Tuesday, March 31, 2020

An Amish Market by An Amish Market: Four Novellas by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, Vannetta Chapman

Book Description:  
All the color and variety of a quaint Amish shop in a charming collection of novellas by four of your favorite authors. Feel free to come in and browse!
Love Birds by Amy Clipston
While Ellie Lapp and her mother are still mourning the loss of her brother, Seth, Ellie starts working at one of the gift shops in town. Seth’s friend Lloyd is talented at carving wooden birds, but his father disapproves and expects him to take over the family farm someday. Ellie sees the beauty in Lloyd’s creations and insists Lloyd sell the birds in the gift shop where she works. As Ellie and Lloyd spend more time together, they begin to develop feelings for one another, but she accidentally betrays his trust. Will she lose any hope of a future with him?
A Bid for Love by Kathleen Fuller
Every week, Hannah Lynne brings her home-churned butter to the local market. And every week Ezra stops by to purchase some. Hannah Lynne knows not to read too much into it—Ezra is a confirmed bachelor and barely even glances her way, despite any hope to the contrary. But when Ezra bids an exorbitant amount to win the quilt she had her heart set on, Hannah Lynne can’t stop her heart from taking over her mind. Could Ezra finally be in the market for love?
Sweeter Than Honey by Kelly Irvin
Shattering a jar of pickled beets wasn’t the impression Isabella hoped to make on her first trip to the local Combination Store of Bee County, Texas. But as embarrassed as she was by the accident, she didn’t think it warranted the frosty reaction from the handsome manager of the store, Will Glick. As she soon learns, though, Will’s heart has been broken one too many times. And now, for some reason, Isabella finds herself determined to be the one to repair that broken heart and renew his faith in love.
Love in Store by Vannetta Chapman
Stella Schrock works at the Old Mill in Nappanee, Indiana, with new employee David Stoltzfus, a recent widower. When strange happenings begin occurring around town, it appears as if someone wants to close the mill. Stella and David have to work together to solve the mystery of what is happening at the Old Amish Mill, and in the process they might just find that God has more in store for their future than they would ever have dreamed possible
My Thoughts:  It's so nice to receive a book that has four novellas.  Sometimes, a reader just wants a short, light read instead of the whole novel.  And this book An Amish Market is all that.

Love Birds by Amy Clipston is the first story.  Ellie and Lloyd have trials but persevere through enduring love.  A sweet romantic story.

A Bid for Love by Kathleen Fuller is a fun story.  It seems that Ezra needs a "light" to go on to see his love for Hannah.  Hannah and Ezra are the sweetest, awkward souls that make a couple.

Sweeter Than Honey by Kelly Irvin is all about Bee County.  This Will's story. It is fun to read how Isabella helps Will adjust and overcome resentments from his past.

Love in Store by Vannetta Chapman is about an "older" couple, David and Stella, as they navigate around a mystery in their workplace.  Stella is not a likable character but Mrs. Chapman does an excellent job of showing the bitterness behind Stella's facade.

Four wonderful stories from four of my favorite authors. 
Any reader who enjoys Amish fiction and short stories will love this book!  

Makes a great gift, too!

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0529118688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0529118684

Monday, March 30, 2020

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Carol Wallace

Book Description:  As one of the bestselling stories of all time, Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ has captivated and enthralled millions around the world―both in print and on the big screen. Now Lew’s great-great-granddaughter has taken the old-fashioned prose of this classic novel and breathed new life into it for today’s audience.

 Ben-Hur, a major motion picture from MGM and Paramount studios, the story follows Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman whose childhood friend Messala betrays him. Accused of trying to murder the new Roman governor in Jerusalem, Judah is sentenced to the galley ships and vows to seek revenge against the Romans and Messala. But a chance encounter with a carpenter from Nazareth sets Judah on a different path.

