Friday, December 20, 2013

Pilgrimage by Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin has a new non-fiction book out called Pilgrimage.

Back of the Book Description:

We all encounter times when our spirit feels dry, when doubt looms.
The opportunity to tour Israel came at a good time. For months, my life has been a mindless plodding through necessary routine, as monotonous as an all-night shift on an assembly line. Life gets that way sometimes, when nothing specific is wrong but the world around us seems drained of color. Even my weekly worship experiences and daily quiet times with God have felt as dry and stale as last year's crackers. I'm ashamed to confess the malaise I've felt. I have been given so much. Shouldn't a Christian's life be an abundant one, as exciting as Christmas morning, as joyful as Easter Sunday?With gripping honesty, Lynn Austin pens her struggles with spiritual dryness in a season of loss and unwanted change. Tracing her travels throughout Israel, Austin seamlessly weaves events and insights from the Word . . . and in doing so finds a renewed passion for prayer and encouragement for her spirit, now full of life and hope.

My Thoughts:
 I really enjoyed reading through Lynn Austin's book.  Her writing draws you in and paints a scene in your mind. She is so honest and describes well what is going on in her heart.   I think that a lot of people can identify with the difficult time she is having with all the change her in life.  Everyone goes through change and it is never easy.  I love that she includes much of the historical background pointing back to scripture as she travels through the holy land.  I actually learned quite a bit that I didn't know!  This book was delightful and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good read and some needed encouragement.

You can read an excerpt of the book here.
To learn more about Lynn Austin, visit her website here.
 
***I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Talent for Trouble (Book 3) by Jen Turano

Jen Turano has written a fun series called The Ladies of Distinction Series.  Book 1--A Change of Fortune, Book 2--A Peculiar Circumstance and Book 3--A Talent for Trouble. 

About the Book:
For years, Miss Felicia Murdock’s every thought and action have been in pursuit of becoming a minister’s wife. When the minister she’d set her sights on has other ideas, she decides something in her life needs to change–and soon–before she wastes any more time pretending to be someone she’s not. If that means spreading her wings and embracing a more lively way of life, who’s to say nay?
Grayson Sumner, Lord Sefton, has had more than enough of spreading his wings and only hopes to settle into the life of a respectable New York gentleman. Prompted by some friends to lift the spirits of the disappointed-in-love Miss Murdock, he is surprised to encounter an adventurous young lady with an unfortunate knack for stumbling into troublesome situations.
Just as Grayson decides he’s had quite enough of her antics, his past comes back to haunt him and his presence in Felicia’s life endangers her. As they work together to extricate themselves from this latest complication, will Grayson and Felicia decide they want to spend the rest of their lives keeping one another out of trouble?

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed reading books one and two.  Jen Turano was funny and clever with her writing.  By the time I got to book 3, I enjoyed the story, but it seemed too similar to the first two books.   This is really my only issue I had with this book.  I loved the characters, especially Miss Felicia.  She is such an odd ball at times and it makes her quite humorous.   I did catch myself smiling several times during the reading of this book. I would definitely recommend reading this series in order so that you can meet each character and understand all of the history between the characters.  So even though this book didn't earn a 5 stars from me, I would recommend picking it up to read.  It is delightful!

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

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Return to Me by Lynn Austin


About the book: From the Acclaimed Author of Chronicles of the Kings

After decades of exile, the prophesies are coming true---King Cyrus has declared the Jews may return to Jerusalem. Iddo, a priest, is sure this is a sign of God's renewed favor. For too long they've remained in Babylon, and many, including Iddo's sons, are losing the faith that sets them apart. And so only a few choose to leave everything to return---return to their home and their God.

Nothing about their journey to the Promised Land is easy. As hardships mount, even the faithful, like Iddo's beloved wife, Dinah, question the sacrifice of following God's leading. Zechariah, Iddo's oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather's ancient beliefs and the family they left behind. But one life-changing encounter with the Holy One gives him insight that will change Zechariah---and history---forever.

Bringing the Old Testament to vibrant life, Return to Me tells the compelling story of two men living by faith in the midst of doubt, the women who love them, and the faithful remnant struggling to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.

