Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Pink Bonnet: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime by Liz Tolsma

Book Description:  Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.

My Thoughts:  This is the first story that I've read by Liz Tolsma and, hopefully, it won't be the last.
Wow!  What a story.  I had heard stories of children in Memphis, Tennessee who had gone missing but this True Colors: Historical Stories if American Crime filled in all the blanks for me.
This fantabulous story had my heart racing and my fingers readily turning the pages.
I had to stop a few times and catch my breath because I was so involved in the story.
Kidnapping innocent children and telling the parents lies just made my heart go cold. How could a person be so callous. 
This story is based on the true account of women, Georgia Tann, who stole children from 1924-1950.  And her accomplices who lied and covered for her.
Cecile Dowd maybe a fictional character but she popped off the pages as she grieved and looked for her kidnapped three year old daughter. 
And Mr. Vance, at first he seems so weak and mild but I loved the way he came through and showed his true colors.
If you only read one book this summer, I hope you'll choose the Pink Bonnet.
this read may be labeled Historical Romance but in my book I labeled it Historical Suspense.  There is just enough romance-not over done, just the way I like it.

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

  • Series: True Colors
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Barbour Books (June 1, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1643520458
  • ISBN-13: 978-1643520452

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

Another great recipe from Pinterest:
  • 5 tbsp butter, divided
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 c. or a 32 oz. box, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-3/4 inch cubes
  • 1 celery root, peeled and cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • 2 medium heads broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • pinch paprika and cayenne pepper
  • 6 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3 c. milk (1%, 2% or whole)
  • ½ c. half & half (non-fat, low-fat or regular)
  • 2 c. shredded medium or sharp cheddar cheese (8 oz block)
  1. In a large pot over set over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter. When the butter has melted, add the carrots, celery and onion and saute for 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for a minute longer. Stir in the chicken broth, potatoes, celery root, thyme, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes (or until the potatoes are almost tender). Stir in the broccoli and cauliflower, cook for 5-7 minutes longer or until veggies are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, whisking constantly for about a minute. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking vigorously as you add the milk little by little. Whisk until smooth. Constantly whisk as the mixture comes to a gentle boil. When it begins to thicken add the half & half, then remove from heat and pour into the soup (after the veggies are fully cooked). Stir everything together, then turn the heat off. Gradually add the cheddar, stirring until the soup is nice and smooth

Monday, May 27, 2019

Love Finds Faith (The Homeward Journey, book 2) by Martha Rogers

Book Description:  Why can’t people see what is on the inside?

Hannah Dyer has just moved to Texas to help her brother-in-law in his medical practice. Despite her handicap of having one leg much shorter than the other, she is a great nurse whose skills help make the practice the most successful in the area.

When Micah Gordon returns home after some shady escapades, his father hopes he will settle down to ranch life. Hannah is smitten by his good looks and roguish ways, but because of her leg, she has no hopes of attracting his attention.

My Thoughts:  Love Finds Faith is book 2 in the Homeward Journey.  I enjoyed book one, Love Stays True, but there was something about book 2!  I enjoyed this story so much more! Of course, Hannah is in Texas, maybe, just maybe, that has something to do with making this a great read!  
Hannah is helping her brother-in-law with his medical practice.  Which seems ironic in some ways since Hannah has a handicap.  She has one longer leg than the other or some would say she has a much shorter leg than the other.  Either way, this makes Hannah limp/walk quite badly.
As much as Hannah enjoys helping others she wishes for a life of her own, a family and a husband who loves her.  But she feels that no man would be interested in a "cripple."  Poor Hannah! 
But wait!  For God always knows the path we walk eve before we get there!  {Don't you just love God's plan, even when there seems to be no plan!}  Great life lesson here!
And then Micah Gordon returns home to ranch life and boy!o!boy!  Hannah is smitten.  But is Micah as smitten with Hannah?  Or does he feel sorry for her because of her condition?  Can a man really look at her heart and not see her handicap?
This is a story for faith and love!  Even when "life" seems to much too bear God brings all things together for our good!
A great read!

