Thursday, December 31, 2015

First Book of the Year 2016


Sheila at Book Journey is hosting the first book of the year 2016. Her website is:

http://bookjourney.net/

I have two different books I will be reading. I have trouble reading non fiction all the way through so I am alternating it with a fiction book I started earlier this week.


I picked Spark Joy because I read the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo this year and it was hands down my favorite book of 2015. I cleaned out at least 1/16 of my belongings including around 800 books. 

I picked When Secrets Strike because I read the first book in the series a few months ago and really liked it.





Sunday, December 20, 2015

Whatever is Lovely: A Coloring Book for Reflection and Worship


  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press; Clr Csm edition (December 15, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601429285



  • Color your way to peace and worship.
    We live in such a busy, hectic world—but what waits for you inside this cover is a way to quiet the noise, express creativity, and spend some sweet time with God. Each page features an original design from one of a dozen different artists, beautifully illustrating a contemplative quote from an inspirational writer, a beloved hymn, or Scripture.

    When we create, we echo the heart of our Creative God who designed everything and gave us the capacity to recognize beauty.

    So go ahead! You have permission to pick up your colored pencil and be reminded of truth in a fresh way.

    My Review:

    This is a wonderful adult coloring book. The pages are nice and thick with no image on back so you only color on front of page. There is a nice bible verse or poem on the back of the page. The only bad thing is the pages are not made to be torn out. I love the title. It is taken from the verse Philippians 4:8. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things." If you would like to see some of the images from it they are available on Amazon. Recommended to fans of coloring.





    Review copy provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

    Sunday, December 13, 2015

    Fairer than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott (Review)






  • Series: A Saddler's Legacy Novel (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 9, 2011)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595547859



  • Ann dreams of a marriage proposal from her poetic suitor, Eli―until Will Hanby shows her that nobility is more than fine words.

    On a small farm in 19th-century Ohio, young Ann Miller is pursued by the gallant Eli Bowen, son of a prominent family. Eli is the suitor of Ann's dreams. Like her, he enjoys poetry and beautiful things and soon, he will move to the city to become a doctor.

    Ann travels to Pittsburgh, accompanying her father on business. There she meets Will Hanby, a saddle-maker's apprentice. Will has spent years eking out an existence under a cruel master and his spirit is nearly broken. But Ann's compassion lights a long-dark part of his soul. Through his encounters with Ann's father, a master saddler, Will discovers new hope and courage in the midst of tremendous adversity.

    When the Millers must return to Ohio and their ministry there, Will resolves to find them, at any cost.
    If Will can make it back to Ann, will she be waiting?

    Review:

    The characters and plot were interesting. It was well written. The romance felt like it was secondary to the plot though. I liked the time period and all the historical details. I could feel the emotions of the characters. Ann  and Will are the main characters in the story although there are some interesting secondary characters too. There was some intrigue, action, and romance. Overall there was a strong faith message. Recommended to fans of deeply historical Christian fiction books.




    Rosslyn Elliott's historical fiction won two 2012 Carol Awards and was named as one of Lifeway Fiction's Top Ten Reads of 2011. She has published three critically-acclaimed novels and a book of plays for young people. Rosslyn teaches literature and drama and lives with her husband, daughter, dogs, cats, and horses.


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

    Friday, December 11, 2015

    The Final Summit by Andy Andrews (Review)


  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; First Edition (April 11, 2011)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785231202



  • David Ponder is back. This time the fate of mankind is in his hands.

    This is mankind’s last chance. Centuries of greed, pride, and hate have sent humanity hurtling toward disaster, and far from its original purpose. There is only one solution that can reset the compass and right the ship, and it consists of only two words.

    With time running out, it is up to David Ponder and a cast of history’s best and brightest minds to uncover this solution before it is too late. The catch? They are allowed only five tries to discover the answer.

    Readers first encountered David Ponder in The Traveler's Gift. Now, in The Final Summit, Andrews combines a riveting narrative with astounding history in order to show us the one thing we must do when we don’t know what to do.