My Review:
What  a great book! This is Lynn Austin's first book in The Restoration Chronicles series.  Lynn Austin has quickly become one of my favorite authors.  I love how she can interest me in the story right from the start.  The feeling and emotion she writes into her characters really makes you connect with them.  This series is unique in that it fictionalizes the biblical account of the return of the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem.  I love how it helps me to identify with the human side of the characters from the Bible.  They were people just like us with fears, worries, and dreams for the future.  It was great to revisit this time of biblical history as I don't really read these portions of Scripture often.  This book has made me anxious to get out my Bible and re-read these passages of Scripture.  Lynn Austin has done a fabulous job with inspiring the reader to be in the Word and to remember the great truths of our God.  If you're looking for a great series to start, then make sure to pick up this book!

Click here to purchase your own copy of the book.

You can find out more about Lynn Austin by clicking here.

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

Take Charge of Your Emotions by Dr. Linda J. Solie

Are you struggling with depression or anxiety in your life?  Are there situations in your life that you have a hard time overcoming?  Take Charge of Your Emotions: Seven Steps to Overcoming Depression, Anxiety and Anger by Dr. Linda J. Solie  would be a great book for you to pick up and read.  Life throws so much at us and often we make choices that aren't healthy for us.  These choices hold us captive and seem to control our lives.  Dr. Linda J. Solie's seven steps can really help you to pinpoint "unhelpful self-talk" and turn it into "helpful self-talk."  This book is a great tool for helping to transform your thinking and putting your focus back on Christ instead of yourself.

I really liked reading through this book.  As a person who struggles with depression, I found it quite helpful in pinpointing my negative thinking.  But this book doesn't just point out what's wrong, it helps lead you to correct the problem.  I also appreciated that the author pointed to Christ as the answer!  We do not have the power in our flesh to overcome sin.  Only Christ can give us the power to be more than conquerors.  If you're struggling or know of someone who is, this would be a great book to pick up and start reading.  You can read the introduction and first chapter below.



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

Friday, December 6, 2013

Pirates on the Farm by Denette Fretz and Illustrated by Gene Barretta

The Pirates are moving in next door!!  Pirates on the Farm is about a group of unruly pirates that move in next door to a quiet family that lives on a farm.  The Pirates are definitely different and show their odd behavior in all kinds of ways.  Deep down inside they are just like everyone else, but will the townspeople be able to see that or not?

This is a fun book about differences.  Pirates are always fun and these pirates act much like you'd expect them too.  It's not always easy to be friendly and nice to those who seem so different.  This story would be a great springboard for talking with your kids about how to treat those who may do things differently.  The pictures are great and have lots of color!  Your kids will love looking at all the fun things in the pictures.  See what this book is all about and watch the book trailer below!


This book is the first in The Next Door Series and is for kids ages 4-8 years old.  I'm looking forward to see what the next book will be!  You can check out the author's site here.

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

The Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings by Nancy Leigh DeMoss


Are you still looking for a Christmas gift for someone on your list?  Consider giving this beautiful devotional by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  This devotional book has readings for each day of the year.  Each day consists of a Bible verse, a short excerpt from the writing and teaching ministry of Nancy Leigh DeMoss and some application questions.  A Scripture Index is included at the back of the book.

I appreciate how the author encourages the reader to dig into the Word of God for themselves.   She desires that her writings only be a helpful tool to stir up a thirst to read the Word more.  Her writing is well thought out and helps the reader to think through the Scripture that was read.  I would highly recommend this devotional.  It would make the perfect Christmas gift!

***I received this Devotional free from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

http://www.amazon.com/The-Governess-Highland-Hall-Edwardian/dp/1601424965

I just finished a delightful novel.  It is the first book in the Edwardian Brides series called The Governess of Highland Hall written by Carrie Turansky.  This is the first book I have read by this author and I would definitely pick up another of her books.  Below you'll find a description of the book, my review and the book trailer.

From the Back of the Book:

Worlds lie between the marketplaces of India and the halls of a magnificent country estate like Highland Hall. Will Julia be able to find her place when a governess is neither upstairs family nor downstairs help?

Missionary Julia Foster loves working alongside her parents, ministering and caring for young girls in India. But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden for her parents’ financial support. Taking on a job at Highland Hall as governess, she quickly finds that teaching her four privileged, ill-mannered charges at a grand estate is more challenging than expected, and she isn’t sure what to make of the estate’s preoccupied master, Sir William Ramsey.

