Sunday, September 30, 2012

September in Review and Coming up in October

So I had a lot of books I wanted to read in September? Did I read them all? Nope. But let's see what I did read...

Here's what I'd planned on reading.
Bees in the Butterfly Garden by Maureen Lang
Submerged by Dani Pettery
Over the Edge by Mary Connealy
The Girl's Still Got it by Liz Curtis Higgs
Deposit Slip by Todd Johnson
Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan
Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz
With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin
The Bride Wore Blue by Mona Hodgson
Path Toward Love by Cara Lynn James

Here's what I actually read...

For the publishers to review ~
Be Still My Soul by JoAnne Biscoff
Love's Recknoning by Laura Frantz
With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin
Trouble With Cowboys by Denise Hunter
Over the Edge by Mary Connealy
Bees in the Butterfly Garden by Maureen Lang
Submerged by Dani Pettery
The Girl's Still Got It by Liz Curtis Higgs
Path Toward Love by Cara Lynn James
A Love Surrendered by Julie Lessman (the review is to be posted in October, so it's already scheduled)
Twice a Bride by Mona Hodgson (the review is also already scheduled)

For pure pleasure (reviews posted on some, but not all) ~
Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan
Their Frontier Family by Lyn Cote
Preacher's Bride by Laurie Kingery

Overall, not a bad month.

Here's what I'm going to be reading in October...

For the publishers (blurbs are from Amazon) ~
Twice Promised by Maggie Brendan
 Seeing how successful her older sister's "mail order marriage" has been and longing to strike out on her own, Greta Olsen answers an ad for a mail order bride in Central City, Colorado. But when she meets Jess Gifford, owner of a thriving mercantile, she begins to harbor doubts. He didn't place the ad to begin with and his business in a busy mining town leaves him little time or energy for love. To compound her troubles, she was not the only bride to answer the ad! Will either bride strike the match she hopes for?

Promise to Love by Serena B Miller
Ingrid Larsen, a young Swedish immigrant, arrives in Michigan in 1871 to search for her brother who has disappeared into the woods to work the dangerous lumber camps. Destitute and barely hanging on to hope, she encounters a newly-widowed farmer who is struggling to raise five children on his own. Marriage would solve both of their problems, and so Ingrid proposes to a man she barely knows. She will fight to protect her new family--but the hardest battle of all will be winning the heart of her new husband.

Farmer's Daughter's Cookbook
 Welcome to the warm and inviting kitchen of Dawn Stoltzfus, a young Mennonite wife and mother who was raised on a dairy farm where simple, wholesome food was a key ingredient of the good life. In A Farmer's Daughter, she opens up her recipe box, wipes away the crumbs and wrinkles from the well-loved recipes, and shares them with cooks and food-lovers everywhere. She offers us over two hundred delicious recipes that reflect the comfort foods she learned to cook from her mother, the same hearty and creative recipes she made and sold at The Farmer's Wife Market.

Along with the simple, wholesome recipes for starters, main dishes, sides, and desserts, readers will find charming stories from Dawn's Mennonite upbringing, tips and tricks for easy meal planning and preparation, and ideas for serving with flair. Anyone who loves to feed their loved ones hearty, wholesome meals will treasure this cookbook.

Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund
 High-Stakes Drama Meets High-Tension Romance

In 1883 Michigan, Lily Young is on a mission to save her lost sister, or die trying. Heedless of the danger, her searches of logging camps lead her to Harrison and into the sights of Connell McCormick, a man doing his best to add to the hard-earned fortunes of his lumber baron father.

Posing during the day as a photographer's assistant, Lily can't understand why any God-fearing citizen would allow evil to persist and why men like Connell McCormick turn a blind eye to the crime rampant in the town. But Connell is boss-man of three of his father's lumber camps in the area, and like most of the other men, he's interested in clearing the pine and earning a profit. He figures as long as he's living an upright life, that's what matters.

Lily challenges everything he thought he knew, and together they work not only to save her sister but to put an end to the corruption that's dominated Harrison for so long.

Whispers in the Wind by Lauraine Snelling
Book Two in Lauraine Snelling's Exciting Wild West Wind Series

After fleeing North Dakota and the now defunct Wild West Show, Cassie Lockwood and her companions have finally found the hidden valley in South Dakota where her father had dreamed of putting down roots. But to her dismay, she discovers a ranch already built on her land.

