Wednesday, September 27, 2017

{Fiction Guild Blog Tour} To Wager Her Heart (A Belle Meade Plantation Novel) by Tamera Alexander

Book Description:  Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father's name. One man holds the key to Sy's success--General William Giles Harding of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation.   
Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville's society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he's found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison's fianc√©--and has shattered her world. 
Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen's university in the United States. But family--and Nashville society--do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.
Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy's roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor? 

My Thoughts:  This is the third book in the Belle Meade Plantation and in my opinion the best.
One interesting note about this story is the way Tamera Alexander wove the son "Give Me Jesus" throughout the story.  This song could be the theme of this read.
Sylas and Alexander become allies when they unexpectedly find that their families are going in a different direction.  
Alexander is spunky and decides she will attend Fisk University to become a teacher.  Now Sy on the other hand has invested everything he owns in the Northeast Line Railroad to clear his father's name and for the sake of the challenge.
But as life has it, things don't always go the way we plan for God has a different direction for our journey.
Quite an inspirational read with history of the railroad.  The reader can tell that Mrs. Alexander did her research when writing this wonderful story.

*This book was provided for review by the Fiction Guild*


About the Author:
Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling author and one of today's most popular writers in the historical fiction genre. She and her husband live in Nashville, Tennessee, not far from the Southern mansions that serve as the backdrop for six of her award-winning novels. For more about Tamera's books, visit www.TameraAlexander.com

  • Series: A Belle Meade Plantation Novel
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (August 8, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310291089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310291084

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

  •  A great recipe for the coming fall days!

    Ingredients 

    • 1 tablespoon of oil
    • 1 cup of chopped onion
    • 1/2 cup of chopped mixed sweet and hot peppers
    • 1/2 cup of celery
    • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
    • 1-1/2 pounds of ground beef
    • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
    • 1-1/2 cups of beef stock or broth
    • 3 (11.5 ounce) cans of original or spicy V-8, or tomato juice
    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
    • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
    • 2 cups of fresh diced carrots (about 2 large)
    • 2 cups of corn
    • 2 cups of cut green beans
    • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
    • Couple dashes of hot sauce
    • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning, optional
    • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, or to taste
    • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste

  • Instructions:

    In the bottom of a Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, peppers and celery; cook and stir until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ground beef, cook and stir until meat is browned and cooked through. Drain off excess fat. Sprinkle meat with flour; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add the beef stock, V-8 juice and diced tomatoes. Stir in the potatoes, carrots, corn and green beans. Add Worcestershire, hot sauce and seasonings to taste. Stir, cover and simmer over medium to medium low (low bubble) for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until veggies are tender, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

    Hobo stew can be served as is, or spooned over rice or mashed potatoes. Serve with hot cornbread, biscuits or rolls.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Grace Is NOT A Get Out of Hell Free Card by Steve Foss

Book Description:  The power of grace for true transformation

Grace is the most significant gift from God that mankind has ever received. It is at the core of our Christian faith, and without it we would still be without hope and without God. But grace isn’t what most people think it is. It is not just a “get out of hell free” card.
The good news is that it’s better! Grace is the favor of God that gives to us access to His power for everything we need for life.
Grace Is Not a Get Out of Hell Free Card takes you step-by-step through the amazing power of grace. Once and for all you can be free from the bondages of sin, strongholds, lack, and demonic oppression, and you can enter into the fullness of all Christ bought for us.
Now is the time for your life to be transformed by the revelation knowledge of God’s grace. No more defeat, no more struggling, no more lack in any area. Now is your time! God is going to open the windows of heaven and reveal to you a place called grace, where everything you need is.

My Thoughts:  Every once in awhile there's a book that makes me simply say, "Wow!"  Grace is NOT A Get Out of Hell Free Card by Steve Foss is such a book.
First of all, I must say that I believe in the grace and mercy of God but I'm of a more conservative grace view.  Meaning  I have never felt that the blood that Jesus shed on that old cross was to be taken lightly.
I was taught that grace is for every one who will believe that Jesus is the true Savior and His death on the cross brought that grace to me.  {the cross is not to be taken lightly, for Jesus brought us life through His death.}
Thus, having prefaced my review with the above thoughts I must say that I totally agree with Steve Foss. And on page 3, Mr. Foss states, "Grace doesn't release us from the responsibility to live godly.  It empowers us to live godly."  This one statement pretty much sums up the whole idea of this message.
This is a great read for all!  Grace is a wonderful gift!  And Mr. Foss gives many verses and life changing aspects to increase your love for living for Jesus!


