Archive for 2014

Fire Up the Romance this Holiday with @RobinLeeHatcher’s “Love Without End” Kindle Fire Giveaway!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fire up the romance this holiday with Robin Lee Hatcher's latest offering in the King's Meadow Romance series, Love Without EndFor two single parents with bruised hearts, it’ll take more than a little courage to get back on the horse when it comes to love.





Celebrate love rising from the ashes of tragedy with Robin by entering her Kindle Fire giveaway.

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 One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • Love Without End and the rest of the King's Meadow Romance series from Robin Lee Hatcher
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 14th. Winner will be announced December 15th on Robin's blog.



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Review of Sheerluck Holmes and the Case of the Missing Friend by Karen Poth

Sheerluck Holmes and the Case of the Missing Friend (I Can Read! / Big Idea Books / VeggieTales)Sheerluck Holmes and the Case of the Missing Friend by Karen Poth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age:4-8 Genre:Children's Fiction

This was a very cute little book with a great moral. My four, seven and nine year old all enjoyed reading this book.  As usual, the Veggie Tales stories always make a great effort to teach the children a lesson a valuable lesson.   The colorful illustrations kept the attention of my four year old. She especially loved the “moustache.”

I would happily review any Veggie Tale book from Zondervan in the future.  Per personal preferences, I would rather see King James references given, even in children’s books. Thus, I feel it is important to note this for other parents.  Otherwise, this was a great read for the little ones! 

View all my reviews
 

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The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Christmas CatThe Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age:12+ Genre:Christmas, Christian Fiction


I LOVED this book so so much.   Now, I’m not what someone could accuse of being a crazy cat lady. I do own some cats but I’m far from being the lady who buys cat sweaters and cat jewelry and cat plates.  Having said that—this book nearly made me feel like one of those types.  

 I laughed so hard while reading and I fell in love with Harry from the very start.   I don’t see how anyone could dislike this book.  Melody Carlson does a great job with writing light comedic romance.   She’s quickly becoming a favorite author for those types of contemporary novels because her characters come off so vibrant and real.  

 If you’re looking for a cute story to read during the holidays (or any other day) this is a really good one.
 

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Bread Machine Pizza Dough

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

This recipe started out with one I'd found online and morphed into my own recipe. I kept tweaking it until I found exactly the taste that I wanted. 


The original recipe is quite good but I feel that each family have their own unique needs, desires and tastes and thus, I set out to adapt this for my own family. The recipe below is how I make it!  Differences are that I've added spices, Himalayan salt, cheese and substitute stevia for the sugar.



Ingredients

2 c all purpose flour
1 TBSP butter, softened
1/4 TSP Stevia (or 1 TBSP Sugar)
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt *I use Himalayan Salt*
1/2 c plus 2 TBSP warm water
1/6 c. Shredded Cheese (See notes below)
 1/4 tsp Italian Seasoning

Doubled (for 2 pizzas):
4 c flour
2 TBSP butter, softened
1/2 TSP Stevia (or 2TBSP sugar)
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp salt *I use Himalayan Salt*
1 1/3 c water (105-110 degrees)
1/3 c. Shredded Cheese (See notes below)
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

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Review of Christmas at Rose Hill Farm: An Amish Love Story by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Monday, November 24, 2014

Christmas at Rose Hill Farm: An Amish Love StoryChristmas at Rose Hill Farm: An Amish Love Story by Suzanne Woods Fisher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age:12+ Genre:Christmas Fiction, Christian Fiction, Amish Fiction


This is definitely one of the best Christmas books that I’ve read.  T   Suzanne Woods Fisher really knows her Bible and is one of the most spiritually minded authors that I’ve found in this genre.  I was very touched that she researched her angel character to be as accurate as she could and that she provided scriptures and insight into that research at the end of the book.   This is a book that I would suggest to anyone.  I was very touched. If you're looking for more holiday suggestions, be sure to check out our Suggested Holiday Reading List

Note: I have deemed this book as appropriate for teens but in full disclosure of the ARC edition (which may be different in the published edition) there is an instance of the bishops and the mother talking to the young lady who is to be married about the things to expect after she is married. It is non-descriptive and would be a non-issue for me in regards to my teen. As always, I suggest that parents to use their own discretion.
 

