Monday, April 30, 2018

COTT {Clash of the Titles}

Featuring "Dressed for Death"





A recency-ero costume party should be no more than an amusing diversion, but it seems, wherever Drew Farthing goes, mystery--and murder--are on the guest list.


Drew and Madeline Farthering arrive at a Regency-Era house party at Winteroak House, excited to be reunited with old friends, including Drew’s former Oxford classmate Talbot Cummins. Tal is there with his fiancĂ©e, Alice Henley, and though many present seem worried about the couple, nobody is prepared when Alice dies from an apparent overdose. Tal refuses to believe she’d taken the drugs intentionally, and a dark question arises of whether the death is an accident or murder. The police have their own information though, and Drew is shocked when they arrest someone he’s trusted and admired since his childhood—someone who’s been smuggling drugs into the country for years. Stunned by what has happened, Tal begs Drew to get to the bottom of everything, but Drew’s never felt more unsettled. Questioning his own ability to see people as they really are, Drew doesn’t know who to trust, and he’s not ready for the secrets he’s about to uncover—or the danger he’ll bring down on everyone he holds dear. 

PURCHASE



About the author:

JULIANNA DEERING has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

{Fiction Guild Blog Tour} The Heart Between Us: Two Sisters, One Heart Transplant, and a Bucket List by Lindsay Harrel

Book Description:  Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide and living with her parents in her small Minnesota hometown, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.

When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.   
As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.
My Thoughts:  A new author for me.  And a wow read.                                           This story is such a heart warming, sad.in.places, happy.in.most!          Heart transplants are a new subject for me.  But who would have ever thought that one person's heart would be another person's life.  One person dies and the the next person receives their heart.  The heart between them.                                                                                        Poor Megan she feels like she is stuck in life.  She has a bad heart but three years ago she had a heart transplant.  Wo, when the heart donor's parents had her their daughter's journal with a bucket list included.  Megan decides that she will complete her heart donors list.  Then quite unexpectedly her friend, Crystal, wants to go along with Megan on this incredible journey.                                                                                   Loved this story!
*This book was provided for review by the Fiction Guild*
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 13, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718075706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718075705

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

We love soup!
Here's one of our favorites!
**Even though this is a crockpot soup, if I forget to put everything in the crockpot in the morning I just make it on the stove top using the same ingredients but I cook it for 45 minutes and then the last 30 minutes with cream cheese.  It's still great!

Paula Dean's crockpot potato soup recipe

Combine 1 bag frozen hash browns ( I use the small, diced hash browns)

2 (14oz) cans chicken broth, 1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2c chopped onion

 1/3tsp black pepper

Cook in crock pot on low for 5 hours. 

**Must be last **Stir in 8oz block of cream cheese, cook 30 minutes, stir occasionally.

Garnish with bacon bits, onions and/or shredded cheese.

OH!SO!GOOD!!

Monday, April 23, 2018

{Fiction Guild Blog Tour} If I Live by Terri Blackstock

Book Description:  Casey Cox is still on the run after being indicted for murder. The hunt that began with her bloody footprints escalates, and she’s running out of places to hide. Her face is all over the news, and her disguises are no longer enough. It’s only a matter of time before someone recognizes her.
Dylan Roberts, the investigator who once hunted her, is now her only hope. Terrifying attempts on Dylan’s life could force Casey out of hiding. The clock is ticking on both their lives, but exposing the real killers is more complicated than they knew. Amassing the evidence to convict their enemies draws Dylan and Casey together, but their relationship has consequences. Will one life have to be sacrificed to protect the other?

My Thoughts:  I've waited for this read because this is such an interesting and exciting series!  
I have been so involved in this story that I almost forgot it was fiction.
But in this book 3, If I Live, all the answers and how Casey and Dylan end the search for the "bad guy" comes  to an end.
It's interesting that Dylan's life becomes intertwined with Casey's as they both try to figure out who is behind all the terrible murders.  And who is trying to frame Casey.
It is imperative to read all three of these books in order or the whole case makes no sense.
This is a good ending to a great series!