Widowed and left to care for his two young children and his deceased cousin Randolph’s two teenage girls, William is consumed with saving the estate from the financial ruin. The last thing he needs is any distraction coming from the kindhearted-yet-determined governess who seems to be quietly transforming his household with her persuasive personality, vibrant prayer life, and strong faith.

While both are tending past wounds and guarding fragile secrets, Julia and William are determined to do what it takes to save their families—common ground that proves fertile for unexpected feelings. But will William choose Julia’s steadfast heart and faith over the wealth and power he needs to secure Highland Hall’s future?
Book Trailer:


My Review:
Julia Foster is a very likeable character.  She handles herself well, and isn't afraid to speak her mind.  I liked the connection with missions in this story since I am a missionary kid, and I appreciated what Julia said concerning the hard times she faced while on the mission field in India.  She said, "We have a choice to make when trouble comes.  We can read out to God and look to Him for strength and help, or we can doubt His love and purpose and allow our hearts to grow cold.  It takes faith to believe He can and will bring good out of those trials if we will only trust Him." (loc. 3210 in e-book)  Sir William Ramsey is definitely moody, although with all he has been through, his moodiness is expected.  His character is definitely more reserved and contemplative.  I think Carrie did a great job making the characters come to life.  There are those who you cheer on and other you just want to duct tape their mouths.  :)  It was an engaging story that I would definitely recommend to those who love Downton Abby and the Jane Austen era. 

***I received this free e-book from Waterbrook Multnomah's blogging program Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

KJV Chronological Life Application Study Bible by Tyndale House Publishers


I love study Bibles.   They can be such a great tool when I sit down and read through Scripture.  Tyndale House Publishers has just released a Chronological Life Application Study Bible.  This Bible "helps the reader see the larger story by breaking up the traditional books of the Bible into 10 major eras of biblical history, intermingling the Scriptures into a single, unified story from Creation to the end." (A8)  This Bible includes a Chronological Survey of the Bible to give an overview of the Scriptures as a whole.  It also includes a complete Biblical Timeline and maps.  At the back of the Bible, there is a Christian Worker's resource, a Master Index, Concordance and Book-by-Book resource that "gives you an overview narrative, Blueprint, and Megathemes for every individual book in the Bible..." (pg. 1783)  The Chronological Life Application Study Bible comes in King James Version and New Living Translation.

I'm excited about the chronological aspect of this Bible.  It definitely gives a different perspective to read the Bible chronologically versus the current canonical order.   I like having the complete Biblical Timeline in here as well to compare world history alongside of Biblical history.  It really helps to connect the dots so to speak.  I think that Tyndale House Publishers have put together a great resource for Bible study.  The Chronological Life Application Study Bible would be a great asset to any library!  Find out more about this great Bible by clicking here.

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

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tyndale's Free and Discounted books for December

Head over to Tyndale's E-book Special page for this month and see their free and discounted books. 

 One of their free books this month is Susan May Warren's Take a Chance on Me!!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas in Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall has put her three Apple Ridge Novellas into one book, Christmas in Apple Ridge.
Below you will find information about the books, my review, a book trailer, the first chapter of the book and a section about the author. 

About the Novellas:
 The Sound of Sleigh Bells
After the death of Henry, Beth Hertzler's fiance, Beth was not interested in anything other than running Hertzler's Dry Goods store.  But when she found this magnificent carving in an old antique store, little did she know it would lead her to a man that would bring healing to her heart. 

The Christmas Singing
Mattie thought she knew the young man who had captured her heart.  But when Gideon suddenly broke up with her, Mattie fled to another Amish community in Ohio.  There she turned to what she loved to do...bake cakes.  Even though she started seeing a young man named Sol who was in every way good for her and wouldn't hurt her heart, Mattie still couldn't get thoughts of Gideon out of her head.

The Dawn of Christmas
Sadie was sure she had found true love finally, but on the day before her wedding she had seen her fiance, Daniel, with another woman.   After 4 years of being away, Sadie reluctantly returns to Apple Ridge to see her family.  One night Sadie comes upon a man who had been thrown from his horse.  She is able to get him some help.  Little does she know that this stranger will help to heal the wound that Daniel had caused so long ago.

