Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Falling in Love with God by Bob Hostetler

Book Description:  Every human heart longs to love and be loved. And every heart is unfulfilled until it falls in love with God.
Why does anyone want to ''fall in love?'' With anyone? Perhaps it is because we instinctively recognize that love is the most pleasurable of all human sensations. Love makes us feel good. It satisfies our deepest needs. And if falling in love with another human being can do all of those things . . . how much more powerful could it be to fall in love with God?
HOW TO FALL IN LOVE WITH GOD answers that question. Drawing from the ancient love story of Hosea, a prophet whose life and prophecy map how to fall in love with God, this book will fulfill the desires of all who long for a different--or deeper--relationship with God. This thoroughly biblical book will help and bless readers who long to love God with all their hearts . . . but just aren't sure why they don't, if they could, or how it happens.

My Thoughts:  As a christian I thought, "I need to read this book!"  Falling in Love with God seems like it should be a "given" when we are following Him.  But I think that reading about and recapturing that first love is why we, all, need a reminder of how to fall in love with God.  To know of God and to love God are two very different things. I want a heartfelt love!
I found it interesting that Bob Hostetler used the story of Hosea.  Hosea was faithful to God but when Hosea married a young woman she became unfaithful to him.  Yet, Hosea went to great lengths to win his wife back, even though she had truly turned her back on his love. Such a loving God we have!  God, like Hosea, woos us and wants us to return His love.  How can we not fall in love with such a wonderful God who loves us best!
That vacuum that many people try to fill with other"loves" is simply needing God the Creator's love.
Mr. Hostetler writes with a creative pen as he describes our need to be in love with God.  He includes stories of people and their relationships . . . how they fell in love and were wooed by their spouses.  
An interesting and beautiful read about our relationship of how to fall in love with God-the One who loves us most!  
A must read for those who love God and want Him to be first in their lives!

*This book was provided by Leafwood Publishers*
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Leafwood Publishers 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891123741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891123743

Monday, July 29, 2019

{Kregel Blog Tour} Rainbows for Rainy Days (40 devotional readings that reveal God's promises) by Catherine Campbell

Book Description:  Catherine Campbell's experience as a nurse and as the mother of two girls who both inherited a rare genetic condition that required constant care until their deaths at ages 10 and 13 has given her a unique insight into suffering. As an inspirational speaker, she frequently encounters people with tragic stories. And yet she believes that God is Lord and that in both good times and bad, He is always good.

My Thoughts:  Rainbows for Rainy Days by Catherine Campbell is a collection of devotionals readings for 40 days.
Catherine Campbell has dealt with quite a bit of grief and yet she knows that God is there for her just as He was there with a promise of the rainbow when Noah and his family had gone through some rough waters.
This small, hardback book is chock full of encouragement with Scriptures at the top of each page where the devotional begins.
All of the devotionals are inspiring and encouraging but the one that "popped" out at me was on p. 24, day/number 36:  "Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9b.
Joshua faced the biggest task and the biggest fear of his life. God saw his fear and God was telling Joshua, I will be with you every step of the way. Yes, Catherine has had devastating lost in her life but yet she writes not of her experiences but she writes from God's Word to encourage others.
Such an encouraging read!
This book makes a great gift or it would make a great "card" for someone who is going through a rough patch in life.

*This book was provided for review by Kregel Publications*
  • Visit Catherine's page HERE!
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Monarch Books; 1st New edition edition
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857212893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857212894

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Winnowing Season: Book Two in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series by Cindy Woodsmall