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

  • Series: If I Run Series (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (March 6, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310332540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310332541


Serve strong (Biblical Encouragement to Sustain God's Servants) by Terry Powell

Book Description:  Serve Strong helps volunteers as well as vocational Christian workers combat discouragement, persevere through weariness, and cultivate endurance for the long haul.
Serve the Lord long enough and discouragement or some form of opposition is inevitable. Joy-sapping workloads, feelings of inadequacy, lack of fruitfulness, or battle fatigue from spiritual warfare often spurs God's servants to quit or sabotages their passion. The purpose of this book is to infuse them with biblical perspectives that buoy flagging spirits, boost motivation, and cultivate endurance.



My Thoughts:  Pastors and their wives are some of the first to become weary in well doing.  Christian workers (i.e. Sunday School teachers, youth leaders and others who serve in any capacity in the church) are some of the most "worn out" peoples in our church groups.  Why? Because we must give and give and be on call, sometimes without ever seeing the results of our labors.  Working for God is not a nine-to-five job.  It's a job of all times.

Even the great preachers like Spurgeon and Flavel became weary because people did not seem to heed God's call for salvation.   Like Flavel I have wearied of going to church Sunday after Sunday, teaching a Sunday School class or seeing people sit in their pews and never respond to God.  And like Flavel I've wanted to respond with, "How can I dismiss you with a blessing since many of you will be accursed when the Lord returns because you didn't love the Lord Jesus Christ." (p. 36)  This, however, is not, the end.  

God is the only true source of comfort and love. And He alone is working on "that" man, woman or teen to come to him.  They must respond and seek God with their whole heart.

If you are a weary servant of the Lord then this encouraging read is for you.  If you are a worker for the Lord then you, too, need to read how to Serve Strong.

Mr. Powell not only encourages but gives scripture and examples from God's word on how to serve strong and be all that you can be in Jesus.

*This book was provided for review by Leafwood Publishers*

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Leafwood Publishers (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891124322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891124320




Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Prayer Map for Women: A Creative Journal By: Compiled by Barbour Staff

Book Description:  This unique prayer journal is an engaging and creative way for you to experience the power of prayer. Every page will guide you to create your very own prayer map as you write out specific thoughts, ideas, and lists, which you can follow--from start to finish--as you talk to God. The Prayer Map for Women will not only encourage you to spend time talking with God about the things that matter most...it will also help you build a healthy spiritual habit of continual prayer for life. Paperback with a spiral wire binding.

My Thoughts:  I'm always on the lookout for journals or devotionals that will help me in my walk with the Lord.
So when I was offered this small book, The Prayer MAP for women, I jumped at the chance to read it.
Each section consists of two pages...there is a place at the top of the left hand page for the date, then a Dear Heavenly Father...this is where you write your prayer, then Thank You for...you gratitude area.  And then a place to write what you're worried about, people you're praying for.  On to the next page...Here's what's happening in my life, I need section, Other things on my heart to share with God.
Little burgundy hearts show you which way to go.  Thus creating a type of map.  
The creative part comes when you write in the sections.  đŸ˜Š
There are verses at the end of each section. 
I am in love with this creative journal.  This is the "bestest"  one ye!
This makes a wonderful gift!  

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

Format: Spiral Bound
Number of Pages: 176
Vendor: Barbour Publishing
Publication Date: 2018

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

I love this salad!  Again, a great Pinterest recipe!
Recipe courtesy of Morton's Steakhouse:
Servings: 4
INGREDIENTS
2 heads iceberg lettuce
¾ cup Bacon Bits
1/4 cup egg, hard-boiled, chopped {I leave out the eggs}
1/4 cup tomato, chopped
1/4 cup blue cheese
1 1/2 cups Morton's Blue Cheese Dressing (below)

Morton's Blue Cheese Dressing Ingredients
1 cup real mayonnaise
1/2 cup plus 1 tbs sour cream
2 tbs buttermilk
1/2 tsp Durkee Famous Sauce*
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3.5 oz (about 1/4 cups) blue cheese, crumbled

DIRECTIONS FOR DRESSING

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and sour cream. Add the buttermilk, Durkee sauce, and seasoned salt. Whisk until well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and whisk again.
2. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the blue cheese. Transfer to a storage container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 1 day and up to 4 days.