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2014 Suggested Holiday Reading List

A Christmas Carol|Christmas at Rose Hill Farm|Where Treetops Glisten|Naomi's Gift|The Christmas Cat
This is our 2014 Suggested Holiday Reading List.  As reviews are posted for each of the following books, this post will be updated to link to each review so...keep an eye out!  Also, feel free to share your holiday favorites in the comments below!


'Trading Secrets' by Melody Carlson

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Trading SecretsTrading Secrets by Melody Carlson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age:13+ Genre:Young Adult, Amish fiction


This book was hysterical. I wasn’t sure if I would like it because I often find YA books to be lacking in depth and story. Of course, there are always exceptions and this happened to be one of them. 

My daughter read this first and she kept telling me all of the really funny parts in the books. I mean, how many Amish books do you read that talk about the, “hot Amish guy.”  I really got a chuckle out of that.

This book does involve an Amish family but it isn’t really what I would consider to be Amish fiction. It’s more on the Englisher’s side of an Amish encounter.   

Note: I deemed this appropriate for ages 13+ as always, parental discretion is encouraged.   There’s a couple “hotties” thrown around and mention of underwear but nothing that I deem to be super risqué or inappropriate for teens.







Micah has been writing to her Amish penpal for years. The problem is, Zach thinks she’s a boy and she’s never bothered to correct him!

When Micah has a chance to spend some time on Zach’s farm, it really never occurs to her to just tell him the truth. She’s too afraid of losing their friendship. So, she masquerades as a boy—until she realizes that they’re going to make her room with him! 

There were a lot of hysterical situations involving this little deception and I really enjoyed this quick and quirky read. 

I do think there should be a little follow up book. I would like to see how things end up for adult Micah and Zach.     Overall, I gave this book a solid four stars. Pretty quick and clean read for a young lady.
View all my reviews
|Excerpt
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Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus.

She also writes many teen books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series.

Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Notes from a Spinning Planet series and Finding Alice, which is in production as a Lifetime Television movie. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon.
 



I received Trading Secrets as a complimentary gift in exchange for  an honest review from Revell. I was not required to write a  positive review. My comments and opinions are my own.



A warm Christmas tale of God's steadfast love:Review of Quilted by Christmas by JODIE BAILEY

Monday, November 10, 2014

Quilted by Christmas: Quilts of Love SeriesQuilted by Christmas: Quilts of Love Series by Jodie Bailey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age:13+ Genre:Christmas Fiction, Christian Fiction

Goodness, these Quilts of Love books are hit or miss for me.  This one fell somewhere in the middle for me.  Now, I do have to say that I really loved Jemma. She was spunky and hilarious but I just didn’t connect with the other characters.  You know, I also just didn’t like that the main character hid something so big from her significant other and he was able to just get over it.   I just thought it was a very rotten thing. I understand why she made such a decision but it doesn’t mean that I think it was okay.  

Overall, the book was okay but Taryn’s deception for me just killed it. I know everyone makes mistakes but I felt that she committed one of the ultimate betrayals.  The book is a quick read that I feel a lot of other folks would enjoy. I personally could not connect with Taryn. I chose to still give the book a three because of Jemma. She was truly the redeeming character of this book. While she also was guilty of her own deception, it was just really hard not to enjoy her spunk.

Note: I have deemed this book as appropriate for teens but in full disclosure, there is an instance of an unwed mother. While I feel that it is not written inappropriately, I do know that some of my reader-friends would not want their teens to read about such a circumstance. I will leave that to reader discretion but I found it to be of a non-issue. The pregnancy was not praised in any way and it was written appropriately. 
 

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Shakespeare meets Amish! Review of Becoming Bea by Leslie Gould

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Becoming Bea (The Courtships of Lancaster County, #4)Becoming Bea by Leslie Gould

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age:13+ Genre:Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction


Becoming Bea is probably my favorite out of the Courtshipsof Lancaster County series. I think this author has really found her voice. Don’t get me wrong…all of the books have been really good but I just think each book has been better than the last!  This series of books are all Amish renditions of Shakespeare—very loosely based.  They are written in first person perspective which I usually don’t enjoy as much but this author does it really well! 

