Thank you for stopping by my blog. Lately I have been reviewing books and haven't had as much time to scrap. Hopefully soon I'll get back to scrapping and creating some new files. Thank you for your patience.

I have made files available at absolutely no charge. I do this for fun. I am learning the wonderful Make The Cut (MTC) program and trying to improve my skills. Most of the files have been created from free coloring sheets online. You will need MTC software in order to cut these files. Please use these files for your personal use only and if you want to share them with others please direct others to my blog. I hope you enjoy these files. Comments are always appreciated. If you are not a follower please consider doing so. I have lots of new files that I want to add over the next few months.



PLEASE DO NOT USE MY FILES AS YOUR OWN AND DO NOT POST THEM ELSEWHERE. IF YOU WANT TO SHARE MY WORK WITH OTHERS PLEASE DIRECT THEM TO MY BLOG. THANK YOU

Monday, December 30, 2013

Emma of Aurora

Jane ­Kirkpatrick’s Emma of Aurora is a trilogy that includes the following books: A Clearing in the Wild, A tendering in the Storm, and A Mending at the Edge. This is the Change Cherish Trilogy that is based on the true story of Emma Wagner Giesy. It is Emma’s journey from the colony in Bethel, Missouri to the colony of Aurora in the Washington Territory in the middle 1800s. Emma was an outspoken woman who yearned for independence but also inclusion into the Bethelite Colony. She faced many trials throughout her journey and a lot of times her outspoken ways caused her trouble. I believe she was probably an early version of a women rights activist and was probably ahead of her time. She struggled with her spiritual beliefs and her wants.
First, I would like to say I enjoyed this book but be aware this is 3 books in one and is over 1100 pages. It’s a BIG book and will take some time to read. You can purchase each book individually if the size seems to daunting.
As I was reading I didn’t realize the book was based on a real person. I wish I had known this it may have made the book even more enjoyable. Ms Kirkpatrick seems to have really researched the colony and its residents. She has included an excerpt at the end of the book about her research. (This is when I realized it was based on reality, haha). I guess I should have read the back of the book better.
At times I felt frustrated at the colony and at Emma then I had to realize the 1800’s were vastly different than that of today’s world. I can’t say too much without spoiling so I will just say there were things that I assumed were going to happen and then they didn’t. I will leave it at that. You will just have to read the books to see what I mean. I think I would’ve liked to have seen one more book in this series in order to give me some more closure.  Emma constantly struggled with her personality challenges that were not totally in line with the beliefs of the colony. She struggled with her spiritual life and wanted to desperately do what God wanted her to do. At times I felt she used the “spiritual” beliefs to justify her “wants” and it wasn’t always spiritual at all it was just a means to an end for her. Emma was at a constant war with herself and at times would seem selfish but I can’t say that I would be much different. Again I had to remind myself that this was a different era and the expectations of women were very different than they are now. She wanted equality and I found myself wanting equality for her much like what we have today.
At times the scripture seemed to be used incorrectly but again it seemed as though the characters were trying to us it to meet their “wants” or to make them “right” to another person. The three books flowed easily together and if you were reading them separately you definitely would want to read them in order. I’m not sure they could be stand alone books.
I would recommend this book if you like historical books and if you have the time to sit down and read. It’s not a book that you will finish quickly and it’s not really a romantic type book. It is more of a religious journey with life and hardships that one would face in the 1800s.
I was given this book at no charge by Waterbrook in exchange for an honest review. A favorable review was not expected.

Please rank my review:

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The War on Christmas

 
 
The War on Christmas: Battles in Faith, Tradition, and Religious Expression a book to help “Find the truth about Christmas and the Christian’s response to a culture that seems to be declaring war on traditions and the Bible!”­
I have become so tired of trying to defend my Christian beliefs and the reasons we do the things we do. I have been approached by even Christian people who have be confused about holidays that we celebrate and at times even question if they are right or not. I was excited to receive this book to read and review to see if maybe it could clear up some of the confusion. Although reading some of it seemed almost like reading a textbook and some of the information I already knew it did make some interesting points. A point that was made that I liked was if we are uplifting Christ and making it about Him how could it be wrong? We are after all praising Him. Now if we are turning a Christian holiday into something else I feel it would be wrong. As a Christian I feel we should take any opportunity we can to uplift His name. I have also been asked about the decorating of the tree that is mentioned in the bible as wrong and the book addressed this. I’m glad that I now know what the tree in the bible represented and can pass that along. You will have to read the book to find out J.
I liked that the book included biblical references and not just opinions. I believe anytime we defend our Christian beliefs it should be backed up by His Word. The book seemed to be a little choppy but other than that it was well written and beautifully illustrated. I do wish there was some more elaboration on a few issues but overall I enjoyed the book. I wouldn’t say it was life changing or overly enlightening but there are some good points that could be brought up when one is questioned about the holiday. If you are questioning the Christmas holiday pick this book up and give it a read.
I was given this book by Handlebar Publishing at no charge for an honest review.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Enter lens give away