Book Trailer:



What I Thought:
I am typically not an Amish fan, but I did enjoy reading these novellas.  They are quick and easy reads.  Cindy Woodsmall did a great job at keeping the story line fun and interesting which made the book hard to put down.  Without Beth, Mattie and Sadie each facing the hurt, disappointment, anger and fear in their lives, they would of missed out on relationships that were a great blessing in their lives.  Fear, anger, resentment and hurt can cause us to miss out on some truly great blessings.  Cindy Woodsmall did a great job in communicating these lessons through the stories of these three ladies in Apple Ridge.

Below you can read the first chapter.



About the Author:
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the second most popular author of Amish fiction, following Beverly Lewis. - See more at: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/about-cindy/biography/#sthash.ZZXNDKPC.dpuf
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times, CBA, ECPA, and USA Today best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal,and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the second most popular author of Amish fiction, following Beverly Lewis.

She's a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

She's won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer's Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings' Best Books of the Year. She's been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn't realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn't allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy's house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them--afraid that if they didn't, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann's because her family didn't own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults' disapproval and the obstacles in each other's lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy's family moved to another region of the US.

As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities--from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.  (--from Cindy's website)

You can visit the Cindy Woodsmall's website here.



Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the second most popular author of Amish fiction, following Beverly Lewis.
She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.
She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.
Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.
As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.
Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.
- See more at: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/about-cindy/biography/#sthash.Vtx9IjEV.dpuf
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the second most popular author of Amish fiction, following Beverly Lewis.
She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.
She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.
Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.
As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.
Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.
- See more at: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/about-cindy/biography/#sthash.Vtx9IjEV.dpuf
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the second most popular author of Amish fiction, following Beverly Lewis.
She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.
She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.
Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.
As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.
Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.
- See more at: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/about-cindy/biography/#sthash.Vtx9IjEV.dpu
 ***I received this free book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

About the Book:
Are you living paycheck to paycheck wondering when things will get better?  Being financially strapped can be a difficult and stressful way to live life!  Dave's book Total Money Makeover has been helping people become debt free for years.  His advice is nothing new, but helps you to take the knowledge you have and actually put it to work in your life.  This book is different from Dave's other book Financial Peace.  Dave says that "Financial Peace is 'what to do with money'.  It is a great textbook for common-sense money management.  So how is The Total Money Makeover different?  It is more than a 'what to do' book--it is a 'how to do it' plan." (pg. 30 in the e-book version)

My Review:
My husband and I have both read this book and it really has helped us financially.  After reading about funding the $1,000.00 emergency fund, we decided that we would start with that.  Little did we know that my husband would injure his knee and need ACL surgery 6 months later.  Without that emergency fund, the three months off of work would of been really rough.  Dave has some great advice and makes you take a good look at yourself in the mirror.  Dave says that he is "positive that personal finance is 80 percent behavior and only 20 percent head knowledge." (pg.14 in the e-book version)  I like how Dave is straightforward about the real problem.  He says, "So my total Money Makeover begins with a challenge.  The challenge is you.  You are the problem with your money." (pg. 51 in the e-book version)  If you are living paycheck to paycheck with a mound of debt, pick up Dave's book and read it.  You'll be surprised at the little changes you can make that will make a huge difference in your life!

**I received this free e-book from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Miner's Lady by Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson's latest book in her Land of Shining Water series is called The Miner's Lady.  This is book three in her Minnesotan series.
Below you will find a description of the book, my review and information about the author. 

Back Cover Description:
When Chantel Panetta's younger sister claims to be in love with Orlando Calarco, Chantel knows there is no hope. The Panettas and Calarcos have been sworn enemies for decades, and young love cannot heal the deep wounds between the two iron-mining families. Yet, unable to resist Isabella's pleas, Chantel agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando. . .only to have a run-in with Dante, Orlando's brother. 

Chantel can't deny the attraction that flares when she's with Dante. But when a tragedy occurs at the mine, is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved? Or will Chantel's and Isabella's hope for love be buried amidst decades of misunderstanding?

