Wednesday, August 31, 2016

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

This is a favorite summer salad that I found on Pinterest:
1.  Two Tomatoes, 1 Avocado, Mozzarella Cheese
2.  Cut avocado, cut mozzarella cheese, cut tomato
3. Place all three in a bowl.
4.  Sprinkle with pepper and salt.  Drizzle with Italian dressing.
5.  Gently toss and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

COTT {Clash of the Titles}

Authors get stories from so many different places and experiences. It's always interesting to discover where the inspiration comes from. Today, we'll hear from debut author, Annette O'Hare. Her historical romance, Northern Light has already garnered some terrific reviews!
From the first sentence to the book’s stunning conclusion, Annette O’Hare’s brilliant first novel Northern Light captured my heart. O’Hare’s storytelling is flawless and her grasp of Texas history is spot on. This tenth generation Texan heartily approves! Do yourself a favor and savor this meeting of North and South on the Bolivar peninsula. I promise it will be the best book you’ll read in a very long time! —Kathleen Y'Barbo, best-selling author of over 40 titles 

My Inspiration For Writing Northern Light

By: Annette O’Hare

Annette O'Hare
There’s a wonderful phrase known to authors that says, write what you know. This simple idiom by Twain, or was it Faulkner, no…I think it might have been Thurber, no it was definitely Twain who said it. Whoever it was knew what they were talking about and that’s why I wrote Northern Light. The setting for my debut novel is the lighthouse on the Bolivar Peninsula on the Texas coast; a place near and dear to my heart. A place I know very well.

When I was a child growing up in Houston, Texas in the 1970’s, my family visited Bolivar every summer for fishing, swimming, and shell hunting. My father would drive our family of five to Galveston, and then onto a short ferry ride connecting Galveston Island with the Bolivar Peninsula. 

The ferry ride was a favorite part of the vacation. We made playful bets concerning which ferry we would ride. Would it be the Cone Johnson, the E.H. Thornton Jr., the R.S. Sterling, or the Gibb Gilchrist? We knew each boat by name. My two older brothers and I would save back French fries and pinches of bread from our fast food meals. After the boat was loaded and the captain gave the safety speech, we would bolt for the back of the boat to feed the seagulls and dolphins. 

I always knew the exact place the ferry would dock at the peninsula because Daddy told me to look for the landmark. It was hard to find at first, but the closer the ferry came to Bolivar, the bigger it became. By the time the boat landed, the Bolivar Point Lighthouse was as big as a skyscraper in this little girl’s eyes. off the boat we drove past the iron lighthouse. Her light extinguished, she no longer lit the way for ships coming in or going out of Galveston Bay. Daddy always pointed out the two, abandoned keeper’s houses beside the lighthouse. He showed how one of the house’s nameplates read Boyt and the other, Maxwell. I didn’t understand the significance then, but later I realized the connection. Daddy’s aunt, my great aunt, was married to a Boyt, and she and her sister, my grandmother, were born with the surname Maxwell. 

You’re probably wondering if my daddy’s family were the lighthouse keepers. No, the truth is that Mr. Boyt, my great-uncle, bought the lighthouse and property at an auction and it has been owned by that family ever since.

The original Bolivar Point Lighthouse dates back prior to the Civil War. In fact, it was during that war that the Confederates completely dismantled the lighthouse. Some accounts say it was so the Union wouldn’t use the light to 
their advantage. Others say the Confederate army used the iron for weapons and artillery. Nevertheless, the lighthouse was rebuilt shortly after the war. The great conical tower has seen over 150 years of United States history and it still stands tall on the Bolivar Peninsula to this day.
Visit Annette at

About Northern Light 

Civil War has robbed Margaret Logan of all she holds dear, including her beloved New Orleans home and her fiancĂ©. When her family moves to the desolate Bolivar Peninsula to manage a lighthouse that is no longer there, all her hopes for a normal future are dashed. Her world is rocked once again when a wounded Yankee soldier washes ashore needing her help. Despite her contempt for the North, Margaret falls in love with Thomas Murphy. As their love blooms, Margaret’s sister is overcome with neurosis, and her mind slowly slips away. Bitterness, psychosis and depression yield a decision fueled by contempt. Will one fatal choice cause Margaret to lose the man she loves and condemn Thomas to death?