Here is where you can enter lens give away.
http://cravemyphotography.com/blog/

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fatal Tide

Lis Wiehl’s book number three in the East Salem Trilogy, Fatal Tide, does a great job wrapping up the series. “In East Salem, the Elite St. Adrian’s Academy is at the nexus of the satanic apocalypse – and the fatal tide is rising.’ Fatal Tide continues with Tommy and Dani trying to solve the spiritual mystery that has invaded the town. Everything seems to be centered around the school. There are evil entities lurking everywhere. Can they get to the bottom of this mystery before it is too late?
This trilogy brings forward a spiritual warfare that exists around us daily and we may not even be aware of it. I highly recommend reading these books in order or you may be lost. As I posted in my first review of Lis Wiehl’s first book in this series last year, her books are written kind of like Frank Peretti or Ted Dekker. The demons take on physical forms that can be seen as do the angels. There are battles between the two all through the story. She did a good job holding my interest and at times I found it hard to put the book down. I’m not sure it is a good book to read right before bedtime if you are prone to have sleeping problems or nightmares, but I read it anyway. I love this style of writing but if you have a problem trying to visualize the spirit world in a realistic, tangible way you may not enjoy it. If you have never read one of her books I suggest you start to see if you like her writing style. Her style may not be for everyone but I personally love the difference from other authors. I read a lot of different genres of books and the predictable gets old. I thing this series isn’t completely predictable although there are some parts of it that are. There is a little romance going on mixed with mystery and spiritual warfare.
I would recommend this book to others and have done so with my husband. Sometimes (at least in my brain) I feel like men will shy away from female authors I would shout out please don’t take that attitude with Lis Wiehl. Her books are by no means “girlie” books and can be enjoyed by both genders equally.
I received this book from booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review.
 

My Hope is Found

I really liked My Hope is Found the third book in the Cadence of Grace Series by Joanne Bischof. I’ve read all three books in this series and the third one didn’t disappoint. 
“Gideon O’Riley has been given another chance a life with Lonnie. But will the fight for her heart risk it all over again?”  In the earlier books Gideon and Lonnie faced a series of events that separated them. In book three things are changing. Lonnie is moving on with her life trying to get Gideon out of her head. Gideon is gone on with his new life. Events happen that change everything but is it too late for Lonnie and Gideon? Love is in the air but is it love for Gideon or Lonnie’s new beau Toby.
I would suggest that you start from the beginning with these books or you may not connect with the characters and it may not be as enjoyable. This book is a light, easy read. It shows that God has a plan for our lives, and that He works even when we don’t think He is. I wouldn’t say there is any great mystery with this story but I found myself wanting to see what happens next. I hope there is a continuation with some of the characters maybe in another series. I can’t say who because I don’t want to give any of the storyline away.
If you like historical, romance novels then this is a good series for you to read. I would recommend it to others.
I received this book from Waterbrook/Multenomah at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Prairie Song

Prairie Song by Mona Hodgson is the first book in her new series Hearts Seeking Home. Although this is the first book in this series it continues the stories from her series The Quilted Heart. You could read this book without reading the other series but I feel like the other books allow you to get to know the characters of this book. I would definitely suggest reading The Quilted Heart series first if possible.
The Boone Lick Company Wagon Train is getting ready to head west. Families and friends are parting ways, some are staying in Saint Charles while others are venturing westward. Anna Goben is hoping that the trip will help heal her family after they suffered the loss of her brother in the Civil War. Caleb Reger  one of the trail hands wants to hide his secrets and his pains from the war. Anna and Caleb really don’t like each other very much and want to avoid each other as much as possible but God may have other plans.
I enjoyed reading this new book. I’m glad it picked up where The Quilted Heart series left off. The book leaves a few unanswered questions which drives me nuts as I have to wait for the next book. But overall I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves historical, romance novels. I think you will enjoy this series. If you have read The Quilted Heart series then you definitely want to start the Hearts Seeking Home series to see were the journey leads the families who left Saint Charles. Just like her other books this one is filled with adventure, love, disappointment, highs and lows.
I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book with no anticipation of review but I decided to review it anyway.  You can now purchase this book here.

Please rank my review

Heritage Kit by Project Life




I just received my second Project Life Core Kit from www.amazon.com . I love genealogy and have been looking for a way to do a scrapbook of all of the wonderful, old family pictures I have collected over the last few years. Once again life has gotten in the way and I haven't had the time to sit down and finish scrapbooks the way I would like to. Becky Higgins just released the Heritage Core Kit and this has become my perfect solution. When I saw that this kit was coming I waited patiently  not so patiently on this kit. I was keeping a close eye on her blog awaiting the announcement of this new kit. Well it finally hit the shelves of amazon and I purchased it quickly. My hat's off to amazon who got it to me in 2 days. Thank you amazon prime :) Now I have my solution and I have been getting my pictures together. I'm a little weird, I will scan all of my originals and keep them in a safe place. I will likely scrap the copies. I know this sounds strange but I keep my scans on dvd's in a safe and these irreplaceable originals will also go into the safe.
 
When I received my kit I immediately fell in love with the mute brown and black tones. The cards will work well with any type of picture; colored, black and white, as well as sepia. Keeping with the great quality of the designers of Project Life the cards come in a sectioned box with a magnetic closure with suggestions to help you get started on the lid. I loved this kit so much when I opened the box but then it hit me I have some photos that I would like to feature on a traditional page so I immediately went shopping again. :) I purchased the matching 12x12 papers and the page dividers. Although, the pages will not be divided on a monthly basis I will divide they my generation.
 