Book Description:  The tornado that devastated Kings’ Orchard pushed Rhoda, Samuel, and Jacob to make a new start in Maine. Are they strong enough to withstand the challenges of establishing an Amish community—and brave enough to face the secrets that move with them?
 On the eve of their departure to begin a new Old Order Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is shocked to discover that choices made by her business partner and friend, Samuel King, have placed her and her unusual gifts directly into the path of her district’s bishop and preachers. She is furious with Samuel and is fearful that the Kings will be influenced by the way her leaders see her, and not what they know to be true—that Rhoda’s intuition is a gift from God. Jacob King won’t be swayed by community speculation. He loves Rhoda, believes in her, and wants to build a future with her in Maine. But when the ghosts of his past come calling and require him to fulfill a great debt, can he shake their hold before it destroys what he has with Rhoda? Samuel has a secret of his own—one he’ll go to great lengths to keep hidden, even if it means alienating those closest to him. Throwing himself into rehabilitating the once-abandoned orchard, Samuel turns to a surprising new ally. Book 2 of the Amish Vines and Orchards series asks: can the three faithfully follow God’s leading and build a new home and orchard in Maine? Or will this new beginning lead to more ruin and heartbreak?

My Thoughts:  The Winnowing Season by Cindy Woodsmall is book 2 in the Amish Vines and Orchards trilogy. I read A Season for Tending the first book in this series and was so glad I did.  I think one could read this book as a stand alone because Cindy Woodsmall writes each book as it's own story but I like to read books in order if I can. Also, there are references that come from the first book and it's nice to know what is going on.  It also makes for a much better story!
Cindy Woodsmall is a wonderful writer of Amish fiction bringing the characters to life on the written page.
There is a love triangle throughout this story.  But the "meat" of the story is about the Amish "pilgrims" who travel to Maine to restore and 80 acre apple orchard.  Plus, raise live stock, gardens, children and fix meals.  The Amish are very hard working and when they set their minds to a task it is completed.
They are also very family and faith oriented.  However, Rhoda's gifts are not entirely made clear except that they are leadings from the Holy Spirit.  
The reader keeps wondering which brother Rhoda will end up marrying? Jacob and Samuel both have great character and are hard workers.  
It seems that this was a trip for the younger set as no grandparents are mentioned, no weddings but a lot of hard work and some great food!
*This book was provided by Waterbrook/Multnomah for review*

Book Trailer 

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307730042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307730046

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Light from Distant Stars: A Novel by Shawn Smucker

Book Description:  When Cohen Marah steps over his father's body in the basement embalming room of the family's funeral home, he has no idea that he is stepping into a labyrinth of memory. As the last one to see his father, Cohen is the primary suspect.
Over the next week, Cohen's childhood memories come back in living color. The dramatic events that led to his father being asked to leave his pastoral position. The game of baseball that somehow kept them together. And the two children in the forest who became his friends--and enlisted him in a dark and dangerous undertaking. As the lines blur between what was real and what was imaginary, Cohen is faced with the question he's been avoiding: Did he kill his father?

My Thoughts:  There are times when I begin reading a book and wonder, "What am I missing?"  This is such book.
I just could not understand what the author was saying in this story.  I was lost from page one.
Now if you're the type of reader who enjoys dystopia or "christian" science fiction, well, you may enjoy this read.
The story centers around the father of Cohen Marah.  Actually the story seems to be about the father...but, then again, I'm clueless about the story.  Just didn't get what was going on.
The author knows how to write, it is the story itself that I had trouble with.  Yes, I get that there was child abuse and the man wanted to let go of the ugly things.  However, the story part just never got to me.

*This book was provided for review by Revell*

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (July 16, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800728513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800728519

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Butterfly and the Violin (A Hidden Masterpiece Novel, Book 1) by Kristy Cambron

Book Description:  A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz—and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.
Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl—a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.
My Thoughts:  Two plot lines, present day and World War II (historical), the author, Kristy Cambron, does an excellent job of writing two different perspectives at one time. The faith of two women is amazing.{not an easy feat}
The story of two women, Sera and Adele, who have been betrayed by those they love.  
World War II  . . . tangles and untangles in lives that are connected by  a painting.  A painting that seems to have a story all of out's own.  
Secrets abound but what is the secret of the painting that seems to bring so much pain?  
World War II stories are some of my favorite reads AND this is an amazing story!  However, I was more fascinated with and more engaged with Adele's story.  Adele risks everything as she begins to smuggle Jews out of Vienna.  Sera's story is more modern day and she is trying to find the "mystery" of the painting.
This is a  great read for history buffs and those who enjoy reading about World War II.