Purchase Northern Light in e-book or paperback

Monday, August 29, 2016

Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Harvest Cookbook by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Rebecca Germany (Compilation)

Book Description:  Overloaded with garden produce, CSA shares, or farmers’ market finds? Now you’ll know what the Amish do with these seasonal fruits and vegetables and how they preserve some of them for future use. Bring the wisdom of Amish gardeners and cooks into your own home with dozens of recipes and tips from the heart of Amish country in Wanda E. Brunstetter’s Amish Friends Harvest Cookbook

My Thoughts:   I, also, love cookbooks!  And I was so excited when I received Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Harvest Cookbook.  There are over 240 delicious recipes that are mouthwatering and easy to make.  Most of the ingredients could come from your garden. 
One of the recipes I like is Zucchini Casserole.  Such an easy, healthy and delicious recipe.  And at this time of the year it's a great recipe for that over flowing zucchini!
There are so many wonderful recipes.  Recipes for salads, meats, deserts, jams & much goodness!  And easy to follow directions with easy to obtain ingredients.  
I love this cookbook because not only is it food that my family will eat but all the ingredients are things I have on hand or can easily obtain.
And this cookbook will make a wonderful gift!

*This book was provided for review by Barbour Publishing and the author*

Spiral-bound224 pages
Published August 1st 2016 
 Shiloh Run Press
ISBN13: 9781630588670

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Aerobic House Cleaning Lifestyle by Stevie Markovich

Book Description:  If house cleaning were an Olympic sport, Stevie Markovich would be in the running for a medal Bob Hagerty, The Wall Street Journal Becoming healthier is not about a gym routine or new health club membership; it's about a change of heart and change of attitude toward all physical activities that can be found in every day life. The Aerobic House Cleaning Lifestyle is about helping the overweight get from point A to point Healthier as simply as possible. No weights. No gym. No Spandex. Just real stuff I have been doing since 1995 to stay fit.

My Thoughts:  It's beginning to look a lot like fall.  So, time to do some fall cleaning.  
Since it's time to clean out and clean a little more deeply than the casual swipe of the dust mop.  This book, The Aerobic House Cleaning Lifestyle by Stevie Malkovich caught my eye.
As I began reading this book my first thought was, "Wow, someone sure is creative!"
There are good tips on actual aerobic exercise but to be quite honest I wasn't expecting to exercise as I cleaned house...I didn't read the title very well...I saw cleaning lifestyle and somehow left out the aerobic.  {Sigh}
And this book was actually an excerise in futility...I know the author warned that the grammar was as he speaks. {hmmm} But the pictures were fairly interesting!
I could tell from page 2 that this would not be the lifestyle for me but I'll just pass this book on to my husband since this seems to be "guy thing."  {Smile}

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: WestBowPress (April 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449787525
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449787523

Thursday, August 25, 2016

{Fiction Guild Blog Tour} The Things We Knew by Catherine West

Book Description:  When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?
After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to blame their father for their mother’s death, but nobody will talk about that tragic day. And Lynette’s memory only speaks through nightmares.
Then Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, bringing the past with him. Once Lynette’s adolescent crush, Nick knows more about her mother’s death than he lets on. The truth could tear apart his own family—and destroy his fragile friendship with Lynette, the woman he no longer thinks of as a kid sister.
As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets surface that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question their faith, their willingness to forgive, and the very truth of all the things they thought they knew.

My Thoughts:  A brand new author...Catherine West.  Family drama that seems to hold each family member in the depths of its claws...only to come unraveled as they seek the truth!
Lynette only has her twelve year old memories of the tragic day her mother died.  
And then slowly, one by one, her siblings leave their Nantucket home and no one will talk of that fateful day.
Her father is in poor health and then Nicholas Cooper returns.  Her crush from so many years ago!  
It seems that Nicholas knows the truth of her mother's death and yet, no one will acknowledge the truth,
An interesting story line and the importance of family.  Also, it seems to me that the author brings out that keeping secrets helps no one, only brings grief and hinders all.
As Lynette learns, truth brings healing!
Definitely a book to get for your bookshelf.