The 12x12 papers are of the same quality as the core kit cards, my only complaint would be they do not come packaged as well as the cards. They are packaged with a cardboard insert to keep the papers from bending and then shrink wrapped. They aren't as easy to store with the kits as I would like them to be. Once they are opened they are loose and could easily be damaged. It would be nice if the paper had better storing packaging. I used the box that my page protectors came in to store the paper so that it wouldn't get damaged or seperated from my kit.
 
 I'm hoping to finish this album and include some family history to pass on to my daughter and hopefully she will be able to pass on a little of our heritage to her children if God sees that in her future.

Project Life by Becky Higgins Review

I am usually a traditional scrapbooker but I have recently come across a product that I am absolutely in love with. Project Life by Becky Higgins is a new way to look at scrapbooking. It is designed to scrap your everyday life without taking too much time. I have to be honest I am a little intimidated by a product that is supposed to make my scrapping easier. The reason being is I don’t typically scrap everyday life, I tend to scrap trips, holidays, and events so this has been a challenge for me. I have yet to dive in full force but I am determined to do it. One of my major problems is getting caught up on printing pictures that I so long neglected but I am working on it. I have managed to stay somewhat up to date for 2013 while trying to go back and print from prior years. I had only been printing things that I was in the process of scrapping. BIG MISTAKE now I’m way behind and it is costing a fortune to print. Oh well I am going to get there.
Now for Project Life, I purchased my 1st kit on HSN when it was a special value of the day. It included an album, 60 page protectors,12  page dividers, and 1 Core Kit  that includes 616 cards. I chose the Jade edition. The core kit has enough cards to complete album.  I think the cost was close to $50.00 but I have enough materials to complete and entire album with no additional cost.
1st – The album is very well made. It is a three ringed binder type of album with plenty of room. There are metal corner protectors and metal plate window on the binding for labeling your project.
2nd – The page protectors include spaces  for 4x6 cards and photos as well as 2x3 spaces. The protectors that came with the kit on HSN included 40 pages that the 4x6’s spaces are in landscape, and 20 pages the 4x6 are in portrait orientation. The protectors seem sturdy and the cards fit into the pockets nicely. You can purchase page protectors for your Project Life project that have various orientations of pockets as well as traditional 12x12 pages if you want to include a few more “traditional” pages.
3rd – There are 12 page dividers (designed to separate your 12 months) They are printed acetate dividers and are equally beautiful. Don’t forget to remove the clear covering that protects them. It is very difficult to see and if I hadn’t read about someone trying to remove them I wouldn’t even have known they were there.
4th – The cards in the core kit are absolutely beautiful. The paper quality is wonderful with the weight equal to a light weight to medium weight card stock. Most are double-sided and match beautifully with each other. They are designed so that you can slip them into the pockets with little thought and they go great with each other. You do not need any glue or scissors for your project. Now if you are like me you are going to want to add a little bling. Wink wink. But the album will look gorgeous without any bling. The cards come in a divided box with a magnetic closure. It is very well designed and thought out. There are suggestions to help you get started on the inside cover of the storage box and a few of the cards that aren’t double-sided have suggested placement guides.
In short Project Life is a great way to document everyday life, which are the important moments that tell who we really are. It is for the busy person who doesn’t have a lot of time to sit down and spend hours on layouts. So if you feel like you want to scrapbook and don’t have the time this will be a wonderful way for you to get started. Or if you feel like you are never going to get caught up, maybe you can in a weekend.  And if you are like me and usually scrap themes you can easily adapt this system to do so with no problems. I definitely recommend Project Life to anyone who wants to document your life!!!! Thank you Becky Higgins for bringing us this wonderful, new way of scrapbooking.
 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Blue Ribbon Scrapbook

I entered one of my scrapbooks in the fair this year. Yay it got 1st place!!!! It is an album from a trip we took in 2008. Yes, yes I am way behind but that's okay. I may or may not catch up but it's all about the fun of creating.
This is the 2nd time I have entered a scrapbook and both albums got 1st place so I'm pretty pleased.
Forgive the quality of some of the pictures. I snapped them quickly and only included a few. I'll try to add more later.
 




 
 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Harriet Beamer Strikes Gold

 
Harriet Beamer Strikes Gold by Joyce Magnin was a fun book to read. “After a whirlwind cross-country move, Harriet and her devout loving basset hound, Humphry have settled into a new life in Grass Valley, California. When Harriet learns that she’s going to be a grandma for the first time and gets a new suite for her salt and peper shaker collection, she can’t wait for her best friend, Martha to come visit so she come share her good news.”  Harriet seems a little bored with her life in California and starts on a new adventure with a Gold Mine. This little adventure quickly turns into a big adventure which may get Harriet in a mess.
This was my first Harriet Beamer book and I found it really fun to read. I couldn’t help but to think that she reminds me of the children’s book character Amellia Bedillia at a senior level. She’s so full of energy and adventure that at times I found her character to almost be exhausting but in a good way. I think the book is probably geared more to the more senior adults out there but still enjoyable to me. I’m not sure younger readers would enjoy it as much. I really liked Harriet’s adventurous spirit but at times wanted to shake her and say “That’s not a good Idea.” I could just imagine a 70+ year old woman riding around in town on a scooter. I hope when I get there I can have such a lively personality.
I would recommend this book to others to read especially if you are looking for a light-hearted, comical book with a touch of family and love for others. I received this book at no charge from booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review.
 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Redeeming Love

