Saturday, September 30, 2017

Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Bringing Maggie Home


Friday, September 29, 2017

Soar!: Build Your Vision from the Ground Up by T.D. Jakes

Soar!: Build Your Vision from the Ground Up

My Thoughts:

"Soar" by Jakes is a book that will inspire you to stop procrastinating the things that you've been dreaming to do all your life and start seeking to do the things on your must to do list. Maybe you have a bucket list or you've been stuck in a career that feels like a dead end, don't waste another minute, get ready to pursue your dream! Soar is a book that is full of wisdom on how we often become drained emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially, but how we can't stay stuck there. God has so much more for us! We must get out and pursue His best for us!! Let's take his vision and plan for our our life and soar to new heights! I liked chapter 12 the most where Jakes talks about excuses and how we often make them, but we need to push past them by making steps. This book has lots of practical wisdom on how to take your business, dreams or career to the next step. Not only do you want to move your life forward, but you want to leave a legacy of faith. Thank you to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy. I give this book 4/5 stars. A favorable review was not required. 

About the Author:
Bishop T.D. Jakes is the author of the bestsellers God's Leading Lady; The Lady, Her Lover and Her Lord; Maximize the Moment; The Great Investment; His Lady; Woman, Thou art Loosed (the film of which won the Best Film Award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival) and He-Motions. His daily morning show The Potter's Touch and weekly broadcast The Potter's House air on Trinity Broadcasting Network and Black Entertainment Television, as well as in Europe and South America. Bishop Jakes is the founder and pastor of The Potter's House, one of the fastest-growing churches in the nation, where he leads an interracial congregation of more than 28,000 members. He lives in Dallas with his wife and five children.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Becoming Resilient: How to Move Through Suffering and Come Back Stronger by Donna Gibbs

Becoming Resilient: How to Move Through Suffering and Come Back Stronger

Everyone suffers disappointment, rejection, injustices, and losses, perhaps even traumatic ones. The spiritual pain born of such suffering can paralyze us, leaving us broken inside and barely getting by with the motions of life. Whether we remain stuck or move forward is determined in large part by our resilience.

Concise and compassionate, Becoming Resilient takes our most common question when tragedy strikes--Why?--and replaces it with the healthier, more productive question, What next? A professional Christian counselor for 20 years, author Donna Gibbs draws on her experience helping clients get unstuck, sharing secrets for building resilience that will change readers' experience of suffering. She offers practical tools and effective coping strategies to deal with whatever life throws their way so they can move through suffering--and come out stronger on the other side.

My Thoughts:
In this day and age, it seems that you can purchase so many books on suffering and self-help, or how to become more resilient as a person, but nothing in my opinion, quite touches the subject as counselor, Donna Gibbs does. I think I connected with this book so well because of my license and degree in social work. I connected with the author and the approach in which she wrote this book and the way she tells of deep pain and suffering. 
More importantly, I found how she approaches the question we all want to ask "Why?" and that rather than asking that, we should stop asking that question because it just gets us stuck there. Suffering happens and it is part of the life that happens when we follow Christ. He never promised us an easy life, but he promised that we would have a great life with him. Instead of being stuck in the why, we need to look to God and then also look for ways to cope. I just love the biblical illustrations she includes and again, her own personal stories of suffering. This is a great book and one I can't say such good enough things about! I highly recommend this book to every single Christian! I give this book 5/5 stars.