*This book was provided for review by The Fiction Guild of Thomas Nelson Publishing*

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 12, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718078101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718078102

To Have and to Hold: Three Autumn Love Stories (A Year of Weddings Novella) by Betsy St. Amant , Katie Ganshert , Becky Wade

Book Description:  They’ve helped orchestrate the perfect day for countless couples. Now twelve new couples will find themselves in the wedding spotlight in the second Year of Weddings novella collection.

My Thoughts:   Ahh, sweet autumn and love are in the air.  And To Have and To Hold is a wonderful book with three novellas to have for those crisp fall days.
The first novella is Love Takes the Cake: A September Wedding Story by Betsy St. Amant.  Charlotte Cantrell is always the baker never the bride.  Then one day Will comes into her bakery and "catches"  her eye.  
Charlotte is a single mom and not sure if Will is the guy.  she really likes him but....
Then she she hired to bake a cake for a wedding and finds out that Will is the best man at this wedding.  
Charlotte is working but would like to have a better relationship with Will.
A sweet love story of letting go and moving on.

The Perfect Arrangement: An October Wedding Story by Katie Ganshert is my favorite of all three novellas. 
I just love the wall flower and how she blooms after meeting her man.  All about flowers and love!

And then there's Love in the Details: A November Wedding Story by Becky Wade.  A cute story of a wedding coordinator and the groom's best friend.
Two people meeting for a wedding, with no intention of building a relationship...only hoping to help.

Weddings are fun and wonderful and in this book one will find three short stories of fun and romance.  

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Series: A Year of Weddings Novella
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Reprint edition (August 30, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310395933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310395935

Guide Me Home: A Novel by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Book Description: Working as a guide in Mammoth Cave might allow 

Rebekah the chance to bring joy back to her family.

But will the cave claim more than it gives? 
After tragedy leaves its mark on Rebekah Hardin’s family, she plans to help her parents and six siblings honor her beloved brother’s memory and alleviate their poverty by working as a guide in the dangerous cave system. Kentucky’s renowned Mammoth Cave presents profitable opportunities for hardworking, capable men. But Rebekah is determined and if it means presenting herself as a himself, then she’s up to the job.  
Under the wing of experienced guide Tolly Sanford, “Reb” begins to learn the complexities of the cave. The two are joined by an aspiring young cartographer, Devlin Bale. The university student has traveled to the hill country to map tunnels—not to fall for a girl in disguise. 

Can the God who designed miles of underground astonishment shape Devlin’s ambitious plans and free Reb from the weight of her past?    

My Thoughts:    Kim Vogel Sawyer drew in at page one with the interesting story of Rebekah Hardin and her job as a guide in the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. The descriptions of Mammoth Cave through a tour guides eyes made feel as if I was on that tour.
The story is quite interesting because the Mammoth Cave personnel only want to hire qualified men.  And, well, Rebekah is a young woman.  
However, Rebekah knows the job is for her and she under a disguise and by the name "Reb." 
Rebekah knows that she is good at this job and she also knows that she needs the job to help her family out of their poverty.  
Poor Rebekah!  Her family is quite lost without her beloved brother.
Then Tolly Stanford arrives to map out the cave.  He,too, loves his job.
An interesting story with some twists as Tolly and "Reb" learn to work together but yet are drawn to each other.
A fantabulous historical story!

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

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (August 2, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307731391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307731395

Amish Quilts: Giftable Inspiration along with Quilting Tips by Wanda E. Brunstetter (Author), Richard Brunstetter (Author), Rebecca Germany (Compiler)

Book Description:  Enjoy a trip into the Amish quilting tradition through beautiful full-color pictures by Richard Brunstetter. Taken in Amish communities and homes throughout the United States, his pictures offer a visual celebration of the quilting traditions of plain peoples, while author Wanda E. Brunstetter offers her insights into the roles quilts play in family life. Also included are tips for those who want to make their own heirloom quilts.

My Thoughts:   I love quilts! And to be honest I've never received or bought an Amish made quilt.  I buy quilts from chain stores and they are pretty but in this book Amish Quilts:  Giftable Inspiration along with Quilting Tips it's easy to see why people want to buy a homemade quilt hand stitched by an Amish woman...the quilts are fantabulous!
One of my favorites is the "Rose of Sharon" quilt.
In this beautiful, full color book not only are the pictures lovely but on the left page across from the picture of the quilt, there is a verse and then a quilting tip.
On the page of the "I Am the Rose Sharon" picture the following page has the verse from Proverbs 31:13 and the quilting tip is:  To create a warm blanket, substitute a length of wool for the usual polyfill as the middle layer of the quilt.
This is not a huge book, just 8 x 0.6 x 8 inches.  So, it makes a wonderful coffee table book and a GREAT gift for that quilt lover!
What a lovely book!