  • Series: A Hidden Masterpiece Novel (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401690599
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401690595

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Hawaiian Quilt by Wanda E. Brunstetter & Jean Brunstetter

My Thoughts: I love books authored by Wanda Brunstetter! And now her daughter-in-law, Jean, co-authors this wonderful novel, the Hawaiian Quilt.
This is not your "regular" Amish story.  In this lovely story about four Amish friends  who take a cruise to the Hawaiian Islands.  
The cruise is nice but the beds not.so.much to the four friends disappointment.  Love the real descriptions of the ship and the "funny.to.me" reason Mandy and her three friends decide to take a cruise because their Amish parents wouldn't approve of flying in an airplane.  
When Mandy and her friends decide to split up in to two groups of two to see more Hawaii and then share their experiences later at supper, Mandy loses her phone and this incident causes she and Ellen to miss the ship.
I love the Hawaiian Christian couple, Luana and Mikaio,  who take them in at the bed and breakfast and whose Hawaiian quilts fascinate Mandy.  
This is not your "regular" Amish read!  It's about stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing life and God's people.
Loved, loved this fantabulous read!  
Make sure to buy a copy for that Amish reader on your Christmas list!  

            *This book was provided for review by Barbour Publishing and the author*

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (September 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1634092244
  • ISBN-13: 978-1634092241

Bitter Pill by Richard L. Mabry MD


My Thoughts:  This is Dr. Maybry's newest story.  It's actually a novella.  It may be a short story but it's one of the best that I've read in a long time.
I never cry when reading a story but I surprised myself and found that tears were running down my face as I read this story.  Not that it's a sad story, it's a story of people in a small community surrounded by a much bigger life picture than any of them ever expected.
This story is about life...the good, the bad and the ugly.  And how it affects all of us.  
It's interesting how all our lives are interconnected and, yet, until something like an unexpected miracle happens we find ourselves seeking the One who created it all.
This short story packs quite a wallop!  
I loved this story!

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (May 28, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1092486941

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

I found this delightful yummy lemon cookie on allrecipes.com
Lemon cookies are a summertime treat!
1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for
1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2.Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, and lemon extract until well blended. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into a bowl of confectioners' sugar. Roll them around until they're lightly covered. Once sugared, put them on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3.Bake for 6 to 9 minutes in the preheated oven. The bottoms will be light brown, and the insides chewy.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

{Revell Reads Blog Tour} Yours Truly, Thomas Blog Tour Team by Rachel Fordham

Book Description:  For three years, Penny Ercanbeck has been opening other people's mail. Dead ends are a reality for clerks at the Dead Letter Office. Still she dreams of something more--a bit of intrigue, a taste of romance, or at least a touch less loneliness. When a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love falls into her hands, Penny seizes this chance to do something heroic. It becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.
Thomas left his former life with no intention of ending up in Azure Springs, Iowa. He certainly didn't expect a happy ending after what he had done. All he wanted to do was run and never look back. In a moment of desperation, he began to write, never really expecting a reply.
When Penny's undertaking leads her to the intriguing man who touched her soul with his words, everything grows more complicated. She wants to find the rightful owner of the letter and yet she finds herself caring--perhaps too much--for the one who wrote it.

My Thoughts:  I have become so enthralled with dead letters.  What happened, where is the person who expected the letter to go through, and is there a mystery or an ending?
But best of all Penny's job is to open other people's mail.  Ahh many a dream come true!
This book/story did not disappoint. I loved the story of Penny and Thomas.
Penny is one of those women who is looking for a little excitement or mystery so when a dead letter comes across her desk and she opens a letter from Thomas.
Thomas has sort.of given up on life.  But, wait!  there's more.  Penny feels that the recipient of this letter needs to read this letter because Thomas pours his heart out on paper and writes a letter that explains his heart brokenness and it ends up in the dead letter office!
Penny feels that this could be her mission to right something.  She goes in search of the correct recipient of the letter and while on this mission she finds that she is falling for the writer of the letter.
Such a wonderful, well written story.  I loved it!  And think you will too.

