Wednesday 31 December 2014

Book Review: The Secret of Pembrooke Park

Cover Art

From the Back:

Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.

Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play...

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor's past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.

This catches Abigail's attention. Hoping to restore her family's finances--and her dowry--Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn't the only one secretly searching the house.

Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

My Reflection:

Julie Klassen takes her readers back to the 1800's  in this English tale of mystery, treasure, secret rooms, and spooky occurrences.

I must admit that the last book I read by Klassen "The Dancing Master"was not one of my favorites, so I was a little hesitant to order this one, but who can resist an old manor house filled with rumors and secrets? I was certainly not disappointed.

Her newest novel is not lacking in the traditional romance often associated with this type of read, it is however presented in a slightly subdued manner. This hearty book with over 450 pages of reading pleasure will certainly keep you entertained. Thought I found the story is a trifle slow to start, once the action commenced I found myself immersed into this complex storyline and numerous characters. The strange events and plethora of mystery make the pages fly by.

Abigail Foster and her family are hit hard financially after a particularly nasty investment failure. When by a miracle they are handed an anonymous tenancy by a very distant relative they jump at the opportunity.
Pembrooke Park turns out to be a wonderful old manor, left just as if the previous family got up from their daily routine and walked out the door, it seems a little mysterious don't you think? Things become even more intriguing when rumor has it that their is a hidden treasure left in a secret room..

Abigail is the sensible sister, where her younger sibling is the "pretty one." Abigail has a good head on her shoulders and intends to use it to save her family. Though Abigail thought she may be an old maid after her intended fell for her sister, but she finds she is presented with a passel of admirers, either with secrets to uphold, romantic notions to explore...or both.

I was not super impressed with one of the characters, William his actions just seemed to rub me the wrong way. In this time-period I am sure it was not modest or proper to have men in your bedchambers, even if you are just talking. This fact alone may very well give a proper young lady an impure reputation.

That aside this tale is a constant surprise, filled with intrigue; multiple mysteries really and a cast of characters that are sure to keep you entertained. At times I became confused with the multiple members of the cast and the many incidents, but I tend to have issues with extremely complex novels so don't let that deter you. I feel this is a well thought out novel, the time it must have taken to come up with this story!

I am sure if you are a fan of mystery and romance regency type novels you will quite enjoy the Secret of Pembrooke Park, by Julie Klassen!

Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for my honest review. Thank you Graf-Martin!

ook has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin communications, thank you Graf-Martin!! - See more at:

About The Author

  1. Julie Klassen
    © Ginger Murray Photography

    Julie Klassen

    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. She has won three Christy Awards in the Historical Romance category for The...

    Continue reading about Julie Klassen

Monday 29 December 2014

Book Review: A Most Inconvenient Marriage

Cover Art

From the Back:

Abigail Stuart Thought She was Jeremiah Calhoun's Widow.
But Jeremiah Calhoun Is Very Handsome, Very Alive, and Very Perplexed.
Most Inconvenient Indeed.

With few options of her own, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her patient, a gravely wounded soldier calling himself Jeremiah Calhoun. They arrange a quick ceremony before he dies, giving Abigail the rights to his Ozark farm and giving Jeremiah the peace of knowing someone will care for his ailing sister after he's gone--a practical solution for both of them.

After the war, Abigail fulfills her side of the bargain--until the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, injured but definitely alive, and wastes no time in challenging Abigail's story. Abigail is flummoxed. After months of claiming to be his widow, how can she explain that she's never seen this Jeremiah Calhoun before? How can she convince him that she isn't trying to steal his farm? And will she find a way to stay, even though this practical arrangement has turned into a most inconvenient marriage?

My Reflections:

Though the "marriage of convenience" account is not a new notion, the way Jennings weaves this tale it becomes a fresh and quirky story waiting for you to delve into.

Abigail Stuart is a sweet, caring, hardworking and determined sort. After marring who she believed was Jeremiah Calhoun she travels to his homestead to fulfill her promise to care for her dead husbands sister and find a new home for herself. Or so the plan was suppose to go...

You can't help but root for this spunky, head on her shoulders kinds girl. She is ultra clever, and business smart, not to mention her heart of gold. She puts up with quite a lot from most of the people in the Calhoun household, her wit and charm draw you to her. Abigail longs for belonging, she has had some past grievances and yearns for family and inclusion to be fully hers.