My Thoughts:  The story of Judah Ben Hur is a classic. It's a wonderful telling of the time of Christ.  Judah Ben Hur has a best friend, Messala.  But as the story goes along and the two boys grow up it seems that Messala does not like Judah Ben Hur like he should; intact, he betrays his friend and Judah Ben Hur ends up serving time on a galley ship as a slave.  This ship is terrible!  Then there's a storm and Judah Ben Hur's life changes.
Back at home Judah Ben Hur seeks his mother and sister but cannot find them.
Then one day a Judah Ben Hur learns that the Christ is in town.
Without giving any spoilers I just want to relay that this is one of the BEST books/stories ever!  And there is one place in the book as Jesus is dying on the cross that I always cry.  (*Hint* It has to do with Judah Ben Hur's sister and mother).
Loved, loved this story!  Don't miss it!

  • Hardcover: 425 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Revised ed. 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496411056
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496411051

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

WOW! {Warm Oven Wednesday}

I saw this recipe for Miranda Lambert's meatloaf ( actually I believe that her mom, Bev, makes it but it's the family fav!)in a magazine.  
We are not fans of meatloaf
but I wanted something different for supper.
  WOW!  It's great!
Miranda's Meatloaf Recipe

 2 lbs. ground beef

1 lb. ground breakfast sausage (mild or regular)
1/2 sleeve of finely crushed saltines or Ritz crackers
2 eggs
1 dash of Worcestershire
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. ketchup
1/2 c. finely chopped bell pepper
1/2 finely chopped onion

Mix all the above ingredients together ( use two hands for better mixing).
Put into a baking dish (casserole or loaf style).
Bake at 350° for 1 hour. 

Prepare topping while baking.
 Topping: Blend together 1 c. ketchup and 1/4 c. brown sugar.
 After baking, pour grease off of loaf. Spread topping over meat generously. (If using a large pan you may need extra...follow above measurements).

Place pan back in the oven for 15 minutes to bake. 
Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
Happy Eating!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Sins of the Past: A Romantic Suspense Novella Collection by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason

Book Description:  In Dee Henderson's "Missing," a Wyoming sheriff is called to Chicago when his elderly mother goes missing. Paired with a savvy Chicago cop, the two realize her disappearance is no accident, and a race against the clock begins. 

Dani Pettrey returns to Alaska with "Shadowed," introducing readers to the parents of her beloved McKenna clan. Adventure, romance, and danger collide when a young fisherman nets the body of an open-water swimming competitor who may actually be a possible Russian defector. 

Lynette Eason's "Blackout" delivers the story of a woman once implicated in a robbery gone wrong. The loot has never been found--but her memory of that night has always been unreliable. Can she remember enough to find her way to safety when the true culprit comes after her?

My Thoughts:  Three novellas by three of my favorite romantic suspense authors!  

Every once in awhile reading short stories with a big kick of suspense is a wonderful treat!
Missing by Dee Henderson is the first short story in Sins of the Past.  The chief of police, John is headed back to Chicago because his mother has gone missing.  John meets Sharon Noble who is heading up the case and together they must solve the why and the how of who may have taken John's mom. I love stories by Dee Henderson and this is an excellent story!  Loved, loved it!
The second short story is Shadowed by Dani Pettrey.  Before the McKenna’s in the Alaskan Courage series their parents Ben and Libby were involved in a murder mystery in the 70’s.  This is an interesting story since I've read all about the McKenna family but have never read the story of how their parents solved a mystery and fell in love.
And then thirdly, Lynette Eason pens Blackout.  This story is about Macey and her nightmare which all happened when she was 17 years old.  But now Macey is older and she needs to talk with Chad about what has happened in her past.  
All of the short stories had grandtastic suspense!  
Loved this three novellas!