*This book was provided for review by Revell Reads*

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (July 2, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800735382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800735388

The Hope of Spring {Discovery Series #3} by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Book Description:  Join Meredith and Luke Stoltzfus, an Amish couple who are faced with the greatest challenge of their young lives. The Hope of Spring is part three of Wanda E. Brunsetter s The Discovery--A Lancaster County Saga.

My Thoughts: Now for book 3, The Hope of Spring.  I've been reading this saga as soon as it hits the shelf.  I'm so curious what is happening in Luke and Meredith's lives. 
Now, Meredith is struggling and quite pregnant.  She has "kind of" come to grips with Luke's death and there is a neighbor who has helped her, especially when he found her and rushed her to the doctor so she wouldn't  lose the baby.  Is another romance possible?
More of Luke's "escapade" comes to light.  Everything seems "impossible" right now.  Luke is in a hospital trying to recover and remember.  Meredith is quite pregnant and doesn't want to lose the baby.
Her family and neighbors are trying to be helpful but she really longs for Luke!
Of course, each book ends with quite a cliff hanger and I just want to read the next book NOW {smile}
Great saga, keeps the reader wanting to read more!

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Barbour Books 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1620291444
  • ISBN-13: 978-1620291443

Monday, July 8, 2019

Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

Book Description:  When Meg Cole’s father dies unexpectedly, she becomes the majority shareholder of his oil company and the single inheritor of his fortune. Though Meg is soft-spoken and tenderhearted–more interested in art than in oil–she’s forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of her father’s empire.
The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father’s thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down. Bo’s determined to resent the woman who’s decided to rob him of his dream. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them–her wealth, his unworthiness, her family’s outrage–and earn the right to love her.But just when Meg begins to realize that Bo might be the one thing on the ranch worth keeping, their fragile bond is viciously broken by a force from Meg’s past. Can their love–and their belief that God can work through every circumstance–survive?

My Thoughts:  Meg is a millionaire heiress and just wants to get back to her humble apartment.  She isn't interested in all that money!  
And Bo. Well, he's just a plain good cowboy.  He wants  to be angry at Meg but, well, he just can't help like her and protect her.
Bo has a dream and Meg could very well take that dream away.  But as they draw closer together and get to know one another . . . it seems that they're both more alike than they thought.
Family issues . . . her family is outraged about Bo, a lowly commoner, would be with an heiress.  
Meg has "something" from her past that may break the camel's back.  Can love withstand this "something?"
If you love horses and all things Texas and cowboys/cowgirls then this is the book for you!
A great  fun, christian, contemporary romance.  As in no sickly love scenes just plain ole' good romance that makes one feel those sweet tingles!
*This book was provided for review by Bethany House*

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764209752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764209758

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

Summer times is HERE!  And what to do? 
Well, I found this picture on Pinterst and the cookie cutter at Hobby Lobby. 

We made a basic sugar cookie recipe, added sprinkles to the dough and made puzzle pieces.  It was SO much fun and we had fun trying to make a puzzle that actually fit together...after we sampled the cookies. {smile}

I like Martha Stewart's cookie dough:  Martha Stewart's sugar cookie dough


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson

Book Description:  There’s nothing quite like family—for good or bad. But in a world where we sometimes know more about the Kardashians than we do the people sleeping right down the hall, it’s easy to forget that walking through life with our family offers all sorts of joy wrapped up in the seemingly mundane. There’s even a little bit of sacred sitting smack-dab in the middle of the ordinary. And since time’s-a-wastin’, we need to be careful that we don’t take our people—and their stories—for granted. Whether it’s a marathon bacon-frying session, a road trip gone hysterically wrong, or a mother-in-law who makes every trip to the grocery store an adventure, author Sophie Hudson reminds us how important it is to slow down and treasure the day-to-day encounters with the people we love the most.

Written in the same witty style as Sophie’s BooMama blog, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweetis a cheerful, funny, and tender account of Sophie’s very Southern family. It’s a look into the real lives of real people—and a real, loving God right in the middle of it all.