DIRECTIONS FOR SALAD

1. Remove any wilted outside leaves from lettuce head. Strike bottom of lettuce head on a flat surface to loosen core. Pull core out. Place lettuce head on cutting board and slice from top to bottom. Remove approximately one inch off each side, depending on the size of the head. Slice two 2-inch thick slices from center of head. Repeat with second head.
2. Ladle dressing across wedge so that it runs over one side. In this order sprinkle: bacon bits, chopped egg, chopped tomatoes, and blue cheese over the top of the salad.


*Durkee Famous Sauce is sold in many supermarkets. It's a vinegar-flavored mustard-mayonnaise type of sauce.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Things I Never Told You by Beth Vogt

Book Description:  It’s been ten years since Payton Thatcher’s twin sister died in an accident, leaving the entire family to cope in whatever ways they could. No longer half of a pair, Payton reinvents herself as a partner in a successful party-planning business and is doing just fine―as long as she manages to hold her memories and her family at arm’s length.
But with her middle sister Jillian’s engagement, Payton’s party-planning skills are called into action. Which means working alongside her opinionated oldest sister, Johanna, who always seems ready for a fight. They can only hope that a wedding might be just the occasion to heal the resentment and jealousy that divides them . . . until a frightening diagnosis threatens Jillian’s plans and her future. As old wounds are reopened and the family faces the possibility of another tragedy, the Thatchers must decide if they will pull together or be driven further apart.

My Thoughts:  If you have a sister or sisters you know that there can be and probably will be drama.  Well, Beth Vogt delves into family dynamics...the push and pull of sisters.  
Three sisters separated by who have been separated now must find a common thread.  
An emotional read as the sisters tread through the deep emotions of forgiveness and redemption.
Sisters dealing with grief and secrets are trying to overcome when the oldest sister passes away.
Oh, the things that we keep hidden in her hearts.  Oh, the pains of family hurts and the healing and hope of forgiveness.
Such a great read! 

*This book was provided for review by Tyndale*

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (May 8, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496427246
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496427243

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Heart's Disguise (Journey of the Heart, Book 1) by Colleen Coble

Book Description:  In the celebratory mood of the recently-ended Civil War, Sarah discovers her betrothed has been keeping a devastating secret.
While the tiny town of Wabash, Indiana, celebrates the end of the fighting,            Sara Montgomery attends the parties, but inside she’s fighting a deep sadness. The love of Sara’s life, Rand Campbell, didn’t come back from the front.
So her brother and ailing father persuade her to pledge herself to another man—despite her misgivings. When Sarah finds out that Rand is in fact alive—and that her fiancĂ© Ben Croftner knew it—she indignantly breaks off their engagement.
Croftner doesn’t take rejection lightly—and a single woman with a sick father makes an easy target. He abducts Sarah, his intentions anything but honorable. Then Rand comes to her aid . . . only to reveal that he has been posted at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and asks her to go with him as his wife.
Will Sarah leave her dying father’s side for the only man she’s ever loved? And what plans are forming in the jealous heart of Ben Croftner?

My Thoughts: A Heart's Disguise is a short book, just 96 pages but it doesn't end there . . . this is book one in a series.  It was also part of a larger book and is now being made into a series.  Some people may not like a series but,  since I have not read the "larger" book, I am looking forward to the series. 
This book takes place at the end of the Civil War and Sarah Montgomery is ever so glad that the war is over but she is quite sad her love, Rand Campbell, did not return from the war.
Her father is ill.  So her ailing father and her brother "talk" her not becoming engaged to another man, Ben Croftner.  Well, soon enough, Sarah finds out that her beloved is a live and that her now fiancee, Ben, knew this all along!  Indignant! and feeling distrustful!  Sarah breaks off her engagement.  But Ben is not a good man and does not take rejection well!  
Sarah becomes an easy target and Ben abducts her!  Rand comes to save her.
But how will Ben take this turn of events and can Sarah leave her dying father to go with the love of her life?
A light historical read!  Loved this read! 



