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.

    Review:

    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.

    www.ibsfree.net

    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 www.lynetteeason.com.

    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 www.roseannamwhite.com.

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


    Saturday, July 29, 2017

    What Hope Remembers by Johnnie Alexander (Review)



  • Series: Misty Willow (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (May 2, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800726421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800726423


  • When Amy Somers loses her job as a lobbyist, she moves to Misty Willow, well aware that she's crossing bridges she'd burned years before. With all the mistakes she's made and the uncaring things she's done--even to her own family--she can hardly believe that happiness will find her, especially when Gabe Kendall, her first crush and her first kiss, rides back into her life atop a buckskin mare.

    A former Marine, Gabe is at loose ends after serving a prison sentence for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He sees beyond Amy's hard exterior to the girl he once knew and loved, and he longs to see her open her heart. Yet with his vision clouded by shame for his past and fears about the future, he finds it difficult to see the path ahead.

    But the memory of that long-ago kiss just may have the power to reignite a romance that brings out the best in both of them.

    My Review:

    This is the third book in the Misty Willow series. The characters do repeat with the addition of a few new ones like Gabe. I recommend reading them in order to get the full history of the family. The main focus of this story is Amy Somers. The previous book it was her brother Brett. I was happy to see that Amy was getting her own book. I felt like there was a lot more to her story. This book was hard to read sometimes because of the subject matter. Amy has a horrible eating disorder. The writing was excellent and the characters well developed. Her main love interest is Gabe Kendall. They grew up together but lost contact and now he is back at his aunt's farm. She is back too. The meet by chance and the spark is still there. This was a sweet slow paced story with a few twist. Great end to the series. Recommended.




    Johnnie Alexander is the award-winning author of Where Treasure Hides and Where She Belongs, as well as an accomplished essayist and poet. Her Misty Willow Series was inspired by a 19th century house she lived in as a teen. Join her at www.johnnie-alexander.com to experience the love of random travel and the joy of treasured moments.

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


    Monday, July 10, 2017

    High Summer Readathon Hosted by Michelle at Seasons of Reading

    Seasons of Reading


    http://seasonsreading.blogspot.com/2017/07/sign-up-for-high-summer-readathon.html


    Friday, June 23, 2017

    Japanese Literature Challenge 11 hosted by Dolce Belleza


    This is a reading challenge dedicated to books that were originally published in Japanese. It runs from June 2017 to January 2018. It is hosted by Dolcebelleza. I enjoy this challenge because the books are so different than the majority of what I read. I will at least be rereading the The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa.

    https://dolcebellezza.net/2017/06/23/japanese-literature-challenge-11-welcome/


    Thursday, May 4, 2017

    Vibrant India by Chitra Agrawal (Review)





  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (March 21, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607747340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607747345


  • From the acclaimed chef and owner of Brooklyn Delhi, a debut cookbook focused on the celebrated vegetarian fare of South India.
    Lifelong vegetarian and chef Chitra Agrawal takes you on an epicurean journey to her mother’s hometown of Bangalore and back to Brooklyn, where she adapts her family’s South Indian recipes for home cooks. This particular style of Indian home cooking, often called the “yoga diet,” is light and fresh, yet satisfying and rich in bold and complex flavors. Grains, legumes, fresh produce, coconut, and yogurt—along with herbs, citrus, chiles, and spices—form the cornerstone of this delectable cuisine, rooted in vegetarian customs and honed over centuries for optimum taste and nutrition. 

    From the classic savory crepe dosa, filled with lemony turmeric potatoes and cilantro coconut chutney, to new creations like coconut polenta topped with spring vegetables 'upma" and homemade yogurt, the recipes in Vibrant India are simple to prepare and a true celebration of color and flavor on a plate. Chitra weaves together the historical context behind the region’s cuisine and how she brought some of these age-old traditions to life thousands of miles away in Brooklyn during the city’s exciting food renaissance.