  • Series: The Homeward Journey (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Realms
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1621365468
  • ISBN-13: 978-1621365464

Friday, May 24, 2019

The Hawaiian Discovery by Wanda E. Brunstetter & Jean Brunstetter

Book Description:  Ellen Lambright mourned when her best friend, Mandy, moved from Indiana to Hawaii. But now Ellen has received the Amish church’s permission to go to Hawaii and help Mandy through challenging times. Rob Smith works on the Williams family’s organic farm, far from his past mistakes and burning regrets. When Ellen befriends Rob, the attraction is mutual, but her commitment to the Amish faith stands between them. Could a heartfelt discovery lead to forgiveness, reunion, and love? Or is Ellen’s destiny waiting for her in Indiana?

My Thoughts:  I loved The Hawaiian Quilt so I was anxiously awaiting this sequel.
~back story~Remember that Mandy Frey and her three friends worked and saved enough money to take a cruise and ended up in Hawaii.  But when it was time for the ship to return one of her friends was missing and so Mandy and Ellen miss the ship looking for their friend.  They are taken in by a sweet christian couple who are Hawaiian. Mandy loves it but Ellen misses everything Amish.
Now Mandy is living in Hawaii and Ellen misses her. So when the church allows Ellen to go to Hawaii to help Mandy things develop that neither young woman sees coming.
Can these young Amish ladies learn to live in the place they love and with people that they have come to cherish.
Such a grandastic story!  Of course, I love Wanda & Jean Brunstetter's storytelling!  So I am a bit biased. 😊  
This is a great sequel.  Makes a wonderful gift too.

Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (June 1, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1683224477
  • ISBN-13: 978-1683224471

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Lulu's Cafe: A Novel by T.I. Lowe

Book Description:  “Some scars are too deep to ever heal,” Leah Gabriella Allen whispered in hushed anguish.The orphaned young woman knows all too well about scars…a thick burn spanning her left palm…a deep rigid scar adorning her right hip…a scar etched across her bottom lip…There were countless more, exposed as well as hidden deep within. After years of foster and group home instability, Gabriella naively falls in the thorny arms of the abusive Brent Sadler. The constant bruise of cruelty is ever present in their ten years of marriage – beatings that riddle her body and then being locked away in a closet when Brent grows weary of looking at the damage.One last momentous beating ends with two deaths and changes Gabriella’s life forever. She stumbles away within an inch of her own life and begins a journey to an unexpected southern home which is none other than Lulu’s Café, where she tries to mend her severed spirit. Lulu is the petite charismatic southern belle with a strong unshakable faith.

My Thoughts:  T.I. Lowe is a but I love to read stories by authors that I've never heard of or known.  
As I began reading this story my heart hurt for Gabriella Allen.  I've never been in her position but, yet, it brought tears to my eyes.  I simply can't imagine someone beating or hurting another human who is close to them.  WHY?  
As I read this story I began to see why Mrs. Lowe wrote about this topic.  God's amazing can and will bring us through the most difficult times in our lives.  It's not that Gabriella knows God intimately but God knows her and her situation.  And He leads her to Lulu's Cafe.  I love Lulu!  
The best thing about this story is the romance.  It isn't a love at first sight, gotta-get-hitched-now type of romance but more of a true life kind of romance.  The kind where the man likes the lady but wants to take his time and make sure she's the right one for him.
Oh and back to Ms. Lulu...she's my kind of gal.  She's not preachy but she cares and her faith makes up for her lack of height.  She's strong but kind, she's lovable but not push over.  And she makes great food for the body with a bit of food for the souls thrown in for good measure.
And there are recipes!  I always love a story that includes great recipes.
A fantastic read!

*I bought this book and chose to do a review*

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (February 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1495974758
  • ISBN-13: 978-1495974755

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Book of Comforts: Genuine Encouragement for Hard Times by Kaitlin Wernet, Rebecca Faires, Cymone Wilder and Angie Smith

Book Description:  When someone is grieving, what should we say? How can we help? How do we comfort without offering shallow platitudes? In times of sorrow Scripture beckons us to look up and out, because our help comes from the Lord. The Book of Comforts stands in the gap between suffering and hope, offering readers the abiding comfort found in Scripture.

