Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On This Foundation (book 3 of the Restoration Chronicles) by Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin's newest book in The Restoration Chronicles is out!  On This Foundation is the third book in this exciting series about the return of the exiles to Jerusalem.

About the Book:
Stone by Stone, the Wall Will Rise Once More Around God's City
When news reaches him that Jerusalem's wall is shattered and its gates burned with fire, a distraught Nehemiah seeks God's guidance in fasting and prayer. Granted an unexpected leave from his duty as cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes, Nehemiah sets out for Jerusalem to rebuild the city wall--never anticipating all the dangers that await him on his arrival.

The leaders of the surrounding nations become his fierce enemies, plotting to assassinate him and stop the wall's reconstruction forever. A drought, meanwhile, has left the country impoverished, with many families resorting to selling their children as bondservants just to keep from starving.

Capturing the rebuilding of the wall through the eyes of a number of characters, On This Foundation is the powerful conclusion to The Restoration Chronicles. This exploration of faith in the midst of oppression offers hope that, in spite of appearances, the gracious hand of God is upon those who believe.

My Review:
What a beautiful story of God's faithfulness and preservation of his people.  I loved reading about Nehemiah and the time in Israel's history when the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt.  The way Lynn Austin crafted the fictional telling of this story just drew me in, and gave me a way to picture what life would of been like for Israel at this time.  Lynn Austin does a wonderful job of not only telling a compelling story and keeping her readers attention, but she also makes you want to read that portion of Scripture again maybe seeing it in a different way as you contemplate what life was really like for real people.  This series has been wonderful and I would highly encourage everyone to pick up The Restoration Chronicles.
You can read my reviews of her other two books in this series by clicking on the titles:

Return to Me
Keepers of the Covenant

About the Author:

Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full-time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home in western Michigan. Learn more at

*** I received this free book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentiis

I was excited to get Giada's newest book, Happy Cooking.  I've always enjoyed her recipes off of the internet and they seem to have so much flavor!  The subtitle of her book is "Make Every Meal Count... Without Stressing Out" is a great way to describe this book.  This book takes common everyday meal options and makes them not only taste good, but look beautiful.   Her book covers the following:

First Things First: #breakfast; Snacks and Small Plates;
Salads and Seasons; Soups and Stews; Eating Clean
Weeknight Warriors; Vegetables and Sides;
Weekends and Holidays; Treats and Sweets

I thought that the pictures in the book were just beautiful!  I love to see what the food is supposed to look like when I'm done, and I'm always excited when the author takes the time to add photos. Just like any other cookbook, I saw some recipes I would definitely try and others that I would not attempt at all.  The book does say that a portion of these recipes were previously published in a digital magazine called Giada from 2013 to the present.  So if you notice some recipes that seem a little familiar that may be the reason.  I was a little disappointed with some of the pictures of the author as her tops were low cut.  But all that being said, I'm looking forward to trying some of these recipes that have my mouth watering.

***I received this free book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Golden Braid (A Rapunzel re-telling) by Melanie Dickerson

Melanie Dickerson has a series that is a re-telling of the Medieval Fairy Tales. The Golden Braid (A Rapunzel fairy tale re-telling) is the 6th book in the Hagenheim/Fairy Tale Romance Series. The others are as follows:
1. The Healer's Apprentice (A Sleeping Beauty re-telling)
2. The Merchant's Daughter (A Beauty and the Beast re-telling)
3. The Fairest Beauty (A Snow White re-telling)
4. The Captive Maiden (A Cinderella re-telling)
5. The Princess Spy (A Frog Prince re-telling)

Melanie Dickerson also has another Medieval Fairy Tale called The Huntress of Thornbeck Forrest (Robin Hood meets Swan Lake).
So, take some time to read below about the book, the author and my review!
About the book:
The Golden Braid
(Thomas Nelson, November 2015)

The one who needs rescuing isn't always the one in the tower...

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.

Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel's hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again---this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.

