Thursday, 23 February 2017

Book Review: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

From the Back:

The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save 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 overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?

My Reflections:

Set in the 1820's in the quaint village of Ivy Hill, England, this story sweeps you away from day to day and envelops you in pure charm.

Julie Klassen has done a marvelous job of capturing the essence of this tiny winsome town, from the quirky inhabitants to the breathtaking backdrop. It all creates a cohesive environment where you want to snuggle in and never leave its folds. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, but don't despair there will be more books to follow, however, the next book "The Ladies of Ivy Cottage" is not due for almost, a whole year!

The story centers around an innkeeper by the name Jane Fairmont Bell, Yes, a woman innkeeper. As you can imagine this was not the norm in the 1820's. Having inherited it from her late husband at the tender age of 29, she has some big decisions to make. Will she watch the Inn wither or will she take charge and run The "Bell" herself. With determination and a large loan looming over Jane, she enlists the "help" of her mother in law Thora Bell. Through a strained relationship, the two women plow ahead through grief to try to save the Inn. Things are definitely amiss, but Jane is one determined lady.

I love a book that highlights the aspects of a small community. We cannot do great things alone but with many people's support and guidance, couple this with Gods leading and grace and we are set forth on a journey worth exploring and savoring! Life is so good, and Julie Klassen has written an exceptionally tender novel exploring the human spirit.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc

                                                About the Author 

  1. JULIE KLASSEN loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full-time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the...

    Continue reading about Julie Klassen

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Book Review: The Prayer Saturated Family

From The Back:

Learn to pray together and see your family transformed!
In our world of busy schedules and digital distractions, it's hard for families to find time to eat dinner together, let alone pray together. Yet praying together deepens relationships, alleviates fighting and strengthens family ties more than any single thing you can do.

With a fresh, flexible, real-world approach, bestselling author Cheryl Sacks shows how you can integrate prayer into your daily family life, including how to:
· Get everyone on board and involved
· Experience a fresh sense of God's promise and purpose for your family
· Overcome spiritual opposition coming against your household
· Shift the spiritual atmosphere in your home to one of greater peace and joy
· Make an investment in your children's faith that will last a lifetime

You will also discover how a family that prays together becomes an unstoppable force for good, bringing God's answers to impossible situations. And it can start with you! Through prayer, you have the power not only to change the atmosphere of your home but also to be part of changing the spiritual atmosphere wherever you go.

"You will love this book! It is rich with stories that will cause you to laugh and cry! It is filled with hope!"--Cindy Jacobs, Generals International

Includes a Step-by-Step 31-Day Family Prayer Guide!Full of the creative ideas, prompts and Scripture-based prayers you need to help jump-start and develop your family's prayer life.
My Reflections:

I was so ecstatic to read Cheryl Sacks new book The Prayer Saturated Family!
What better technique can we use to transform our family and homes but pray?
Sacks give us a plan to do just that in a powerful family friendly package.

Rich in storytelling and practical wisdom this book delivers a reminder that a family that prays together not only stays together but also thrives!

Our family is far from perfect, but we pray together, we fellowship together, and we look at each other and hold one another accountable. The family unit is a funny thing don't you think? Different personalities brought together, hand picked by God, working together for His good...beautiful, isn't it? Admist the piles of dirty dishes, arguments over who's turn it is to work in the barns, and teenagers.. we pray, and we pray some more, but is it making a difference? You bet it is!

This book reminds us that without prayer we are left vulnerable to attack, we live in a spiritual war, one that needs to be fought in part by prayer.
Included is a 31-day family prayer guide that I am super eager to implement in our home. We already have the "prayer jar," and "Thankful Jar" this will be a fantastic addition to what our family has already implemented.

If you want to change the atmosphere of your home and change the future for your family, I encourage you to pray! This book is extremely encouraging, so if you ever needed some useful tips and an easy to follow plan, this book may be the book for you.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc


  1. Cheryl Sacks

    Cheryl Sacks, national speaker and bestselling author, is the co-founder and leader of BridgeBuilders International Leadership Network ( along with her husband, Hal. She has written for such publications as Pray!magazine and Rick...
    Continue reading about Cheryl Sacks

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Book Review: Your Cholesterol Matters

From The Back:

85 percent of people over the age of 50 have significant artery blockage without any symptoms. 