My Review:
The love story in this book reminded me a lot of Romeo and Juliet's story.  Young people in love that are caught up in a feud between their two families.  Instead of the Capulets and Montagues, it is the Calarcos and the Panettas.  The feud has destroyed dear friendships all because of a story that has not even been told to the current generation.  The children are carrying on a feud that they think surrounds the killing of a mule, but the story is so much more than a mule.  I liked the story, but wasn't struggling to put this book down when I needed to.  It has a good theme throughout of forgiveness and the story is heartwarming, but I would probably only give it 4 out of 5 stars.

You can read my review of Book 1--The Icecutter's Daughter here and Book 2--The Quarryman's Bride here.

About the Author (from her website):

Tracie Peterson is an award-winning, best-selling author of over 95 books. Having given her heart to Jesus at the young age of six, Tracie has always felt called to some form of ministry, and writing fulfills that mission field.
Tracie received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings' Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership's vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.
In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers. She has co-written with a variety of authors including Judith Pella, Judith Miller, James Scott Bell and her daughter Jennifer.
Throughout her writing career Tracie has found time to speak at writer's conferences where she has a special heart for new authors. She is often joined by her husband Jim, whose background in history offers new authors insight into research. Besides teaching at conferences, Tracie also at one time managed Barbour Publishing's Heartsong Presents book line - overseeing the production of 52 books a year. Tracie teaches at women's conferences around the country and shares her testimony and insight for Christian living through the eyes of an author passionately in love with her Heavenly Father.
Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests, including USA "Best Books 2011" Awards, best Religious Fiction for Embers of Love!.
Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family--especially her three grandchildren--Rainy, Fox and Max..
For information on having Tracie speak at your event - contact Noelle Buss at Bethany Publishers/Baker Books.


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

Stranded by Dani Pettrey

Dani Pettrey's third book in the Alaskan Courage series just released at the beginning of September 2013.  Stranded is another great hit!  Read below to find out why I think you will love Dani Pettrey's newest novel.

About the Book:
When Darcy's best friend, Abby, asks Darcy to join her on her latest undercover mission, Darcy decides to go to help out her friend.  Darcy is registered on the cruise ship as an adventure journalist.  Abby has told Darcy to meet with her the first night in order to discuss the real reason they are both on this cruise.   But when Darcy's friend goes missing on the cruise ship, she must discover the truth and rescue her friend before it's too late.  When she learns that her friends, the McKennas, are
in charge of the adventure excursions for the ship, she enlists their help to find her friend.  Darcy and Gage still have a lot to figure out with their relationship, but right now all that Darcy can focus on is getting Abby back.


My Review:
I was excited to read this third book of the Alaskan Courage series, and it did not disappoint!  There was just as much action and adventure in this book as the rest of the series.  I am not a fast reader by any means and was able to finish this book in just two days.  I did not want to put it down.  The plot and story were intriguing, and I just love a good mystery.  If you're looking for a fun, fast-paced book to read, make sure to check out this series.  It won't disappoint!

You can read my review of Book 1--Submerged here and Book 2--Shattered here
Book 4--Silenced will be released May 2014.  Can't wait!

About the Author:

Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the romantic suspense series Alaskan Courage, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, and latest release, Stranded. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.  Click here to visit her website.

***I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Snow on the Tulips “Amazon Reader Pack” Giveaway from Liz Tolsma!


About the book: A stranger's life hangs in the balance. But to save him is to risk everything.


The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she's endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia's doorstep, their lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia's faith won't let her turn him out.

As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit's intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.

She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story will end before it even begins.

My Review:
Let me start by saying, I LOVED this book!  Liz Tolsma is a new to me author and she has quickly become one of my favorites.  I love history and this story is actually based on some true facts from the author's own family history.  I loved the way that Liz Tolsma writes and how she is able to describe the scene of the Netherlands under Nazi rule so well.  The story was filled with suspense especially when the Nazi soldiers came knocking on Cornelia's door.  And there is definitely a budding romance between Cornelia and the man she is nursing back to health.  The characters face many hurtles that they have to overcome in order to move ahead with life.  Their faith and trust in God is definitely challenged throughout the war.
Liz Tolsma will be on my favorite authors list for sure!  Her next book Daisies Last Forever will be out May 2014.  So make sure to pick this one up.  You won't be disappointed!!

You can purchase a copy of the book by clicking here.
Click here to read more reviews on the Blog Tour.