Cassie's arrival surprises Mavis Engstrom and forces her to reveal secrets she's kept hidden for years. Her son Ransom is suspicious of Cassie and questions the validity of her claim to the valley. But Lucas Engstrom decides from the start that he is in love with her and wants to marry her.

Will Cassie be able to build a home on the Bar E Ranch and fulfill her father's dream of raising horses, or will she be forced to return to the itinerant life of her past?

Deposit Slip by Todd Johnson (since I didn't get to it last month)
This Gripping Legal Thriller Is a Perfect Summer Read

When Jared Neaton grew tired of the shady ethics of his big law firm and left to go out on his own, he never expected the wheels to fly off so quickly. One big case collapsing on him has pushed him to the brink and it's all he can do to scrape by. He can't risk another bad loss.

Erin Larson is running out of options. In the wake of her father's death, she found a slim piece of paper--a deposit slip--with an unbelievable amount on it. Ten million dollars. Only the bank claims it has no record of the deposit and stonewalls her attempts to find out more. This lawsuit, her last chance, has brought only intimidation and threats. Now she needs to convince Jared to take a risk, to help her because the money is real. And both need to watch their backs as digging deeper unleashes something far more dangerous than just threats.

And probably at least 2 more for the publishers. But what they are, I don't know yet since I've not seen the available selections yet.

For pure pleasure (reviews will be posted on some, but not all) ~

Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan - I will be dropping everything to read this!

In The Son of Neptune, Percy, Hazel, and Frank met in Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Camp Halfblood, and traveled to the land beyond the gods to complete a dangerous quest. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will unite them with Jason, Piper, and Leo. But they number only six--who will complete the Prophecy of Seven?

The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophecy remains a mystery. . . .
With old friends and new friends joining forces, a marvelous ship, fearsome foes, and an exotic setting, The Mark of Athena promises to be another unforgettable adventure by master storyteller Rick Riordan.
Veil of Pearls by MaryLu Tyndal
 Be swept away to Charleston of 1811, a city bustling with immigrants like Adalia, who is a runaway slave so light-skinned that no one guesses her past. Terrified her secret will be discovered, she settles into a quiet life making herbal remedies for a local doctor. But when Morgan, the handsome son of a prominent family, sweeps her into his glamorous world—a world in which the truth about Adalia’s heritage would ruin them both—suspicions and petty jealousies are aroused. What will Morgan do when he discovers that the woman he has fallen in love with is a runaway slave?

Midwife's Legacy by several authors (I received this book from one of the authors)
 Peek into an aged journal that links the adventurous lives of four courageous midwives. Wisconsin farmer, widow, mother, and midwife Adele Marley is too busy for a smitten, unwavering banker. To survive in love and life, Polly Schultz must rise above her fears on the Oregon Trail. Christiana is in a battle to prove to one man that she can be both a wife and a midwife. Her confidence shaken, Kendra Silverstone needs confirmation of God’s hand in her life and love. How will God work to give these women the direction they need?

At least one, maybe four Love Inspired Historicals
At least one Kindle book (I've not yet decided from my list of hundreds to read!)

And I'll have a giveaway around the middle of the month like usual.

Sounds like a fun month!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Giveaway Winners

And we have winners, using to select them.

Winner of Beckon - Michelle (bookwormgal)

Winner of Best Friend - Laura

Winner of Path Toward Love - Liz R

Congratulations girls. I hope to have your books in the mail this weekend. I've emailed you for your addresses.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bees in the Butterfly Garden - A Review

Summary -
Meg Davenport has lived a sheltered life in one of the finest girls' schools in the country. When she receives word that her father has died, she sees her chance to break free from the rules that bind her and to learn more about the father she never really knew. She finds out that he wasn't the honest business man she thought him to be, instead he's one of the most talented thieves of the Gilded Age. Ian Maguire has always been treated as a son by Meg's father. He's now seeking the loyalty of the men who worked with John Davenport. Meg manages to convince him to allow her to accept the invitation of spending the summer with one of Fith Avenue's wealthiest families as it will put her in a position to help him pull of his largest heist yet. Meg didn't expect to actually develop a genuine friendship with the family she's staying with. Nor did she expect to be influenced by their faith. Ian's recalling the messages of his own father - a preacher, and he's not liking how it makes him feel. Will this pair be successful in the con they're pulling, or will they lose everything that they've come to hold dear, including each other's love?