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; Reprint edition 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764217976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764217975

Monday, March 23, 2020

That's Not Hay in My Hair by Juliette Turner

Book Description:  New York City life had crammed sidewalks, gasoline-filled puddles, and angry taxi drivers, but Juliette enjoyed the towering sky-scrapers, the half-block walk to school, and the restaurant smells wafting into her bedroom. She had never cared for a horse, let alone a long-horn, when her mother announced their imminent move to a 300 acre ranch in Texas, where they would be caring for three horses, five dogs, twenty-five longhorns, and a cat … all by themselves.
Juliette couldn’t help feeling excited, even though she’d have to climb a hill to get a bar of cell-phone service. Soon she was running from bats and snakes, rescuing a calf from a twenty-foot ditch, medicating ponies, and having adventures so crazy it’s hard to believe they’re for real—but it all happened exactly how it’s written.
My Thoughts:   Every once in awhile, as an adult, I like to read a young adult (youth) book.  Why?  To get a different perspective on life and to read something that is "lighter" than my normal readings.
I must admit that this story took me off guard and had me laughing out loud....seriously LOL!    
When I was a young child I was enthralled when I got to watch Green Acres reruns. The TV show where the lady is a city slicker and knows absolutely nothing about farm life and the man of the house is the farmer.  And because the lady of the house is from the city she makes all of these very funny mistakes in country living.  Well, Juliette and her mom move from the city, New York, to a Texas ranch and watch out long horns. 
The escapades are hilarious especially when someone knows absolutely nothing about ranching.  
I loved this seriously funny story!  And it's a great read for tweens as well as teens.
  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310732441
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310732440

Friday, March 20, 2020

When God Says Go: A Devotional Thought Journal By: Elizabeth Laing Thompson

Book Description:  Go.

One small word. . .so much power.
When God says, "Go," faith says yes, but fear says no.

But Lord, I’m too weak. . .too sinful. . .too afraid. . .
But the truth? . . .

 When God says, "Go," it’s not about you—it’s about Him. 
When God says, "Go," you face a choice: Sit back and stay safe, or swallow hard and step up?
When God says, "Go," your time has come. 

Maybe it’s time to go somewhere new, someplace you've never been. Maybe it’s time to go deeper—in Bible study or relationships. Time to go higher—in prayer or dreams. Time to go and give in new ways, to use God-gifted talents and opportunities. Or time to go and grow, right where you are. 

My Thoughts:  I love journals, especially devotional journals.  Why?  Because I have something to read and think on and then I can jot down my thoughts.
Who would have ever thought that we, the United States people. would be going through a quarantine of sorts with the dreaded COVID19?! 
Well, not me!  So this devotional showed up in my mailbox at the right time.
I hope through all of this virus I can become a better person.
More kind, more thoughtful, and more God-like.
This devotional has small devotionals and then a lot of space to write one's thoughts and feelings.  This is something that is therapeutic for me, right now.
The "go" in this devotional is not a verb to actually stand up and move...it's more of a "linking verb."  We are told to go and become, go and do something for others.  Such and interesting thought.
What a wonderful devotional/journal!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under not obligation to post a review*

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Shiloh Run Press
Publication Date: 2020

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

WOW! {Warm Oven Wednesday}

Making this delicious and easy Soapapilla Cheesecake for our Easter lunch! 

Sopapilla Cheesecake
2 cans Pillsbury Crescent rolls
2-8oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 stick butter (1/2 cup real butter not margarine)
Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Unroll and press 1 can crescent rolls into the bottom of your baking dish press the seams together. In a separate bowl blend the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla  spread over top of dough. Unroll the second can of crescent rolls and place on top of the cream cheese mixture pressing seams together again. Melt butter and pour over top layer of crescents. Mix the reaming 1/2 cup of sugar & cinnamon together. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture generously over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly and bottom crust is slightly brown. So easy and delicious! Cool, slice and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Mama Kisses, Papa Hugs by Lisa Bergen

Book Description:  Parents are always looking out for the perfect bedtime book to create a sense of well-being before a night of rest. Mama Kisses, Papa Hugs explores a child's curiosity about how love is shown between parent and child, with the reassurance that Mama and Papa will always love their little one.

