much caffeine.  But after reading Surrendered SLLEP A Biblical Perspective, Turning Your Heart To God While Facing Sleep Disorders and Insomnia I've come to realize that a human's sleep can also be sign of not enough physical activity.  
Dr. Page addresses this matter in Chapter 10,  A Wise Heart: Physical Activity and Diet.  On page 96 and I quote, "The Bible suggests that there is a link between our physical activity and the ability to sleep well.  A wise heart will incorporate a lifestyle of exercise into his daily routine." After reading this chapter I realized that on the days that I did yard work and mowed the lawn with a push mower my sleep was much better and deeper.  So, now I try to exercise every day.  It really does work! Exercise works for me!
Also, I found it interesting that sleep and the heart go hand-in-hand.  What is in the heart makes for a better sleep in humans.  This book is chock full of wonderful insights and biblical attitudes on sleep.  
I love the way Dr. Page has incorporated scripture to validate his answers to sleeping well.
Each of the book pages also gives the reader amble room to write notes and a lot of the pages have questions on the sides for the reader to answer and make notes.
Don't miss another night's this book and get rested!
Balin jam ("May you pass your night in peace").

*This book was provided for review by the author*

Meet the Author:

Dr. Page is a sleep deprived surgeon who completed medical school and residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.  He and his wife, Joanna live in Texas with their five children.

Paperback: 187 pages
  • Publisher: Camino Real Publishers; 1st edition (September 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983138109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983138105

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Heart's Betrayal (A Journey of the Heart, book 4) by Colleen Coble

Book Description:  Emmie finds shelter in the arms of a soldier, but her secret could drive them apart.
When Emmie Croftner answered the door to her late husband’s home, she discovered an awful truth:  her deceased husband was a bigamist. And what’s more, the home she thought she inherited never belonged to her at all. 
Suddenly displaced, powerless, and ashamed, Emmie can’t stay in Wabash, Indiana. She makes a hopeful start for Fort Laramie, Wyoming to find her friend Sarah Montgomery and a new beginning. But when she arrives, she discovers she’s pregnant—and without a husband. The new start she’d hoped for slips from her fingers.
My Thoughts: This is book 4 in A Journey of the Heart mini books.  A Heart's Betrayal is more about Emmie Crofter and it's a heart breaker of a read. 
Emma finds out the truth about her deceased husband. Turns out he was quite a scoundrel! And what she thought she had inherited does not belong to her.  She is in dire straits.  She decides to go to her dear friend in Wyoming, Sara Montogomery but once there she discovers that she is pregnant and this brings on a whole new set of "problems."  A pregnant woman in this day and time did not have a lot of options and people thought less of her and her child.  But, unfortunately, Emmie thought she was married to a wonderful man but it turns a out her husband was a a low down skunk.  But Emmie must go on.  
All that Emmie had thought about and hoped for seems to slip right through her fingers.
A great read filled with hope and faith.
OF course this is not the end.  There is still book 5, A Heart's Promise is due out July 7, 2015.  And I can't wait to read how Emmie's life will turn out.
*This book was provided for review by BookLook*
  • Series: A Journey of the Heart (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 2, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0529103435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0529103437

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

I, again, found another grand recipe on Pinterest.                        It's fast and easy!
Now we like beef better than chicken so I changed it up slightly.  If you like chicken just follow the recipe.


  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15.25 oz.) can sweet corn, drained
  • 1 (12.5 oz.) can white chicken breast, drained  (changed to 1        package cooked ground beef)
  • 1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of chicken soup (changed to cream of mushroom)
  • 1 (10 oz.) can green enchilada sauce
  • 1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth (changed to beef broth)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large pot.
  2. Heat until warm, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

After Lament: Psalms for Learning to Trust Again by Glenn Pemberton

Book Description: Just as the Book of Psalms provides the words we need for lament (expressing our grief and hurt to God), the Psalter also provides the guidance and language we need for negotiating the time after lament (learning to trust and give thanks).
Nearly half of the psalms in the Book of Psalms are ''laments,'' expressions of grief, trouble, and suffering combined with calls for God's help. Glenn Pemberton's earlier book, Hurting with God, describes how the lament psalms helped him express his heart honestly before God. In After Lament, he masterfully explores the next stage of the journey, pointing out that lament does not always lead to thanksgiving. What happens when God does not answer our lament? In this rich book, Pemberton draws our attention to psalms of trust. How do we learn to trust God ''after lament''?
Even if God's answer to our lament was ''yes,'' we cannot return to our life before the storm. Scars remain. And should God's answer to our lament be something other than we wanted, we have an even greater faith challenge. How do we live with a God who said ''no'' in our moment of greatest need? Focusing on the psalms of trust, this book shows the Bible's answer to this question.

My Thoughts:  I love the book of Psalms in God's Word.  Psalms always brings such comfort no matter what trial, hardship, or issue one is going though.
Glenn Pemberton masterfully writes about the Psalms and how a person can trust God after lament. 
The word lament means a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.  