  • Paperback: 224 pages
  •  Publisher: Charisma House (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1621362787
  • ISBN-13: 978-1621362784

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Deadly Proof (Atlanta Justice) by Rachel Dylan

 Book Description:  In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.


Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower's allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer. 



Determined not to make the same mistakes, he's intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything--even murder--to keep the case from going to trial.


My Thoughts:  Even though Rachel Dylan has been writing stories for over a decade somehow I've never read one of her books.
Wow!  This is quite a read!
Attorney Kate Sullivan is on a tough case involving a pharmaceutical company.  And it seems that someone doesn't want the truth to be know.  But Kate is determined to bring justice.
Landon James a former Army Ranger turned private investigator is hired by Kate.  When the whistleblower is found dead Kate realizes she and Landon are on a case of deceit and lies.  
There is a race for the truth but on the sidelines are the ever evil ones trying to keep the truth from breaking the silence.
When Kate and Landon are faced with a stone wall they don't just stand there wringing their hands...no!  They both run to the truth.  And what a race it is.
The suspense is like a race with the wind in one's face.  The romance is fun and light.
Rachel Dylan pens quite a legal suspense novel...with a dash of romance.


*This book was provided for review by Bethany House*

  • Series: Atlanta Justice (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (September 5, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764219804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764219801

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

I love yoplait yogurt and this is a wonderfully 
easy way to make a treat!

Make a quick, creamy and chocolatey malt without the blender! 
Take a Yoplait Original French Vanilla yogurt, a little bit of chocolate milk and a teaspoon of chocolate malt powder. 
Stir well and top it off with a little whipped cream and cocoa powder for a delicious malt without the mess. 
Don’t forget the straw! 


Your whole family will enjoy this treat.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fun with food from a great read!


Recipes from this suspenseful read:
As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fianc√© to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.
But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home — and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.

From therecipecritic.com
Pannakakku (Finnish Pancakes) from The Recipe Critic.
Ingredients:
4 eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons butter
1. Preheat the oven to 400.  Place the butter in a 9×13 and put into the oven to melt and become slightly bubbly.
2. Whisk together (I do this in my kitchenaid) the 4 eggs until combined.
3. Add the flour, milk, salt, and sugar.  Blend together until batter is thin.
4. Pull the pan out of the oven with the melted butter that is slightly bubbly.
5.  Gently and slowly, pour the batter on top of the melted butter.
6.  Cook for 30 minutes.  When it is done, it will be golden brown around the edges and bubble up especially over the sides.
7.  Serve with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or syrup.

From jocooks.com
And from Jo Cooks, comes Pullu (Finnish Cardamom Rolls).
Ingredients:
1 cup milk lukewarm
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp active dry yeast
2 eggs
8 tbsp butter unsalted, softened
1 tbsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
Toppings:
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter softened
1 egg for egg wash
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling over the rolls, or regular sugar
1.  In a small bowl combine the milk, 1/2 cup of and the yeast and stir. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until the yeast dissolves and starts to bubble.
2.  In the bowl of your mixer add the eggs, butter, cardamom, salt and using the paddle attachment, mix everything together. Add the yeast mixture and continue mixing until well combined. Change to the dough hook and add a cup of flour at a time and mix until you add all the flour. If the dough is too sticky add a bit more flour, but continue mixing until the dough separates from the bowl and forms a ball.
3.  In a large bowl add a bit of oil, about a tbsp and place the dough in the bowl, rolling it around so that it gets oil all over, this way it won’t get dry. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. You need to let the dough rise for a couple hours until doubled in size. You can also do my trick where I turn the oven on for about 1 to 2 minutes just until it’s warm in there, and place the bowl in the oven, close the door, make sure you turned off the oven and in about half an hour the dough would have doubled in size.
4.  In a small bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon together for the topping. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
5.  Add a bit of flour on your work surface. Punch the dough gently and place it on your work surface. Cut the dough in 4 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, cover the other rolls so that they don’t dry out. Roll each piece about as thin as you can, should be about 12 inches by 18 inches. With a brush or a knife smear some butter onto it. Make sure it’s nicely buttered. Sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar over the entire surface, as much as you want. Roll it into a tight log starting from the narrower side. Line up the dough log in front of you and cut it slightly on the diagonal, alternating up and down, so that the slices are fat ‘v’ shapes, with the point of the ‘v’ about 2 cm (3/4 inch) and the base about 5 cm (2 inches). Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough pieces.
6.  Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
7.  Let the rolls sit for about 30 minutes to rise. Brush the rolls with egg wash and then sprinkle with Turbinado sugar or plain sugar. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God by Mark Batterson

