Wednesday, May 26, 2021

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

 This is an easy recipe.  
Either follow the picture or substitute your favorite veggies and meat.

Monday, May 24, 2021

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.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

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.

  • Series: True Colors
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Barbour Books 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1643520458
  • ISBN-13: 978-1643520452

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Fun Friday


Bridge of Gold (Volume 3) (Doors to the Past) by Kimberley Woodhouse

 Book Description:  Underwater archaeologist Kayla Richardson is called to the Golden Gate Bridge where repairs to one of the towers uncovers two human remains from the late 1800s and the 1930s. The head of the bridge restoration is Steven Michaels, who dives with Kayla, and a friendship develops between them. But as the investigation heats up and gold is found that dates back to the gold rush, more complications come into play that threaten them both. Could clues leading to a Gold Rush era mystery that was first discovered during the building of the bridge still ignite an obsession worth killing for?

My Thoughts:  A new to me author and an exciting story.  
I love learning about new jobs.  Bridge restoration!  Wow!
Kayla Richardson may be a woman but she knows her stuff.  And that stuff is all about bridges because the is an underwater archeologist!  And underwater archeologist is someone who learns and knows all about operating such technologically sophisticated equipment as remote sensing devices, underwater archaeologists are often responsible for such duties as: Handling, analyzing, and recording waterlogged remains. Conducting research using ship logs and manifests, explorers' accounts, and legal records.  this fascinated me.  and made for such great back drop for this story.
But wait!  there's a mystery involved when Kayla and the head of the bridge restoration Steven are dealt with the finding of two very water logged skeletons.  This is the master...who and how did these skeletons ge t down in the water?
A fantabulous story full of interesting data and what mystery! 
Loved it!

*This book was provided for review by Barbour Publishing*

  • Publisher : Barbour Books (June 1, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 256 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1643529579
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1643529578

Monday, May 17, 2021

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. ๐Ÿ˜Š  
This is a great sequel.  Makes a wonderful gift too.

Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1683224477
  • ISBN-13: 978-1683224471

The Return to the Big Valley by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter, Richelle Brunstetter

 Book Description:  Journey back to an area of Pennsylvania that is home to three distinct Amish communities and meet three young women who face heartfelt disappointments in romance.

My Thoughts:  Three short stories in one book all penned by the Brunstetter women.
Wilma’s Wish by Wanda E. Brunstetter:  The wise old heart and five young children.  Such a humorous story full of laughter and children.  Five boys!  What can five boys do to help love along?  Such a great story.

Martha’s Miracle by Jean Brunstetter:  Martha is not your average Amish young woman.  She loves to fish and hunt not cook, sew and bake.  Can a man understand Martha's feelings for nature?  Then she meets Glen.  Glen is great and a fireman to boot but Glen wants to leave the Amish faith.  Is this romance headed for disaster or can Martha see how Glen feels.  An interesting take on the Amish life.

Alma’s Acceptance by Richelle Brunstetter:  This was the saddest of all the stories to me.  I felt deeply for Alma as a widow and needing acceptance.  Sometimes people no matter the religion can be so cruel in their disdain for what they don't know or see.  Elias Krutz doesn't see their romance as a problems and then Alma receives some news that changes her thoughts.  A lovely if somewhat sad story.  But remember sad doesn't mean bad just emotional.

*This book was provided for review by Barbour Publishing*

  • Publisher : Barbour Fiction (June 1, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 448 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1643528718
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1643528717

Never Miss by Melissa Koslin


Book Description:  Former CIA sniper Kadance Tolle possesses a special set of skills and a rare pedigree. She comes from a family of assassins, and by saving Lyndon Vaile's life she risks being found by them. Despite the danger, Kadance feels compelled to help Lyndon discover who is after him--and his research that seems to prove that the Ebola virus was manmade and is about to be weaponized.

With shadowy figures pursuing them and a Mastermind watching their every move, Kadance and Lyndon must scramble to stop an impending bioattack at the State of the Union address. But their warnings fall on deaf ears, and it becomes increasingly clear that there's no one they can trust--except perhaps each other.

My Thoughts:  What a read!  What an adventure!  What a team!  This story takes off with a bang and doesn't let the reader a catch her breath until she sets the book down.  Love it!

This is almost like out of today's news.  There's a manmade virus and it's going to wipe out man kind.  However, Kadance and Lyndon decide it won't kill anyone on their watch.  This virus is Ebola and seems to be deadly.  Why would anyone make such a virus and why won't the powers to be listen to them?  It makes for  great suspense.

The chase and adventure begin.  Kandace and Lyndon find that they have have shadows wherever they go.  They must race not for themselves but for all mankind.

The intrigue seems to job off the pages.  Just when the reader thinks she knows whodunit  the virus changes.  Running, running to catch up with the never-ending ticking clock.

I enjoyed the banter between Kadance and Lyndon.  They are a team but, yet, they think differently.  Not a bad thing when a serious job needs to be finished.

A wonderful story by a new author.