After one goes through lament then the time of grief comes to an end and there comes a time of trusting in the One who created us.

Last year our family lost a dear loved one. We have had a time of 

grieving. And now we must go one with our lives and in doing so we 

must trust the Lord our God to direct us and give us comfort.  

I found this to book to be of great comfort and joy in the next step after my time of grieving.  

This book makes a nice "card" or gift for someone going through a time of sorrow or grief.

*This book was provided for review by Leafwood Publishers*

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Abilene Christian University Press (February 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089112487X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891124870

Monday, May 18, 2015

COTT {Clash of the Titles} Introducing Biblical Fiction Author Stephanie Landsem

This week Clash of the Titles is proud to feature Stephanie Landsem, author of The Living Water biblical fiction series. She will carry you back into the times of Jesus and explore beautiful truths that resonate deeply with readers.Let's hear from Stephanie about her books and how she handles the interesting challenge of writing about Jesus.

1.) What was your favorite part of writing The Living Water series? 
Research is the part of writing I love best. I usually spend about a month just doing research before I start plotting a book. I find some of my best plot twists, characters and settings right in the pages of history. Maps and pictures of archeological finds really help me get the feel for the setting. As I craft the story, this research comes out and helps the reader become fully immersed in the story.

2) How do you balance the real person of Jesus with the other characters in your story?

I like to think of every encounter with Jesus recorded in the Bible as a stone thrown in a pond. We know the initial splash — the cure of the man born blind, or the raising of Lazarus — but I want to write about the ripples. I love to imagine how these personal encounters with Jesus moved outward in ever-widening circles to touch more people than we can even imagine. So I start with the event described in the Bible and move outward into imagination, always keeping in mind that Jesus knew exactly what ripple-effect his actions would have and they would always be for his father’s glory. 
3.) What are the binding themes throughout the Well, The Thief and the Tomb and what do hope to bring to your readers in this series? 
I love the gospel of John and how it shows the very personal way in which Jesus connected with the people of his time. Each of the stories in The Living Water Series begin with an encounter with Jesus from John—the Samaritan woman, the man born blind, and Jesus’ relationship with Martha. Each of these encounters were intensely personal and led to deep conversion. I hope that in reading about these one-to-one meetings with Jesus, readers can imagine themselves face to face with our Lord and come to know him more deeply. 

The Living Water Seriesare a set of intersecting stories based on personal encounters with Jesus in the gospel of John. The first book, The Well, is the story of the Samaritan woman at the well told from the point of view of her daughter, Mara. Mara, a desperate Samaritan girl, must make a dangerous journey across Galilee to find Jesus and save her dying mother. The second book focuses on Jesus ministry in Jerusalem, starting with the healing of the man born blind and continuing on to Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion and resurrection. It is told from the perspective of a poor Jewish girl and a Roman centurion – both of whom don’t know what to think of the so-called Messiah. The Tomb, A Novel of Martha, is—of course—about the family of Lazarus in Bethany. It focuses on Martha, her doubts and anxieties, and finally the desperate decision she must make to save her brother’s life.

~ * ~

Stephanie Landsem, author of The Living Water Series, writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.

Connect with her online:!/stephlandsem

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

I love Walking Tacos!  
Not only are they delicious but they are great for groups. 
This recipe comes from 
Meat Mixture: 
1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning mix

Toppings: {It's nice to have all the toppings on a table in separate bowls, so people can walk around and get ingredients}
tomato, chopped
lettuce, shredded
onion, chopped 
black olives, sliced
shredded cheese 
sour cream
taco sauce or picante sauce
individual lunch-sized bags of corn chips (We use Fritos)

1  Brown ground beef, drain, return to pan.
2  Add Taco seasoning mix according to directions on packet.
3  TO ASSEMBLE: Carefully open a bag of corn chips along the sealed direction being   careful not to"tear" the bag (because it is your bowl!!).
4  Add all the veggies and cheese your bag will hold.
5  Be careful not to fill bag to full as it will be hard to mix it up.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

{Tyndale Blog Tour} Maggie Bright, A Novel of Dunkirk by Tracy Groot

Book Description:  England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright—a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.

Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call—piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.

The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.

My Thoughts: I love reading books about World War II.  I had heard of the Maggie Bright years ago when I was reading another book about World War II.  I was always interested in its story so was excited when I saw that Tracy Groot has penned a book about Maggie Bright.

Even though this is a fiction read Tracy Groot has incorporated a lot of interesting facts from the real story.

Maggie Bright is a fifty-two foot yacht.

Ah! So many secrets and strangers looking for hidden documents onboard the Maggie Bright.
And then Churchill requests that British citizens lend their watercrafts to help aid in the war against Germany...this is where Maggie Bright enters.
Clare knows she must lend her vessel.  And then an American who has refused to join the war is going to pilot the Maggie Bright. A lot of excitement and one of the best books I've read about World War II.  
Tracy Groot has done a magnificent job of writing a profound story.
I found this to be an excellent read.  Loved it!

* This book was provided for review by Tyndale*

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (May 1, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414383231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414383231