Meet the author:
Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. Add a dog and a cat to that mix and there's always something going on at their house. She's spent time teaching second grade, writing advertising for a real estate company, and working as a church secretary, but she always dreamed of becoming an author.

She'd love to have you visit her at www.liztolsma.com.





Giveaway Contest Information:

Liz Tolsma is celebrating the release of her novel, Snow on the Tulipsby giving away an Amazon Reading Pack to one lucky winner. Find out what readers are saying about the book here.

snowtulips-rafflecopter

  One winner will receive:
  • A $50 Amazon gift card
  • Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 16th. Winner will be announced November 18th at Liz's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Liz's blog on the 18th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox! Just enter your email address on the left sidebar of her blog.)

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

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

Burning Sky: A Novel of the American Frontier is Lori Beton's debut novel.  This novel is about a young girl named Willa Obenchain who was kidnapped by Mohawk Indians when she was only 14 years old.  After 12 years of being away with the Mohawks, Willa makes a return to the land she grew up on hoping to be reunited with her family.  Not too far from where she grew up, Will finds an unconscious man and takes pity on him.  Willa pulls him on a travios the rest of the way home only to find her home abandoned and run down.  Now, she must nurse a stranger back to health and uncover the mystery of where her parents and grandmother have gone.

Lori Benton has a done a great job of weaving this story together.  I haven't read too much about the Indians' part in the American Revolution.  I think the emotions were written well and helped to stir up the strong feelings that would of been present during that time.  So much was unknown about the Indians and would of caused a lot of fear among the settlers.  The storyline was strong and kept me wondering throughout what would happen in the end to Willa's land.  I think that Lori has a done a great job with her first novel and I look forward to reading the next one, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn  coming April 15, 2014.

Lori Benton has made a pinterest board of what she envisioned in writing this book.  She has pictures of  Willa Obenchain, Neil MacGregor and others.  So head over to pinterest and see Burning Sky in pictures.  Lori also has a page on her blog that has lots of extras about Burning Sky.  You can find that page here.

If you are interested in learning more about the American Frontier along the New York/Canadian border, pick up this book and enjoy a story that is filled with mystery, suspense and American history.

More Information:
Click here to learn more about the author and here to read the author spotlight.

Buy the book.

Click here to read the first chapter to Burning Sky.


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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Nancy Moser’s The Journey of Josephine Cain 5 book giveaway!

Welcome to the blog tour for Nancy Moser's newest book The Journey of Josephine Caine.  This book is part of the An American Tapestry series.  The other books are: Where the Trail Ends: The Oregon Trail by Melanie Dobson, Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson, Always Remembered by Janelle Mowery, A Lady's Choice by Sandra Robbins, and the Courier of Caswell Hall by Melanie Dobson. Below you'll find information about the book, my review, about the author and how to enter the 5 book giveaway!

About the book: When a socialite from the nation's capital embarks on a journey to the Wild West, her life is changed forever.

A setting populated by hundreds of laborers, outlaws, and Indians is hardly the place for a wealthy general's daughter. But Josephine Cain is determined to visit her father, who supervises the day-to-day work involved in the grandest ambition of post-Civil War America: the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. Life with the railroad is far from the proper life Josephine is used to, and she faces deadly gunfights, harsh weather, and vigilante uprisings. She is torn between the West and the East; between her privileged upbringing and the challenges of a new frontier; between the pull of the suitable beau her parents approve of and an attraction to a rough but charming Irish railroad worker. But if Josephine is willing, she just might find a new life, a unique purpose . . . and true love.


My Review:
Josephine Caine is quite a character who has definitely had everything handed to her.  She starts off as a woman who is quite selfish and used to getting her own way.  I liked the way the author took Josephine from a life ruled by selfishness to one that was passionate about others.  Her transformation throughout the book was fun to see. The story will definitely take you on a wild ride as you encounter twisters, Indians and all that the Wild West has to offer.  The Wild West is quite a lifestyle, and this story will help you to imagine a little of what the pioneers heading West had to endure.  It must of been quite a sight to see these two grand railroads unit the East and the West.  What an amazing period in our nation's history!  So grab your cup of coffee or hot chocolate and pick up this fun read to enjoy.
You can read more reviews from the blog tour by clicking here.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/pq47s


Meet Nancy: Nancy Moser is the best-selling author of more than twenty novels. She is a winner and two-time nominee of the Christy Award, and her latest novel was named to Booklist's "Top 10 Romance Novels of 2011." Nancy and her husband have three grown children and three grandchildren, and they live in the Midwest.