    Relying on her experience as a culinary instructor, Chitra introduces the essential Indian cooking techniques, tips, and ingredients you’ll need to prepare a full range of recipes from quick vegetable stir frys (corn, basil, and leeks flavored with butter, cumin, and black pepper), salads (citrus red cabbage and fennel slaw with black mustard seeds, curry leaves, and chile), yogurt raitas (shredded beets and coconut in yogurt), and chutneys and pickles (preserved Meyer lemon in chile brine) to hearty stews (aromatic black eyed peas, lentils, and greens), coconut curries (summer squash in an herby coconut yogurt sauce), and fragrant rice dishes (lime dill rice with pistachios). Rounding out the book is an array of addictive snacks (popcorn topped with curry leaf butter), creative desserts (banana, coconut, and cardamom ice cream), and refreshing drinks (chile watermelon juice with mint). Chitra provides numerous substitutions to accommodate produce seasonality, ingredient availability, and personal tastes. The majority of recipes are gluten-free and vegan or can be easily modified to adhere to those dietary restrictions.

    Whether you are a vegetarian or just looking for ways to incorporate more vegetarian recipes into your repertoire, Vibrant India is a practical guide for bringing delicious Indian home cooking to your table on a regular basis.

    My Review:

    This is a beautiful cookbook! The pictures are full color and amazing. I loved her family pictures and background story. These recipes are from Southern India. The recipes are interesting and full of different ingredients. The only bad thing is finding some of them in the South, USA, is difficult. The recipes vary in levels of difficulty and how many ingredients are required. Recommended.





    Chitra Agrawal is the author of Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn and the founder of Brooklyn Delhi, an award-winning Indian condiments line. Since 2009, she has been serving, writing about, and teaching her family's vegetarian recipes from India with a slant on seasonality and local ingredients. Chitra writes the popular recipe blog The ABCDs of Cooking, teaches vegetarian Indian cooking classes at Brooklyn Kitchen, Brooklyn Brainery, and Whole Foods, and hosts pop-up dinners throughout New York City with creative Indian-inspired menus. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Food & Wine, Saveur, and Zagat, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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

    Saturday, April 22, 2017

    Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon (Review)



  • Series: Hope Harbor
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (April 4, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800727681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727680


  • Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities--including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn't looking for love either--but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief? Yet wishing for things that can never be is foolish.

    Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam's help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different--and better--future planned for them than either could imagine.

    My Review:

    This was a good Christian fiction romance book. It is book three in the Hope Harbor series. It can stand alone.The characters and plot were well developed and interesting. The main characters in this story are Lexie and Adam Stone. There are other supporting characters like her son and mom. My favorite minor character is Charley, the taco truck man who is also a local artist. He is kind of like a prophet from God. He gives out wisdom to all the townspeople when they come get a taco. Lexie is the town police chief and Adam Stone is a reformed criminal. They do not cross paths until Adam is targeted by a vandal. One of the vandals is caught and Lexie wants Adam to mentor him. Adam and Lexie end up spending more time together. They feel romantic tension from the start. Along the way are some obstacles. The conclusion is good and fits the book. Recommended to fans of the genre.





    Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, and Sea Rose Lane, as well as the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, two Carol Awards, two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers' Choice Award, three HOLT Medallions, two Booksellers' Best Awards, and a National Readers' Choice Award. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com

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




    Sunday, April 2, 2017

    Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray (Review)



  • Series: The Amish of Hart County
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Inspire (March 14, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006246910X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062469106
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches




  • New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray begins a new series—The Amish of Hart County—with this suspenseful tale of a young Amish woman who is forced to move to a new town to escape a threatening stalker.
    After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she’s getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky…if only she wasn’t too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyone—even Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she'll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was.

    For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called “The Recluse” confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he's misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God’s gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there’s always more to someone than meets the eye.

    Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love, more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Now Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.

    My Review:

    This was a good Amish book. It is the first in a new series The Amish of Hart County. The plot was not your typical Amish storyline. The main character is Hannah Hilty. Her family has to move to Hart County because she had a serious stalker. Hart County, Kentucky is also a different setting than normally seen in an Amish book. The Hiltys have neighbors on one side, the Troyers. Their son Issac, likes Hannah once he gets to know the real her. There are several plot twists. The conclusion is unique and fits the book. Good start to a new Amish series.



    Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

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

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    English Lessons by Andrea Lucado (Review)





  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (May 2, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601428952
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601428950
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches



  • Could She Come to Love the Questions Themselves?

    The church wasn’t just a part of Andrea Lucado’s childhood. It was her childhood. It provided more than happy moments. It provided an invitation to know Jesus.