My Thoughts:  I wanted this book because, frankly, it's quite difficult for me to verbalize a comforting thought when someone is going through a rough time.  
This is a beautiful hardback book.  So much lovelier than the picture.  And quite a bit bigger than I expected.  It's not a small book but it's not overly large either.  
It's not colorful but on one side of the page is a dark grayish colored page or plain white page with gold lettering or plain white with dark gray print that has an encouraging statement.
I found that this book makes for a great devotional book especially for someone going through a difficult time.
The book is chock full of scripture and experiences that may help and encourage a fellow believer.
We all go through difficult/hard times and this book is a wonderful to help us and others.  It is also great for giving comfort from you to someone else.

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (March 26, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310452066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310452065

A Table by the Window {Two Blue Doors Series} by Hilary Manton Lodge

Book Description:  Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love 

The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story. 

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way?

My Thoughts: I love books that Hilary M. Lodge writes.  I've read Plain Jayne and Simply Sara {her Amish books}.  I've waited for a long time for Ms. Lodge to write a new book.  
Ms. Lodge has an easy way with words that take a reader into another time and another place makes for one excellent story.
A Table By the Window isn't just an ordinary read but a special something read about a noisy, nosey family and a photograph from a different place and a different time.  What could this antique photo mean?  Secrets and mystery!
I love the cover with a girl by a window! I'm wondering if the window has some significance, like seeing into another life or living in a world of sunshine?  Or maybe, just loving life!
And then there's the romance. A great guy who is funny and charming but whom Juliette has met online.   Ah! Poor Juliette can't keep a secret like her long ago grand mere.  Somethings, I guess, just aren't hereditary.  He comes to Portland to meet her family...secret out!  
But the pastries...ahh! the pastries!  Makes the reader wish for her own pastry chef!  Great recipes abound in this read!
I loved this absolutely delightful read!  And, yes, waiting for the next book! 

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

  • Series: Two Blue Doors
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307731758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307731753

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Edge of Over There by Shawn Smucker

Book Description:  Before the Tree of Life, everything in Abra Miller's life had been predictable. But after the Tree and the lightning and the angels, everything felt tenuous, like holding a soap bubble in the palm of her hand. She spent years looking for signs of that other world, waiting for it to break through. When it didn't, her friendship with Sam Chambers grew cold and distant, and they both wondered how any of it could actually have happened.
Four years later, 16-year-old Abra's long-delayed quest to find the next manifestation of the Tree of Life is renewed when she sees a woman walking up the road--a woman who looks exactly like Sam's dead mother. The woman directs her to New Orleans where she will find the grave of Marie Laveau, one of seven gateways between this world and Over There. As Abra enters The Edge of Over There and begins her pursuit of the Tree once more, she doesn't know whom to fear or whom to trust. But she's starting to think that some doorways should never be opened.

My Thoughts:  This is not my usual genre of reading material.  But the title caught my attention.
First of all I didn't realize that this was a sequel to The Day the Angels Fell.  Secondly, this is a YA read but I would say that anyone 12 and up could read it.  There may questions about death.
And lastly, since I didn't read the first book which I think is a must with this read, I was slightly behind in understanding all that was going on.
This story also dabbles in dystopian and fantasy with spiritual undertones.
It's an interesting read.  
The main character Abra Miller reminded me a bit of Eve in the Bible.  And this story seemed to me to be a bit of Genesis with a twist.  
Sometimes we can't go to the edge over there.  Sometimes there is no turning back when we make a decision.  We just make the best of it and travel on.
This is a fantastic story for those who love fantasy.

*This book was provided for review by Revell*

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Revell; Reprint edition (April 2, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800735412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800735418

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

Monday, May 13, 2019

Defy the Night, A Novel by Heather Munn & Lydia Munn

Book Description:  In the midst of war, one teenager is determined to make a difference
If no one will do anything, she'll have to do it herself.
In 1941 France is still "free." But fifteen-year-old Magali is frustrated by the cruel irony of pretending life is normal when food is rationed, new clothes are a rarity, and most of her friends are refugees. And now the government is actually helping the Nazis. Someone has got to do something, but it seems like no one has the guts—until Paquerette arrives.
Smuggling refugee children is Paquerette's job. And she asks Magali to help.
Working with Paquerette is scary and exhausting, but Magali never doubts that it is the right thing to do. Until her brash actions put those she loves in danger.

