Friday, June 29, 2018

{The Fiction Guild Blog Tour} Room on the Porch Swing by Amy Clipston

Book Description:  Laura Riehl is no stranger to heartache. Less than a year after her mother’s death, Laura finds herself burying another loved one: her best friend, Savilla, who has died after a brief and sudden illness. Laura feels heartbroken and alone, but her pain is nothing compared to that of Allen, the husband Savilla has left behind. He now faces a life so different from the one he imagined—plus a baby to care for on his own.
When Laura offers to help Allen with baby Mollie, he jumps at the opportunity until a permanent solution can be found. She’d do anything to lend a hand to Allen and to honor her best friend’s memory. Rudy, Laura’s boyfriend, is initially supportive of her plan, but the more time Laura spends with Allen, the more jealous and frustrated Rudy seems to become.
As Laura and Allen face hardships together, their friendship takes a surprising yet comforting turn—and she discovers an attraction she’s never felt with Rudy. Would falling for Allen betray the people she cares about most, or would denying those feelings betray her heart? This latest installment in the Amish Homestead series returns us to Lancaster County, home of the beloved Riehls, where a family’s strength—and advice from a new friend—may help Laura find God’s direction.

My Thoughts:  I love the cover of this book but the story is better than the cover!
This story is a bit sad but through sadness Laura and Allen discover friendship and love.  This is the second in the Amish Homestead novels. I did not read the first one and I wasn't lost so I believe this is a stand alone novel.)
Poor Allen he not only lost his sweet wife, Savilla, but he has a baby daughter to care for also.
Savilla was Laura's best friend so when she passed away Laura is heart broken.  Then Laura realizes that Allen must care for baby, Mollie, and work.  So, Laura tells Allen that she would like to take care of Mollie for him.
Allen jumps at the chance and he and Laura begin to create a friendship that turns to more than friendship.
Second chances come in surprisingly strange ways.  
A great story!

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

  • Series: An Amish Homestead Novel (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (May 8, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310349079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310349075

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Murder at the Flamingo: A Novel (A Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery) by Rachel McMillan

Book Description:  Hamish DeLuca has spent most of his life trying to hide the anxiety that appears at the most inopportune times -- including during his first real court case as a new lawyer. Determined to rise above his father’s expectations, Hamish runs away to Boston where his cousin, Luca Valari, is opening a fashionable nightclub in Scollay Square.  When he meets his cousin's “right hand man,” Reggie, Hamish wonders if his dreams for a more normal life might be at hand.

My Thoughts:  A new author and a new series for me.
Such a fun and quirky read!  This author has quite a sense of humor.  
Poor Hamish DeLuca and his insecurities and to be a lawyer too!  Can one be insecure and a lawyer?  Well, Hamish is both!
When Hamish meets his cousin's "right hand man"  he is fascinated with Reggie.  It turns out that Reggie is Regina Van Buren . . . a lovely lady.
As Reggie and Hamish work together they find a much darker side to the glitz and glitter at the Flamingo Club.  Not all that glitters is gold or even bronze it's a much lighter shade of darkness.  
Remember that the year is 1937 in Boston so when a dead body is found at the Flamingo Hamish and Reggie begin to see a whole different side of life.  A life where the have nots really don't have anything like the haves.  The glitter is tarnished.
Such an interesting case...a hint of romance, glittering night life and well, insecurities.  

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Series: A Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 10, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785216928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785216926

The Fashion Designer by Nancy Moser

Book Description:  Annie Wood, the housemaid-turned-pattern designer in The Pattern Artist, jumps at the chance to design her own clothing line when a wealthy New York couple offers to finance her endeavor. Joining the project is Annie’s new husband, Sean Culver, her best friend at Butterick, Maude Nascato, and a mother figure, Edna Holmquist.
Annie and her colleagues give up their careers, risking everything to follow a shared passion: clothes that are both fashionable and functional for modern, busy women in 1912.
Personal and financial setbacks test old relationships and new romances while threatening to keep the business from ever selling a single dress. No one said it would be easy. But the promise of the American Dream holds a deep hope for those who work hard, trust God, and never give up.

My Thoughts:  I enjoyed The Pattern Artist so I was excited to receive this next book, The Fashion Designer.  These are to be read in order.  Annie Wood was a housemaid who became a pattern designer.
Now Annie has a new husband, Sean Culver who totally believes in her gifts and endeavors.  In fact, he helps her in her projects.
Actually Annie and her colleagues have a passion to make clothes for women that are both fashionable and functional.  Remember this is 1912 and a man's world.
Well as with all things time and perseverance seem like a "forever" not going to happen with Annie and her crew.  Not a dress has been sold and it seems like one thing after another keeps getting in the way.  
A great read about trusting God in all things with a little romance and fashion items of the early 1900's.