    When Andrea arrived in Oxford the year after she graduated from college, she expected to meet God there. What she didn’t expect was that God would be much bigger than she’d believed.

    In this engaging memoir, Andrea speaks to all of us who wrestle with doubt and identity. “So many nights in Oxford,” Andrea writes, “I felt like the details of my faith were getting fuzzier. Nights turned restless with questions. I questioned God’s existence, and the doubt was getting into my bones."

    In English Lessons, Andrea takes us through the roads of England and, more importantly, the paths of the soul. Here she explores the journey of a changing faith and an unchanging God—and why growing up starts with realizing just how small we are.

    My Review:

    This was an interesting Christian non fiction book. I love England and that was a big reason why I picked the book. It was memoir of the author's time spent in England as a student but also featured some of her life back in the USA. The main point of the book are the spiritual questions she struggled with during this time period of her life. They are universal in nature. How to witness to non believers without pushing them away is a big one. How to fit in without compromising your beliefs is another. The author was not perfect in these areas and admits to it. I did not like all the alcohol consumption in the book. It is not necessary to mention getting drunk several times and drink copious amounts of wine throughout. I am not against all alcohol, its just not appropriate for this kind of book. She had two somewhat love interests while in England. She does find some answers to her questions by the end of the book. Overall the book is okay. I enjoyed the descriptions of England and living in Oxford the best.


    Andrea Lucado is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. The daughter of best-selling author and pastor Max Lucado, she inherited an obsession with words and their arrangement. She has a masters degree in English literature from Oxford-Brookes University and contributes regularly to online and print publications such as Relevant magazine and SheReadsTruth.com. When she is not conducting interviews or writing stories, you can find her laughing with friends at a coffee shop or running in the Texas hill country.

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


    Monday, March 20, 2017

    Written in Love by Kathleen Fuller (review)



  • Series: An Amish Letters Novel
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 14, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718082524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718082529


  • When a postal error creates pen pals of two young Amish people, can they put behind their past mistakes to see the bright future God has written for them?

    Jalon Chupp has a past he isn’t proud to claim. He’s worked hard to overcome his youthful mistakes, and he has recommitted himself to his faith. When he receives a sweet note included in a piece of misdirected mail, he can’t help but write back. Soon, the letters he receives from Phoebe are the highlights of his days, and with a hopeful heart, he suggests they meet in person.

    Phoebe, too, looks forward to every single one of Jalon’s letters. Living with her overbearing aunt, Phoebe doesn’t have too much to look forward to. But when Jalon suggests they meet, she panics—although she has shared some of the deepest longings of her heart with him, she hasn’t been entirely truthful about her past. But when Jalon shows up at her aunt’s doorstep, everything is revealed. And she can only pray he’ll forgive her for holding back the truth.

    In order to reach beyond the errors of their pasts, both Phoebe and Jalon must put their faith in something—or Someone—bigger than either of them could pen.

    My Review:

    Written in Love is the first book in a new series called An Amish Letters. The plot was interesting and different than most other Amish books. Phoebe and Jalon end up being pen pals after one of Jalon's letters was accidently delivered to Phoebe and she wrote him back. They both have big secrets they are keeping from each other. The characters were well developed. There are some minor characters I hope we see in the next book in the series. The romance between Phoebe and Jalon is sweet. They both have had it rough in life so they are not perfect. I guessed the big secrets before they were revealed. The author waits a little late to reveal them. I enjoyed reading this Amish Christian fiction book. Recommended.





    Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, and the Amish of Birch Creek series, as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at www.kathleenfuller.com, Twitter: @TheKatJam, and Facebook: Kathleen Fuller.

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


    Thursday, March 16, 2017

    Murder is No Accident by A. H. Gabhart (Review)



  • Series: The Hidden Springs Mysteries (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (March 14, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080072710X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727109


  • Young Maggie Greene may be trespassing in the old, empty Victorian mansion on a quiet street in Hidden Springs, but all she wants is some private time in the magnificent tower room to write her stories. Certain she'll be in trouble if caught, she hides when a realtor shows up. But someone else is in the house too, someone even more worried about getting caught. When Maggie finds the realtor's body at the bottom of a flight of stairs and the other person gone, Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane is called in. He assumes the realtor's death is a tragic accident--until a second person is found dead in the house. When Maggie is threatened, Michael must catch the murderer before anyone else dies.