My Review -
This book started off a little slow for me, but by the time I about 50 pages into it, I was hooked. I wanted to know what would happen. There's a touch of mystery involved in how will Meg and Ian pull off their con. Both Meg and Ian learn about justice, grace, and mercy from their interactions with the family Meg's staying with. But they also learn about God's justice, grace, and mercy as well. I loved they way that each of them is drawn to the Savior. I hope to see some of these characters again as I'd love to see the youngest child, Evie, learn from her actions. Plus I'd like to see what is in store next for Ian, Meg, and the Pembertons. I don't know if this book is the first in a series or if it will stand alone. If it's a series, I will certainly be on the lookout for the next!

I received this book for free from the publisher, Tyndale, for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Lisa Tawn Bergern, Lynn Austin, Laura Frantz

Rating - 4 stars

Saturday, September 22, 2012

How To Make A Baby Blanket Receiving Blanket Cake

In an earlier post, found here, I talked about my experiences with creating a gift that's very similar to popular diaper cakes. Only instead of being made of diapers, it's made of receiving blankets. I promised I'd write the instructions on how to make one. So without further ado, here they are.

How To Make a Baby Blanket Cake

Supplies Needed:
  • 1 round plastic serving tray in a color of your choice (I found them at Party City, though the dollar store may have them too)
  • Rubber bands. Lots of them
  • Glue Dots (found in the scrapbooking sections of most craft stores. Or with the photos)
  • 1 package of 4 flannel receiving blankets. I've typically tried to go with the gender specific colors of blues/pinks & purples for a boy or a girl. But using yellows and greens if the sex is unknown also work. 
  • 1 bath thermometer (I've found all of mine at Babies R Us and they've either been the octopus or the yellow ducky.) 
  • Travel sized baby bath products like shampoo, body wash, baby powder, baby lotion, butt paste, etc
  • 1 package of diaper pins (for decoration purposes)
  • 1 package of straight pins (I found them in the sewing section of JoAnn's Fabric, but I'm sure places like Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and other craft stores have them too)
  • 1 package of 36 sized newborn diapers. (The entire package won't be used, but most will)
  • Various  small bath  toys (stacking cups, squirt toys, etc)
  • Various fabric ribbons to decorate (I have discovered that it's a lot cheaper to buy ribbon by the roll as opposed to getting it by the yard. The wire edged ribbons make for nice and easy bows. I found them at JoAnn's Fabric.)
  • Scissors - for cutting ribbon
  • A large flat surface to work - my friend's kitchen table or my cousin's kitchen table worked for me
  • A friend to help
  • Layer 1
  1. Open the package of blankets and lay them out flat. Decide on which one will be the innermost layer (bottom layer). Decide which one will be the outside trim, which one will be the second layer, and which one the top layer.
  2. Using rubber bands to secure them, roll up like logs 4 diapers. One rubber band wrapped around these four will be sufficient to  secure them. These 4 diapers will be to core of the bottom layer.
  3. Roll 8 more diapers into logs and place them around the diaper core. Secure with rubber bands. Total numbers of diapers in this layer 12.
  4. Fold the blanket you've selected to be the innermost layer into 3rds, lengthwise. 
  5. Place the diaper roll onto one end of the blanket. Roll the blanket around the diapers like rolling up a sleeping bag. Secure with a rubber band.
  • Layer 2
  1. Roll 9 diapers into logs. Secure the bundle with a rubber band.
  2. Using the second receiving blanket, folded into 3rds, but not the same height as the bottom layer, roll the blanket around the diapers sleeping bag style. Secure with a rubber band.
  3. Place the roll into the center of the bottom layer. It'll take some work to have it fit snugly.
  • Top layer - Layer 3
  1. Roll 6 diapers into logs. Secure with a rubber band.
  2. Take the blanket chosen for the top layer, and fold it into 4ths.
  3. Roll the blanket around the diapers like a sleeping bag. Secure with a rubber band.
  4. Place in center of middle layer.
  • Outside Trim - Last blanket
  1. Eying the cake, roll the blanket around the bottom layer leaving as much of the innermost blanket showing as you want.
  2. Secure with rubber bands.
  1. Use straight pins to secure the blankets. Be careful not to poke through all layers and hit the diapers. The pins will allow the blanket edges that are loose to be pinned down and give the cake a more finished look.
  2. Using ribbons, create "icing" trim along the cake layers. Secure with straight pins. Or tie the ribbon. Make sure to put one ribbon along the bottom of the cake at the base of where the blanket meets the serving tray.
  3. Attach the ducky or octopus to the top layer as a cake topper.
  4. Inside the folds of the blankets on each of the layers, stuff shampoo, lotion, body wash, butt paste.
  5. Place the bath toys along the base of the cake attached to the serving tray. Use glue dots to secure. (I found it took about 6-8 glue dots per object to attach it to the serving tray as I'd used 2-3 per spot I wanted to attach it).
  6. If there are any other travel sized objects that did not fit into the folds of the cake, secure them with glue dots to the serving tray.
  7. Extra diapers may be tied with a ribbon and presented to the mother as well.
The finished product