My Thoughts:  Having read How Huge the Night by this wonderful mother/daughter writing team I knew that I wanted to read Defy the Night also.
Defy the Night is written in the first person.  In the "voice" of Magali the main character.  
Hate! Torture! Hunger! Love! Faith! wow! this book brings "it" all to the table.  So many feelings . . . and these feelings are "given" to the reader.
To be honest I had to set this book down at times because I became so heartbroken.  
I cheered Magali on.  She is a teenager who just wants to help bring children to safety.  But her parents don't quite understand her need to help when danger is involved.
There are so many great characters in this book...Rosa whose story comes out in spurts, Lucy, Paquerette who works untiringly to bring the children out of the prison camps and to safety, Julien who wants to be brave but misses his parents.  So many lives, not all Jews, who are displaced or hurt because of this monster Hitler and his hit men the Nazis.
I could go on and on. But instead, why don't you grab a copy of this wonderful read and read the story for yourself just make sure that you have a box of Kleenexes by your side.
This is definitely a grand read of defying the enemy during this terrible time in history!

*This book was provided for review by Kregel Publications*

Heather Munn was born in Northern Ireland of American parents and grew up in the south of France. She decided to be a writer at the age of five when her mother read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books aloud, but worried that she couldn’t write about her childhood since she didn’t remember it. When she was young, her favorite time of day was after supper when the family would gather and her father would read a chapter from a novel. Heather went to French school until her teens, and grew up hearing the story of Le Chambonsur-Lignon, only an hour’s drive away. She now lives in rural Illinois with her husband, Paul, where they offer free spiritual retreats to people coming out of homelessness and addiction. She enjoys wandering in the woods, gardening, writing, and splitting wood. 

Lydia Munn was homeschooled for five years because there was no school where her family served as missionaries in the savannahs of northern Brazil. There was no public library either, but Lydia read every book she could get her hands on. This led naturally to her choice of an English major at Wheaton College. Her original plan to teach high school English gradually transitioned into a lifelong love of teaching the Bible to both adults and young people as a missionary in France. She and her husband, Jim, have two children: their son, Robin, and their daughter, Heather. 

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0825443210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825443213

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Cards of Kindness for Courageous Girls: Shareable Devotions and Inspiration by Complied by the Barbour Staff

Book Description:  Flip each page to discover a positive life message that will both uplift and inspire your heart—and the hearts of other courageous girls just like you. Once you’ve read through the devotion and pondered the message of loving-kindness, tear out the card and pass it on to another girl . . who will then be encouraged to keep the "Courageous Girls Are Kind" movement going. . .by passing the card along to yet another courageous girl!

My Thoughts:  These are beautiful 5x8 cards made of sturdy paper.  Each card has perforated edge so that it can be gently torn out and shared.
Each card has a short devotional on the front with a title.  The back is decorated and has a positive saying to encourage a young lady.  The age listed for these cards is 6-9 years old.
We loved the cards as they are just right for handing out and giving to a friend or, as we did, gave to an older lady who needed encouragement.  We have found that older ladies enjoyed the encouragement as much as the younger ladies did.
Our only disappointment in these cards is that they aren't can place them in an envelope and mail it. But for some reason we thought they would be more like a post card and have place for an address.  Other than that we love these small shareable devotional and inspirational cards.
My niece gave each girl that came to her birthday party a book as a party favor and it was the hit of the party.

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

  • Grade Level: 1 - 2
  • Series: Courageous Girls
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Kidz (May 1, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1643521640
  • ISBN-13: 978-1643521640

WOW {WarmOven Wednesday}

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley

Book Description: When Laura Gantt returns to Georgia to handle her late mother's estate, she hears a startling rumor---that her father staged his drowning years ago and has recently been spotted roaming the mountains. 

With the help of her former high school sweetheart, Laura searches for the truth. But will what they find destroy their rekindled feelings?