    Cozy mystery fans will love this third installment in The Hidden Springs Mysteries series from an author who knows how to make small-town America sweet, sentimental--and a little sinister.

    My Review:

    This was a good Christian cozy mystery book. It is book three in the Hidden Springs series but can stand alone. The author did a good job developing the small town feel. There were several interesting unique characters. The series revolves around Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane. He grew up in Hidden Springs and has roots there. His only living family member is his Aunt who is a high school math teacher even though she is elderly. He has a girlfriend named Alex who spent her summers in Hidden Springs visiting her Uncle Reese. She is a lawyer in the big city and is not a small town girl. They love each other but that always stands in the way. There were two murders in the book. I did not solve them before the end of the book. I was surprised at one of the killers. The ending was mostly satisfying. I would have liked more closure between Michael and Alex. Recommended to fans of the genre.

                         

    Biography

    Ann H. Gabhart caught the writing bug at the age of ten and has been writing ever since. An award winning author, she's published many books for both adults and young adults. Scent of Lilacs, her first inspirational novel, was chosen as a Top Ten Christian Fiction Book by Booklist magazine. Her Shaker novel, The Outsider, was a finalist for ECPA Christian Fiction Book of the Year and was a Top Pick by Romantic Times Book Review Magazine. Love Comes Home won the Selah Book of the Year award. Ann writes about Kentucky history and small town life and as A.H. Gabhart is the author of the Hidden Springs mysteries.

    Ann lives on a farm in Kentucky not far from where she was born. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. Ann loves hiking on her farm with her grandkids and her dog, Oscar. See more about her books at www.annhgabhart.com or join the conversation on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/anngabhart

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

    Saturday, March 11, 2017

    Still Life by Dani Pettrey (Review)



  • Series: Chesapeake Valor (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 31, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764212958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764212956



  • Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

    Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

    My Review:

    This is book two in the Chesapeake Valor series. I have read book one and loved it. This book was just okay for me. It had a lot going on and many characters. I can understand needing to set up for the next book in the series though. The true main focus of this book is Avery and Parker. I thought some of the characters needed a little more developing. The plot was interesting and detailed. It had a couple plot twists. Avery and her friend Skylar have been friends for a long time. Avery has a bad past that Parker does not know about. Searching for Skylar has forced her to reveal some of it to him. After they confirm Skylar is dead, they realize Avery's life might be in danger. Parker shows he cares about her by wanting to keep her safe. She stopped working for Parker in the first book because she cared too much for him and he was still in love with his dead wife. Will they ever find true love together? Overall this was a good Christian mystery suspense romance book. I can't wait to read book three in the series. Read book one first.



    Dani Pettrey is the bestselling author of the Alaskan Courage series and winner of the 2014 Daphne du Maurier award for Inspirational Novel, the 2014 Christian Retailing's Best Award for Suspense, and the 2013 Holt Medallion for First Novel. She and her husband reside in the D.C. Metro area. She can be found online at www.danipettrey.com.

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

    Amish Weddings by Leslie Gould (Review)

  • Series: Neighbors of Lancaster County (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764216945
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764216947



  • Gregarious Rose Lehman, who's always the life of the Amish youth singings, is determined to marry the bishop's son, Reuben Byler--until the handsome Army buddy of her future brother-in-law shows up in Lancaster County. In comparison to Trevor, Reuben seems downright boring. Trevor shares Rose's sense of fun and adventure, and her easygoing disposition.

    When her sister Lila's buggy is rear-ended and Lila is horribly injured, Rose finds herself with more freedom than she's ever experienced. Everyone is so concerned about Lila that no one realizes Rose is sneaking out with Trevor. Except for Reuben. But in his usual passive way, he doesn't confront her, nor does he address the situation with her Dat or anyone else in the district. Rose appreciates Reuben's discretion, but she also resents it. Part of her relishes the freedom she's found with Trevor, but the other part of her wishes Reuben would "fight" for her, as much as any Amish man would. Too late, she realizes the foolish choice she's made. Has she ruined her best chance at love, or is there another path to happiness she just hasn't seen yet?