Jeremiah Calhoun (the genuine one) is a tad harder to cozy up to. His personality is brash and demanding. This is one character who is accustomed getting what he wants.... But God has a few lessons for Jeremiah to learn.

I quite enjoyed watching the slow progression of this story line. Imagine coming home from war, you have lost friends, seen things no human should have to witness, suffered great personal injury and when you finally make it back home to find a wife you never married, your true love confused... you can imagine the turmoil this would cause!

It is so beautiful to watch the slowly unfolding drama of this narrative unravel before your eyes it reminded me of Gods great love for us and how he works everything out for his (and our) good.

When we are head strong and unyielding he gently bends us to his will, and when we finally look back, we see his fingerprints all over our story. Sometimes however we need to learn the hard way and when we receive what we think we want/ deserve we often understand that what is best for us is what we may have overlooked in our rush to fulfill our own will. God is so awesome!

This is a fun story, the plot is never overwritten and the twists and turns will keep you guessing. I think you will enjoy some of the supplementary characters as well, my personal favorites were the Huckabees, Josiah and Betsy were hilarious, their antics had me laughing out loud on several occasions!

I highly recommend this historical novel if you want a tad of suspense, a dollop of romance and peppered that with some good clean humour, and there you have it a superb read, to bring you into the new year!

Book was provided free of charge from Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for my honest review. Thank you so much Graf-Martin!

About The Author

  1. Regina Jennings
    Photo courtesy of Ginger Murray Photography

    Regina Jennings

    Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She has worked at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various...
    Continue reading about Regina Jennings

Saturday 27 December 2014

Book Review: Love Unexpected

Cover Art

ISBN # 9780764212376

From the Back:

Presque Isle, Michigan
What Is the Secret That Could Shipwreck Both of Their Lives?
All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He's just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other's dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife's death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.

My Reflections:

Love Unexpected is the first novel in Hedlund's new series Beacons Of Hope. What a splendid start to a new series!

I must say that I absolutely love lighthouse tales, what is better than a story surrounding such a picturesque setting? Jody Hedlund recently released the novel Captured by Love which was quite good, but her newest book has certainly caught my attention.

This book is 345 pages of pure reading pleasure. I managed to breeze through the book in 2 sittings, the plot was absolutely engaging, I have to admit I stayed up well into the night because I was unable to put the book down.

Emma Chambers is a sweet and naive character, she seems real to life and would be someone you would want to tuck under your wing and mentor. Emma struggles with her self worth and abilities, or lack of..

After a hasty marriage of convenience she finds her role as mother and wife to be daunting, yet sweetly rewarding. Has Emma finally found the home she has yearned for? Will Patrick let Emma into his life completely, and reveal his horrid past? Will she ever find the deep and abiding love she craves? Or will Patrick's sins be too much for her to overcome?

Patrick Garraty has just buried his wife, thing is he can't watch his small son and keep the light on in the Lighthouse without a miracle.

When Patrick comes upon Emma and her brother after a pirate attack his miracle may just have washed up onto shore. Both have a need, and the logical thing seems to be a hasty marriage officiated by Holy Bill the traveling preacher. Patrick struggles with his growing attraction to Emma and the need to shelter her from the truth of his past. Can he court Emma properly without revealing his dark and hidden secrets?

Overall a truly fun book to read, Hedlund always incorporates romance scenes so eloquently. The development of the relationship is filled with tension and longing, yet in a tastefully written depiction. There is nothing offensive or lusty about her writing, such a nice balance of drama and character development. Well done! I sure am completely hooked, and cant wait for book #2. Wonder if it will be about Emma's Brother or Patrick's sister?

Book was provided free of charge from Bethany House Publishers in return for my honest review. Thank you so much Bethany House!