Learn more at Nancy at: http://nancymoser.com/.





Five Book Giveaway Info:

The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser follows the adventures of a D.C. socialite as she gets involved with the building of the Transcontinental Railroad right after the Civil War. Be sure to check out Nancy's fun Pinterest board for the book!

Enter to win 1 of 5 copies of the book!
journeyofcain-rafflecopter

  Five winners will receive:
  • The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 26th. All winners will be announced October 28th at the Litfuse blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit the Litfuse blog on the 28th to see if you won one of the books! 

 

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

Monday, October 21, 2013

Peace on Earth by Mary Engelbreit

It is always fun to review children's books, and this book is just in time to buy for a Christmas gift.  Mary Engelbreit's Peace on Earth is a Christmas Collection of poems, songs, stories and Scripture that is filled with color and will be a keepsake for years to come.  This book would be appropriate for children 4-8 years old.

I thought that Mary Engelbreit did a great job with the illustrations.  The colors are bright and attractive, and the art is fun to look at.  This book definitely puts you in the festive Christmas spirit!  Each Christmas we wrap 25 books from the library and unwrap one book each night.  I'm excited to include this book in our 25 book countdown this year.  I'm looking forward to reading through it with my 5 year and singing the Christmas carols that are in the book too.  Also, I love that one of my favorite hymns All Things Bright and Beautiful by Cecil Alexander is included in the collection. As you read through the book, you will notice all those familiar tunes, poems, and stories you might remember from childhood.  I can see how this book would be one that is passed down and enjoyed for years to come.
So pick up this delightful Christmas collection by Mary Engelbreit and enjoy it this Christmas Season!

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

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Nancy Moser’s The Journey of Josephine Cain 5 book giveaway!

Nancy Moser has released her newest novel which is part of the American Tapestry series.  The blog tour runs from October 8-26th and ends with a 5 book giveaway!  So, head over and enter for the contest and then join me back here on October 23rd when I post my review of this book!


The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser follows the adventures of a D.C. socialite as she gets involved with the building of the Transcontinental Railroad right after the Civil War. Be sure to check out Nancy's fun Pinterest board for the book!

Enter to win 1 of 5 copies of the book!
journeyofcain-rafflecopter

  Five winners will receive:
  • The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 26th. All winners will be announced October 28th at the Litfuse blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit the Litfuse blog on the 28th to see if you won one of the books!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Lynn Austin’s “Return To Me” Kindle HDX Giveaway and Facebook Party | Enter and RSVP today!

Welcome to the blog tour for Lynn Austin's newest book Return to Me.  This is her first book in The Restoration Chronicles series.  Below you will find information about the book, my review, info about the author and how to enter the giveaway for a Kindle HDX!  Thanks for stopping by!


About the book: From the Acclaimed Author of Chronicles of the Kings

After decades of exile, the prophesies are coming true---King Cyrus has declared the Jews may return to Jerusalem. Iddo, a priest, is sure this is a sign of God's renewed favor. For too long they've remained in Babylon, and many, including Iddo's sons, are losing the faith that sets them apart. And so only a few choose to leave everything to return---return to their home and their God.

Nothing about their journey to the Promised Land is easy. As hardships mount, even the faithful, like Iddo's beloved wife, Dinah, question the sacrifice of following God's leading. Zechariah, Iddo's oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather's ancient beliefs and the family they left behind. But one life-changing encounter with the Holy One gives him insight that will change Zechariah---and history---forever.

Bringing the Old Testament to vibrant life, Return to Me tells the compelling story of two men living by faith in the midst of doubt, the women who love them, and the faithful remnant struggling to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.