I am so glad that I got to review this book. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is “A powerful retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea.” I could hardly put this book down once I started it. The author did a wonderful job of retelling the story of Gomer and Hosea without it being the story from the bible about Gomer and Hosea. The book is set in the 1850’s during California’s gold rush.
“Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive.” “Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything. Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to lover her unconditionally.”
This page turner is an excellent example of God’s love for us if we follow His will. We can’t see what all He has in store for us neither can we understand why we must endure some of the things that we have to. Michael is an example of how we should strive to follow God’s wills even when we don’t understand. I would strongly recommend this book for anyone who thinks they can’t be forgiven for their past or who have struggled with issues that have made them bitter or angry. I would recommend this book for just about everyone would probably be a more accurate statement to make. I can’t say enough good about it.
Mrs. Rivers has written this book in a unique way that just jumps out and holds onto you. It is thought provoking and an eye opener. She has written in a way that she shows God’s forgiveness for those who feel condemned because of their lives and their sins. She also shows how we shouldn’t judge things that we may have no idea about because we can’t always see how God is working in other’s lives, and she shows us how we should be forgiving as God has been forgiving to us.
There is a six-part reading group guide included in the book and would be a wonderful book for a reading group or club.
Please read this book you will not be disappointed. I received this book from Multnomah at no charge in exchange for an honest review. You can purchase this book here.
Please rank my review

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Bride for All Seasons

A Bride for All Seasons: The Mail-Order Bride Collection is a collection of four short novellas by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Robin Lee Hatcher. It is basically four books in one and each could stand alone and are around 100 pages or less each.
The first is And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley. The second is And Ever-After Summer by Debra Clopton next comes Autumn’s Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher and lastly is Mary Connealy’s Winter Wedding Bells. I will not go into the description of each story in this review because of the different story lines. I will say that the common thread for each story is only “The Hitching Post, Mail Order Bride Catalogue.” Each is a different tale of the experiences of four different potential brides and grooms.
I really enjoyed the mini books and read through them very quickly finishing in just a few nights. They are typical, historic, romance novels or novellas in that they are pretty predictable but still very enjoyable to read. Each leading character has their own personality and is fun to get to know. The time is set just after the Civil War when a lot of women want to get married but there aren’t enough men out there so they turn to the catalogue. At the beginning of each story there is a short prologue that helps you get to know who the people are and what they are looking for. Three of the four stories explain the mail order letters the other explains more of the predicament that the parties are in and why they are looking at mail order marriages. I find the owner of the Hitching Post, Melvin Hitchcock, a funny character kind of playing God with these people’s lives. If he doesn’t approve of the way a letter is written he tweaks them so they will be more appealing to the potential spouse on the other end.  Sometimes more than not the letters are completely different than what they started as and make for awkward meetings for the couples.
There is a spiritual side to each of the meetings usually one or the other feels that it is God’s will that things happen the way they do. I can’t imagine ever being a mail order bride but I’m assuming that it may have been pretty common place in the early history of our country. This book is fun and gives a good picture of the time. I can imagine myself being there seeing the sights and sounds of each of the small towns. If you enjoy light historical romances you will love this book. I would recommend this to others. Each author has done a great job and even though every story is completely different and set in different areas of country there is still cohesiveness between them.
I received this book at no charge from booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bending Toward the Sun and Ripples Along the Shore


This review will be a little different. I’m going to review 2 books at one time. I recently reviewed Mona Hodgsons’ book Dandelions on the Wind: The Quilted Heart series. I really enjoyed the novella and had the opportunity to review the third one in the series but I didn’t want to skip the 2nd one. I purchased Bending Toward the Sun from Amazon and then received Ripples Along the Shore to review from the publisher.
I really enjoyed these two books just as much as the first one. The characters continued and new stories developed. The second book focused on Emily Heinrich the storekeeper’s daughter.  It also continued with the previous story of Maren.
Divided between the love of her father and the desires of her heart, Emilie Heinrich must rely on the love and wisdom of the women in her quilting circle for support. Since Emilie is dedicated to her education and to helping her father in his general store, she is convinced she doesn't have time for love. But when a childhood friend returns to St. Charles, Missouri, after serving in the Civil War, his smile and charm captures Emilie’s eye and her heart.”
I really loved the stories behind the quilts in the quilting circle. The first novella didn’t mention a lot about the quilting portion of the books but the author seemed to incorporate more in the second and third books. Emily struggles with wanting to please her father and go to school but she also wants to follow her heart.
In book three Ripples Along the Shore once again continues with Maren and Emily and their new lives and adds another character: Caroline.
“When Caroline Milburn steps off the boat and back into her hometown of St. Charles, MO, part of her wishes she could step right back on board and sail away. St. Charles, though home to her beloved friends and quilting circle, hasn’t felt like home since the death of her husband. And living with her sister, Jewell’s family hasn’t provided much balm for her grieving heart. Caroline knows something needs to change—but for now she’s stuck sharing her sister’s home, and enduring the anger and bitterness of her brother-in-law.”
Also, it this book a lot of it centered around the ladies and their quilting circle, but this time the circle is going to be broken. Some of the ladies and their families will be leaving to go west and others will be staying. They decide to make 2 different quilts. Caroline is determined to go west but it wouldn’t be proper for a widowed lady to travel alone. She’s very disappointed when she thinks she isn’t going to get to go.
With each book new characters are introduced and old characters remain. I assume there will be more novellas in this series. I believe you should start with the 1st one and move through. They are very short around 100 pages and are quick reads. There aren’t a lot of surprises but the storylines are fun to read and I really feel like I could be right there with them. If you are looking for a quick and easy read this is the series for you.
 I received Ripples Along the Shore from Waterbrook Publishing at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