Book Description:  That voice is God’s voice, and what we’ve learned from Scripture is that He often speaks in a whisper. Not to make it difficult to hear Him, but to draw us close. 
Many people have a tough time believing God still speaks. Sure, in ancient times and in mysterious ways, God spoke to His people, but is He still speaking now? 
Mark Batterson certainly believes so. And he wants to introduce you to the seven love languages of God; each of them unique and entirely divine. Some of them you might suspect but others will surprise you. 

My Thoughts:  My husband I first learned of Mark Batterson when he wrote Circle Maker.  After that incredible read we try to read books authored by Mark Batterson.  
As I read this book the first thought that came to my mind was God spoke to the prophet, Elijah, in I Kings 9:12:  So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentleblowing. 
We live in a noisy world...sounds all the time.  Sounds of cars, trucks and airplanes then sounds of crying and sounds of talking.  It seems wherever we go there is noise so it seems hard for people to be quiet and listen in our day and age.  But God wants to tell us something.
And Mark Batterson introduces us to the seven love languages of God.  I have never thought of God as having love languages.  
By tuning in and learning to decipher God's language we can hear what He wants to say to us.
A timely message and a much needed message in this chaotic and noisy world.  Learn to hear the whisper of our God.

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

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah (October 24, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 073529108X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735291089

{Kregel Blog Tour} God Made the World by Debbie Rivers-Moore (Author), Emma Haines (Illustrator)

Book Description:  Charming illustrations help infants and toddlers discover God's natural world, from dolphins to foxes to kittens! This squishy fabric book features crinkle cloth for sensory development and hours of baby fun. God Made the World also includes a child-safety mirror so baby can see herself and know she's a part of God's design. 

My Thoughts:  I'm always on the lookout for nice, maybe cute books for small children.
This book is made of cloth and is a fun squishy sort of fabric.
I like the sweet illustrations of God's world.
The colors are bright and vibrant...keeps little ones involved in the "reading" process.
There are just four fabric pages to this little book.  A nice variety for any baby.
Parents can easily help tots identify the animals and may a rainbow or barn.
The book has a handy tab on the left side so that one can hang it from a car seat or stroller.  
Then there is the nice velcro tab on the right said that easily closes to keep the book from opening when not in use.
Since this book is fabric it can be put into a mesh laundry bag and washed on gentle to keep it clean.
A sweet book for babies and toddlers.

*This book was provided for review by Kregel Publications*

  • Rag Book: 4 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Children's Books; Ragbk edition (August 7, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0825445205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825445200


Friday, September 15, 2017

{Fiction Guild Blog Tour} The Promise of a Letter (An Amish Letters Novel) by Kathleen Fuller

Book Description:  Roman is on the verge of leaving the Amish ways. Feeling confined by the strict rules, he longs to do something more with his life. But when things don’t go as planned, Roman’s prospects outside of the community dwindle. Upon learning that his beloved grandmother has died and left a letter urging him to reconcile with his brother in Birch Creek, Roman decides to return home. But he doesn’t plan to stay for long.
Leanna Chupp has always made her own way in her small community of Birch Creek. Though some may call her unconventional—strange, even—Leanna is happy. Her unique outlook on life has meant she’s never had many suitors pursuing courtship, which Leanna doesn’t mind. She is content being single.
But when Roman and Leanna find themselves working together again, everything changes. Though neither fit squarely within the strictures of the Amish faith, their differences could be the very thing to help them form a deeper connection to their community and to each other. The question remains: will this strengthening bond be enough to make Roman stay for good?