Note: I have deemed that this book is appropriate for teens. While there’s a minor altercation between Bea and another character becomes a bit violent with her, it is hardly described and the scene is cut short.   As always, I urge parental discretion but in my humble opinion, this book is suitable for teen girls ages thirteen and up. 

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A Love Undone: An Amish Novel of Shattered Dreams and God's Unfailing Grace

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Love Undone: An Amish Novel of Shattered Dreams and God's Unfailing GraceA Love Undone: An Amish Novel of Shattered Dreams and God's Unfailing Grace by Cindy Woodsmall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age:13+
Genre: Amish Fiction, Christian Fiction

Oh goodness! Next to the Sisters of the Quilt series, this is now my new favorite by Cindy Woodsmall! These characters are the kind that could so easily rip your heart out of your chest and stomp on it a few times.  They’re really THAT real.  Not saying that happens in this book—just that they have that ability if they wanted.  I got so caught up into this story. I just can’t gush about it enough! 


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BECOMING BEA By @LeslieJeanGould | Kindle Giveaway and Facebook Party!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Leslie Gould is back with the latest book, Becoming Bea, in her Shakespeare-inspired series, The Courtships of Lancaster County. Don't miss the other books in the series, Courting Cate (retelling of The Taming of the Shrew), Adoring Addie (inspired by Romeo and Juliet), and Minding Molly (inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream).



Leslie is celebrating the series with a Kindle giveaway and a Facebook party on November 11th.

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • One copy each of the entire The Courtships of Lancaster County series: Courting CateAdoring Addie, Minding Molly, and Becoming Bea.
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 11/11. Winner will be announced at Leslie's 11/11 Becoming Bea Facebook author chat party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Leslie and Amish fiction fans, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!

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{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 11th!

Review of The Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Daughter of Highland Hall (Edwardian Brides, #2)The Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age:15+ Genre:Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction


WOW! I really think this might be the best book of the year!  I don’t often find an author who incorporates quite so much of a Christian view as this one and I rather enjoyed that!  So many Christian romance novels don’t delve into the importance of Christ’s teachings on being unequally yoked. This one placed great emphasis on that matter.
Another thing, if you’re a fan of recent shows such as Call the Midwife, you may be interested in knowing that this story is set in the London East End in the early part of the 1900s. Since I’m a fan of that show, I enjoyed seeing a look into an earlier time in that area.  

I did not realize this was book two in a series when I requested it but I was able to follow along without any issue.  Since I finished, I’ve ordered book one in the series and I cannot wait until it arrives!  I think I’ve found a new favorite, for sure!

Note: I have deemed this book as appropriate for teens but in full disclosure, there is an instance of an unwed mother. While I feel that it is not inappropriate, I do know that some of my reader-friends would not want their teens to read about such a circumstance. I will leave that to reader discretion but I found it to be of a non-issue. The pregnancy was not praised in any way and it was written appropriately.
 

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Quilts of Love | QUILTED BY CHRISTMAS – Kindle Giveaway & “Merry Quilted” Facebook Party!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Don’t miss the newest Quilts of Love book, Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey. October’s QOL release is a warm Christmas tale of God's steadfast love.



Enter to win a Kindle HDX, and RSVP for the “Merry Quilted” Quilts of Love Facebook party on December 9th.

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One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Two copies of Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey (One for you and one to give away as a gift!)
  • Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll
  • Swept Away by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven
Enter today by clicking the button below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 16th. Winner will be announced November 17th at the Quilts of Love blog.



Wait! There's more! RSVP for the "Merry Quilted" Quilts of Love Christmas Book Chat Party on December 9th and connect with some of the Quilts of Love authors. Jodie Bailey, Laura V. Hilton, Cindy Loven, Cathy Elliott, and Gina Welborn will be hosting a "merry" evening of book chat, Christmas traditions, prizes, and more!





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RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on December 9th!

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E Ladd|Review&Giveaway

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall (Whispers on the Moors, #3)A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age:14+ Genre:Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction
Holy moly! This series just keeps getting better! I literally sat up until 4:30 a.m. just to see how this concluded and then I walked around like a zombie all day—it was well worth it! This author has a way with words that just pulls me into the story. I just can’t get enough of these characters!