  • Series: Journey of the Heart (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 10, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0529103419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0529103413

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Paleo Chef: Quick, Flavorful Paleo Meals for Eating Well by Pete Evans

Book Description:  Acclaimed international chef and television personality Pete Evans takes a whole new approach to making gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free, completely Paleo recipes that are worthy of a restaurant but effortless to prepare. 


More and more people are discovering the health benefits of the Paleo lifestyle by cutting out processed, sugary foods and instead eating quality proteins and fats, fresh vegetables and fruits, and nuts and seeds. However, following this way of eating doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor or spending a long time in the kitchen. In The Paleo Chef, Evans provides more than 100 recipes for gorgeous food that is satisfying, distinctive, and good for you, including Kale Hummus, Vietnamese Chicken Wings, and Key Lime Tart.



Each and every one of Evans’s innovative recipes pops with flavor and is brought to life with stunning, full-color photography. Living—and eating—the Paleo lifestyle has never been so effortless and so delicious.



My Thoughts:  It seems that "the Paleo diet" has overtaken our world.  So, not one to be left behind....I decided to join the "paleo movement."  But didn't know where to begin.  That's when I saw this wonderful, hardback book with LOTS of great Paleo recipes.  Can you say...WOW!  Oh!Yeah!  Just the book to get started!
Since I was so excited to begin this new phase in my life,  I quickly opened the book and began to make a grocery list. Uh!oh!  Each recipe has at least one exotic ingredient.  And it seems that most (maybe all of the recipes) use coconut oil.  I live in the boonies of Texas...this may not work!
I decided that even though this is a beautiful book with wonderful pictures it just won't work for me. I've decided to eat plainly and not so vainly.
I love this book, as a book!  But decided it is probably just a tad.too.exotic for me.  
Now, if you are a cook and love making everything from scratch and have access to "exotic" ingredients, then you'll love this cookbook.

Recipe examples taken from the book and provided by the publisher:
Root Vegetable Slaw
Go here for recipe:  http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/RANDO/ASAP/Root_vegetable_slaw.pdf
Brownies
Go Here for recipe: http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/RANDO/ASAP/Chocolate_Brownies.pdf

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


  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (December 30, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160774743X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607747437

Monday, April 9, 2018

Deadly Echoes (Finding Sanctuary 2) by Nancy Mehl


Book Description:  After a youth filled with tragedy and upheaval, Sarah Miller's life is finally settled with all echoes of the past silent at last. She happily calls Sanctuary her home and spends her days teaching at the local school.

Sarah's joy at her recent reunion with her sister, Hannah, and meeting the niece she didn't know she had is too soon interrupted when Deputy Sheriff Paul Gleason informs Sarah her sister has been killed. 

As she learns more about Hannah's death, the circumstances are eerily similar to their parents' murder. Sarah enlists Paul's help in digging deeper into the murders the police are dismissing as burglaries gone wrong. Paul's concern encourages Sarah's growing feelings for him, but as their investigation peels back the layers of lies almost twenty years old, they get close to uncovering the truth one person will do anything to hide--even if that means coming after the last remaining members of the Miller family.


My Thoughts:  I've waited {I'm}patiently for this second book by Nancy Mehl.  I love books penned by Nancy Mehl.  And, of course, when there is a series I can hardly wait for the next book.
In the small Mennonite town of Sanctuary Sarah is a high school teacher.  Sarah and her long lost sister, Hannah, have recently found each other.  Sarah  is fond of her sister and her eight-year-old niece.  Sarah soon learns that Hannah may have found leads and why their parents were killed. 
Who doesn't want Hannah and Sarah to find out why their parent were killed and what links will they go to keep this a secret?
Quite a suspenseful read.  
Many leads and it seems that maybe, just maybe, Sarah needs to be careful of the men she associates with?  
Nice romance...good and clean.
I loved this read and hope you will too!