My Thoughts: The Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley is quite a mystery!
We meet Laura Gantt who must return to Georgia to oversee her late mother's estate.  However, there is some reminiscing from Laura about her childhood. (I think this is necessary for the reader to gain a background of Laura and what transpired before she grew up).  But when Laura arrives home she begins to hear the small town rumors that her "dead" Vietnam Veteran father who suffers from PTSD is still alive and roams throughout the mountains.
Ahh!  The stress!  Trying to take care of her mother's estate and then to learn that the dad she thought had drowned twelve years earlier is now alive!
Thankfully, her best friend Carrie is there for her and then Sean, her ex-boyfriend, comes back into her life.  Sean is a wonderful friend and begins to help Laura try to unravel the mystery of the roaming vet.
This is an interesting read. 
Sean and Laura seem to have a relationship that comes and goes but mostly goes.  Poor Sean!
This is an interesting read with twists and turns that makes the reader keep reading just find out "what in the world is going on!"  Quite an ending!  
Meg Moseley never writes and ordinary tale...she pens stories that have quirky characters, relationships that seem and endings that the reader may never guess!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Death by the Book (A Drew Farthering Mystery) by Julianna Deering

Drew Farthering wanted nothing more than to end the summer of 1932 with the announcement of his engagement. Instead, he finds himself caught up in another mysterious case when the family solicitor is found murdered, an antique hatpin with a cryptic message, Advice to Jack, piercing his chest.
Evidence of secret meetings and a young girl's tearful confession point to the victim's double life, but what does the solicitor's murder have to do with the murder of a physician on the local golf course? Nothing, it would seem--except for another puzzling note, affixed with a similar-looking bloodied hatpin.
Soon the police make an arrest in connection with the murders, but Drew isn't at all certain they have the right suspect in custody. And why does his investigation seem to be drawing him closer and closer to home?

My Thoughts: Oh, I loved the first Drew Fathering Mystery, Rules of Murder!  And was so excited when I received this book, Death by the Book!  Honestly, some of these great authors just can't pen a mystery/suspense book fast enough for me!  I inhale a good book like some people inhale a wonderful latte!
In Death by the Book,  it's the summer of 1932 in the small village of Fathering St. John.  Yes, you guessed it!  Drew Fathering is the lord of the manor!  Drew Fathering is also bored most of the time...too much time on his hands so he "finds" murder mysteries to solve.
Death by the Book has a quote in a note...hmmm! can Drew get it in time?!?! This is the mystery of it all!
A well thought out plot with Downtown Abbey and Agatha Christie like characters, all of whom bring something interesting to the table or should I say the book.
I'm not sure about Madeleine, drew's girlfriend . . . Drew is a solid christian who seems to dote on her and love her and she isn't sure if she should marry Drew!  Oh!pish!posh!  Grab the guy, you dolt!  (okay, maybe the book is a little too realistic for me, that's a good sign of great writing, right?)
This is a GREAT series. And, no, one doesn't need to read the first book to "get" the second book but one will want to read them all!  Can't wait for the third, Murder at the Mikado!

*This book was provided for review by Bethany House*
  • Series: A Drew Farthering Mystery
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764210963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764210969

Thursday, May 2, 2019

{Revell Blog Tour} The Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart

Book Description:  When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It's meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique--and lonely--position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?

My Thoughts:  I've read very little about the Shaker community so I found this book thoroughly enjoyable.  
Darcie and Walter Goodwin are tying to escape the cholera epidemic so they go to a Shaker community.  Not intending to stay with the Shakers indefinitely this is meant to be a short stay but, unfortunately, Walter is killed.  So with no where else to go Darcie decides to stay with the Shakers.
Now that Darcie is with the Shakers she finds out that she is pregnant.  And the baby was conceived before she and her husband came to be with the Shakers.
But the Shakers see martial relationships as poor Darcie is all alone.  The Shakers want Darcie to be her baby's sister but Darcie wants to be a mother.  She tries to be brave but with a baby coming she does have a few worries.  
And then a widower, Flynn Keller and his daughter show up at the Shaker community.
As much as I enjoyed this read I couldn't quite grasp why the Shakers didn't want people to be married and have kids.  Ann Gabhart does an excellent job of portraying the Shakers.
A well written story of faith and hope even when all seems lost.

*This book was provided for review by Revell Reads*