About the Author:
Donna graduated from North Carolina State University in 1993 with a BA in Psychology. She has post-graduate training in the specialization of School Psychology and an MS in Community Counseling which she earned in 1997 from Western Carolina University. She earned a Ph. D. in Christian Counseling and Psychology from Louisiana Baptist University in 2007. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, a National Certified Counselor, and a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor. She is on the professional referral networks for Focus on the Family and Crisis Care Network. She is also a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and on the professional blogging team for the AACC.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Loving My Actual Christmas: An Experiment in Relishing the Season by Alexandra Kuykendall

Loving My Actual Christmas: An Experiment in Relishing the Season

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I love how much the Christmas spirit brings out the best of people, however, it can also bring out the worst and the stress, which has happened to me. Recently, I have struggled with Christmas as have I allowed the expectations of others get the best of me. The Christmas season has become stressful to me. 
When I saw "Loving My Actual Christmas" I was very excited to get my hands on this book. I am self-aware to know that I need to de-stress things from my life and also decrease the expectations and not worry about what others think of me. I need to learn to love my Christmas and celebrate with my family. 
What is great about this book, is we read first hand the account of Alexandra's Christmas and how she learned to enjoy Christmas despite the chaos. I love how the chapters are focused on different themes such a joy, peace, hope, etc. I found her story to be extremely helpful and allowed me to think about how I will apply it to my own Christmas. I love how she discussed the elements of faith in this book, which I won't go into because I want you to read the book. I give this book 5/5 stars. Thank you to publisher for providing a complimentary copy for review. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

Many Sparrows
Many Sparrows by Lori Benton
Either she and her children would emerge from that wilderness together, or none of them would. . . .
In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.
When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son . . . especially when her second child is moments away from being born.
Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do—be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?
My Thoughts:
"Many Sparrows" is by first read by Lori Benton and I really enjoyed this wonderful novel. I felt that it was inspiring, hopeful and a book of heartache. I was transported to a completely different setting and loved the main character, Clare. I can't believe the strength and endurance that she endured. I love the story with Jeremiah as well and his compassion towards other people. Each of these characters displayed amazing faith and courage. I loved this book and highly recommend it. You won't be able to put it down. It is a very fast read, especially as you enjoy the historical time period of this amazing novel. I give this book 5/5 stars.

About the Author:
Lori BentonLori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of "Burning Sky," recipient of three Christy Awards, "The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn," Christy-nominee "The Wood’s Edge," and "A Flight of Arrows."

Thursday, September 21, 2017

My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley: Lily's Dilemma by Andrea Boeshaar

My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley: Lily's Dilemma by Andrea Boeshaar
Journey into the Shenandoah Valley of 1816 where...
With Nothing Left, Lily May be Forced into a Loveless Marriage.

Captain McAlister “Mac” Albright has purchased land in the Shenandoah Valley. However, the land belongs to Lillyanna Laughlin—or so she erroneously thinks. Mac sets her straight about current laws, and despite a poor start, the two are becoming friends.

Then, while Mac is away on business, Lily is faced with the impossible decision of marrying a man twice her age or she and her brothers becoming homeless, as her late father gambled away their home and acreage. But with debts being called in, will Lily be forced to choose a loveless marriage just when she is discovering what true love could be?  What can she possibly do? Will Mac return in time to spare Lily a lifetime of unhappiness? 

"In the Shenandoah Valley" makes me want to pack up my car and go on a road trip to Virginia, which is a place I have never visited, but I instantly fell in love with the time period and Lily. I felt so much emotion for Lily, especially after losing her father and trying to pick up the pieces of her life, including her younger brothers who often found themselves in trouble.

Mac is ready to start gardening after purchasing a wonderful piece of land. Not only is he excited about his endouvers for the land, but he cannot wait to have a home, but he has to have a new dream of what he will do on the boats. He is quick on his feet and I thought his character was well written too. 

I love how Andrea wrote this time period, the description and the details. I felt that she did her research and the book was very enjoyable. Of course, this book wasn't without a little romance and also some banter between the two main characters. One of my favorite parts of this book is the faith element. The characters are involved in many aspects of church, prayer and trying to be obedient to God. I found this style to be perfect. It wasn't preachy, but carried a great tone. I give this book 4/5 stars. Thank you to the publishers for providing a complimentary copy for review. 

