Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen (Review)

  • Series: Tales from Ivy Hill (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (December 5, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764218158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764218156
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches

Return to Ivy Hill in The Ladies of Ivy Cottage as friendships deepen, romances blossom, and mysteries unfold.

Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for? 

Rachel's friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days managing her girls' school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what--or who--has captured each man's attention? The truth may surprise them all.

Meanwhile, life has improved at the coaching inn and Jane Bell is ready to put grief behind her. Now if only the man she misses would return--but where is he?

As the women of Ivy Hill search for answers about the past and hope for the future, might they find love along the way?

My Review:

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is the second in the Tales from Ivy Hill series and my favorite. I recommend reading them in order since the characters repeat and the background knowledge is helpful. The main characters in this book are Rachel Ashford, Mercy Grove, and to a lesser extent Jane Bell. The first book was focused on Jane Bell. There are several minor plot lines. It is nice to see the other characters continue. I love the characters and plot. The author does a good job developing everything and making you feel like you are there. There are some twists and turns. The ending is satisfying.  If you a fan of British 1800s books then you will love this. Highly Recommended. 

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. She worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her novels have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. Her book, The Silent Governess, was also a finalist in the Minnesota Book Awards, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards, and Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards. Julie is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She and her husband have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota. Visit for more information.

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson (Review)

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (September 5, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800722701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800722708
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches 

  • When she receives the news in late 1944 that her baby's father was shot down in the South Pacific, Amelia Richards loses hope. Jobless and broke, she has nowhere to turn for help but her infant's paternal grandparents. The only problem is, they don't know that she--or their grandson--exists. When Amelia discovers that the family is wealthy and influential, dare she disclose the truth of her relationship with their son? Or could the celebration of the arrival of another unexpected baby nearly two thousand years ago be the answer to her dilemma?

    My Review:

    This was an easy, short, Christian fiction book. It is set around Christmas time after WWII.  The characters and plot are well developed and interesting. Amelia Richards and her baby are the main focus of the book. She travels to her baby's paternal grandparents house to beg for help. They do not know either of them exist. Amelia is desperate. She is unable to take care of her baby. I really felt for her. There are some twists and the ending is perfect. Recommended. 

    Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with combined sales of more than six million. She is the author of several Christmas books, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, Christmas at Harrington's, The Christmas Cat, The Christmas Joy Ride, and The Christmas Angel Project. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.


    Hello Everyone,

    It has been awhile since I have been able to update my blog. Last Fall I decided to go to graduate school. Working full time it liked to have killed me.  IF I go back to school, it will this Summer or Fall. I had no clue how hard it would be combined with my job. I miss regular life and reading. I am working on catching up review books and blog posts now. Thank you for your patience.


    Saturday, August 26, 2017

    The IBS Elimination Diet and Cookbook by Patsy Catsos (Review)

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; Exp Rev edition (April 11, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451497724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451497727
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches

  • The complete guide for overcoming IBS by discovering your triggers and building a personalized, doable, and fulfilling diet around nutritious, delicious foods that let you finally feel your best.
    Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD, pioneered the use of the low-FODMAP diet to find your unique FODMAP fingerprint when she self-published IBS--Free at Last!, ushering in a new era of treating IBS through diet instead of medication. Written for at-home use, her book quickly established itself among doctors and other specialists as an invaluable tool for anyone suffering from IBS, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, SIBO, and gluten sensitivity.

    This new, definitive edition offers the theory along with a program that walks you through eliminating FODMAPs (difficult-to-digest carbohydrates found in a variety of otherwise healthy foods) and adding them back one by one--the most usable, thorough program available. And its 56 delicious recipes, 24 full-color photos, and comprehensive guides to high- and low-FODMAP foods make this the bible of the low-FODMAP lifestyle. Here is your plan for eating well while finally feeling great.

    Note: This is the updated and expanded edition of IBS—Free at Last, including its landmark 8-step program.


    The content is good but the format is awful. It is extremely hard to read. I was going to give it to my Mom who suffers but I know her and she is not going to read it. It is small font and the first half is like a textbook. The pages are yellowish.  Part 3 is the recipe section. The recipes range in difficulty and include some basics like salad dressing. I recommend looking at it in person before buying on the Internet.

    PATSY CATSOS, MS, RD, LD, is a leader in the field of low-FODMAP diet. A nutritionist based in Portland, Maine, with a BS in nutrition from Cornell University and a master’s degree in nutrition from Boston University, she completed her internship at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital and now maintains a private practice. She also speaks at conferences for other nutritionist and doctors.

    She was first to publish a book about the low-FODMAP diet, IBS—Free At Last! in 2009. Before long, it was adopted not only by IBS sufferers, but by health care professionals and major medical centers. Her step-by-step elimination diet is updated for ultimate usability and effectiveness in this new edition, The IBS Elimination Diet and Cookbook. It helped set the standard of care for patients using diet, not medicine, and continues to be the most recommended by doctors.

    She lives in Portland, Maine, with her husband, Paul.

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Tranquility: A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal

    • Hardcover: 112 pages
    • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Gjr edition (April 18, 2017)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1496421795
    • ISBN-13: 978-1496421791
    • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches

    Tranquility: A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal invites you to mix creative journaling and coloring into your personal time with God. Prayers that focus on topics such as being thankful, dealing with stress and heartache, caring for yourself and others, listening for God’s leading, and waiting patiently on Him will guide your thoughts and calm your spirit. Filled with more than 100 designs to color, plenty of space for journaling, and 40 needs-based prayers, Tranquility will help you express your devotion to God with your whole heart.

    My Review:

    This is a nice coloring journal. It does have a hard cover. It is an adult coloring book with prayer and reflections too. Some pages have more spaces to color than others. Some pages have areas for you to write from prompts. There are some nice prayers too. Regular pens do not bleed through. The pages are nice thickness. This would make a nice gift. I gave one to my Aunt and she loved it.

    Review copy provided by Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.

    Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason (Review)

  • Series: Elite Guardians (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (August 1, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800723910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800723910
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches

  • Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.

    In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.

    My Review:

    This is the fourth book in the Elite Guardians series and my favorite. It can stand alone from the previous books in the series.  I fell in love with Haley and Steven. She is a tough woman but needs a little back up sometimes. Steven is a great cop who has come home to help take care of his sick father. The main plot revolves around Haley and what from her past is causing her issues now. There is a secondary plot involving a family she takes under her wing. Steven has an issue from his past he is dealing with too involving the death of his brother. There is mystery, suspense, and action with a faith message that is not overpowering. The characters and plot are interesting, unique, and well developed. Recommended.  

    Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunions series, and the Hidden Identity series, as well as Always Watching, Without Warning, and Moving Target in the Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and lives in South Carolina. Learn more at

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Saturday, August 12, 2017

    A Name Unknown by Roseanna White (Review)

  • Series: Shadows Over England (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (July 4, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076421926X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764219269

  • Edwardian Romance and History Gains a Twist of Suspense

    Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family's history, their very name?

    Peter Holstein, given his family's German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.

    But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors' scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he's more than his name?

    My Review:

    This was an enjoyable Christian Historical fiction book. It starts a new series called Shadows Over England. I loved Rosemary and Peter. Rosemary is a really good thief who is hired to prove Peter is not loyal to England but to his family's native Germany. Peter is a rather unique person to begin with and being German at this time period is a huge no in England. He can be recluse except for his best friend and his family. He also has good loyal staff. He hires Rosemary to organize his books and papers. They hit it off and become close as they work together. The plot and characters are interesting, unique, and well developed. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. Recommended.

    Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna's fiction ranges from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.