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

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press; Gld edition (July 1, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1683226011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1683226017

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

  • 1 - 3-4 lb. chuck roast, remove excess fat (when I'm in a hurry I just use roast beef lunch meat form the deli)
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 2 olive oil
  • 1/4 C soy sauce
  • 1/4 C water
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 C beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried, crushed rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 TBSP minced onion
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 6-8 french rolls
  • 6-8 slices of cheese, provolone is my preference
  • Remove excess fat from roast.
  • Sprinkle with Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • Brown in heavy pan with 2 tsp olive oil. Brown on both sides
  • Place in crock pot
  • Mix together soy sauce, beef broth, water, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, garlic, onion
  • Pour mixture over roast.
  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6. Cook until tender and easy to shred.
  • Shred with a fork and the place on sandwich buns.
  • Strain remaining juice and use for dipping

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Chase the Lion: If Your Dream Doesn't Scare You, It's Too Small by Mark Batterson

My Thoughts:  Ever since my husband met Mark Batterson a few years ago, we've enjoyed reading his very interesting take on life through a christians's perspective.
I love the way he begins this book...Run TO the Roar.  Most of us are afraid of the roar (the challenge) so we tend to run FROM the roar but Mark Batterson encourages us to wake-up and live with purpose.  Quit being afraid of the life/dream that God has for you. This brings us to the subtitle of this book...If Your Dream Doesn't Scare You, You're Dream Is Too Small.
Also, he encourages us to not be afraid of achieving what we would deem impossible.  Don't we all have an impossible dream that God could/would make possible. And, sometimes, our dream doesn't have to be a multimillion mission, sometimes our dream is just quit our present job and go onto something better.  All dreams are not the same but all dreams do require the faith to carry them out.
I found this to be such an encouraging read!  Encouraging me to take up  my dream and believe that with God all things are possible . . . just believe and be willing for my God given dream.

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

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah (September 6, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601428855
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601428851

Monday, June 25, 2018

COTT {Clash of the Titles}

Looking for some awesome take-me-away Summer Reading?

Check out these new releases and I dare you to tell me which one you'd put on the top of your reading list. We offer contemporary and historical romance, a little fantasy, danger, mystery, suspense!


Rachel A. James

To unite the kingdoms and bring peace, Princess Alena must enter into a royal marital alliance, but when the handsome physician, Sherwin, befalls her, matters become complicated. Torn between obligations to her young son and country, she faces a difficult decision, will Alena obey the king’s orders, or choose to follow her heart?


Jennifer Rodewald

Friendship, love, and then betrayal...for Jamie Carson one thing becomes clear: Andrew needs a savior, and she cannot be it. Will Andrew allow the hand of grace to redeem his legacy of addiction, or will he and Jamie remain the casualties of heartbreak?


Heather Day Gilbert 

Tess Spencer loves her low-key job at the Crystal Mountain Spa, which allows her plenty of down-time with her one-year old daughter and lawyer husband, Thomas. But when a pool installation turns up eight skeletons in the spa's back yard, Tess becomes entangled in a sleuthing job destined to go awry...even as she sifts through layers of deceit, Tess realizes too late that a serial killer's sights have zeroed in on her.

Contemporary Romance

Amanda Cabot  

Marisa St. George has lost her dream job and come home to manage the struggling Rainbow’s End resort in the small Texas town where she grew up. The only silver lining is Blake Kendall, a new guest who is making her believe in love at first sight. But is he really who she thinks he is? 

Historical Romance

Sarah Loudin Thomas 

When family tragedy derails Henry Phillips’s college studies, he consoles himself with his fiddle and the family farm. His grandmother’s helper, Margaret Hoffman, is always around, ready to push his buttons, and it seems she doesn’t care about his troubles. But Margaret has her own problems. Henry and Margaret soon find themselves relying on each other as they face potential loss and find healing in the most surprising places. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson

Book Description:  Reluctant debutante Keziah Montgomery lives beneath the weighty expectations of her staunch Confederate family, forced to keep her epilepsy secret for fear of a scandal. As the tensions of the Civil War arrive on their doorstep in Savannah, Keziah sees little cause for balls and courting. Despite her discomfort, she cannot imagine an escape from her familial confines―until her old schoolmate Micah shows her a life-changing truth that sets her feet on a new path . . . as a conductor in the Underground Railroad.
Dr. Micah Greyson never hesitates to answer the call of duty, no matter how dangerous, until the enchanting Keziah walks back into his life and turns his well-ordered plans upside down. Torn between the life he has always known in Savannah and the fight for abolition, Micah struggles to discern God’s plan amid such turbulent times.

My Thoughts:  Sometimes one just doesn't know what to do or what to expect from life...such is the case of Keziah Montgomery's life. 
It seems that her epilepsy is a "curse" to her and her family.  Just how is one suppose to keep episodes of seizures a secret unless one doesn't need to go anywhere.
Keziah is comfortable in her own family surroundings so when the Civil War and all that it entails comes to her doorstep, well, life changes.
And then her school friend, Micah, shows her that life can be so much more when helping others.
Micha is a doctor and when Keziah is back in his life his own plans are turned inside out.
Micah and Keziah must both seek God and learn to trust Him even when life is not what they would like.
A great historical novel that has excitement, romance and history.