*This book was provided for review by Revell*

  • Publisher : Revell (May 4, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 080073839X
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0800738396

Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Inn at Ocean's Edge (Shadow Bay) by Colleen Coble


Book Description:  Claire’s visit to a luxury hotel in Maine awakens repressed memories, threatening all she holds dear.
In 1989, Claire Dellamare disappeared from her own fourth birthday party at the Hotel Tourmaline on the island of Folly Shoals, Maine. She showed up a year later at the same hotel, with a note pinned to her dress but no explanation. Nobody knows where Claire spent that year—and until now, Claire didn’t even know she had ever been missing.
But when Claire returns to the Hotel Tourmaline for a business meeting with her CEO father, disturbing memories begin to surface . . . despite her parents’ best efforts to keep them forgotten.
Luke Rocco lost his mother under equally mysterious circumstances—at the same time Claire disappeared. After a chance encounter reveals the unlikely link between them, Claire and Luke set out together to uncover the truth about what happened that fateful year.
With flashbacks swimming just beneath her consciousness and a murderer threatening her safety, Claire’s very life depends on unscrambling her past . . . even if her family refuses to acknowledge it. Someone—maybe everyone—is hiding something from Claire Dellamare, and it will cost her everything to drag the truth out into the light.

My Thoughts:  I was drawn to the cover of this book.  I love the landscape and the picture goes so well with the title.  I can just "see" a mystery lurking at the doorstep of this read!  
And, lo and behold, there is a mystery! Quite a suspenseful mystery, too!
This is an interesting story that leaves the reader on pins and needles. 
It seems that when Claire goes to the luxury motel, Hotel Tourmaline , she has repressed memories.  And these memories keep the local sheriff wondering what!
Claire also witnesses an employee of the hotel being murdered. But when she awakens there is no body! Absolutely nothing!
And 25 years ago Luke's mother went missing.  It seems that Claire and Luke's mother are somehow "bound" together in this haunting mystery.
Secrets, Secrets abound everywhere!  But with Luke's help maybe Claire will be able to unravel this quite disturbing "memory."
Colleen Coble has outdone herself in this fantastic read! 
If you enjoy romantic suspense then this is the book for you!
This is also the first book in the Shadow Bay series.  

  • Series: Shadow Bay (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401690262
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401690267

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}


Sometimes I just need something chocolate! 
 And this is one of the best chocolate muffin recipes I found on Pinterest!
*of course, I didn't have some of the ingredients so changed it up a bit =)

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed (No coconut oil so used canola =)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (I just used regular flour, turned out fine)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate ( I didn't have dark chocolate so used chocolate chips =)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray a muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine juice, oil, and brown sugar. Blend on medium-low until mixture is well-combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and cinnamon.
  4. Add flour mixture to oil mixture and blend on low to combine. Scrape down bowl and blend again until moistened. Stir in chocolate.
  5. Divide batter into muffin cups and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched.
  6. Place the muffin pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Invert muffins onto the wire rack to continue cooling or serve them ooey gooey warm

Monday, May 10, 2021

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.

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310452066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310452065

Sunday, May 9, 2021

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! 

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

Friday, May 7, 2021

{Blog Tour} Right Cross (Shepherd Suspense) by Andrew Huff

Book Description:  First he left the CIA. Then he left pastoral ministry. Now John Cross has been imprisoned in one of Great Britain's most infamous prisons. Has he reached the end of his rope? Or is this another move in a dangerous spy game?

Christine Lewis, United News Network's rising star television anchor, is determined to find out. But in her pursuit of answers, Christine finds herself at the center of a cyberterrorist plot to alter the balance of power in the world. From the English coastline to the Rocky Mountains, John must partner with the CIA and MI6 in a race against the clock to stop the threat of nuclear war and save the lives of everyone he holds dear.

My Thoughts:   A new to me author and as I read this story I didn't realize until I was finished that it's the last book in a trilogy so, it's safe to say, that this books don't need to be read in order.

This is a powerful read.  An amazing story of John Cross an ex pastor who is also an an ex spy with the CIA.

I found it interesting that the main character's name is John Cross (name for the to speak out apostle, John. And then his last name is Cross...he follow the Christ.

Then there is Christine Lewis.  She and John make great partners in this race against crime.

A one of a kind read!  Sure to make you think and put your armchair spy moves to good use.

*This book was provided for review by Kregel Publications*

Monday, May 3, 2021

Hadley Beckett's Next Dish: A Novel by Bethany Turner


Book Description: Celebrity chef Maxwell Cavanagh is known for many things: his multiple Michelin stars, his top-rated Culinary Channel show To the Max, and most of all his horrible temper. Hadley Beckett, host of the Culinary Channel's other top-rated show, At Home with Hadley, is beloved for her Southern charm and for making her viewers feel like family.
When Max experiences a very public temper tantrum, he's sent packing to get his life in order. When he returns, career in shambles, his only chance to get back on TV and in the public's good graces is to work alongside Hadley.
As these polar-opposite celeb chefs begin to peel away the layers of public persona and reputation, they will not only discover the key ingredients for getting along, but also learn the secret recipe for unexpected forgiveness . . . and maybe even love. In the meantime, hide the knives.

My Thoughts:  A new book and a new to me author.  It's like Christmas!
This is such a fun foodie read with all the cooking of delicious dishes and all the temper tantrums, er, happy cooking times๐Ÿ˜Š makes this read down to earth real.
Hadley must have the heart of a saint to deal with the very grumpy, not so nice Maxwell.  
You know what happens to grumpy, not so nice people they end up losing their nice jobs.  And just like that Max is out and Hadley is in.  
Hadley brings a whole new southern charm that the people love.  
Poor Max has to eat crow and see if he can get his job back.  And this is where alot of the fun and humor begin.  So Hadley ends up working with Max again.  But this time Hadley is in charge.
This humorous, all about food and life, read makes for a fun afternoon in the sun.
I loved this story and think you will too.

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell; 4/2 edition 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800735234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800735234