Tuesday, October 31, 2017

30 Days to Joy: A One-Month Creative Journal

Book Description:  Joy is more than happiness. It is something you feel deep in your soul that stays with you even when circumstances get tough. With quotes and artistic prompts, this daily creative journal offers the deep, life-giving drink of joy that you need. Whether you are sketching a picture of a favorite activity, jotting down words that make you laugh, or spending time meditating on a Bible verse, you will find renewed joy in these fun and thought-provoking pages.

My Thoughts:  Since this is the season of giving and JOY I thought this one month creative journal would be a great thing to do this holiday season.  
I love the creative ways the artistic designs make me feel creative.
This is one nice journal.  It makes the holidays seem filled with more than just buying and getting.
I decided to "do" this journal for 30 days to get ready for the "holy days."
Sometimes I write scripture that go with what I'm feeling.  Or I draw a short sketch...a picture that reminds me of the scripture.  
I've even written short poetry to go with the holiday.
J is for Jesus
O is for Others 
Y is for You 
So put others first and yourself last, that's the way to spell JOY!  (disclaimer-not my original thought).  This is a great way to put your JOY into book form.  
I love this smallish and unique devotional/journal.
This creative journal would make a lovely gift.  

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

  • Diary: 112 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook; Gjr edition (October 17, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735290822
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735290822
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 7.2 inches

{Kregel Blog Tour} Deeds of Darkness (The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon) by Mel Starr

Book Description:  When Bampton’s coroner, Hubert Shillside, does not return from a trip to Oxford, Master Hugh de Singleton is called. Concerned for his old friend, Hugh takes to the road to investigate. Travel is safer than in times hence but, out of sight of prying eyes, it is still unwise to travel alone…Hugh finds a body, stabbed and left to rot, but it is not the body he was expecting to find. Indeed, reports of pillage, attacks, and chaos on the roads out of Oxford suddenly seem rampant. Hugh must ascertain whether the incidents are random, or whether something darker is afoot. The guilty cannot afford to be caught, but what lengths will they go to to cover their tracks, and will Hugh escape unscathed?

My Thoughts:  I've enjoyed reading about Master Hugh de Singleton from his very first adventure.  
This is book 10!  I could barely believe it!  Ten chronicles of Hugh de Singleton!
This read was slightly different than the others, in the fact, that Hugh is being sought after he finds a dead body.   Hugh was traveling a lonely 
 road when he came upon a dead body that had been stabbed but this is not the body he was expecting to find.  It seems that there are many attacks but Hugh must determine if the attacks are from one individual or if this is the work of a team . . . is something sinister going on?
And when they come after Hugh will he be able to out smart him or them?
This is probably my favorite of Hugh's adventures.  Quite interesting with all the history and unsavory acts going on.  And it was quite a challenge for me to figure out what was going on.  
Well written!

*This book was provided for review by Kregel Publications*

  • Series: The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon (Book 10)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Lion Fiction (October 31, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782642455
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782642459

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Beloved Christmas Quilt: Three Stories of Family, Romance, and Amish Faith by by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter, Richelle Brunstetter

The Beloved Christmas Quilt: Three Stories of Family, Romance, and Amish Faith by by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter, Richelle Brunstetter 

Book Description:  Luella’s Promise

By Wanda E. Brunstetter

Luella Ebersol has been caregiver for a dying woman and her young son. When Dena Lapp gives Luella her favorite quilt, she makes Luella promise to pass it down to her daughter. But Luella isn’t sure she will ever marry if she can’t find someone with maturity and faith like Dena’s husband Atlee Zook.
Karen’s Gift
By Jean Brunstetter
Karen Allgyer and her husband moved to a slow-paced village to raise their children, but Karen longs for the closeness of family to help her through the challenges of managing three girls with one on the way. When life’s pressures rise, will Karen cave to her fears?
Roseanna’s Groom
By Richelle Lynn Brunstetter
When the unexpected happens on the day of her wedding, Roseanna Allgyer can’t help blaming herself, despite not understanding why. Then an old friend returns to town, and she battles feeling for him—afraid of being hurt again.

My Thoughts:  It's that time of year when the Christmas reads begin to make an appearance.  And this read is a great start!
These three short stories are a family affair since Wanda Brunstetter has teamed up with her daughter-in-law Jean and granddaughter Richelle to deliver these wonderful stories of a quilt and how it impacted these three women and their families. 
A handmade quilt and three women.  These three women each have had the quilt at some needed time in their lives.  These are their stories:
Luella's Promise is about sweet Luella who is a caretaker and has been taking care of a seriously ill woman, Dena Lapp, when Dena gives Luella the handmade quilt  Luella promises to pass it down to her daughter.  But Luella fears she may never marry. A sweet story.
Then in Karen's gift Karen and her husband move their three girls to a slower pace of life.  Living in the village is nice but Karen misses her family and the closeness and leaning on one another.  So once again the quilt comes into need to help another woman face her fears.
Finally Roseanna's Groom.  I found this story to be a bit more humorous.  But once again the quilt makes a difference.
Loved this book and how each of the women's lives was made better by a homemade quilt.