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar has been married for more than 30 years. She and her husband, Daniel, have three adult sons, daughters-in-law, and two precious grandchildren. Andrea's educational background includes the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, where she studied in English, and Alverno College where she studied in Professional Communications and Business Management.

Andrea has been writing stories and poems since she was a little girl; however, it wasn't until 1984 that she started submitting her work for publication. Eight years after that, she was convicted about writing for the Christian market. She read books in her genre (Inspirational Romance & Women's Fiction), studied the market, and worked hard to hone her craft.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Happiness Prayer: Ancient Jewish Wisdom for the Best Way to Live Today by Evan Moffic

The Happiness Prayer: Ancient Jewish Wisdom for the Best Way to Live Today


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rhinestones on My Flip-Flops: Choosing Extravagant Joy in the Midst of Everyday Mess-Ups Want to Read Rate this book 1 of 5 stars2 of 5 stars3 of 5 stars4 of 5 stars5 of 5 stars Rhinestones on My Flip-Flops: Choosing Extravagant Joy in the Midst of Everyday Mess-Ups by Jane Jenkins Herlong

Rhinestones on My Flip-Flops: Choosing Extravagant Joy in the Midst of Everyday Mess-Ups

RHINESTONES ON MY FLIP FLOPS offers the message Jane lives by: prove people wrong and laugh while living your dreams.

Monday, September 18, 2017

God Is for Real: And He Longs to Answer Your Most Difficult Questions by Todd Burpo, David Drury

God Is for Real: And He Longs to Answer Your Most Difficult Questions by Todd Burpo, David Drury

GOD IS FOR REAL addresses the questions: What is God like? Why are things the way they are in spite of who God is? If Todd's first book, Heaven Is for Real, was about the then and there of heaven, GOD IS FOR REAL is about the here and now on earth: Why are there are so many hypocritical church people? Why do Christians make such a big deal about the cross? Why doesn't God seem to answer our biggest prayers? People are tired of pat answers offered up in churchy language explaining away their questions; we want the down-and-dirty truth. What bothers us about life and faith is real and gritty. We need a plain-spoken voice to offer God's answers to difficult struggles and painful doubts. Todd charges into these subjects with a fireman's courage, a small-town friend's vulnerability, and a local pastor's compassion. He helps articulate the questions people have, then gives them relevant biblical wisdom for taking their next steps in faith. God is ready to meet you! Are you ready to meet Him?

My Thoughts:

Previously, I have read the book "Heaven is For Real" by Todd Burpo and that is the story of Todd's son, which is a fantastic read if you haven't read it. However, God is For Real is the book of tough questions that most people are looking for answers to, with practical and Biblical truths. I love how authentic Todd is with his approach and yet he helps the reader keep eternity in mind. This book is for anyone looking to have crucial and critical conversations about the Christian life. This is great for the believer or the non-believer. I enjoyed the story of the Jerusalem reporter and how Todd went into a deeper, yet meaningful discussion with her. Overall, I thought this book was thought provoking and it is a good book to soak in. Thank you to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy. I give this book 4/5 stars. 

About the Author:
Todd Burpo is pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan and a volunteer fireman. He and his wife, Sonja, have four children: Colton is an active 14-year-old; he has an older sister, Cassie; a younger brother, Colby; and a very special sister he met in heaven, yet to be named.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Day the Angels Fell by Shawn Smucker

The Day the Angels Fell

About the Author:

I think everyone’s looking for a place in the world – not a physical location as much as an emotional one. Just a tiny bit of space to set up shop, to exist.

Life hinted at where that space would be for me when I was a small boy and books picked me up and carried me away. If you came looking for me in the mid-80s you would have found me sitting on a large porch attached to a ramshackle farmhouse, reading about Narnia or the Shire, brushing away the flies, constantly saying, “Okay, mom, just one more chapter.”