Please rank my review for Bending Toward the Sun


Please rank my review for Ripples Along the Shore

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Dandelions on the Wind

Dandelions on the Wind is the first novella of The Quilted Heart series, by Mona Hodgson. Maren Jenson came to America as a mail order bride from Denmark but her future husband decided he didn’t want to marry her after finding out about an ailment that she has. She moves in with Ms. Brantenberg and works for her for room and board. Ms. Brantenberg’s widowed son-in-law returns from the war and begins to fall for Maren. The question is can she overcome her fears to allow herself to fall for him.
This book is a very quick read being a novella and quite short but the author does a wonderful job letting us get to know the characters. I love her ability to be able to pull me in and keep me interested. I’ve read other novellas from other authors and haven’t enjoyed them because many times I felt cheated by the ending. Not this book, yes it left me wanting to read the next one but it didn’t make me feel like I was missing anything. If you love historical, romance, and easy reading books you will like this one. If you are looking for a full blown novel with complex subject matter this may not be a book for you. I personally loved it and can’t wait to read more.
You can purchase this book here
 
I received this book from Waterbrook/Multenomah at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

Please rank my review

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Point: The Redemption of Oban Ironbout

The Point: The Redemption of Oban Ironbout by William E. Jefferson is a book about  “Searching for peace and inspiration, Hollie and Goodwin Macbreeze travel to the Isle of Estillyen-a distant harbor known or bringing ancients words of worth to the present.”
I was really looking forward to reading The Point. I had read an excerpt before I got the chance to review it and it really seemed very interesting. I tried and tried to get through this book and just couldn’t finish it. There were two aspects to this book. Hollie and Goodwin travelled to this island for answers.  There were monks on the island and the couple would go to readings for enlightenment I guess would be a good way to put it. Then there was the mystery of Goodwin and the house that he had drawn when he was young. He wanted to learn more about that house and of the stories his grandfather had told him. I really couldn’t get into the “readings” this is the part of the book that I didn’t like for some reason.  I just found them strange I guess. I did however like the “Goodwin” portion of the story I will continue to skim through the book to see what happens on the point and find out what the story is behind the house on the point. I have had this book for more than a month and have had to put it down several times and read something that I enjoy. I always try to finish a book in order to review it but I found that I really didn’t want to read this one and it was a chore just to pick it up and start it again. Maybe one day I will get completely through it and will revisit this review but I’ve read half and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t for me.
I’m sure there are others who will find this type of book enjoyable but unfortunately I was one of them. I received this book at no charge from Handlebar Publishers in exchange for an honest review

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gone South

Meg Moseley’s novel Gone South was wonderful.  I couldn’t put this book down.  Leaving frosty Michigan for the Deep South was never a blip in the simple plans of Tish McComb imagined for her life, dreams of marriage and family that were dashed five years earlier in a tragic accident.”  Now an opportunity to buy her great-great-great grandparents home beckons her to move to Noble Alabama where she finds the McCombs aren’t welcome.
I fell in love with this book from the beginning being from the south I understand some of the prejudice that can exist. Ms Moseley pulled me in from the start. I loved the characters and the backdrop for the story. Tish had recently lost 2 people she loved one being her father. He had taken her to her family’s home a couple of years earlier but they weren’t able to see it but from the outside. On a whim she decided to go back to Noble and get a peak out the house. The novel shows her struggle as she decides to move from her current home to the old family home. The town’s people aren’t very receptive of her. Her desire is to fit in and start her life. I would love to walk into a house like the one describe in Gone South. Tish learns more about her family through some of her father’s research and from some of the people in town and finds a few skeletons. She tries to overcome much adversity and enjoy her new life.
I felt like I was walking down the streets and going into the stores in Noble Alabama.  I am into genealogy and found that I loved the twists and turns of the family and see how “secrets” come to life and how the “truth” can be made up. The characters were colorful and believable. There is a little bit of mystery that keeps you turning the page. There is a story of forgiveness and cutting loose when necessary. And there is a little bit of romance. If you like these things you will love this well written book. I hope there is another book to go with this one. It sure left me wanting more. There are a couple of “loose ends” that I would like to see what the author had in mind. I can see so many ways this book could go to completed a second one.  I would definitely recommend this book to others!!!
I received this book from Multnomah at no charge for an honest review.