    My Review:

    This is book three in the Neighbors of Lancaster County series. I have only read this book. I never liked the main character Rose in this book. I did end up liking Reuben, her Amish love interest. I did not like the Lila injured part. It did not work in the story for me. The character of Lila in this book is not developed enough. There was a plot twist toward the end that took me a little by surprise. Overall, it was just an okay Amish romance book. I have read and liked other books by this author.



    Leslie Gould is the coauthor, with Mindy Starnes Clark, of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife and The Amish Nanny. She is also the author of numerous novels including two Lancaster Amish series. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She resides with her husband and four children in Oregon. Learn more at www.lesliegould.com.

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

    Sunday, March 5, 2017

    Maybe It's You by Candace Calvert (Review)




  • Series: Crisis Team
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (February 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141439036X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414390369



  • ER nurse Sloane Ferrell escaped her risky past―new name, zip code, job, and a fresh start. She’s finally safe, if she avoids a paper trail and doesn’t let people get too close. Like the hospital’s too-smooth marketing man with his relentless campaign to plaster one “lucky” employee’s face on freeway billboards.

    Micah Prescott’s goal is to improve the Hope hospital image, but his role as a volunteer crisis responder is closer to his heart. The selfless work helps fill a void in his life left by family tragedy. So does a tentative new relationship with the compassionate, beautiful, and elusive Sloane Ferrell.

    Then a string of brutal crimes makes headlines, summons responders . . . and exposes disturbing details of Sloane’s past.

    Can hope spring from crisis?

    My Review:

    I loved this book. I have been waiting for Sloan's book throughout the series. This is book three in the Crisis Team series. I recommend reading them in order because Sloan is featured in the previous book. Sloan is a good girl in this book but not in the last. She has worked hard to overcome her drinking and attends AA meetings after a bad car accident that injured a friend and co worker. She moved to a whole  new city for a fresh start including a name change. She is also in hiding because of her ex's issues and the people hunting him. She is doing good until she snags the attention of Micah Prescott. He is the hospital's assistant director of public relations. He wants her to be part of the public image for the hospital. She is not going for it. They form an unlikely friendship that grows into more. There are complications and twists. The characters and plot are well developed, unique, and interesting. This is my favorite of the series. Recommended.




    Often called the author of "medical hope opera," Candace Calvert is an ER nurse who landed on the other side of the stethoscope after the equestrian accident that broke her neck and convinced her love, laughter--and faith--are the very best medicines of all.

    Her popular medical drama series (Mercy Hospital, Grace Medical and Crisis Team) offer readers a chance to "scrub in" on the exciting world of emergency medicine, along with charismatic characters, pulse-pounding action, tender romance, humor, suspense--and an encouraging prescription for hope. Think "Grey's Anatomy finds its soul"!

    A native northern Californian, mother of two and proud grandmother to eight, Candace is a passionate "foodie," equally at home with a whisk in her hand as she is penning stories. Folks who follow her on Twitter and Facebook will find photo-embellished recipes,funny insights into the writing life, snippets of upcoming work, and a chance at book giveaways. Please visit her website at: www.candacecalvert.com

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

    The Classics Club Spin 15 My List

    The Classics Club Spin #15 My List

    Update And the winner is #12

    I need to have it read before May 1!


    1. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Burns
    2. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    4. Brave New World by Adolphus Huxley
    5. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
    6. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
    7. Middlemarch by George Eliot
    8. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein
    9. Greenery Street by Denis Mackail
    10. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
    11. Mariana by Monica Dickens
    12. Mrs. Bridge by Evan Connell
    13. Good Evening Mrs. Craven by Mollie Panter Downes
    14. Cold Comfort Farms by Stella Gibbons
    15. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    16. A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    17. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    18. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
    19. Listening Valley by D. E. Stevenson
    20. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

    Sunday, February 26, 2017

    Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley (Review)





  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (January 31, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800727088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727086

  • It's been eighteen years since TV crime reporter Andi Hollister's sister was murdered. The confessed killer is behind bars, and the execution date is looming. But when a letter surfaces stating that the condemned killer didn't actually do it, Detective Will Kincaide of the Memphis Cold Case Unit will stop at nothing to help Andi get to the bottom of it. After all, this case is personal: the person who confessed to the crime is Will's cousin. They have less than a week to find the real killer before the wrong person is executed. But much can be accomplished in that week--including uncovering police corruption, running for your life, and falling in love.