My Thoughts:  When I saw this book I thought of our twins.  They love a goodnight story. And when I read this story to them they loved it.  
This is quite a colorful book.  Illustarted by Alelsander Zolotie the colors and pictures practically jump off the page.  
The story is cute. A little boy has before bedtime short adventures as his mom tells him a story and his dad later comes in to give him a goodnight hug.
We liked it because it included both the mom and dad.  
A sweet story for little ones. 

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (March 24, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525654097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525654094

Monday, March 16, 2020

Dressed for Death (A Drew Farthering Mystery) by Julianna Deering

Book Description:  Drew and Madeline Farthering celebrate their six-month anniversary by attending a fancy Regency era costume party. Drew is glad to see Talbot Cummins, an Oxford classmate, and his fiancée, Alice Henley, though many present seem worried about the couple. Everyone's concerns are realized when, at the concluding grand ball, Alice dies of an overdose of cocaine. Tal refuses to believe she took the stuff intentionally, and Drew is determined to find out if her death was an accident or murder.

Drew is shocked and disillusioned when the police arrest Tal's father and reveal that the man has been smuggling drugs into the country for the past twenty years. Reeling from the death of his fiancée and the revelation about his father, Tal begs Drew to find out what's going on. Drew, now questioning his own ability to see people as they really are, does so reluctantly, not ready for the secrets he's about to uncover--or the danger he'll bring down on everyone he holds dear.

My Thoughts: Yay!  Another Drew Fathering Mystery!  After reading each of the Drew Fathering mysteries I have found that although each book is a stand alone story it is a wise reader who reads these Drew Farthing mysteries in order.  

In this story Drew and Madeline are married and celebrating six months by attending a Regency era costume party.  Oh, What a party this turns out to be!

At the party Drew sees an Oxford college classmate, Talbot (Tal) Cummins and his fiancee, Alice Henley.  
As the party comes to the grand ball Alice keels over, she dies.  Evidence points out that Alice took cocaine.  This is where the mystery begins for Drew.  Tal's dad is arrested for drug trafficking.  Tal is in shock about the whole picture...his dead fiancee and a dad who is into drugs.  Tal begs Drew to investigate.
As Drew begins to investigate secret up on secret is revealed.  Funny how truth brings secrets to light.
All of the Drew Farthering mysteries are wonderful!  But this British cozy mystery is one of Juliana Deering's best!  What a read!

*This book was provided for review by Bethany House*

The other Drew Farthing mysteries:

  • Series: A Drew Farthering Mystery
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076421411X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764214110

Friday, March 13, 2020

The Happy Camper by Melody Carlson

Book Description:  Home is the place to heal, right? At least, that's what Dillon Michaels is hoping as she leaves her disappointing career and nonstarter love life behind to help her grieving and aging grandfather on his small Oregon farm. The only problem? Her eccentric mother beat her there and has taken over Dillon's old room. After a few nights sleeping on a sagging sofa, Dillon is ready to give up, until she receives an unlikely gift--her grandfather's run-down vintage camp trailer, which she quickly resolves to restore with the help of Jordan Atwood, the handsome owner of the local hardware store.

My Thoughts:  Every once in awhile I like a story that is off the beaten path.  Not the same ole, same ole, type of story.  And that's why I like to read stories penned by Melody Carlson.
This book cover reached and literally grabbed me.  I absolutely love the cover!
Now Dillon Michaels is at a disappointing place in her life.  So what does one do when one feels at a lost?  One goes to grandpa's house.  But unbeknownst to Dillon her mother beats her to grandpa's and takes Dillon's old room and the only guest room.  Who can sleep on a couch all the time?  No one.   So Dillon sees her grandfather's vintage, which means old, camper and decides to make it her own.
One problem...she needs help.  Jordan Atwood gladly jumps in to help Dillon and then Dillon's noncommittal boyfriend pops in with a ring and a promise....ooopsie!
Such a fun, light hearted read with tidbits of wisdom thrown in for the reader to digest.
This is one of those great for the beach or spring break reads.