You can purchase this book here

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Simply Delicious Amish Cooking

Monday, April 29, 2013

Though My Heart is Torn

Though My Heart is Torn, The Cadence of Grace book 2 by Joanne Bischof is the sequel to Be Still My Soul.  “Gideon O’Riley has two wives-but he doesn’t know it.”  Lonnie and Gideon have finally found happiness after the rocky start to their marriage but a strange turn events tears their lives apart.
I thoroughly enjoyed Be Still My Soul so when I got the opportunity to review Though My Heart is Torn I jumped at the chance. I was not disappointed. The book may be a little hard to understand if you haven’t read the first one though. You will miss the whole saga of how Gideon and Lonnie became husband and wife so I would suggest reading the 1st one before reading this one.
I found myself heartbroken for the couple after they had overcome so many struggles to get to a place in their marriage and they were so happy and then faced with this trial.  I really enjoyed the characters in the 1st book and all of them were included in this one with some additional people added. The author does a really good job with keeping with the era and backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She brings the characters to life. She brings out the struggles of both Lonnie and Gideon and through their faith they believe God’s grace will bring them through. Even though it is difficult they both are trying hard to move on with the new life they have been dealt.  I couldn’t put this book down once I started it.  With the way the book ended I’m sure there will be a 3rd in this series and I can’t wait to read it also.
If you love Christian romances this book is for you. I received this book at no charge from Multnomah publishing for an honest review. You can purchase a copy of this book here.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Invisible

Invisible by Ginny L Yttrup is an awesome book. I have to say it is right at the top of my favorites list. It is a unique Christian fiction that feels more like reality. I’ve read it at a time in my life when I really need it.
 It’s a story of a group of people who seemingly have nothing in common. Ellyn is a chef who struggles with her weight and eating too much.  Twila, a 27 year old nutritionist, who struggles with an eating disorder. Sabina, a psychologist, who is struggling with depression. And Miles, a doctor who lost his wife a few years earlier because of cancer struggling with the fact he couldn’t do enough to save her all looking for a way to be invisible.
The story intermingles the life of each individual person and an intricate web is woven that brings each of them together. The author does a wonderful job at pulling you into the lives of these people. Ellyn is the common denominator of the group. They are each drawn to her for different reasons. God has put them together to help them heal and grow. They learn they have more in common than they expected.
The author has broken the book up with headings using each person’s name. It is very easy to follow who is who. The book has wonderful insights on what God wants for each of our lives. Several points have stuck in my mind one being that sometimes when we believe we are responsible for situations we are putting ourselves on the same level as God. He after all is the one and only Creator and is in control of all things. We are only put here to facilitate and do what He would have us to do. He wants us to use the things He gives us to help other and to teach others about Him. We are made in His image.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good Christian fiction and anyone who has ever asked God “Why?”  As I said before it is one of my new favorite books.
I received this book from Handlebar Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Truth Stained Lies

I have loved every book that I have read by Terri Blackstock and Truth Stained Lies is no exception. I could not put it down. My biggest con of the book is that I shouldn’t have picked it up at night before bedtime. I stayed up two nights in a row until 2 or 3 am reading it.
“Cathy Cramer is a former lawyer and investigative blogger who writes commentary on high-profile homicides. When she finds a threatening not warning her that she’s about to experience the same kind of judgment and speculation that she dishes out in her blog. Cathy writes it off as mischief….”
Cathy’s family is thrown into turmoil after she receives this letter. It doesn’t hit her at first but then things keep happening. Her brother faces jail for a crime he didn’t commit and then his son is kidnapped. One thing right after another happens. Cathy’s family pulls together to work it all out. And throw in a little “romance” to boot.
The characters were so fun to get to know. I loved the plot it was very believable and not far out in left field somewhere. This could be a true story that could happen very easily. I don’t enjoy reading books that are unbelievable I believe that is why I loved this book. Terri sticks to events and people that are realistic. I like the way that she includes more than just mystery. I love the little tidbits of romance that she adds in.
If you love a good mystery you will love this book. If you like romance you will like this book. If you like books by Terri Blackstock you will like this book. If you’ve never read anything by her you need to start. Happy reading.
I received this book from booksneeze.com at no charge for an honest review.

We finally had a beautiful spring day

Well spring has finally sprung in Northeast Tennessee. We had a beautiful day and the family and I were able to take a little weekend trip to Museum of Appalachia. I got to finally get out and get back to a little photography.
 
I think my new favorite animal is the peacock.
 
 
 

North of Hope: A Daughter's Arctic Journey

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wishing on Willows

 
After reading Wildflowers in Winter I was looking forward to Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert and I wasn’t disappointed.
“A three-year old son, a struggling café, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband. As the proud owner of Willow Tree Café in small town Peaks, Iowa, she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.”