    My Review:

    This was a decent Christian romantic suspense book. They mystery and suspense factors were good. The plot was well developed and interesting. I did not like the main character Andi's pain pill addiction though. It did not work as part of the story and I felt it detracted from it. Will Kincaide has liked Andi for years but she is his best friend's sister. Andi has a tendency for trouble as a tv crime reporter. She puts herself and her friend in danger. The main plot of this story is proving Will's cousin who is on death row innocent before he is put to sleep. I did guess who really did it but not until close to the end. The romance development between Will and Andi was okay. The conclusion was good and fit the story. This is the first book in a new series called Memphis Cold Cases. I look forward to reading book two.



    Patricia Bradley is the author of Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, Gone without a Trace, and Silence in the Dark. Bradley has been a finalist for the Genesis Award, winner of a Daphne du Maurier Award, and winner of a Touched by Love Award. Bradley is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc., and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Bradley makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.

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


    Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay (Review)




  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718077911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718077914



    Art restorer Emily Price has never encountered anything she can’t fix—until she meets Ben, an Italian chef, who seems just right. But when Emily follows Ben home to Italy, she learns that his family is another matter . . .

  • Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—dreams of having a gallery show of her own. There is no time for distractions, especially not the ultimate distraction of falling in love.
    But Chef Benito Vassallo’s relentless pursuit proves hard to resist. Visiting from Italy, Ben works to breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s faded restaurant, Piccollo. Soon after their first meeting, he works to win Emily as well—inviting her into his world and into his heart.

    Emily astonishes everyone when she accepts Ben’s proposal and follows him home. But instead of allowing the land, culture, and people of Monterello to transform her, Emily interferes with everyone and everything around her, alienating Ben’s tightly knit family. Only Ben’s father, Lucio, gives Emily the understanding she needs to lay down her guard. Soon, Emily’s life and art begin to blossom, and Italy’s beauty and rhythm take hold of her spirit.

    Yet when she unearths long-buried family secrets, Emily wonders if she really fits into Ben’s world. Will the joys of Italy become just a memory, or will Emily share in the freedom and grace that her life with Ben has shown her are possible?

    My Review:

    This was a good Christian fiction romance book. Emily and Ben connect from the first time they meet. It is hard to believe that they would marry after only knowing each other two weeks though. Emily then goes back to Italy with him. I love the author's descriptive writing. I felt like I was in the book. The first half is set in Atlanta and the second mostly in Italy. There were some supporting characters also. I liked Ben's sister and his father. I never warmed up to his mother. The first part was like a fairy tale and the second half reality. Emily  runs into issues being in a country she doesn't speak the language and with people she does not know. Some of Ben's family is welcoming and some not so much. It is not a fast paced book which was fine with me as I enjoyed the descriptions. The conclusion is satisfying. Recommended to fans of Christian romance fiction.




    Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries—who provide constant inspiration both for writing and for life. She is the author of three previous novels, and her debut, Dear Mr. Knightley, was a 2014 Christy Award Finalist, winner of the 2014 INSPY Award for Best Debut, and winner of two Carol Awards for Best Debut and Best Contemporary. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University and is a wife, mother, runner, and tae kwon do black belt. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine and her family recently moved back to Chicago. Visit her on line at katherinereay.com Facebook: katherinereaybooks Twitter: @Katherine_Reay


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

    Sunday, February 19, 2017

    Rescue Me by Susan May Warren (Review)





  • Series: Montana Rescue (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (January 31, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800727444
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727444


  • When Deputy Sam Brooks commits to something, nothing can sway him--not just on the job as liaison between the Mercy Falls sheriff's department and PEAK Rescue, but in his private life. He's the one who stuck around to take care of his mother after his father's accidental death. And he's the one--perhaps the only one--who believes Sierra Rose is the perfect girl for him. Safe, practical, and organized, she's nothing like her hippie, impulsive, bleeding heart sister, Willow.

    Willow, however, has been in love with Sam Brooks for as long as she can remember. But she wants her sister to have a happy ending. Besides, Willow has other things to focus on--namely, nabbing the job as youth pastor for her small-town church. Best thing for her to do is to purge Sam from her heart.