*This book was provided for review by Bethany House*


  • Series: Finding Sanctuary (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (February 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764211587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764211584

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Lost Melody by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith

Jill King's apartment begs to be played. For over a year, it has sat untouched, ever since a terrible accident shattered Jill's ambition of becoming a concert pianist. The ragged scar on her left hand is a cruel and constant reminder of the death of her dream. But another dream is about to come to life---an unexpected, horrifying dream that will present Jill with a responsibility she never wanted. And choices she never wanted to make. Hundreds of lives depend on Jill's willingness to warn her small, oceanside town in Nova Scotia of a nameless, looming disaster. But doing so could cost Jill her reputation, jeopardize the political career of the man she loves, and ruin their plans for a future together. The fate of an entire community hangs in the balance as Jill wrestles with the cost of heeding one still, small voice.

My Review:  Lost Melody is a simply wonderful story about not giving up or giving in AND to always believe!  Believe that God has an ultimate purpose and a plan. 
Jill feels like a washed out has been...from great concert pianist to painful nightmares and scars.  All which came in a split second.  But she still remembers the stranger who told her that God would not let the dream die.  
Jill lives with her feisty seventy-nine year old, soon to be eighty-year old, grandma.  A grandma who lives and loves life with the passion of a person who believes the best is yet to come.
It seems that her grandma, Ruth Parkins, is the ally that keeps Jill going and keeps her on track.
Jill's boyfriend, Greg, is a strong, nice guy.  Greg is the kind of guy most unmarried, single women would love to have around.  Greg is Jill's stalwart companion.
And then Jill begins to have dreams...she needs to warn the town, but it's just a dream, a small voice.  
Can one dream, a small voice make all the difference in the lives of people? And the one who chooses to obey that voice?
A very interesting and insightful read!

Meet the Authors:


The result of that first plotting session, Lost Melody, will be available in October, 2011. Then in February, 2012, the ladies will release their second co-authored project, The Heart’s Frontier. They’re excited to introduce their readers to the writing team of Copeland and Smith. When you crack the covers of these books, be prepared to meet characters who will make you laugh and cry, grieve and love, and leave you deeply satisfied when you turn the last page.Lori and Ginny both have busy writing careers of their own, and they continue to write books independently. They invite you to visit their individual websites a t www.loricopeland.com and www.virginiasmith.org

Monday, April 2, 2018

Love Never Fails by Martha Rogers

Book Description:  At odds over their beliefs and separated by the war, Molly and Stefan must learn to depend of God.

In book three of the Homeward Journey series, Daniel and Sally Delaney’s daughter Molly finishes school and returns to her home to teach. When old friends of her parents come for a visit with their son, Stefan, Molly is attracted to the young man, but all he is interested in is talking about his position in the army. When he leaves to rejoin his regiment, Molly is both relieved and saddened. Can they overcome their differences and find love?



My Thoughts: Love Never Fails, by Martha Rogers is the third book in The Homeward Journey series.

I have read all three and I must admit that Martha's writing gets better with each book.  

I truly enjoyed the story of Molly, Daniel and Sally's daughter.  This is not a typical love story...love seems like a long road of many disappointments.  

Molly has a keen dislike for guns and war.  The handsome young man, Stefan, that Molly has admired for years is in the military.  Stefan thinks that his uniform and military position will make Molly admire him.

Just like real life, people are sometimes "thrown together" in a social setting and like each other.  But as life would have it, the couple has too many different opinions/thoughts to get together romantically.  Since Molly and Clarissa are good friends and Molly has liked Stefan, Clarissa's brother, Molly goes to meet Clarissa's husband, Andrew, and there is Stefan, too.  

Molly does think that Stefan is handsome in his military uniform but she feels that killing is a horrible sin!  

An interesting thought about defending one's country.  Will love ever come to these two?  How do people overcome "big" obstacles in their relationships?  This story is aptly named for Love Never Fails!

This is the last book in the series.  If you haven't read the other two then you'll need to read those, too.  
This series is a "family" series.  It begins with the grandparent's story, then the parent's story, and now the grandchild's story.

  • Series: The Homeward Journey (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Realms (November 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1621366472
  • ISBN-13: 978-1621366478