“So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her café and a vital town ministry are located, she isn’t about to let go without a fight.”
Robin had suffered so much and now Ian threatens to take one more link to her late husband. She is so torn. The author once again did a wonderful job at bringing the entire story to life. The characters were so easy to get to know and fall in love with. I found myself cheering Robin on (knowing in the end she would probably make the right decisions). She was always so busy helping others but feeling like she was losing everything. Would Ian be a thorn in her flesh or her knight in shining armor? There are no great surprises in the book and I would say it is light reading. I would start and had a hard time putting it down. I really enjoyed the book. I think if you love Christian, romance novels this is one that you won’t want to miss.
This book was provided to me at no charge from Blogging for Books for an honest review
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Echoes

Echoes by Robin Jones Gunn is the third book in the Glenbrooke series. I didn’t realize this when I chose this book to review. I really hate it when I start with a book in the middle of the series without reading the others first.  That being said I still enjoyed this book. I don’t think that not reading the other books hurt the story at all but I would like to go back and read the others now. 
The story is based on the relationship between KC & Wren (Lauren) who met online. The only thing that seemed strange to me is that this story is set in a modern setting but Lauren a 25 year old didn’t have a computer and really didn’t know how to use one. I find this a little unbelievable and made me feel more like the book should have been set in the early 1990’s. Today’s world is too full of technology to make this part of the plot believable to me. The story line was still enjoyable and I found myself reading just “One more chapter and I’ll stop.” The story is predictable and there are no huge surprises but none the less still a fun read. The ending left me slightly disappointed but I believe it will pick up in the next book. I guess I was looking for an epilogue. I have never read anything that Robin Jones Gunn that I haven’t enjoyed. I would recommend this book to any audience who loves a good romance fiction. I would suggest you read the other two books first I think it would probably add to the story but even if you don’t you can still enjoy this one.
I received this book at not charge from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
You can purchase a copy of this book here

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Friday, March 1, 2013

A Sudden Glory

I really, really wanted to enjoy this book but I just can’t say that I did. Maybe it was just not the right time for me.  I would read it and get through a few pages and find myself not really interested. To me it was full of good stories that were the same stories over and over. One part that I did like or that stuck out to me was that we should not divide our spiritual life from our daily life. If we look at everything we do we should be doing it with the joy of the Lord. I can see that this is a very important point. I fail sometimes in life and make things more of a chore than they have to be. Maybe if I could use her advice and realize that I’m doing what God has planned for me they would not seem as much of a chore but instead a blessing. Sharon Jaynes sums the book up nicely telling us that it’s not the “work” that we do but that the life we live with Christ. I just never found the real “meat” of the book. I will keep the book on my bookshelf for a while to see if God leads me to read it again.
I received this book at no charge from Blogging for Books for an honest review

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Goodbye to Yesterday

 
Goodbye to Yesterday by Wanda & Brunstetter isn't the genre of book that I usually read but I'm always open to new genres. This book is part 1 of a 6 part saga set in Lancaster County and is an Amish fiction. Luke Stoltzfus and newly wed wife Meredith face numerous challenges after he loses his job at a furniture store. He decides to take his uncle up on an offer to come to Indiana and learn a new trade. Will they be able to survive with one another?
 
First, this book was a quick read. I read it in about 2 hours. It has an interesting storyline and has the potential to be a good series. The characters are likable and easy "to get to know". I was really enjoying the book and then it just ends. It reminded me of watching a movie on tv and then receiving the disappointing "to be continued" line. I was disappointed with the ending of the book as I felt it was unfinished. I guess I'm used to reading series books that are full novels. This felt more like a partial, unfinished story that probably should have been written as a novel with all parts included in one book instead of a series. Other than that I liked the book and would like to finish the story. I wish the story would been completed in one book and the next "saga" begin in the next one. Maybe the authors intend to keep it light and a quick read.I would probably give this book a 2 or 3 stars out of 5 just because of the abrupt ending.
 
This book was furnished to me by Handlebar Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Secretly Smitten

 
A sequel to Smitten by authors Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter once again gives us four romantic stories set in the fictional town of Smitten, Vermont. The stories center around three Thomas's sisters, Tess, Clare, and Zoe, along with their mother, Anna, and their grandmother, Rose.

Love Between the Lines is the first story by Colleen Coble. Tess is in her grandmother's attic and comes across a pair of dog tags belonging to a man named David Hutchins. She is trying to figure out who the tags belong to when her grandmother tells her about her first love who died during the war. Rose has no idea how his dog tags are in her attic because she thought they had never been recovered. Tess decides to investigate the mystery against her mother’s wishes. Will her search turn up anything, will it help or hurt her grandmother, and will she find love in the process?


Make Me a match by Kristin Billerbeck is the second story. In this novella Zoe Thomas is opening a matchmaking business called Cupid’s Matchmaking Services. Her opening may be put on hold when the new city manager, William, begins enforcing codes and regulations at her. As Zoe struggles to start her business she finds herself falling for a man who is causing her trouble.

Knit One, Love Two, the third story written by Diann Hunt is about the Thomas sisters' mother, Anna, the owner of Smitten's only knit shop called Sit 'n Knit. She is a divorced woman and the majority of her life revolves around her three grown daughters. When Michael comes into her store he makes her rethink being single.