Congratulations! You now have a beautiful, practical gift to give the mom-to-be. I've typically used the ones I've made as centerpieces on the food table at the shower. Or use it as a centerpiece on the gift table. Or just as a gift.

Baby Blankets and Blanket Cakes

So I've had the privilege of hosting/attending four baby showers in the last three weeks. I sure hope I"m finished with baby showers for a while. :)

My co-worker's shower was a luncheon held during lunch. I made her this blanket.

For the other three showers, I made blanket cakes. Well I can't take all of the credit for them since my cousin helped on one and my best friend helped on two. These three are the 4th, 5th, and 6th ones I've made and I've learned some tricks along the way.

The first one I made was for my best friend's first baby almost two years ago.

The base was a box lid covered in fabric. My cousin had the brilliant idea of using a roll of toilet paper in the center of the cake to roll the blankets around. We also used a LOT of glue dots, and tried to stuff the objects into the blanket rolls. Diaper pins were used to secure things. And ribbon was used to tie the toys on. Result - very pretty cake, but not easy to do.

The second and third ones were very similar to the first.

Cake 2

Cake 3

Both of these cakes used toilet paper rolls in the center to wrap blankets around. The bases were cookie sheets covered in fabric. I'd gotten a little smarter on these cakes. Straight pins were used to secure things. The third cake used 6 blankets instead of 4. And we added some diapers at the top for the octopus to sit on. Still using glue dots and ribbon to secure things. We also used clear packaging tape to secure the fabric as we discovered glue dots didn't work too well.

Cakes 4, 5, & 6
I got really smart for these next three. I went to Party City and picked up round serving trays in different colors. I used pink, purple, and blue. I also got fewer bath toys. I had the brainstorm of using actual diapers in the centers of the cakes and that worked well. Still used glue dots (they held much better on the plastic serving trays) and straight pins. Ribbons were bought from the craft store and used to tie around the cakes, secured with straight pins. Oh and rubber bands. Lots of them. And the results? Here we go.

Cake 4 - 4 flannel receiving blankets, 21 newborn diapers, bath toys, travel sized baby bath products, ribbon, round serving tray, straight pins, glue dots, and rubber bands. My best friend's husband tied a tie for us around the neck of the octopus.

This was made for my cousin who is adopting a baby boy.

Cake 5 - 6 receiving blankets, the remainder of the pack of 36 newborn diapers, 6 larger sized diapers (it's all my friend had in her diaper bag!), bath toys, travel sized baby bath products, ribbon, round serving tray, straight pins, glue dots, and rubber bands.

This was made for the shower my Small Group had last Sunday the 9th for a young couple in our Small Group. They are having a baby girl.


Cake 6 - 4 receiving blankets, 27 newborn diapers, bath toys, travel sized bath products, ribbon, round serving tray, straight pins, glue dots, and rubber bands.

This was made for my best friend's shower that was held on Saturday the 15th. This is her second baby and she's having a girl. I think this cake was my favorite.

Instructions on how to make the cakes in a separate post to follow.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Win a Kindle or Nook from @SarahSundin and RSVP for “With Every Letter” Facebook Party 9/27!

Celebrate with Sarah by entering to win a eReader (winner's choice of Kindle Fire or Nook Color)!

See what folks are saying about With Every Letter!