About The Author:

  1. Jody Hedlund
    © Sarah Davis Photography

    Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of seven novels, including Captured by Love, A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for Historical Fiction, and The Preacher's Bride, winner of the 2011 Award of Excellence. She...
    Continue reading about Jody Hedlund

Saturday 20 December 2014

Book Review: Nowhere to Turn


From the Back:
Hidden Identity – Book 2

The day Danielle Harding takes her 11-year-old son, Simon, and flees from her abusive husband, is the same day Kurt Harding dies. A relieved Dani believes she and her son are finally safe–but in reality, the danger has just begun. When Kurt was alive, he took something important to a mysterious person. That person wants the item back and believes Dani now has it. As she and her son run for their lives, they have nowhere to turn, until she hires Adam Buchanan of Operation Refuge and goes into hiding. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to hide for long . . .
From the first breathless scene, this tension-laced story will hold readers in its iron grip. Bestselling author Lynette Eason propels readers along at a breakneck pace in a race to discover the truth and a better future.

My Reflections:

This non stop suspense will have you running to hide...just so you can finish it.
The betrayal and deceit run hot in the fast paced novel. As you loose track of dead bodies and try to unwind the plot you will be swept into a world of mistrust and suspense like you haven't seen before.

Danielle Harding is a fierce mama bear out to protect the one thing she has left in this world her beloved son Simon..

Simon struck deaf from his abusive father as a child struggles to come to grips with his anger and hurt, not to mention just trying to keep his mom alive. This was a very interesting character. True to life, and exactly as you would imagine an 11 year old under such extreme stress. I loved the way Easton created his personality, he is brave, yet vulnerable, angry yet sensitive, such a beautiful mix of genuine characteristics.

Danielle is also a unique study, she seems very believable her strength to move on through each and every action packed scene is spell bounding! At points you would think she would crack, but after living such a nightmare of a life I guess her character must be hyped up on adrenaline, and disaster is just commonplace.

I was a little disappointed in how the romantic scenes played out however as I felt that someone with such a history of abuse certainly would not be thinking clearly and this type of rebound relationship would be detrimental. I know this is just a novel, but I always try to think about real life situations as I read and hope that women in this type of circumstance would not rush into a relationship without some serious counselling!

Adam Buchanan is not your run of the mill hero, he is manly yet sensitive to his clients need to stay safe and alive. Although he seems to be doing a pretty sad job of it throughout the book, we find out the reasons, and all is justified. I thought his attentiveness to Simon was a sweet gesture and loved the tender side he often showed thought the story. Adam has a past, that seems to haunt him, and Danielle seems to be just the distraction he needs to be able to face his own demons and move onto a life fully lived. But can he keep Danielle alive long enough to see his desires reached?

You won't want to put this book down, it's break neck speed and non stop action will keep your head spinning until you race to the last page. A true and wonderful romantic suspense that in my opinion was breathtakingly fabulous!

Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin communications, thank you Graf-Martin!!

About the Author:

Lynette Eason
Award-winning, best-selling author, Lynette Eason has written/contracted thirty-six books since 2007. She writes for Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense line and for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Her books have hit the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists. Lynette has been teaching for more than ten years and is very happy to make the transition from teaching school to teaching writing whenever the opportunity presents. She is married, has two children, and lives in Greenville, SC.

Friday 12 December 2014

Book Review: Deceived

Cover Art

From the Back:

A grieving mother. A mysterious child. And a dedicated PI who's determined to solve the puzzle.
For three years, Kate Marshall has been mourning the loss of her husband and four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on a mall escalator, she's convinced it's her son. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan for help. As the former Secret Service agent digs into the case, the boating "accident" begins to look increasingly suspicious. But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden--and may go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.
As Irene Hannon's many fans have come to expect, Deceived is filled with complex characters, unexpected twists, and a riveting plotline that accelerates to an explosive finish.

My Reflections:

In perfect Hannon form this book starts fast and finishes strong. Hannon is one of my top rated authors, her work is always compelling and her characters never fail to engage. This plot with it's twists and turns will most definitely give your fingers a workout, and your mind will be transfixed to this superb mystery!

Kate Marshall has been tested to the max, three long years ago her life had jumped the rail. Going from a loving wife and mother to a grieving woman alone in the world has been one of the hardest hurdles she has ever had to face. After an apparent accident which took the life of her husband and presumably her son as well Kate tries, to move past her trauma. She dose the best she can until one fateful moment when she thinks she spots and hears the voice of her long lost son. Has God answered her earnest longings, could this truly be her flesh and blood?