My Thoughts:  With all of the reality shows on TV, I wonder if people forget that the family God gave them are the "real" people we need to be with!??!
I love the title of this book because that's exactly how a family unit can be classified  . . . a little Salty with the Sweet by  Sophie Hudson is a timely reminder that we need not take for granted the family that God has given us. Family, that group of people that we have so much in common with, those peoples who are there for us through thick and thin.   The ones we fight with (salty) and have fun with (sweet) and make memories with. Our family is the one we make "our story" with . . . they are the ones who know us best.
Remember that one (or maybe more than one) vacation that went terribly wrong.  You know the one, where the rear axle on your family car kept coming off as you made your way home from Grandma's house and your dad kept stopping every couple of miles to fix it.  But in the end we had to get a hotel room and didn't go to church that Sunday because dad was fixing the axel?  We ate doughnuts for breakfast and read Good Housekeeping!  See, if you have a memory like that you probably have a family that has many memories.  Keep those memories and write them down.
Great book!  And a great gift, too!  I'm thinking that this will make a 
great grandparents day gift...or a great gift for that baby shower in July!

*Tyndale Publishing*

List Price:
Trim Size:
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Peril in the Palace {Imagination Station #3} Adventures In Odyssey by Marianne Hering & Paul McCusker

Book Description:  The place? China in 1271. The quest? The golden tablet of Kublai Khan. The problem? Just about everything! 
The Imagination Station adventures continue as cousins Patrick and Beth are kidnapped by Mongol warriors. Only the friendship of fellow traveler Marco Polo saves them from harm. They are brought to the Mongol palace, where the Kublai Khan dislikes both their gifts and their message about Christianity. The tension grows when the Mongol magicians challenge the cousins to a spiritual power showdown. As war breaks out, Beth and Patrick are locked in a secret room to prevent their escape. 
How do the cousins get the golden tablet they need to save Mr. Whittaker’s friend Albert? How do they escape the city and find the Imagination Station? Enter the perilous palace and find out!

My Review:  Having read books 1 & 2, we (my son and I) were excited to continue the adventure with Patrick and Beth in book 3, Peril in the Palace.
In book 2 Patrick and Beth, who are cousins, are trying to help Albert a friend of Mr. Whittakers.

So, now in the adventure of book 3, the cousins need to meet Kublai Khan and find the golden tablet.  They are ready to go to China.  Beginning their adventure in China the cousins are captured Mongol Warriors who believe they are evil because they "appeared out of no where".... and the adventure continues!  Oh, and the cousins meet Marco Polo (before he became famous, of course)! 
I love this series because the books are geared for children....with christian values, adventure and tidbits of history these books are outstanding for the young reader (ages 7 and older).
This book plus the other two make for great summer reading and are wonderful for children of all ages!  If you love the Adventures In Odyssey Series then you'll love this book series!  Also, the last two pages of the book, pages 118/119, there is a secret word puzzle that helps the child to understand what s/he has read and then simply follow the instructions and the reader can look up the answer.

Remember, as the back of the book says, "The key to adventure lies within your imagination!"  

Buy books HERE!

About the Authors:
Marianne has written for children since 1987 when she joined the editorial staff of Focus on the Family Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines. In the 1990s she wrote six children's mystery books and more than 40 Bible phonic readers (with co-author Margaret Wilber) for Cook Communications. Now a general book editor for Focus on the Family, she has turned her passion for children's fiction into developing a series for beginning readers who love adventure.

Paul was given his first typewriter early in his childhood and hasn't stopped writing since. Since 

joining the Focus on the Family staff in 1988, Paul has written over 300 half-hour episodes for the Adventures in Odyssey audio series, 18 tie-in novels and two screenplays for the animated series.
His grown-up novels include The Mill House and Epiphany (nominated for a ECPA Gold Medallion 

Award) two medical thrillers co-written with Dr. Walt Larimore called TSI: The Gabon Virus and TSI: The Influenza Bomb.
Paul and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Colorado Springs with their two children.