But then, normal life got in the way. I wandered. Geographically, I went to a hot city in Florida, an old village in England, and then back to Virginia. Emotionally, I traveled even further. Finally, after ten years of searching, I found stories again. Or maybe they found me.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection: Nine Stories of Poverty and Opulence During the Gilded Age

Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection: Nine Stories of Poverty and Opulence During the Gilded Age

Journey along in nine historical romances with those who lives are transformed by the opulence, growth, and great changes taking place in America s Gilded Age. Nine couples meet during these exhilarating times and work to build a future together through fighting for social reform, celebrating new opportunities for leisure activities, taking advantage of economic growth and new inventions, and more. Watch as these romances develop and legacies of faith and love are formed."

Of Rags and Riches is a great collection of nine romance novellas from some amazing authors who will invite you to be apart of amazing places, romances and stories that you will love. These are fantastic reads! 

Union Pacific Princess by Jennifer Uhlarik
Dakota Territory October 1867

Head back to 1867 to the Dakota territory where we meet Dara and Gage who face danger on the rugged country as the railroad is not yet complete. Dara embarks on a journey with her father, but finds herself being rescued more than once by a man who isn't her father. Will money be an issue or will love be enough to sweep her off her feet? 

The Right Pitch by Susanne Dietze
Get ready to head to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as baseball becomes the focus of this book. Women weren't allowed to play before this time, because it was a gentleman's sport, but leave it to Winnie to play for the Children's Hospital. She isn't just your average glamorous woman, but one who is willing to get dirty. Enter Beck Emerson into the picture who is wounded from the war, but finds common ground with Winnie. Will baseball strike out a love story ?

A Gift in Secret by Kathleen Y’Barbo
It's March 1871 in New Orleans, Louisiana when Sam Austen and May Bolen are forced to meet after  the passing of her father. His will stated that they would meet and also that they would marry. Of course, we know that arranged marriages never work out, but can both Sam and May get past the will and learn forgiveness? Will they discover a love that lasts forever? Or will it just be to satisfy a will requirement? I would have have loved to read more of this story in a longer version, but that is my opinion. 

For Richer or Poorer by Natalie Monk
Get ready for an amazing story of survival, forgiveness and reconciliation as we meet Elle who is from Poland and really wants to look for Mr. Right and by Mr. Right, I mean Mr. Rich to get her family to America. However, rather than Mr. Rich, she meets the most caring man who has a heart for orphans. Will Elle choose her heart or wealth to bring her family to the US? I love the heart of Woody in this story and how he helped Ella with translations... Great story.. Read it! 

A House of Secrets by Michelle Griep
Joseph and Amanda, engaged are helping those of St. Paul who are the least of these. Their hearts are so big. Amanda wants to do whatever she can to help and is quite strong in her thinking. She wants to open a school for children who are less fortunate, while Joseph is the city attorney and wants to shut down a brothel. Of course this couple who wants to stand up for social injustice is thrown curve balls as they face challenges and even an unexpected person that I didn't see coming. This story was more adventures than I thought it would be and the mysteries of this story was great! 

Win, Place, or Draw by Erica Vetcsh
I loved the romance between Beryl and Gard in Win and Draw. A younger woman, Beryl who has a love. for horses, especially Lacey and is not like other women in society during this time. She doesn't follow the same social standards as this era, especially as her mother tries to set her up with eligible bachelors who are "suitable", but they don't fit with who Beryl is. I love how Gard and her meet and their commonality. I won't say anymore to give this sweet novella away. 

The Fisherman’s Nymph by Jaime Jo Wright

Living in the woods of Wisconsin, Abby and her father have a business where people go out adventures and this how they make money to survive. One man comes to stay with them, Charles the third to get some peace and quiet from his life. Will Abby find a way to Charle's heart in the woods despite all that is going on with him? Will she be able to face her past? 