Connor Sullivan a private detective takes Kate Marshalls case, even though he is pretty sure things will not have a favorable ending. As the two work closely on the case they develop a bond, one that sparks more than clues to the mystery surrounding the identity of the little blond boy. Will Kate still be interested in spending time together even if this boy is not her son?

This is book three in the Private Justice series, but I feel it is just as good as a stand alone. I have read all of the books in this series, and of course would recommend you do the same, pick up book one and start from there, I know you will not be sorry you did.

 Hannon has done a marvelous job with this romantic suspense. She has such a unique way of weaving fiction with reality, the reader truly forgets they are merely turning pages, and are transported into a world of suspense and drama. Great work Hannon! I can't wait for this authors brand new series, Men of Valor to be released in the spring of 2015

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

The Author

  1. Irene Hannon

    Irene Hannon

    Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than forty-five novels, including That Certain Summer, One Perfect Spring, and the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted...
    Continue reading about Irene Hannon


Tuesday 2 December 2014

Book Review: A Promise to Protect

A Promise to Protect 

In a steamy small town riddled with broken promises, one woman's secret could change everything.
Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn't heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn't mean he can get her--or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago--out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. But all too soon, Ben is charged with a different task--protecting Leigh from the people after her brother. With Leigh doing everything in her power to avoid Ben, it's no easy task. And the secret she is keeping just may change their lives forever.

My Reflections:

Patricia Bradley has skillfully penned a spine tingling suspense with her new book "A Promise to Protect" The perfect blend of who done it, mixed with action and drama. I was glued to the pages of this one, simply could not put this book down.

Leigh Somerall lands a nursing job in the small town, to be close to her brother, thing is this is a town she has no desire to settle down in. Memories and a certain Ben Logan tug at her conscience, making the taunt situation of staying alive and protecting her son that much harder!  

Ben Logan the acting sheriff feels he is up against an invisible force. People are dying and his own family has been hit hard by this invisible darkness. Protecting Leigh Somerall is becoming a full time job. Anchored to painful events from the past Ben must face the demons who hunt him in order to keep the peace in his soul and his town.

A fantastic Romantic Suspense I would highly recommend this on for Christmas.

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

The Author

  1. Patricia Bradley
    © Cheryl Meints

    Patricia Bradley

    Patricia Bradley's manuscript for Shadows of the Past was a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award, winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier award (1st place, Inspirational), and winner of a 2012 Touched by Love award (1st place, Contemporary). Also the author...
    Continue reading about Patricia Bradley

Saturday 22 November 2014

Book Review: Stolen
  • ISBN 9781441246141
From The Back: 

There is hope, even on the darkest of days
Katariina Rosenblatt was a lonely and abused young girl, yearning to be loved, wanting attention. That made her the perfect target. On an ordinary day, she met a confident young woman--someone Kat wished she could be like--who pretended to be a friend while slowly luring her into a child trafficking ring. A cycle of false friendships, threats, drugs, and violence kept her trapped.

As Kat shares her harrowing experiences, her ultimate escape, and her passionate efforts to now free other victims, you'll see that not only is sex trafficking happening frighteningly close to home--it's also something that can be stopped. Stolen is a warning, a celebration of survival, and a beacon of hope that will inspire you.

My Reflections:

When I saw this book up for review I had to read it. However I don't think I was prepared for the emotions the story evoked in me.  This is a hard read, not for the faint of heart, but it is a must read.

Every parent, youth worker, and church director must read this book. How will we ever stop the atrocities that go on around us if we pretend that bad things won't happen to the children around us?

Sex trafficking is nothing new to our society, and shockingly it is common place, yet we do very little to educate ourselves to the realities of this crime. The numbers of children sold into the sex trade have risen in an alarming rate. In the US over 300,000 children are forced into this horrific trade a year. One year. Girls and boys as young as 9 are recruited and most don't make it to adulthood alive...

Canada is no different, don't think this only happens south of the border. Here are some shocking Canadian statistics:

- Humans are the second most trafficked "product" in the black market [internationally], surpassed only by drugs.