My Review:
What  a great book!  Lynn Austin has quickly become one of my favorite authors.  I love how she can interest me in the story right from the start.  The feeling and emotion she writes into her characters really makes you connect with them.  This series is unique in that it fictionalizes the biblical account of the return of the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem.  I love how it helps me to identify with the human side of the characters from the Bible.  They were people just like us with fears, worries, and dreams for the future.  It was great to revisit this time of biblical history as I don't really read these portions of Scripture often.  This book has made me anxious to get out my Bible and re-read these passages of Scripture.  Lynn Austin has done a fabulous job with inspiring the reader to be in the Word and to remember the great truths of our God.  If you're looking for a great series to start, then make sure to pick up this book!

You can visit the rest of the blog tour by clicking here and read what others thought about this book!

Click here to purchase your own copy of the book.

 
About Lynn: Bestselling author Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live near Chicago.

You can find out more about Lynn at http://www.lynnaustin.org/.






GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:
Lynn Austin is celebrating the release of Return to Me, the first book in her new Biblical fiction series, The Restoration Chronicles, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat party.
returntome-rafflecopter
 
  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Return to Me by Lynn Austin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 22nd. Winner will be announced at the "Return To Me" Facebook Author Chat Party on October 22nd. Connect with Lynn and friends for an evening of book chat, biblical trivia, prizes, and get an exclusive look at the next book in Lynn's Restoration Chronicles series!

So grab your copy of Return to Me and join Lynn on the evening of October 22nd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word — tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on the 22nd!

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

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Melanie Dobson Book Giveaway!

I was privileged to be on the book tour for Melanie Dobson's newest book, The Courier of Caswell Hall.  It is part of the American Tapestry series by Summerside Press.  Below you will find a description of the book, my review and information about the author.  Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this review.  Five copies of this book are being given away!


About the book: An unlikely spy discovers freedom and love in the midst of the American Revolution.

As the British and Continental armies wage war in 1781, the daughter of a wealthy Virginia plantation owner feels conflict raging in her own heart. Lydia Caswell comes from a family of staunch Loyalists, but she cares only about peace. Her friend Sarah Hammond, however, longs to join the fight. Both women's families have already been divided by a costly war that sets father against son and neighbor against neighbor; a war that makes it impossible to guess who can be trusted.

One snowy night Lydia discovers a wounded man on the riverbank near Caswell Hall, and her decision to save him will change her life. Nathan introduces her to a secret network of spies, couriers, disguises, and coded messages---a network that may be the Patriots' only hope for winning the war. When British officers take over Caswell Hall and wreak havoc on neighboring plantations, Lydia will have to choose between loyalty and freedom; between her family's protection and her own heart's desires.

As both armies gather near Williamsburg for a pivotal battle, both Lydia and Sarah must decide how high a price they are willing to pay to help the men they love.

Part of the American Tapestries™ series: Each standalone novel in this line sets a heart-stirring love story against the backdrop of an epic moment in American history. This is the fifth book in the series.
Purchase a copy: http://amzn.to/1aLxC9s

My Review:
I loved this book!  I love it when a story reaches out and grabs my attention from the very first pages! The Prologue sets the scene and makes you want to know the whole story.  I really enjoyed the history that filled the story.  This story was set in 1781 during the American Revolutionary War.  I guess I never thought about those living in the colonies that were loyal to the King, and how they would of felt about the Rebels.  Being an American and proud of our independence, I only ever thought about all that the Rebels went through to throw off the bondage of Great Britain.  It's always interesting to read a story set during a familiar time in history as it makes that time period come alive.  So if you're looking for a great historical fiction book that is filled with excitement, mystery and a little romance, then this is the book for you! 

You can read more reviews of this book by clicking here.

About the author:
Melanie Dobson is the author of twelve novels; her writing has received numerous accolades including two Carol Awards. Melanie worked in public relations for fifteen years before she began writing fiction full-time. Born and raised in the Midwest, she now resides with her husband and two daughters in Oregon.

Connect with Melanie at: http://melaniedobson.com
Melanie Dobson's latest release, The Courier of Caswell Hall, is a riveting story you won't want to miss. The newest offering in the American Tapestries™ series, it follows an unlikely spy who discovers freedom and love in the midst of the American Revolution.

Giveaway:
Enter to win 1 of 5 copies of the book!

courier-of-caswell-rafflecopter

  Five winners will receive:
  • The Courier of Caswell Hall by Melanie Dobson
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 5th. All winners will be announced October 7th at the Litfuse blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit the Litfuse blog on the 7th to see if you won one of the books! 

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

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