The Gardener’s Daughter by Anne Love

Bay View, Michigan 1895
I love that this story of Maggie was set in Michigan. Maggie is a library assistant who's faith can't be shaken and her personality is kind. She is taking care of her father, but is also asked by a professor to tell the stories of his students. Will a story unfold between the professor and Maggie or will she have to choose her father? I thought this story had an interesting pace. It was fast at times and slower at other times. 

A Tale of Two Hearts by Gabrielle Meyer 
Is love boiling between Lucy Taylor and Eli Boyer? Oh, this one had me in stitches! Get ready to get in the driver seat and watch a woman who is willing to do anything to help her family in their time of need to help provide.... This one is fantastic! 

Friday, September 15, 2017

The God-Shaped Heart: How Correctly Understanding God's Love Transforms Us by Timothy R. Jennings

The God-Shaped Heart: How Correctly Understanding God's Love Transforms Us

required. All opinions are my own. Thank you to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Holiday Cookies Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season by Elisabet der Nederlanden

Holiday Cookies Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season  by Elisabet der Nederlanden
Pinwheel Cookies to Red-and-White Meringue Kisses to Apple Cider Caramels, find new inspiration for the best of seasonal baking with Holiday Cookies.

This instant holiday classic is packed with 50 recipes, each gorgeously photographed and meticulously tested, along with dozens of decorating and packaging ideas. Filled with reimagined favorites like Giant Molasses Spice Cookies and Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies; confections like Peppermint Bark, Smoked Almond and Cacao Nib Brittle, and Dark Chocolate-Hazelnut Fudge; and detailed instructions for gorgeous gingerbread houses, cookie place cards, and edible ornaments, this is a cookie book like no other. Because the recipes are easy to scale up or down, Holiday Cookies is perfect for cookie exchanges, gift-giving, and just enjoying throughout the season. From a veteran baker and recipe developer, each cookie in this collection is guaranteed to be a stand-out, and destined to become your new Christmas classic.

My Thoughts:
It seems early to start thinking about the Christmas season, but it is never to early for me to start thinking about Christmas cookies and gifts to make. "Holiday Cookies" is a beautiful Christmas cookie book about how to make the most delicious gingerbread man you've ever seen or to enjoy the most delectable peppermint bark! This cookie book is small, yet full of the most festive, well rounded Christmas cookie recipes you could want! It has great tips on how to get the icing just perfect and I can imagine these will be favorite cookies for years to come. I love that this is a hard cover book too! I give this book 5/5 stars. A favorable review was not required. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall

Gathering the Threads
Gathering the Threads
Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves, will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—or completely rip them apart?
After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family?
Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart.
Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.
My Thoughts:
I really enjoy Amish Fiction and I think "Gathering The Threads" takes Amish fiction to a different level in the deepness of this story. This is a series of three stories and I think it would have been great to read the other two first. You do get a summary at the beginning, but I still think it probably doesn't do this series justice, but you can read this as a stand alone. Swapped at birth, Ariana is struggling when she finds out that she is not the biological daughter of the Amish family she thought she was. Of course this creates tension, confusion, anxiety and so many questions as her Amish parents seek to find their biological daughter. This book enters the stages of Arianna's entry back into the Amish lifestyle. She is more confused than ever and she doesn't know that she can follow the bishops rules. She wants to what is right, but she doesn't know how. Will she be able to do what is right? This book is a great book of a woman standing up for a faith in God and what she believes is right. The ending was unexpected, but it was fantastic! Cindy did a fantastic job with this book and I can't wait to read the rest of this series. I give this book 5/5 stars and a favorable review was not required. 
About the Author:
Cindy Woodsmall
Cindy Woodsmall is the "New York Times" and CBA best-selling author of nineteen works of fiction and non-fiction with more than a million copies sold. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s "Nightline," the "Wall Street Journal," and a National Geographic documentary on Amish life. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains.

Monday, September 11, 2017

These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart

These Healing Hills

Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to be a writer. She's published over twenty novels. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dog, reading and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800's, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009. Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960's. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, will be followed by Small Town Girl. Visit Ann's website