Two-thirds of the time, the initial symptom is a full-blown heart attack.

Doctors routinely tell patients to watch their diet, get regular exercise, and lose weight. They also increasingly prescribe "cholesterol lowering" drugs that patients will take every day for the rest of their lives. The pill makes us feel like we're doing something, so we slack off in our goals for a healthier lifestyle. To make matters worse, the pill solves only a portion of the problem, giving us a false sense of security.

Dr. Richard Furman wants you to know that you don't have to pin your health hopes on expensive medications that only address a small part of the cholesterol puzzle (and often have negative health-impacting side effects). In this practical guide to better health, he offers specific strategies to

· lower your levels of "lethal" LDL cholesterol
· raise your levels of "hero" HDL cholesterol
· develop new habits that make healthy living easy and natural
· adjust your lifestyle in order to stay off of expensive medications
· and more

Your aging process depends on the health of your arteries. Dr. Furman's advice will not only give you extra years but, even more important, it will improve the quality of those years, beginning today.
My Reflections:

I can't say I enjoyed reading Richard Furman's book, "Your Cholesterol Matters," but since I am predisposed to high cholesterol and have it already, this was a mandatory read for me. This book is super informative and covers all areas of cardiovascular health. It was such a sad read, though, I mean no snacks, no desserts, ugh sounds so miserable! 

I follow a fairly healthy diet called the Trim and Heathy Mamma diet; it includes yummy desserts and satisfying foods in a responsible way. I am not overweight but do have health issues that I need to work hard at addressing, hence why I chose this book.
But I digress, back to this book. Furman shows readers how to get their cholesterol back on track and their health back in the green zone. 
Simple terminology and a step by step plan make this book relatively easy to navigate and follow. 

Although you may not like the sacrifices to your eating and lifestyle, you will appreciate a healthy heart and long life. I had to disagree, however, with a few points in his book, one being his description of not seeing overweight people in a nursing home, (because they have all died.) I worked in a nursing home for many years and can attest that I saw plenty of individuals who had extra padding. 

If you are overweight and have cholesterol issues, this book may be the tool to give you the wake-up call you may need. Our society has a diet for every ailment, and the world does not need another fad diet, perhaps it's time we turn back to natural foods and good old exercise? 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc


  1. Richard Furman MD, FACS

    Richard Furman, MD, FACS, spent over thirty years as a vascular surgeon. Furman is past president of the North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, past president of the North Carolina Surgical Society, and a two-term governor of the American...

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Book Review: Have a New Sex Life by Friday

From the Back:

You're only days away from the kind of intimacy you long for . . . Given enough time, stress, and kids, even the most satisfying sex life can turn ho-hum. Before long, your conversations center on taking the garbage out, you only make love with the lights off, and experimenting in the bedroom means changing the color of the duvet.

But why settle for "less than" when you could pursue the gift of wow sex together? In just one week, you and your spouse will learn

· why women need sex (and what stops them from wanting it)
· why men want sex (and why what's important to her is important to him too)
· how to reclaim space just for the two of you
· how to create an intimate connection that lasts all day, even when you're apart
· how to spice things up in the bedroom
· and more

Dr. Leman's candid advice comes with his guarantee: with just a little attention to these doable strategies, you and your spouse can experience the kind of exciting relationship you long for--not only by Friday but throughout your entire marriage.

Do any of these describe you?
- You can't remember the last time your spouse gave you a real kiss or held your hand.
- You're stuck in a rut in the bedroom.
- You can predict the exact spot your spouse will touch you.
- You undress in the walk-in closet.
- The last book you read about sex was for your premarital counseling.

If even one of these describes you, you need this book. It's the miracle jump start that can turn ho-hum, nonexistent, or even good sex into unimaginably wow sex.

I guarantee it.

My Reflections:
I have enjoyed all of the previous books written by Dr. Kevin Leman and I must say, his newest book is no exception. 
Have a New Sex Life by Friday was a quick and easy read. Broken down week by week Leman explores into topics like:

Why women need sex,
Why men need sex
Who's in bed with you
Making love with words
Spice it up!
Romance on a budget
Surprises your spouse will love
and so much more.

Written with humor and wit Leman walks his readers through a series of topics that make you stop, laugh and want to be a better spouse.
I found Tuesday to be the most interesting chapter (but you are going to have to pick up the book to know what's included in the "Tuesday" chapter, no spoiler alerts here, Ha!)