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire or Nook Color (winner’s choice)
  • Handmade With Every Letter First Aid Kit
  • With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 26th. Winner will be announced at the “With Every Letter” Author Chat Facebook Party on 9/27. Connect with Sarah, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and chat with readers just like yourself. There will also be gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of With Every Letter and join Sarah on the evening of the September 27th for a chance to connect with Sarah and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
Don't miss a moment of the RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and 
increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!
Note from Dawn - This giveaway is sponsered by the publisher and I am not associatied with it in any way other than helping to promote it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Trouble With Cowboys - A Review

Annie Wilkerson is great with horses but not so great with relationship advice. Yet that's exactly what she has to give - relationship advice as her column in the magazine is being turned into a lovelorn advice column. Dylan Taylor is in desperate need of Annie's expertise. His favorite horse, Braveheart, is going blind and Dylan needs someone to help him with Braveheart. Annie doesn't trust Dylan. He appears to be a player, and worst of all he's a cowboy. Annie makes a deal with him. She'll help him with the horse if he'll help her with her column. As they begin to spend more and more time together, Dylan realizes that he's falling for Annie. What will happen when he admits his feelings to her? Will she put aside her feelings about cowboys and take a chance on loving one?

I think that this is the first book by Denise Hunter that I've read that was just written by her. I've read others that she's written with other authors like Smitten, but as far as I can remember, nothing by just her. I really do have to wonder why. One of my good friends has recommended her to me over and over again. I'm glad to finally be able to read one of her books. This was light-hearted and very fun to read. Annie's struggle to let her sister go and live her own life was very well written. But what really got to me was the fact that Annie has grouped all cowboys into one big pile of not being dependable due to the actions of her father. I know that I've grouped, for example, all types of one particular form of fiction into the "never will read" category just because of one author's books. I'm also sure that I've been guilty of stereotyping like Annie does as well, but at the moment, I can't think of a particular incident. I loved how Dylan wanted to prove Annie wrong.

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson's booksneeze program for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Colleen Coble, Mary Connealy, fun loving romance fans

Rating - 4 stars

Monday, September 17, 2012

Be Still My Soul - A Review

Lonnie Sawyer is the oldest child in her family. When she walks home from a community event one evening with handsome neighbor Gideon O'Reilly, she doesn't realize her life will change. Gideon is a bit of a ladies man and the man mothers warn their daughters to stay away from. He doesn't think one kiss will change his life either. When her father learns of Gideon's kissing Lonnie, he's outraged and insists that the two marry immediately. Soon after they're married, Gideon packs up Lonnie and they leave their small community. He's sullen about having to be married, and she's scared of this man she barely knows and doesn't love. Yet through it all, Lonnie clings to the fact that God is watching over her. Will Gideon ever truly love her and they find happiness together or will he forever resent her for forcing him to settle down?

This is the debut novel by Joanne Bischof. Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the early 1900's, I was quickly drawn into the lives of Lonnie and Gideon. What I found the most fascinating was the fact that Gideon struggled to do what was right. Even with the love shown him by an older couple, he's still reluctant to admit that there was a God who loved him enough to care for him. His breaking point was his turning point. I loved how the author showed Gideon as flawed and was still redeemable. Lonnie's sweetness was touching as well. I look forward to reading the second book in this series sometime next year as I want to see what else will happen in the lives of Gideon and Lonnie.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook/Multnomah's Blogging for Books program for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Catherine Marshall's Christy, Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly series

Rating - 4 stars

Please rank my review.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I have three books to give away to three different winners this month.

Book 1 - Beckon by Tom Pawlick . This is a suspense/thriller.

Book 2 - The Best Friend by Melody Carlson . This book is geared for teens. Fans of Christy Miller would enjoy it.

Book 3 - Path Toward Love by Cara Lynn James. This is her newest book and is set early 1900's. It's a romance.


I will be picking 3 different winners. All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment telling me which drawing you'd like to be entered for. You may enter all 3. To gain a second entry, leave a comment telling me you follow my blog and how you follow it. Additional entries may be gained daily by leaving a comment on any of my book reviews. Entries made on this post must include a valid email address (myname dot hotmail dot com) so that I can contact you.

Ends on Wednesday Sept 26 at 9:00 pm Central Time. I can only ship US.