    My Review:

    This is the sequel to The Traveler's Gift. Overall I thought it was a quick, easy, interesting book. It makes more sense if you read the Traveler's Gift first which I also enjoyed. The Traveler's Gift is the story of one man's search for meaning and success in life by traveling back into time and speaking with seven historic individuals like Abraham Lincoln. In this book David Ponder is now elderly and his wife deceased. He often references the seven gifts he received in the first book. He is asked by Gabriel, Angel of God, to come lead a final summit. At this summit are other Travelers through time. They are names everyone will recognize like Joan of Ark. Gabriel gives them the problem to solve and sets a timer. David is only allowed five helpers from the audience and he does not get to pick them. Gabriel said the answer is mankind's last chance. Of course they do not get it right on the first try and it is interesting to read the logic behind each answer. I am not going to spoil the book by giving away the answer. Recommended.


    Received book in exchange for an honest review from Booklook blogger program.

    Sunday, December 6, 2015

    The Wonder of You by Susan May Warren (Review)






  • Series: Christiansen Family
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (June 18, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414378459


  • Mortified after her semester abroad is cut short, Amelia Christiansen returns to Deep Haven, certain she isn’t brave enough for the adventures she’s dreamed of. The last thing she expects is for the man who broke her heart to cross the Atlantic and beg forgiveness.

    Heir to a European hotel dynasty, Roark St. John has trekked from one exotic locale to another, haunted by tragedy and the expectations that accompany his last name. Amelia is the first woman to give him a reason to stop running. He’ll do anything for a second chance—even contend with Amelia’s old flame, who is intent on sending Roark packing.

    While one surprise after another leaves Amelia reeling, Roark’s continued presence only highlights the questions pursuing her. Like him, is she running from the life God has called her to? Could finding her new place mean leaving home behind?



    My Review:

    I enjoyed reading this latest book about the Christiansen family. The Christiansen Family series has all been good. This book focuses on Amelia, the youngest daughter. The other family members are present and we continue to learn more about their stories in each book. It can stand alone but is better if read in order. Amelia is the baby and acts like it. She went overseas for a semester abroad but goes home because she had her heart broken. Back home she has her high school sweetheart, Seth, who still wants her. Roark the guy she fell in love in Europe comes to America to win her back. Unknown to her and most everyone else he is heir to a really large hotel company. I love the setting, Deep Haven, and the other characters. The book was well written and engaging. There were humorous moments too. Recommended.




    Growing up in Minneapolis and attending the U of MN, I learned to love city life, although I'm a woodsy girl at heart. Or maybe I'm an adventurer -- having lived and traveled all over the world, including Siberia Russia as a missionary for eight years. Probably that's why my characters can't sit still, and seem to get into one scrape after another -- they're too much like me! I love God, my family, my country, my church, and feel privileged every day to be able to write stories.

    Chance of Loving You by Terri Blackstock, Candace Calvert, and Susan May Warren (Review)






  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (April 16, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496405371



  • An anthology by three bestselling romance authors
    For Love of Money by Terri Blackstock Trying to launch her own design firm while waitressing on the side, Julie Sheffield was drawn to the kind man she waited on at the restaurant last night . . . until he stiffed her on the tip by leaving her half of a sweepstakes ticket.

    The Recipe by Candace Calvert Hospital dietary assistant Aimee Curran is determined to win the Vegan Valentine Bake-Off to prove she’s finally found her calling. But while caring for one of her patients―the elderly grandmother of a handsome CSI photographer―Aimee begins to question where she belongs.

    Hook, Line & Sinker by Susan May Warren Grad student Abigail Cushman has agreed to enter the annual Deep Haven fishing contest. She’s a quick learner, even if she doesn’t know the difference between a bass and a trout. But nothing could prepare her for competing against the handsome charmer she’s tried to forget since grief tore them apart.

    One chance for each woman to change her life . . . but will love be the real prize?

    My Review:

    I enjoyed reading this collection of three novellas. These are some of my favorite authors so I knew I had to read this book. My favorite of the three is The Recipe by Candace Calvert. My least favorite is For Love of Money. They are pure Christian romance stories. The faith element is present and well done. I am not a big fan of novellas because I feel like more plot development is always needed. I was okay with these stories. Recommended to fans of the genre.