"I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review."

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (September 1, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1683222253
  • ISBN-13: 978-1683222255

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hinds' Feet on High Places: An Engaging Visual Journey by Hannah Hurnard (Author), Jill De Haan (Illustrator), Rachel McNaughton (Illustrator)

Book Description:  For the first time, this beloved Christian allegory is a mixed-media special edition complete with charming watercolor paintings, antique tinted photography, meditative hand-lettered Scripture, journaling and doodling space, and designs to color. As you read and connect with the story of Much-Afraid and her trials, the pages of this book become a canvas on which to chronicle your own story, struggles, and personal triumphs.

My Thoughts:  Hind's Feet On High Places is one of my most favorite books, ever!  So I was excited when Tyndale offered this engaging visual journey of Much-Afraid's story.
Much-Afraid is aptly named for she is afraid of everything and she has a disability that holds her back from everything in life.  Especially the good things from the Lord.
This is her story.  The story of overcoming through faith and love. This story is an allegory....a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.  
I love Much-Afraid's story.  A story that encourages each of us to rely on the Savior and not to rely on ourselves.
As she goes through trails and tries to climb the mountain she overcomes through His love and patience.
Such a wonderful story!
Here is an excerpt from the book:
Don't miss this wonderful book!

*This book was provided for review by Tyndale*

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Ill edition (November 7, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496424670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496424679

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

I love caramel apples in the fall!  
I needed a great dip for a get together and found this perfect dip on food.com


Directions

Ingredients

    • 3 (8 ounce) boxes cream cheese
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 (12 ounce) bags mini chocolate chips
    • 1 (8 ounce) bags toffee pieces
    • 1 (20 ounce) bottles caramel ice cream topping
  1. Cream together the cream cheese, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
  2. In a casserole dish, spread the cream cheese mixture into the bottom of the pan.
  3. Completely cover the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate chips and chocolate toffee bits.
  4. Drizzle liberally with the caramel sauce.
  5. Chill or serve immediately with apple slices. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Everyday Watercolor: Learn to Paint Watercolor in 30 Days by Jenna Rainey

Book Description:  This beautifully illustrated and inspiring guided watercolor-a-day book is perfect for beginning watercolor artists, artists who want to improve their watercolor skills, and visual creatives. From strokes to shapes, this book covers the basics and helps painters gain confidence in themselves along with inspiration to develop their own style over the course of 30 days. Featuring colorful contemporary art from Mon Voir design agency founder and Instagram trendsetter Jenna Rainey, this book's fresh perspective paints watercolor in a whole new light.

My Thoughts:  I've always had a fascination with watercolors.  And not  artistically inclined I thought this would be a great book for me to take a 30 day course.  
This is a beautiful book.  And being a beginner watercolor artist I was pleased to see how easy the author made the fun of being an artist with that little brush.
There are stroke suggestions and shape dimension exercises so that the beginner can understand how to paint. And take time to read the text and find out how colors go together.  It gives one the needed artistic application.
Of course, once you finish this book you won't be a watercolor artist but you will have gained some great hints and neat ideas on how to be a better accomplished artist in your own right.
The secret I found to this book is to practice what the author places on each page.  Practice. Practice!  And you will be better in time.
A great book for the budding watercolor artist.

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

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (October 10, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399579729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399579721

Monday, October 23, 2017

Blind Spot (Chesapeake Valor) by Dani Pettrey

Book Description:  FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life--but isn't sure exactly what he's chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that "the wrath is coming," Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She's sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there's anyone who can help him, it's Tanner. 
Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can't deny, and she's pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell--and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming "wrath" that could cost thousands their lives.

My Thoughts:  This is the third book in the Chesapeake Valor series.  I didn't read the first two books in this series but I don't think one misses much.  It seems that each book in this series is a stand alone read about a people who meet and have to work together to solve "something." 
This is a fast moving read.  It seems the main character FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life but, unfortunately, he doesn't know what or whom he is chasing.  Feeling frustrated after receiving a note from the terrorist, Declan just doesn't know what he's up against.
But then Tanner Shaw shows up.
She's tough, she's smart and she just be the one who can help Declan solve this riddle before a major crisis hits on American soil.  And then they find a terror cell.  Nail biting adventure with just enough romance to make this read a not to be missed read.