With Every Letter - A Review

Lt. Mellie Blake is a nurse who is serving her country during WWII. She's part of a squadron of nurses who do flight evacuations of the wounded. She agrees to take part in an anonymous letter writing campaign with a solider overseas. Her first letter finds its way into the hands of Lt. Tom MacGilliver, an engineer in the Engineer Aviation Battalion currently in North Africa. Neither are seeking a romance. Both want one true friend. Tom's surrounded by men who he laughs and jokes with, but doesn't have a true friend. Mellie doesn't fit in with the other nurses and is painfully shy. As their letters fly across the Atlantic, their souls form a special friendship. When they both end up in North Africa, they can put an end to the anonymity and reveal their true identities to each other. But will the secrets of their pasts and their fears stop them from finding true love?

This is the first book I've read by Sarah Sundin and I loved it. Both Mellie and Tom learn some painful lessons about who they are and what a true friend is as they navigate their pen pal relationship. There was one point in the story that I was sitting at my desk during lunch and wiping tears from my eyes because their fear was so heart-wrenching. I loved how they both came to depend on God in a way that they'd never done so before.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a wartime romance, WWII, or books that are deep. Fans of Julie Lessman will also enjoy this book.

I received this book for free from the publisher, Revell Books for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Available in September 2012 at your local bookstore from Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Rating - 5 stars

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Submerged - A Review

Bailey Craig returns to Yancey, Alaska to bury her aunt and put the estate in order. She's not returned since she left ten years before. In a small town like Yancey, her past has branded her and she can't escape it. Cole McKenna runs a successful adventure business with his siblings. He's also part of a Search and Rescue team that assists the local law enforcement. Bailey's aunt was in the plane crash that he helped with the recovery of. Now there are two dead divers which link back to Bailey's aunt. Things don't make sense. As Bailey and Cole dig deeper into the mystery surrounding the crash and the dead divers, more and more pieces of the puzzle fall into place. But the closer they get to the truth, the more danger they're in. Now there's a rising body count and a mystery that needs to be solved. In the midst of it all, will Bailey's past ruin her chance at happiness with Cole or will she be the next victim?

Debut novelist Dani Pettrey writes a book full of intrigue, adventure, and romance. I was kept on the edge of my seat through most of the book. I really enjoyed reading this. In some ways, this reminded me of Terri Blackstock, Dee Henderson, Brandilynn Collins, and Irene Hannon. I loved Cole's sense of being a protector to both his family and to Bailey. I also loved the way that his family took Bailey in and loved her and accepted her despite all of the smudges of her past. Bailey struggled with the belief that a holy, perfect God could really love her. Sure she'd accepted it, but she still struggled with it. Through Cole and his family, she learns about grace. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.

I received this book for free from the publisher, Bethany House, for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

I recommend this to fans of Irene Hannon, Terri Blackstock, Dee Henderson, and Brandilynn Collins. Also recommended to those who love romantic suspense.

Rating - 4  stars

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Demigod Diaries - A Review

Four short stories set in the world of Percy Jackson, a few games, pictures, and some questions answered, this book will hold readers' attention until Mark of Athena is released in October. Three of the stories take us back to Camp Half-Blood, and the fourth is written by Rick Riordan's son, Haley. Share an adventure that Luke Castellean and Thalia Grace had before arriving at Camp Half-Blood. Join Percy Jackson and Annabeth on a quest just weeks after they started dating. Leo Valdez, Piper, and Jason Grace have an adventure at Camp Half-Blood in search for a walking table and find monsters instead. The fourth story is written by Haley Riordan and answers important questions like how do monsters always know a demigod is near and how was the Mist created.

I really enjoyed this book. It's always a delight to return to the world of Percy Jackson and his friends. The games were simple and the stories were very entertaining. I am eagerly awaiting Mark of Athena in October. This was a fun read until then.

Recommended for Percy Jackson fans, Harry Potter fans, Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel fans, and young adult literature lovers.

Rating - 4 stars

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Love's Reckoning - A Review

Silas Ballantyne arrives in rural Pennsylvania to finish his blacksmith's apprenticeship. As he gets to know Eden Lee, the younger daughter of his master, he finds himself falling in love with her. Eden longs to be free of her father's house and her older sister's scheming. When her sister sets her sights on Silas, Eden steps back, though she has fallen in love with the young blacksmith. Against all obstacles, a betrothal is created between Silas and Eden. Yet something happens that forces them apart. When their paths cross years later, will Silas finally get the answers he seeks and will Eden be able to find the strength to let go of the pain in her past?