    Neither can predict the events that will bring them together in a fight for their lives in the forbidding wilderness of Glacier National Park. Stranded, injured, and with the winter weather closing in, Sam and Willow will have to work together to save a crew of terrified teenagers. As they fight to survive, they might just discover a new hope for love.

    My Review:

    This book was great. I really enjoyed reading it. It is book two in the Montana Rescue series. I think they should be read in order as the characters repeat. The main focus in this story is Sam and Willow. The sparks fly between them after Willow kisses him in a moment of weakness. But there are multiple hurdles. Sam is the boyfriend of Willow's sister Sierra. And he thinks he does not like what makes her Willow. She is the opposite of her sister which he thinks is perfect for him. Willow has loved him for years but puts her sister first. There are multiple subplots featuring the other members of Peak rescue. Some run throughout the series. It did not distract from the book for me. The action really heats up when Sam, Willow, the youth pastor, and a group of teenagers go hiking. On the way home they are in a bad van accident. A winter weather storm furthers complicates it. Sam and Willow have to work together to get everyone out safely. The plot and characters were well developed and held my attention from the beginning to end. Recommended.




    Susan May Warren is the ECPA and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels, including Wild Montana Skies, with more than one million books sold. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers' Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She can be found online at www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at SusanMayWarrenFiction, and
    on Twitter @susanmaywarren.


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

    Sunday, January 8, 2017

    Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (Review)



    First Published in 1952.


    Excellent Women is one of Barbara Pym’s richest and most amusing high comedies. Mildred Lathbury is a clergyman’s daughter and a mild-mannered spinster in 1950s England. She is one of those “excellent women,” the smart, supportive, repressed women who men take for granted. As Mildred gets embroiled in the lives of her new neighbors—anthropologist Helena Napier and her handsome, dashing husband, Rocky, and Julian Malory, the vicar next door—the novel presents a series of snapshots of human life as actually, and pluckily, lived in a vanishing world of manners and repressed desires.

    My Review:

    This is my first novel by Barbara Pym. I did enjoy reading it. I love British literature. This book is set in 1950s England. The basic plot is set around the concept of excellent women. They are the women who are not married but are smart, supportive, repressed. The main character, Mildred Lathbury, is one of them. She is an only child of a clergyman. Her parents have been deceased and she is all alone except for friends. She is good friends with her vicar, Julian, and his sister Winifred. Winifred is another one of those excellent women. One day she gets new neighbors in her building, Helena and Rocky Napier. They are an unusual couple. Helena is an anthropologist. Rocky is in the military. They are opposites and fight often. Mildred gets drawn into their lives. They also help open her world. I loved the descriptions of people and surroundings in the book. The humor in it is understated. The situations Mildred finds herself in are interesting. I do not want to give away the whole plot but the ending fits the book.

    Recommended.

    Saturday, January 7, 2017

    The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen (Review)


  • Series: Tales From Ivy Hill (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; Reprint edition (December 6, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764218131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764218132


  • First Series from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen!
    The lifeblood of the Wiltshire village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. But when the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant owner. Jane has no notion of how to run a business. However, with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must find a way to bring new life to the inn.

    Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to find her place in the world. As she and Jane work together, they form a measure of trust, and Thora's wounded heart begins to heal. When she encounters two men from her past, she sees them--and her future--in a different light.

    With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane employs innovative methods to turn the inn around, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place. Will her efforts be enough to save The Bell? And will Thora embrace the possibility of a second chance at love?

    My Review:

    The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill was an okay start to a new series by Julie Klassen. It was too long and tried to cover too many things. I think it was to set the background up for the series though. I did not like the two main female characters, Jane and Thora, in the beginning. By the end of the book I was able to tolerate them. Patrick Bell, Thora's other son, also comes back to help with the inn. I didn't trust him from the beginning and there were undertones of his being not completely upfront and having ulterior motives. Although Thora and Jane both have two men in their lives who could be love interests, there was not a lot of romance in the book. There was a little mystery/suspense around the fate of the inn and the death of Jane's husband. The ending of the book left us hanging on several things. Part of it I understand why but I would have loved some more closure. There is a second book in the series coming out in December that will focus on some of the minor characters from this one. Overall I liked being in Ivy Hill and look forward to reading the next book in the series.




    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 www.julieklassen.com for more information.

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