The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight---Sir Gerek---Rapunzel, in turn, rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to him than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?

As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery are about to be revealed after seventeen years. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?

Purchase a copy:

About the author:
Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer's Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader's Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.

Connect with Melanie: website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube

My Review:
I had a hard time putting this book down.  The story was interesting since I remembered some bits about Rapunzel...mainly, that she was kept in a tower. I liked that the story was new but included some familiar aspects.  I love a novel that can get me hooked from page one and keep me quickly turning pages until the end. Rapunzel's character has been fed fear all her life which has kept her from venturing too far on her own.  It's fun to see her break free and want something different in life.  I think in someways we all struggle with an area of fear in our lives.  We all want to be brave enough to break free and pursue our dreams. This would be a great book to pick up if you're looking for some fun reading.  I'm looking forward to picking up the other books in this series too!
You can read more about what others thought of this book by visiting the blog tour page by clicking here.

***I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Celebrate the Holidays with Odyssey Adventure Cub! Plus a free advent calendar!


What’s on your children’s Christmas wish list? As excited as they might be about that new toy, as every parent knows, the thrill of the gift will eventually wear off. Focus on the Family and Adventures in Odyssey have created the perfect gift for those who want to give their children or grandchildren a present that will provide year-round fun with eternal impact.

The Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC) offers families 24/7 access to 25 years’ worth of Adventures in Odyssey (AIO) episodes in a safe online environment where children can explore and learn. Christmas really is the perfect time to tap into your children’s imagination while infusing faith and fun into their day . . . and every day of the year.

To celebrate the holidays this year, the OAC is offering free content for everyone, including an Advent calendar, a broadcast download with tips to create a memorable Christmas, AIO cutouts and Christmas stocking stuffer cards. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:
  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.
In keeping with AIO’s rich heritage of teaching children about biblical principles — such as the importance of giving — a portion of each OAC membership benefits Focus on the Family partner organizations. Here are a couple of examples of what has been accomplished through Odyssey Adventure Club members:
The Odyssey Adventure Club wants to reach beyond fleeting entertainment this Christmas, partnering with parents in helping their kids grow deep in faith and find their place in God’s story.


Speaking of the holidays, you can prepare for Christmas with Thriving Family's 2015 Advent Activity Calendar — Tales of Christmas Past: 25 Inspiring true stories of the season. Assemble a beautifully designed Advent poster to help your kids focus on Christ this Christmas. Then read Scripture passages and stories that relate to individual flaps on the poster. You can also create easy-to-fold booklets for each story. Get more information about this year's free Advent calendar at, or sign up to download it.

To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison

I had read an endorsement for this book in the past on Money Saving Mom so, I was pleasantly surprised when I had the chance to review it for myself!  Who doesn't want to be trim and healthy?  As we head into a new year here soon, many are looking for ways to make life better with healthy living. Read below to find out what I thought of this new healthy living cookbook. 

From the Back Cover:
In their debut cookbook, the Trim Healthy Mamas share hundreds of delicious, healthy recipes to help readers successfully slim down while eating well.  This companion cookbook to the bestselling Trim Healthy Mama Plan is just what readers have been waiting for.  It features simple, mouthwatering recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner--including slow-cooker and one-pot meals, hearty soups and salads, omelets and waffles, pizzas, breads, and more.  No Trim Healthy Mama should feel deprived, so there are also favorite snacks, delectable desserts, and the smoothies, sippers and teas fans love.  With pantry-stocking advice, time-saving tips, and information on how to cook for the entire family, Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook offers a delicious and nutritious way to make trim and healthy meals with less stress--so you have more time with your loved ones.