This book although simple in nature is filled with great reminders on how we can spice up our love life. More importantly, this book reminds us that strengthening our marriages is of utmost importance, we all encounter hills and valleys in our relationships but walking side by side with God leading the way we can do all things..together, (even have a wow sex life!)
 If you have been married for one year or 40 years, there are many great reminders and tips in this book to take your love life from good to YES!

I received this book free of charge in return for my honest review from Graf-Martin Communications, Thank you, Graf-Martin!


  1. Dr. Kevin Leman

    Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known psychologist, radio and television personality, and speaker who has taught and entertained audiences worldwide with his wit and commonsense psychology. He has made house calls for hundreds of radio and television...
    Continue reading about Dr. Kevin Leman

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Book Review: NIV Bible For Teen Guys

Book Description

The NIV Bible for Teen Guys, designed specifically for guys ages 13 to 18, is for real teenage guys with real lives. Packed with daily readings, highlighted promises of God, challenging insights, smart advice, and open discussion about the realities of life, this Bible is designed to help teen guys grow in their faith. The NIV Bible for Teen Guys is as serious about your walk with God as you are, helping you discover his will for all areas of your life, including relating to your family, dealing with friends, work, sports, girls, and so much more.
Features include:
Daily readings for teen guys by popular Christian male authors (Mark Batterson, Kyle Idleman, Mark Hall, Max Lucado, and more) Character profiles of men in the Bible Book introductions for each book of the Bible Highlighted promises of God: verses worth remembering A concordance for help in finding verses The complete text of the bestselling New International Version (NIV) of the Bible

My Refections:

The NIV Bible for Teen Guys is a fantastic comprehensive and well-designed volume.

Hardbound it is sturdy and rugged, it can easily handle the wear it could expect from this age group. The cover is not overly flashy or fashionable making it acceptable for many tastes and styles. My son was just fine with this copy of the Bible, some of the others I have presented him have been left under the bed or in other obscure places due to his personal preferences.

Another aspect I found different about this edition is that it contains daily readings from modern well known, trusted men of faith. 
Having men who teens can look up to can change a young man's life, particularly for those boys who don't have strong male influences in their lives. 
The daily readings are manageable in length but are packed with power. I found myself so encouraged by them and in turn, was excited to move onto the scripture with new vigor. I have so enjoyed reviewing this edition!

This Bible is easy to read with just the right sized font, and it is very well laid out, and easy to maneuver. Some of the highlights you can expect are:

-Daily readings. Your child will enjoy reading this section which boasts great wisdom from famous Christian authors.

-Character profiles, learning about the men of the Bible, what better way to give our boys a brief outline of the men in the Bible?

-Book introductions, which if you have a minimalist like mine are uber handy. These quick little summaries give a snapshot of the time period, who is involved, recognizable verses and what you will expect to read about.

- Highlighted promises of God. It is my hope that my children can hide the word of God in their hearts. I'm glad this is added to this edition. It is easy to find God's promised as they are highlighted yellow throughout the text. I wish my Bible had this feature! 
"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

All in all, this is a fantastic complete text of the popular NIV version of the Bible. I feel comfortable recommending this Bible for any teen in your life.

This Bible was given to me free of charge in return for my honest review from Book Look Bloggers. Thank you so much Book Look!

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Book Review: Fatal Frost

From the Back:

Following in her absentee father's footsteps in a law enforcement career, U.S. Marshal Mercy Brennan has just recovered from being shot in the line of duty. And, unbeknownst to her, her father's recent reappearance in her life has put her in the sights of St. Louis's most powerful gang. Her boss assigns Deputy U.S. Marshal Mark St. Laurent--Mercy's ex-boyfriend--to get her out of town until her safety can be guaranteed.

Unaware of the extent her boss and Mark have been keeping her in the dark, it isn't until a freak ice storm strands them at a remote location and out of contact with the district office that the full severity of their situation becomes clear. As the storm worsens, the forces of nature combine with a deadly enemy to put them in great danger. Can they survive long enough for help to arrive--if help is even coming at all?
My Reflections:

Nancy Mehl pens another fast and furious romantic suspense with her newest novel, Fatal Frost. Join Mercy Brennan, strong-willed and tenacious U.S. Deputy. Her mission is to fight against crime in St. Louis, where criminals are abundant, and gangs and drugs are winning the battle of good and evil.