My Thoughts:  Ahhh!  What better way to end summer vacation than reading a book authored by Kathleen Fuller.  
this is the second book in the Amish Letters.  
I love when an author continues with the same people that were in the previous book.  It makes the story seem so real.  But this can be read as a stand alone since the story is different than the first.
Two awkward adults, Roman and Leanna seem to be world's apart at times but, yet, they are attracted to each other.  And, of course, living in the same area, Birch Creek, they bump into each other.
With quite a few issues going on in their lives and their families lives one begins to wonder if they will ever proclaim their love for each other.
I loved the story.  But then again I love Kathleen Fuller's stories!

*This book was provided for review by the Fiction Guild*

  • Series: An Amish Letters Novel
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (August 15, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718082540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718082543



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You (Faithgirlz) by Lynn Cowell


My Thoughts:  I love devotionals and I love Faithgirlz. Plus I love the cover of this book and lo and behold, it's hardback!   Even though I don't have a daughter I teach quite a few preteen girls at church so I'm always looking for great books to use with them or to give away as prizes.
This is a great book for girls between the ages of 8 -12.  There are 100 faith building devotionals for girls to read and use as an example in their own lives.
Plus these mini themed chapters are meant to build a girl's self esteem, build her self worth and build her self confidence.  
In a time when girls are bombarded by Hollyweird dress and attitudes it's great to have a resource that is biblically sound.
I'm using this book with my Wednesday night class of girls.  I've expanded the mini devotionals to use  as a lesson and then we discuss and do a craft related to our subject.  
This book has worked well as a teaching tool for me.  But if you don't teach it also makes a lovely gift for that tween girl in your life.

*This book was provided for review by Handlebar Marketing*

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Faithgirlz
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz (August 29, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310763142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310763147

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

Monday, September 11, 2017

COTT {Clash of the Titles}

Image may contain: one or more people, outdoor and text

Daisy Parker isn’t the woman rock star Robby Grant would have imagined himself falling for. She’s soft-spoken, sweet, and lives by a strange code the struggling musician is recognizing as Biblical. 
And he’s helpless against it. 
Even if Daisy herself is hard-pressed to believe that a man like Robby would see her- a woman long forgotten by the rest of the world- as anything more than a step back to his career.
But Robby challenges Daisy in ways she’d long avoided. With their mutual love of music, it seems nothing can separate them- not Daisy’s wheelchair or Robby’s ego.
As Robby grows into the man he’s long dreamed of being, Daisy dares to trust again. But will this sweet melody last?
Pre-order Picking Daisy by Kimberly M. Miller

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer


18652058
Nicole might not be the son that her father always dreamed of, but he loves her deeply. So when Nicole hears that her father is gravely ill, she rushes home to see him. Once there he asks that she find a husband among his friends to give him an heir to the shipping company. Once Nicole is married her father will pass on the job of managing Renard Shipping and gift him with the Lafitte Dagger. Darius isn't remotly what her father had in mind for her. And when he learns her secrets he might not be interested as well. But Nicole trusts him and will ultimately own him her life.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}



Cherry Filled Crescent Rolls





  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 17 mins
  • Yield: 8 rolls


INGREDIENTS 

    • 1 (8 count) cans crescent rolls
    • 1 1/2 cups cherry pie filling
    • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Unroll crescent rolls.
  2. Place 2 Tbsp cherry pie filling in center of each roll; roll up dough.
  3. Bake according to directions on can.
  4. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Many Sparrows: A Novel by Lori Benton

Book Description:  In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.

When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son...especially when her second child is moments away from being born.


Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do—be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?

My Thoughts:  I had the privilege of reading all the Pathfinders "series" by Lori Benton.  So, I was excited when I received this novel.
This novel is a beautiful love story as well as a lesson in early American history.  
The Inglesby family is making the perilous journey to the west.  A place for new beginnings.  But on the way Philip who is married to Clare and daddy to Jacob must return to Redstone Fort.  He cannot take his family with him.  So he leaves his pregnant wife and small son on remote trail.  
Clare and Jacob settle in for the night but when Clare awakes and Jacob is gone.  And Phillip has not returned...Clare wonders if she can make it all by herself especially when she knows that any moment her second child will be born.
Oh!My!  I truly wondered why a man would leave his much pregnant wife and small son all alone?  Then one realizes that this is how the early pioneers traveled. . . praying and believing in God.
Not an easy journey but with faith and a strong spirit Clare pursues through her journey.
What a story!  




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

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (August 29, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601429940
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601429940