*This book was provided for review by Revell Reads*

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

WOW! {Warm Oven Wednesday}

I love this salad!  Again, a great Pinterest recipe!
Recipe courtesy of Morton's Steakhouse:
Servings: 4
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


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.


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, March 10, 2020

The Princess Twins and the Tea Party (I Can Read! / Princess Twins Series) by Mona Hodgson (Author) & Julie Olson (Illustrator)

Book Description:  A lesson in humility. In this Level-One I Can Read, Princess Emma runs around the castle making sure everything is perfect for the Spring Tea. She tries to tell the baker how to make the cake. She refolds the napkins. And she shoos Puppy out of the way. When her friends arrive, she learns that only God is perfect, and the real point of the day is to enjoy her friends.
This age and reading level appropriate story teaches girls what it means to be a princess for the true King.  

My Thoughts:  

First of all, I love the I Can Read books.  Not only are these books easy for young readers to sound out and read but young readers can comprehend the story line well, too.

Secondly, the illustrations are bright and colorful and go along with the story.
Thirdly, the is just a plain fun story with a christian moral for young girls.  

This is a win-win book for any young reader!  My three year old niece loves this story!

Love this book! 

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: I Can Read! / Princess Twins Series
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310750385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310750383

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

2 pounds strawberries
2 sleeves graham crackers
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant cheesecake flavored pudding
3 cups milk
1 (12-ounce) carton Cool Whip, divided

Servings 10
Preparation time 20 mins
Cooking time 39 mins
Adapted from southyourmouth.com
Clean and slice strawberries, about 1/4-inch thick; set aside. You have to do this first because the cream cheese mixture will start to set up quickly once it’s mixed up.
Line the bottom of a 3-quart 13×9-inch baking dish with graham crackers; set aside. Mine easily fit 6 whole crackers then I had to break up the seventh one to fill in the rest.
Combine cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add pudding mixes and milk and continue mixing on low for 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken. Fold in 2 cups cool whip until smooth.
Pour half of cream cheese mixture over graham crackers. Arrange a single layer of strawberry slices over cream cheese mixture. Top strawberries with another layer of graham crackers then cover with remaining cream cheese mixture. Top cream cheese mixture with another layer of strawberries. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.
When ready to serve, If strawberries put off a little moisture after sitting in the fridge all day, soak it up with a clean paper towel before topping with cool whip and graham cracker crumbs, then top with remaining cool whip. Crush remaining graham crackers and sprinkle crumbs over cool whip.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

Book Description:  Casey knows the truth.

But it won’t set her free.
Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.
But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?
Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

My Thoughts: I've waited {im}patiently for this book.  And I promised myself that when it came I would not read it all at once but read it slowly and savor it.  Well, promises were made to be broken.  The afternoon I received this book I thought I'll just read a couple of chapters.  Ahhh!  This story is faced paced.  What a page turner!  I finished this book in the early evening!  Oh, so good!
I love the way that Terri Blackstock is not preachy but she sure puts the Word of the Lord in her reads.
Another strong point of this story is about PTSD.  I never thought about the different aspects PTSD.  Dylan's story is so very different than Casey's but, yet, they shared a good friend who died and now they both need/want answers.  This is the mystery of the story with suspense on every page.
The story as two different aspects...Casey's and Dylan's.  Casey Cox is one smart cookie. And Dylan is a weary young man trying to prove Casey is innocent.  Will they find the answers they seek?
I loved the story!  And even though "parts" of this story ended I truly hope there is book two because I need to know more!
This is a fantabulous read!

  • Series: An If I Run Novel
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310332435
  • ISBN-13: 978-031033243

Monday, March 2, 2020

Happy Birthday!

Yay for books that help early readers learn to read!