*This book was provided for review by 
Barbour Publishing and the author*

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (September 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1634096746
  • ISBN-13: 978-1634096744

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

Cheeseburger soup from Pinterest is oh!so!Yummy!

Cheeseburger Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This soup is insanely delicious! Made with fresh ingredients and topped with shredded cheese, you will make it again and again!
  • ½ pound ground beef (use 1 pound)
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cup shredded carrots
  • ¾ cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups of Velveeta processed cheese cubed (I used 16 ounce)
  • 1½ cups milk
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  1. Brown the ground beef in 3 quart saucepan. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the same saucepan add 1 T butter and add onion, shredded carrots, parsley flakes, basil and celery. Saute until tender.
  3. Add the broth, potatoes and beef and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. In small skillet melt remaining butter (3 T) and add the flour. Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Stir in the cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Happy Birthday to You! By Michelle Medlock Adams (Author), Sandra Rodriguez (Illustrator)

Book Description:  A fun-filled musical book that celebrates the joy of a child's birthday

This musical board book includes all the ingredients that make a birthday special for a child: balloons and presents, cake and candles, and, of course, the birthday song! Follow along throughout a day of celebration, concluding with a good-night prayer, then push the button to hear the melody of Happy Birthday. The book features a photo pocket on the last page to allow for personalization. 

My Thoughts:  Oh.My! What a cute book! I love this book.
It's colorful, it's a board book so it's easy to clean and it plays a song.
The number one song that children love is Happy Birthday.  And that is the song that Happy Birthday to You!  plays.
I was so excited to receive this book because we have a one year old birthday coming up in a few months and she will love this book!
The short story is all about a child's birthday.
And it's a book that the child can keep as a keepsake because on the very back page there is a place to insert a small picture and to write to whom the book is given and from whom the book is a gift.
I love these kind of keepsakes.
Of course, your child may want to play the Happy Birthday song over and over but just remember he will soon out grow this age so enjoy the music.  {Smile}

*This book was provided for review from Worthy Kids*

  • Board book: 16 pages
  • Publisher: WorthyKids/Ideals; Brdbk edition (August 23, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824919823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824919825

Sunday, August 21, 2016

An Amish Harvest: Four Novellas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Amy Clipston, Vannetta Chapman

Book Description:  Faith, hope, and love remain forever in season in this collection of four richly absorbing novellas set amidst the wonder of an Amish autumn.

My Thoughts: Ahh, another Amish short story/novella book.  With four of my favorite authors!
Under the Harvest Moon, by Beth Wiseman is the first short story.  Naomi is a recent widow and feels that she'll never find love again.  Until she meets Brock who has been hired for the harvest.  Then when a sinister presence seems to want to hurt Naomi, Brock is there to help Naomi.  A great suspense read!
In the second story Love and Buggy Rides, by Amy Clipston we meet Janie who is a cashier at the Lancaster Souvenirs and Buggy Rides.  And Jonathan is a buggy driver.  
Jonathan and Janie become good friends but it seems that someone is trying to break them a part.  A daunting accident but Jonathan and Janie work together.  A wonderful story!
Then in Mischief in the Autumn Air by Vannetta Chapman, a mystery that Eli and Martha have to work together to solve.  Excellent story!
The last short story is A Quiet Love, by Kathleen Fuller.  This is a sweet love story between a bookish woman, Dinah, and a simple farmer, Amos.  Both Dinah and Amos have to work in the love relationship department...this is their story.
I loved all the stories!  So fun and a great mixture of love and mysteries!

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (August 16, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052911853X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0529118530

Fraying at the Edge: A Novel (The Amish of Summer Grove, Book 2) by Cindy Woodsmall

Book Description:  The Old Order Amish life Ariana Brenneman loved vanished virtually overnight with the discovery that she was switched at birth twenty years ago. Now she’s immersed in the Englischer world, getting to know her mother and under the authority of her biological father, an atheist intellectual with resolute plans to expand Ariana’s worldview. Only Quill Schlabach, a childhood friend living Englisch, can help steady Ariana’s tilting ground between the two worlds, but can she trust him after so many betrayals?