This is the first book I've ever read by Laura Frantz. It was beautifully written. I loved how the author showed how the Savior drew Eden to Him when she'd had no formal religious upbringing. Silas's strong character gave Eden the strength that she needed. I hated to see them part the way that they did and when they were brought back together, I felt that there was hope for a happy ending between them. There was once scene, a rape scene, and while no detail was given, it was written beautifully and as I as a reader could feel the anguish of the main characters when Silas demands answers that Eden couldn't give him. There was a sneak peak of the next book in the series at the end of this book, and I look forward to reading it as well next year.

I received this book for free from the publisher, Revell books, for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Look for Love's Reckoning in September 2012 at your local bookstore from Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Recommended to fans of family dramas, Gone With the Wind fans, and historical fiction lovers.

Rating - 4 stars

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Girl's Still Got It - A Review

In this book, Liz Curtis Higgs takes the reader on a trip to Bethlehem during the time of the judges. There's a bitter woman, Naomi, her young widowed daughter-in-law, Ruth, and the owner of the field, Boaz, that take center stage is this study of the book of Ruth. A verse by verse breakdown, the reader is immersed into a story unlike others in the Bible. And what can a modern woman learn from this book? Quite a lot!

The book of Ruth has long been my favorite. And Liz Curtis Higgs is one of my favorite authors. When I was given an opportunity to review this nonfiction book by her, I jumped at the chance. Having read her other nonfiction books, The Bad Girls of the Bible books, I knew I'd enjoy this one. What I got the most out of this book isn't the love story that speaks to the romantic in me, but the fact that God is in control of EVERYTHING. This book isn't a story of pain and suffering. It's a study of hope and redemption. What's also fascinating to me is the point that the author makes about the role of women in the book of Ruth. Women aren't minor characters. They're major characters and they are strong.

I received this book for free from the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of reviewing as a part of the Blogging for Books program. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rating - 5 stars

For fun -
Liz has created a YouTube video called the Righteous Ruth Rap. Take a look at it and enjoy it.

Please rank my review.

Path Toward Love - A Review

Katherine Osborne is a young widow who is struggling with making her business, she manages an orange grove, a success. For years she's been estranged from her parents. While the gap has mended slightly, she still feels intimated by her mother. When her father and her long time friend, Andrew Townsend, arrive in Florida with the purpose of bringing Katherine back to the family's summer vacation spot on Raquette Lake in New York's Adirondack Mountains, she resists at first but comes to an agreement with her father - spend the summer at the lake and he will loan her the funds to bring in the harvest. She arrives hoping to find peace and solitude to contemplate her next step regarding her business and her late husband's actions. Her mother is determined to see Katherine make a good marriage to a suitable young man while she's still young. As Katherine confides more and more into Andrew, both come to realize that they love each other. Will Katherine make a choice that could ruin three lives forever? Or will she find the courage to stand up to her parents and follow the path God wants her to?

Set at the turn of the century, I found the book to be rather slow moving. I've read several books by Cara Lynn James before and enjoyed them. I felt that it took a while to get into the meat of the story. And then once I was in it, it still moved slow. While Katherine is very generous, I found myself wishing that she had a bit more of a backbone. Andrew seemed too perfect. My favorite character was Aunt Letty. Aunt Letty encouraged Katherine to find true love and to seek God first. While the book was an ok read, it won't make my to-read-again list.

I received this book from the publisher, Thomas Nelson's booksneeze program, for free in exchange for my review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rating - 3 stars

Over the Edge - A Review

Seth Kincaid, the crazy brother, has begun to remember almost everything about his life. Except for one important detail - his wife Callie. Callie's arrival in Colorado isn't at all peaceful. There's a stage holdup that she helps to save everyone on the stage. And then there's her long lost husband. Add to the mix a secret from the Kincaid brother's long dead father and a desperate man who wants to get back what is his from Julia and Audra Kincaid, the wives of Seth's brothers, Callie discovers that all of this should drive Seth even crazier. But instead it seems to make him more sane. Will Seth finally let the demons of his past rest and find healing and peace with his wife? Or will the danger that threatens them all actually tear apart this family for good?

This is the third and final book in the Kincaid Brides series. I've enjoyed each of these books and this one was no different. I like Seth from the moment I met him in Out of Control. Humorous  in spots, yet filled with characters that are quirky and endearing. Fans of romantic cowboys will enjoy this book.

I received this book from the author as a prize. She did not ask me to write a review, though I am happy to do so. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rating - 4 stars