    Inspiralized by Ali Maffucci (Review)




  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (February 24, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804186834


  • The definitive cookbook for using a spiralizer: the kitchen gadget that turns vegetables and fruits into imaginative, low-carb dishes. 

    On her wildly popular blog, Inspiralized, Ali Maffucci is revolutionizing healthy eating. Whether you’re low-carb, gluten-free, Paleo, or raw, you don’t have to give up the foods you love. Inspiralized shows you how to transform more than 20 vegetables and fruits into delicious meals that look and taste just like your favorite indulgent originals. Zucchini turns into pesto spaghetti; jicama becomes shoestring fries; sweet potatoes lay the foundation for fried rice; plantains transform into “tortillas” for huevos rancheros.

    Ali’s recipes for breakfast, snacks, appetizers, sandwiches, soups, salads, casseroles, rices, pastas, and even desserts are easy to follow, hard to mess up, healthful, and completely fresh and flavorful. Best of all, she tells you how to customize them for whatever vegetables you have on hand and whatever your personal goal may be—losing weight, following a healthier lifestyle, or simply making easy meals at home.

    Here, too, are tons of technical tips and tricks; nutritional information for each dish and every vegetable you can possibly spiralize; and advice for spiralizing whether you’re feeding just yourself, your family, or even a crowd. So bring on a hearty appetite and a sense of adventure—you’re ready to make the most of this secret weapon for healthy cooking.

    My Review:

    This cookbook was easy to read and use. I still have a list of recipes I want to try. I made the sweet potato fries and they were delicious even more so because of the shape. Zucchini is definitely the easiest thing to spiralize. I liked how she included tips and lists of vegetables and fruits that spiralize the best. Recommended.



    Combining her inherent Italian-American love for pasta with her commitment to a healthy lifestyle, ALI MAFFUCCI launched Inspiralized.com. She lives in Jersey City with her husband, Lu.

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

    Deadlock by Diann Mills (Review)




  • Series: FBI: Houston (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 17, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414389950



  • Two murders have rocked the city of Houston. Are they the work of a serial killer, or is a copycat trying to get away with murder?

    That is the question facing Special Agent Bethany Sanchez, who is eager for her new assignment in violent crimes but anxious about meeting her new partner. Special Agent Thatcher Graves once arrested her brother, and he has a reputation for being a maverick. Plus, their investigative styles couldn’t be more opposite: he operates on instinct, while she goes by the book.

    When hot leads soon fizzle out, their differences threaten to leave them deadlocked. But an attempt on their lives turns up the heat and brings them closer together, and a third victim might yield the clue that will help them zero in on a killer. This could be the case of their careers . . . if they can survive long enough to solve it.


    My Review:

    This is the third book in the FBI Houston series but can stand alone. The focus agents in this book are Thatcher Graves and Bethany Sanchez. They get off to a rocky start. She has a brother that has been in trouble with the law and Thatcher is the one who arrested him. Add to it they have very different styles of working a case and you get sparks. Both get frustrated with the way the other one works while the killer eludes them. Her brother is out of prison and is harassing her and her family thinks she is the bad guy. So Bethany has stress from home to go with the serial killer she can't catch. The character of Thatcher needed more development. The main focus of the plot really is on Bethany. The mystery/suspense is secondary. There are many twists and turns. The ending is satisfactory. Overall it was an okay Christian mystery suspense with a touch of romance.




    DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

    Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers' Choice, and Carol award contests.

    DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America's Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

    DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com

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

    Saturday, December 5, 2015

    Emma by Jane Austen December Read A Long


    Dolce Bellezza is hosting a read a long of Emma by Jane Austen. It lasts all of December. Go here for the sign up post:

    http://dolcebellezza.net/2015/10/26/emma-by-jane-austen-an-invitation-to-read-along-with-us-this-december/

    I have read this but since it has been a long time I want to re read it so I am joining in the read a long. :)

    A summary of the book:

    Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protégée Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen's most flawless work.