At the same time, Skylar Nash is forced to choose rehab or spend several months with her true relatives, the large Brenneman family and their seemingly backward life—no electricity, no technology, no fun. What the young woman can’t leave behind is her addiction to illegal prescription drugs and deep emptiness from the belief that she doesn’t belong in either family.

New ties are binding Ariana and Skylar to the lives they were meant to have. Can they find the wisdom and strength they’ll need to follow God’s threads into unexpected futures?

My Thoughts:  I love the cover of this book!  It gives a prelude to a wonderful story.  I enjoy reading about Old Order Amish life...maybe, because it is such a different life than I lead.  And, because I have absolutely no idea how I'd live in such a community I felt an instant kinship with Ariana Brenneman.  
Ariana has lived all her life in an Old Order community but, quite unexpectedly, her life changes drastically in minute when she finds that she was switched at birth.  
Ariana now lives with her biological father, an atheist, and her mom.  What a change!  What a challenge!  To go from a loving, God fearing family to an intellectual, mind numbing "real" parents.
And then there's Skylar Nash who MUST go live with the Brenneman clan.  No electricity!  No technology, including TV!  She feels has if she has stepped into a time warp.  But Skylar has a bigger problem she is addicted to prescription meds. 
Sometimes we find God leading us in the most unlikely places...sometimes places that are way beyond our comfort zone.
Cindy Woodsman does a grantastic job of combining two different people with two very different problems.
Loved this read! 

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

  • Series: The Amish of Summer Grove (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (August 16, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601427018
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601427014

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies


I found this yummy cookie recipe . . . for any time of the year!


    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 cups quaker quick-cooking oats ( not instant)
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    • 3/4 cup dried cranberries ( Craisins)


  1. Preheat Oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer combine, sugar, brown sugar and butter and mix well.
  3. Add in egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. Add in cinnamon, baking soda, salt and flour and mix well.
  5. Fold in by hand the oatmeal, walnuts, and dried cranberries making sure that all ingredients are uniformly distributed.
  6. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 3-inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, just until the edges are lightly golden.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

River's Edge (Cape Refuge Series) by Terri Blackstock

Book Description:  Was Lisa Jackson’s disappearance related to politics, her husband’s affair, or her long-term infertility? 
Ben Jackson is going head to head with Jonathan Cleary in Cape Refuge’s mayoral race—and he’s even expected to win—when his wife Lisa turns up missing the day before the major debate. Suddenly the town is in turmoil as proof of an alleged affair surfaces, indicating that Ben Jackson might have had motive to kill his wife. 
Meanwhile, newspaper owner Blair Owens has other suspicions—and so does Police Chief Cade. Together they dig deeply into the mysterious disappearance that soon spirals into a web of confusion, dark secrets, and unsettling fraud. 
Then the town’s psychic reveals the location of Lisa’s body—at the bottom of the river. Even though Blair doesn’t believe his paranormal gift is real, she can’t imagine how he knew where the body was. 
The small-town scandal quickly turns into a national media event. Is the murderer one of the obvious suspects . . . or someone they have no reason to doubt?

My Thoughts:  I enjoy reading books penned by Terri Blackstock.  This is book 3 in the Cape Refuge Series...yeah, I did it again and began in the middle of a series.  But after reading this book I'm not sure series is a good word.  To me this is a stand alone read unless I missed something and didn't know it.
Lisa Jackson has disappeared...gone missing the day before her husband, Jonathan, is throwing in his hat for the mayoral race.  Oh!my!what!turmoil!  The whole town hears of the affairs that Ben Jackson has been involved in.  It sure looks like Ben had motive to kill his wife.
But on the other of town...Blair Owens, newspaper owner, and the Police Chief have a different idea of why and where Lisa Jackson may have disappeared.
This is quite a read.  Suspicion, murder, suspense galore!  
I think Terri Blackstock must be the Queen of Christian Suspense!  
What a grand read!

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Series: Cape Refuge Series (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (January 13, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310342791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310342793