Mercy tries to live on the fringes, she is a self-proclaimed loner, even in her closest relationships we see this bent towards extreme independence and self-preservation. Mercy always has an agenda and is super keen on keeping her life organized and streamlined, these skills along with her tough as nails attitude keep her going as she faces the worst criminals in the city of St. Louis.

We soon find that Mercy has some serious hurdles to overcome, mainly with her anger and resentment regarding her father, Nick. There are always two sides to every story, and this one is no exception. Nancy Mehl is so talented at penning her characters so that they are real to life and have a commanding presence in her novels. I felt very connected and was so disappointed when the story came to a close. 

Another characteristic I love about this author is her ability to keep her readers entertained and have descriptive statistics and scenarios throughout the novels. This makes the reader really feel immersed in another life and diverse professions. I will never be a U.S. Deputy but was able to experience the thrills, danger and high throttle adrenaline these professionals face on a daily basis. 
Makes my dull farm existence seem a little less dreary!

If you are looking for a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat and entertained this Christmas season, I would highly recommend Fatal Frost. Although you may want to pick up another good book as well as this one will most likely be completed sooner than you anticipate.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc


  1. Nancy Mehl

    Nancy Mehl is the author of twenty-one books, including the Road to Kingdom and Finding Sanctuary series. Nancy writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their puggle, Watson. Visit to learn more.
    Continue reading about Nancy Mehl

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Book Review: Overcoming Toxic Parenting

From The Back:

You can break the cycle of toxic parenting
Parenting is hard enough when you had good role models in your own parents. But what if your parents were absent, neglectful, or abusive? Are you doomed to repeat their mistakes with your own children? As a parenting expert and someone who experienced negative parenting firsthand, Rick Johnson answers that question with an emphatic "No!"

Anyone can be a good parent, even if they didn't have one. In this compassionate and practical book, Johnson shows you how to identify the ways in which your past experiences affect your own parenting choices. Then he walks you through the process of healing the emotional and spiritual wounds toxic parenting has left behind. Finally, he outlines healthy habits and practices to take the place of the negative ones that were modeled for you.

With Rick as your sympathetic guide, you can break the cycle of abuse, neglect, or absenteeism and create a positive family environment now and for the future.

My Reflections:

If you come from a less than stellar upbringing and want to do better for your family, I would highly recommend picking up this book by Rick Johnson.
Johnson is no stranger to relationship building he is the founder of Better Dads, and a well-known speaker on relational topics.
I found this to be an easy to read and understandable book, filled with knowledgeable facts and an actual workable plan. Sprinkled with humor, you can't go wrong picking up this book!
I find often times self-help books are good at telling you what is wrong and the reasons behind the fracture, but lack in the follow through. I think it is safe to say we all need a good scaffolding in order to make real and lasting change in our lives. 
Rick Johnson gives us this in his newest book, paired with healing and a framework for better parenting, this book is one of the better ones I have read on this subject.

This book covers matters like:

When Parents Fail
How Our Past Affects Our Own Parenting
Healing Our Wounds
Action Steps to Healing
Healing Our Emotions
New Parenting |Stratigeis
Good Kids, Bad Kids
Healthy Relationshi[ Practices
Thoughts for Women: Why You Matter
Thoughts For Men: Why You Matter
Conclusion: Better Parent, Better Families, Better World.

I really valued that the author had real life experience in the material he was writing about, it was helpful and validated his points. 
I love his quote "Your Past Does Not Dictate Your Future"
This has been a very encouraging and uplifting read, I came out of reading this parenting book, energized and ready to make some small baby steps into new territory. 
If you are looking at healing from your past, and changing the way you parent or are being proactive and reading this book before you even have children or a husband, I would highly recommend Johnson's book. This would also be beneficial to spouses of wounded partners, as it will help them understand the pain behind the actions.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc


  1. Rick Johnson

    Rick Johnson is a bestselling author of That's My Teenage SonThat's My Girl10 Things Great Dads Do, and Better Dads, Stronger Sons, as well as Becoming Your Spouse's Better Half and Overcoming Toxic Parenting. He...
    Continue reading about Rick Johnson
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