There’s a bit of edge to these stories but of course, so tastefully done that no one could complain. In full disclosure, there’s mention of an affair that resulted in a child as well as a one of the ladies lamenting that she had given herself to someone before marriage. It is not explicit and thus, it is of my opinion that this is safe for teens. As a lot of parents follow my blogs to find appropriate literature for their teens—I felt the need to have a full disclosure there.

All in all, I love this book. I love this genre and I absolutely love this author’s writing. I really hope there is another installment in this series.

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Review of Yuletide Ice Cube Fair by Zondervan Publishing

Friday, October 17, 2014

Yuletide Ice Cube FairYuletide Ice Cube Fair by Zondervan Publishing

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age:all ages Genre:Christmas, Children's Fiction



This is a super cute children’s story with colorful illustrations that will spark the interest of children and press the true meaning of Christmas.

Mayor Bob is holding an ice carving contest and all the veggies are competing.  Each veggie is asked to carve what Christmas means to them.  Some of them choose to carve elaborate Christmas dinners, elves, trees or gifts but Junior carves the smallest but most meaningful ice sculpture of them all.

This book will remind children that Christ is the reason we celebrate and that He is the most important part of our Holiday season. 
 

View all my reviews|
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review of Where Treetops Glisten a colletion of Christmas Novellas

Where Treetops Glisten: Three Stories of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War II by Tricia Goyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing
Suggested Age:13+ Genre:Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, WWII Fiction
Oh goodness! This book was fantastic! It sure put me in the Christmas mood and it’s only October! Shhhh, don’t tell anyone but I found a Christmas station on Pandora that is getting a lot of use!

All three of these stories are fantastic and filled with a strong Christian message and I can’t really pick a favorite out of the three. There were so seamlessly written and enjoyable.

I was also able to share this book with my thirteen year old daughter and she enjoyed the story very much.

There were a lot of serious moments but there was also love and humor in this book. I suppose, being in the WWII genre, it would be nearly impossible for there to not be a more serious overtone but amidst the loss, the fear and even war—love still exists.

If you’re looking for an easy read that will put you into the upcoming holiday spirit—I strongly suggest this book!

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Pumpkin Muffins by Megan


Ingredients:

1 (15oz) Pumpkin Puree
4 Eggs
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Topping:

2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP brown sugar

 

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Review of "Tortured for Christ" by Richard Wurmbrand

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tortured for ChristTortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age:17+ Genre:Memoirs, Non-Fiction
 This story a heart wrenching look into the depravity of the hearts of men and the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.   'Neither prison nor torture can frighten the Christians of the Underground Church.'




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Why I am not observing Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day|October 15

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It happens every year since my first loss in 2009. October 15th rolls around and I post a graphic on facebook about the wave of light. Friends give me their condolences for Angel and Evenstar and the entire day is spent in utter misery.

Last year was a low point for me. Maybe it’s because on October 15th of last year I had a four week old. I was hormonal for sure, and sad. I was sad because I live with the fact that I’ve had a miscarriage on a frequent basis. The pain becomes bearable but it feels like people forget that I’ve experienced loss unless I remind them. That is why it made me sad. For those that know my soul and heart, why are you scared to talk to me about my loss? You know me; I’ve told you time and time again that I’m open to talk about my babies. I need to. That's hard. It's hard for friends and family to even know when and what to do or if they should say anything at all. I can't speak for anyone else but I'm speaking for myself when I tell you that I'm not hurt to talk about my babies. I'm hurt when I feel like everyone else has forgotten them

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New Regency from Sarah E. Ladd AND a Kindle HDX giveaway!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Award-winning author Sarah E. Ladd examines how to escape the clutches of a tainted past in the final installment of her Whispers on the Moor series. A Regency-era novel, A Lady at Willowgrove Hall cleverly shows that even though our pasts may be shameful or painful, God can take the darkest personal histories and turn them into the brightest futures.



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Celebrate with Sarah by entering her Kindle HDX giveaway!



One grand prize winner will receive:


  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 2nd. Winner will be announced November 3rd here.



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About Me

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I'm a stay at home/work at home mama and I love to read. I have six beautiful daughters who inspire me to be a better person and to pursue wisdom.

When I'm not busy reading and reviewing books or spending time with my daughters I am busy crafting for two online businesses. You can find handmade bath and body items at  A Simply Enchanted Life and handcrafted jewelry at Sapphire Haven.