My Review:
First of all the pictures in this book are beautiful.  The photographer did a great job capturing the food, and I love seeing pictures of what I'm going to be making.  Next, as I read through the introduction, I quickly became aware of the fact that in order to really understand this book, I would need to have the Trim Healthy Mama Plan:Keep it Simple, Keep it Sane book.  There are special mixes that are not included in this book, but are used in the recipes.  So, some of the recipes are not do-able in their healthy version without buy the special mix.  I'm not sure if the amounts are given in the plan book or you would have to buy it from the Trim Healthy Mama website.  While many of the recipes look interesting and like something my family would probably enjoy, I found some of the "not normal" ingredients a bit overwhelming.  If you are wanting to do the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, then you need to get the Trim Healthy Mama Plan:Keep it Simple, Keep it Sane book along with their cookbook.  Next, be prepared to buy special ingredients to make this work.  Although, you can substitute normal ingredients, it won't be "on plan" as they call it and may not give you the results you are looking for.  So, if you are Trim Healthy Mama follower or one who is not afraid to jump into to a plan that may require a few extra dollars on products you don't normally buy, then consider checking out this new cookbook. In my opinion, I'm still unsure about this book and hesitant with the use of artificial sweeteners. I'm also not one to needlessly spend money on products I don't know anything about.  So while I may try some of these recipes with regular ingredients, I'm not planning on jumping on the Trim Healthy Mama bandwagon any time soon.
For my information you can visit their Facebook Page by clicking here and their website here.

***I received this free cookbook from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Devotional for Women edited by Rhonda Harrington Kelley and Dorothy Kelley Patterson

Are you struggling with making the reading of the Bible a priority during your day? Or are you looking for a great gift to give for Christmas? This beautiful 366 day Devotional for Women is a great resource to get your morning going with some wonderful meditating thoughts from the Word of God.  It's filled with truth from the Bible that will turn your thoughts and focus to Jesus, the One who can give you the strength you need throughout your day.  There are 40 contributors in this devotional including some special contributions from Elizabeth Elliot.

The cover is beautifully embossed and made out of imitation leather.  Each day has a Scripture and a thought from the contributing author.  The day concludes with some ideas for what to pray about and then has an area for you to journal your thoughts as the Lord speaks to your heart through His Word.  At the end of the devotional, a daily Bible reading plan is included to encourage you to read through the Bible in a year.  I thought that this devotional was not only beautiful, but well done. The daily readings are thoughtful and based on truth.  And I liked the fact that you can journal your own thoughts each day.  Make sure to check out this great new resource that you may want to add to your library or give as a gift to someone in your life.

***I received this devotional free from B&H/Lifeway Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Bathsheba by Angela Hunt (A Dangerous Beauty Novel book 2)

What is your first thought when the name Bathsheba is mentioned?  Have you ever thought of what she went through or how she felt when David's coveting destroyed the life she had?  Do you think that she in some way was at fault?  This book is told from Bathsheba's perspective of the familiar story that hurt many as a result of a secret sin.  Below you can find out about the book and see what my thoughts were after reading this book.

From the Back Cover:

One of Ancient Israel's Most Famous Women--
As You've Never Looked at Her Before

One of the Bible's most misunderstood and misjudged women, Bathsheba comes to life in this new biblical re-imagining from Angela Hunt. Combining historical facts with detailed fiction, this is an eye-opening portrait that will have you reconsidering everything you thought you knew about her.

After receiving God's promise of a lifelong reign and an eternal dynasty, King David forces himself on Bathsheba, a loyal soldier's wife. When her resulting pregnancy forces the king to murder her husband and add her to his harem, Bathsheba struggles to protect her son while dealing with the effects of a dark prophecy and deadly curse on the king's household.

My Review:
This book took me to places I had not thought about when reading this story.  I've only ever thought about David and his sin against God, Bathsheba and Uriah the Hittite.  I have not ever stopped to think about how Bathsheba dealt with all that happened to her--forced to lie with the king, murder of her husband and death of her first born child. I found myself thinking through this story and contemplating the events like never before.  It has also challenged me to take time and review the story from Scripture.  So, I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and let it challenge you in the way you think of Bathsheba.  It will force you to see her not as another abstract character in King David's life, but as a real person who endured some pretty hard circumstances.

***I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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