*This book was provided for review by Bethany House*



  • Series: Chesapeake Valor (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (October 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764212966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764212963

Friday, October 20, 2017

New Releases

General Contemporary (includes Women’s Fiction):


Piper’s Passion by Lee Carver — Piper Jordan, an American reared in Brazil, had her pilot’s license before she could drive and her aviation maintenance certificate before her business degree. Pulled between two countries, two career paths, and separated parents, she strives to determine what is significant and what to do with her life.
Kyle Chamberlain, pilot with Outreach for Christ, wears a wedding ring that says he’s not ready to date again after Rosanna’s death. Wielding a wrench with the cutest pilot/mechanic he’s ever seen turns his head. But would a dynamic woman with her talents and eventual inheritance accept his missionary life in the Amazon? (Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Independently Published)



Grace in Strange Disguise by Christine Dillon — Physiotherapist Esther Macdonald is living the Australian dream, and it doesn’t surprise her. After all, her father has always said, “Follow Jesus and be blessed.” But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small? So many conflicting explanations. Will finding the truth cost her the people closest to her heart? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Historical:


Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano — When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company. When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance–and perhaps even her father’s death. (Historical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)
The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia T Toney — In 1925, a thirteen-year-old boy witnesses a crime—the murder of a family friend—and must choose whether to remain silent as his father asks or defy mobsters and corrupt police to save his family. (Historical from Write Integrity Press)

Historical Romance:

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander — In the midst of war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas, the cost of love . . . and of loving again. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

The Captive Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLeeAngela BreidenbachSusan Page DavisDarlene FranklinPatty Smith HallCynthia HickeyCarrie Fancett PagelsLucy Thompson, and Gina Welborn — Journey along as nine historical women are about to make their escape from some of life’s greatest challenges. Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Mountain Christmas Romance by Misty M. Beller — Stripped of the family so important to his Viking heritage, Matthias Bjork is now on the hunt for his sister. Despite combing the entire Wyoming Territory, he hasn’t found any substantial leads regarding his sister’s whereabouts, but he has discovered a most unusual woman.
Opal Boyd has finally found the haven she’s longed for all her life, in a most unlikely place—working for a German couple in this remote Wyoming mountain town. She learned long ago that most men couldn’t be trusted, but when a mountain man stops in the boarding house where she works, he seems to have the respect and affection of the two people she’s learned to trust implicitly.
But when Matthias’ search for his sister takes an unexpected twist, Opal is forced to make a choice that will alter the course of her life—no matter which answer she chooses. When Matthias’ decisions land Opal in danger, what must he sacrifice to rescue her? (Historical Romance, ACFW Qualified Independently Published)
Fool’s Notion by Lisa J. Flickinger — Feisty Alda Lealand braves fifteen hundred miles with a pack string of mules—and the help of an unexpected cowboy–to save the family farm. (Historical Romance from Forget Me Not Romances [Winged Publications])
Playing by Heart by Carmela A. Martino — Emilia Salvini dreams of marrying a man who loves music as she does. But in 18th-century Milan, being the “second sister” means she’ll likely be sent to a convent instead. Ironically, Emilia’s pious older sister, Maria, would gladly become a nun. But Father won’t allow it—her brilliant language skills are too important to his quest for noble status. Emilia’s only hope is to prove her musical talents are as indispensable as her sister’s skills. First, though, Emilia must win over her music tutor, who disdains her simply for being a girl. Before she can carry out her plan, though, Emilia’s mother dies in childbirth. In her sorrow, Emilia composes a heartrending sonata that causes the maestro to finally recognize her talent. He begins teaching her music theory alongside handsome violinist Antonio Bellini, the great-nephew of a wealthy marquis. The two begin as rivals, but Emilia gradually falls in love with him. (Historical Romance from Vinspire Publishing)

Historical Western:

Too Far Down by Mary Connealy — A citified mine operator and a tough western cowgirl are the most unlikely couple of all as they team up to fight the outlaws that want the Cimarron Ranch. (Historical Western from Bethany House [Baker])

Romantic Suspense:

Dangerous Ground by Gayla K. Hiss — Deputy Marshal Kate Phillips comes to the Great Smoky Mountains in search of answers concerning her uncle’s suspicious death, and finds herself in the middle of an ancient family feud and a land dispute with handsome first responder, David Jennings. (Romantic Suspense from Mountain Brook Ink)
Christmas Captive by Liz Johnson — On his cousin’s Christmas cruise wedding, navy SEAL Jordan Somerton anticipated having the typical best man duties—not facing down criminals boarding the ship. But when the luxury liner is infiltrated by men determined to kidnap the flower girl, he’s plunged into an unexpected mission. Maid of honor and DEA agent Amy Delgado hasn’t forgiven Jordan for a misunderstanding in their pasts. But with her young niece targeted, she must draw on Jordan’s skills as a protector. Signs point to an inside job. With a traitor in their midst, can they ensure that every passenger returns home safely for the holidays…even as they find love amid deepening danger? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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!

Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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, October 17, 2017

Invisible by Ginny Yttrup

Ellyn DeMoss — chef, cafĂ© owner, and lover of butter — is hiding behind her extra weight. But what is she hiding? While Ellyn sees the good in others, she has only condemnation for herself. So when a handsome widower claims he’s attracted to Ellyn, she’s certain there’s something wrong with him
Sabina Jackson — tall, slender, and exotic — left her husband, young adult daughters, and a thriving counseling practice to spend a year in Northern California where she says she’s come to heal. But it seems to Ellyn that Sabina’s doing more hiding than healing. What’s she hiding from? Is it God?
Twila Boaz has come out of hiding and is working to gain back the pounds she lost when her only goal was to disappear. When her eating disorder is triggered again, though she longs to hide, she instead follows God and fights for her own survival. But will she succeed?
As these women’s lives intertwine, their eyes open to the glory within each of them as they begin to recognize themselves as being created in God’s image.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Rx Murder by Dr. Mabry.

**The ebook is $0.99 this week only or FREE to Prime members.  Go Here
Book Description:  Dr. Elena Gardner learns an OB patient of her fiancĂ©, Dr. David Merritt, is suffering frequent beatings at the hands of her husband. Despite Elena’s advice, the wife refuses to take legal action against her abusing husband. David is so frustrated that he loudly and publicly voices his desire to beat the man senseless. When someone actually kills the husband in that fashion, David’s off-hand expression leads him to the sheriff’s office. As the situation worsens, the two doctors form a partnership with a new attorney in town in order to fight a murder charge.

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical suspense with heart”. He is the author of ten published novels, three novellas, and a non-fiction book. His novels have garnered critical acclaim and been finalists for ACFW’s Carol Award, both the Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year and Reviewer’s Choice Awards, the Inspirational Readers Choice, and the Selah Award. He is a proud member of the ACFW, the International Thriller Writers, the Christian Authors Network, the FHL chapter of the RWA, and Novelists Inc.
You can connect with Richard on the Internet at his blog page and Facebook fan page, as well as Twitter and Goodreads.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Gift Of Christmas Past: A Southern Romance by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall

Book Description:  Arson wasn't the only fire that ignited between them.  

Promises shattered.  
Lies spoken. 
She was arrested.  
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.
Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire. 



My Thoughts:  Cindy Woodsmall has branched out into a different genre other than Amish reads.  And this time she has a coauthor, Erin Woodsmall, who has edited, brainstormed and researched books with Cindy. 
Hadley and Aaron are friends and then the fire!  The fire changes things.
Hadley was arrested but Aaron went home to his wealthy parents.  
Ten years later they meet again.   And they are both specialists in speech therapy.  They are to put there knowledge together to help a sweet little four-year-old who was traumatized by a fire.
As Hadley and Monroe work together secrets, hurts and something more comes out in their relationship.
This is quite a story!  The lives, loves and secrets of Hadley and Monroe take the reader on a journey of compassion, mercy and grace.
Sometimes life isn't all about us.  Sometimes it includes others and extending mercy to them.
A great story!

*This book was provided for review by the author*

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Stonewater Books; New edition (October 10, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0998753807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0998753805

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

{Fiction Guild} An Amish Christmas Love: Four Novellas by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, Kelly Irvin

Book Description:  Three generations of Stoltzfus women are all living under the same roof. At twenty-five, Naomi has never been married, and both her mother, Barbara, and her grandmother, Ruth, have recently been widowed. Each nursing broken or lonely hearts, they also each have potential suitors. When a storm on Christmas Eve forces the three couples to take shelter in the basement of the Stotlzfus homestead, secrets are revealed, hearts are opened, and all three potential grooms drop to their knees for very different reasons—a proposal, a prayer, and an epiphany.

My Thoughts:  Four short stories in one book!  I loved all of these wonderful stories.
Beth Wiseman writes about Winter Kisses.  A sweet story about the three generations of Stoltzfus women - Ruth, Barbara, and Naomi.  
Amy Clipston writes about the Christmas Cat.  This story is about a widow who has loved her Henry for 45 years but this Christmas she is all alone . . . until the cat comes along.  Lovable Emma and the cat!
A Home for Christmas authored by Ruth Reid is a not.so.serious story about Ellie and her poodle, Lulu. Will Ellie stay in the home her aunt has given her?
And then Kelly Irvin writes about Snow Angels  is a fun story about David and Molly.  They both like each other but when someone comes 
from David's past will their relationship survive?  
Four great short stories about the wonderful Christmas season and LOVE!  

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

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 12, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052911870X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0529118707