The last story, Love Blooms by Denise Hunter is about Clare, a nursery manager, just got dumped by her boyfriend Josh because she was boring. She decides that she will no longer live a boring life and makes a hasty decision to hire a drifter she finds taking shelter in a storage building, Ethan. While training Ethan he becomes ill and stays in bed until she can return to work. She is terrified that she made a mistake in her haste. She struggles with her feelings for Ethan until she realizes what she may have lost. This story also brings to light the mystery of the dog tags.





This book is a pleasure to read and it isn’t necessary to have read the 1st one in order to enjoy this one. Smitten gave you the history of the town but Secretly Smitten doesn’t go into any of that. Each story is pretty short and can be read quickly. The characters are fun and believable.  This book is not a book that will cause you to “think” about it, it is just an enjoyable, predictable romance. The stories don’t have the depth and character of a stand-alone novels but you still get a good feel of the community and it’s people. If you’re looking for the unexpected this isn’t the book for you.  But if you love a good, old-fashioned romance you have it. I read it in just a couple of evenings and would recommend it if you enjoy a “light” read. I have enjoyed this series and I love these authors.
I received this ebook at no charge from booksneeze.com for an honest review.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Karen Kingsbury Collection

Three books in one how can you go wrong?  Karen Kingsbury is one of my favorite authors. This book is a collection of 3 of her stand alone books:  Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Comes to Stay, and On Every Side. Kingsbury books will pull you in and these 3 stories are no different. Be prepared with a box of tissues her books are almost always tear-jerkers and these 3 are no exception.
Where Yesterday Lives is a story about Ellen Barrett and her family after her father dies. She has been estranged from her siblings and her father’s death made it worse. Things get worse with her marriage also falling apart. Only God can help her deal with her past and help her get her life in order.
When Joy Comes to Stay is about Maggie Stovall who is dealing with depression and family problems all stemming from giving up her child for adoption 10 years earlier. Keeping the secret really is taking a toll on her and her husband. Can God heal her and marriage?
On Every Side was a little out of place with the other two stories, but I still enjoyed it.  Faith Evans is a newscaster who finds herself defending her faith when controversy strikes over a statue of Jesus that stands in the middle of a park. Jordan Riley who is fighting to have the statue removed believes Faith is wrong. What will happen between these two who are fighting for what both believe is right, will they be able to find some common ground?
I always recommend anything by Karen Kingsbury. Her books are interesting and well written. They will hold your interest if you like Christian romance novels. Again be aware that they will make you cry.
You can purchase this book here

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Sisterchicks in Gondolas



This is the first Sisterchicks book I have read. Sisterchicks in Gondolas by Robin Jones Guinn is about 2 women who embark on a journey to Italy:  One a divorced lady with a grown daughter and her sister-in-law who has had her share of struggles in the past few years.

The book is about mentally healing from various events in each of the ladies lives. Jenna is asked to cook and serve some men who are coming to Italy for a retreat. Jenna doesn’t have the greatest cooking skills and knows that her more timid sister-in-law could use the trip and also has the cooking skills needed.

The retreat, although for the men, helps Jenna and Sue heal from their struggles. They learn much about their own lives by watching and serving the men. They get to learn how wonderful it is to serve others but they also get to explore Italy. In the end they know what they must do with their lives. I really enjoyed reading this book. It was somehow calming to me as I read it. I felt as though I could be riding in a gondola in Venice right along with them. The author did such a wonderful job describing the sights, sounds, and smells of Venice. I could imagine myself walking through the streets.  The only negative thing that I could say about this book is that it made me a little jealous that I couldn’t be on this trip with them.  

You can purchase this book here.

This book was provided to me at no charge by Multnomah publishing in exchange for an honest review.
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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Every Perfect Gift

 
“Ethan and Sophie long to share a future together. But the secrets they’re not sharing could tear them apart.” Every Perfect Gift  by Dorothy Love is a novel set in the mountains of East Tennessee in the 1800s. A small town is getting a new hotel, a reestablished newspaper, and much more. Sophie a former resident and orphan of the small town returns to run the newspaper where she meets Ethan. Both are fighting demons from their past and it is affecting their newfound relationship.
I’m from the beautiful area of East Tennessee and that is why I chose this book to review. I love the Blue Ridge Mountains and the people here. This book did a wonderful job of capturing the area and its roots. I can imagine how it was over 150 years ago and the excitement that townspeople must’ve felt as railroads and expansion moved in. I live in the oldest town in Tennessee so I know a bit about the history here. Ms. Love did an excellent job when presenting what it must have been like and capturing the essence of an early 1850s small town. The characters were true to the people who lived here and many who still do. They were very believable and that is something that I find very important. The plot was also realistic and easy to follow. The people were very colorful with each having something to bring to the story. I loved the friendship that developed between Sophie and Gillie. Sophie has overcome a lot to get to this place. The town had not treated her so kindly when she was a child in the orphanage. I will not go into detail about that because I don’t want to give away any “secrets” to the storyline.
 I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more by her. I would highly recommend this book if you like historical romance. Although, like many books of this genre the ending is not a great surprise but that is probably the only negative that I could find. I know this may seem trivial in a book review but I also loved the cover and the feel of the book.  
I received this book from booksneeze.com at no charge in exchange for an honest review.