*This book was provided for review by Tyndale*

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 1, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496428315
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496428318

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Orphan's Wish By Melanie Dickerson

Book Description:  Orphaned and alone, Aladdin travels from the streets of his Arab homeland to a strange, faraway place. Growing up in an orphanage, he meets young Lady Kirstyn, whose father is the powerful Duke of Hagenheim. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion, and their childhood friendship grows into a bond that time and opposition cannot break.
Even as a child, Aladdin works hard, learning all he can from his teachers. Through his integrity, intelligence, and sheer tenacity, he earns a position serving as the duke’s steward. But that isn’t enough to erase the shame of being forced to steal as a small child—or the fact that he’s an orphan with no status. If he ever wants to feel equal to his beautiful and generous friend Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim and seek his fortune.
Yet once Aladdin departs, Lady Kirstyn becomes a pawn in a terrible plot. Now, Aladdin and Kirstyn must rely on their bond to save her from unexpected danger. But will saving Kirstyn cost Aladdin his newfound status and everything he’s worked so hard to obtain?

My Thoughts:  I loved The Orphan's Wish!   
One of the reasons I loved this story is because it does not "follow" the Disney story of Aladdin.  There is an an Aladdin in this story but I love that this is "its own story."
Melanie Dickerson does a great job of "rewriting" the classics.  This is the eighth one that she has written.  And this story takes place in Germany.
I also love that there is no magic but just hard work and family.  Family is important!  Although Aladdin does have some real people issues.
This is a fast read.  
I would recommend that ages 13 and up read this retelling of a wonderful classic.

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Formula of Deception by Carrie Stuart Parks

Book Description:  After the murder of her twin sister, Murphy Anderson changed her name and appearance and moved to Kodiak, Alaska, to avoid the press and publicity. But when local authorities discover she’s an artist and request her help in drawing a dying man’s memories, she unintentionally ends up in the limelight again—and back in the killer’s crosshairs.
The deathbed confessions of an Alaskan hunter have Murphy drawing the five bodies he discovered on remote Ruuwaq Island ten years ago. But what investigators find has them mystified. Evidence suggests that the bodies were deliberately destroyed, and what they uncover in an abandoned Quonset hut from World War II only brings more questions.

My Thoughts:  To me Carrie Stuart Parks is the Alfred Hitchcock of books.  I try to never read her stories at night.  
Murphy Anderson has changed her name and her appearance and moved to Kodiak, Alaska since someone murdered her twin sister.  She has avoided press and publicity until the local authorities find out that she is artist and request her help to draw a dying man's memories.
Well, this puts Murphy right smack in the limelight and the killer is on her trail once more.
But this is a most unusual case.  Once Murphy has drawn the five bodies that the Alaskan hunter found on the remote Ruuwaq island there are only questions.
This quite an interesting read with tons of suspense.  And at times there are more questions than answers in this case.  It's quite a challenge for the armchair detective to figure out what this case is all about and how it is all connected.

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 3, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718083857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718083854

The House at Saltwater Point (A Lavender Tides Novel) by Colleen Coble

Book Description: Ellie Blackmore is making a name for herself as a house flipper. But when her sister Mackenzie disappears, Ellie can’t focus on anything but uncovering what happened. Her only clue is the bloodstain on the deck of Mackenzie’s boat. Ellie knows her sister isn’t on the best of terms with her ex-husband, Jason, but he wouldn’t kill her—would he? 
Coast Guard intelligence officer Grayson Bradshaw believes Mackenzie faked her own death after stealing a seized cocaine shipment. The problem is convincing Ellie, who seems to view him as the true enemy.

My Thoughts:  I truly enjoyed The View From Rainshadow Bay so I delved into this second book in the Lavender Tides, The House at Saltwater Point.
This book is intriguing because Ellie Blackmore flips houses.  When women flip houses it seems that they get it not more work than they anticipate.  And Ellie does, too, only not in flipping houses but in trying to uncover the death of her sister, Mackenzie's disappearance.
Of course, if the reader is familiar with Colleen Coble's writing then the reader knows that the mystery going to be more than meets the eye.
The bloodstains on Mackenzie's boat are just the beginning. 
And everyone becomes suspect.  Mackenzie's ex-husband seems to be the best fit but would he actually kill.
Then when Ellie meets Grayson Bradshaw he believes that Mackenzie faked her own death to steal the cocaine shipment.
The clues are there but can Ellie and Grayson see them in time to find the truth before time runs out?!?!?
Loved this read!
Makes a great story to take to the beach...if you dare!😉

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Series: A Lavender Tides Novel (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 3, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718085809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718085803

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

We love peach cobbler and I was ecstatic to find a crockpot recipe on Pinterest.  It's delicious and so easy!  So great for those family get togethers!
  1. 29 oz Del Monte Sliced Peaches in Heavy Syrup
  2. 1 tsp cinnamon
  3. 16.5 oz yellow cake mix
  4. 3/4 cup pecans (chopped)
  5. 1 stick butter (sliced)
  6. Non-stick cooking spray
  1. Spray crock pot with non stick cooking spray. Layer remaining ingredients into crock pot in order shown. DO NOT MIX. Just sprinkle the ingredients on top of each other. Turn the crock pot on high for 2 hours. Remove from heat and enjoy with ice cream!