- According to the RCMP, 800 to 1200 people are trafficked in and through Canada every year. (although this is hard to track due to the underground networks in Canada)

- 2200 men, women, and children, are trafficked into America from Canada every year. Canada is considered a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of prostitution and forced labour.

- In Canada a girl can be sold for $15,000 and earn her owner over $40,000 a year.

Back to this book,  Katariina Rosenblatt shows immense bravery, strength and wisdom in her journey from an abused, confused and scared little girl to a healthy, functioning individual who holds a PhD. This woman is a shining example of God's love and mercy, with him ALL things are possible! What a testimony.

I was deeply moved by this story it is a stark reminder to be a present and loving  force in our child's lives, because if they don't get the love and care they crave, someone else will give it to them.

This story is tastefully done, although explicit and revealing you will want to read this front to back. This is not a mere autobiography, it is a story of redemption and grace. God's love is with us through all things. Even in the deepest sin and darkness, he is always near. He will always seek us and draw us to him. This story is a shining example of just that. In Katariina's darkest moments he saved her more than once, something she will admit rarely happens. Her life is a testament to his great love!

This story is a gut wrenching read on a miserable topic, but it is an important and worthy read. I finished this book in 2 days, and was glued to the pages. I could not put it down.

Because I have also lived through abuse, although certainly not to this degree, I can tell you from experience that the brain of a child can not comprehend the horrors of what is happening to them. A child believes what an adult tells them, abuse becomes a common everyday occurrence and the child is trained to think the abuse is normal. I have read some reviews that have criticized the author, they can not believe that Ms. Rosenblatt would not leave her abusers. I have to say this to them, when this is all you know, when you have never experienced what real love is, when no one cares about you and you have no self worth, why would you leave? This is your only security, twisted as it is. Please don't judge a person unless you have walked in their shoes.

I absolutely recommend this book, wholeheartedly, how else can we equip ourselves to the realities of the fallen world we live in and try to help the people around us? This book is a candle shining in the darkness, well done Ms. Rosenblatt!

Some more Canadian statistics:

Child Trafficking in Canada

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

About The Authors

  1. Katariina Rosenblatt

    Katariina Rosenblatt

    Katariina Rosenblatt, PhD, is living proof of the promise she heard long ago at a Billy Graham crusade that God would never forsake her. Katariina has a PhD in conflict analysis and resolution and works closely with law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI...

  2. Cecil Murphey

    Cecil Murphey

    Cecil Murphey has written or coauthored more than 135 books, including the bestsellers 90 Minutes in Heaven with Don Piper and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story with Dr. Ben Carson. Murphey is a recipient of the Gold Medallion Award, two-time...
    Continue reading about Cecil Murphey

Thursday 20 November 2014

Kefir: A Wonderful Probiotic

A picture of Milk Kefir grains (web picture not my own)

This country girl has gone through some mighty big and bold changes since moving to "the Middle of Nowhere"

Some have been gradual and some have been speedy. My gradual slide into healthy living has been the biggest and most surprising transformation yet. As some of my followers remember I was determined not to turn "crunchy"...

....Ugh, city dwellers, I hate to admit it, and, well darn it hurts, but I think I may just have become slightly chewy, NOT crunchy mind you, just a tad chewy.

I think the trouble started before I even moved here, It was when I realized I was intolerant to gluten, you have to get pretty ingenious to eat, when half of your food choices are taken away. That my friends was the start to my chewy journey...It is a slippery slope my friends, a slippery slope...

If I was to predict that I would be off Gluten, Sugar, and not able to wear makeup 5 years ago, I may have locked myself in a small dark room and called for chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate. Thing is I can't eat chocolate...oh I do love chocolate, the creamy dark goodness of it..ahh well so much for that. It makes me spacey, gives me migraines and raises my blood pressure..all of which are pretty nasty!

OK, OK back to the Kefir. My dear friend Agnes introduced me to the wonders of this stuff called a grain but is not an actual grain, more of a bacteria...sounds yummy, right? Truth be told this bacteria is filled with some mighty good probiotics too, did I have you at Probiotics?

I have found some great literature on Kefir here is some of what I found:  Wikipedia is always a good source right?   This one from the Globe and Mail I like this one it is pretty informative! Here is a u tube demo on how to make Milk kefir, the music is catchy and the lady is peppy!

So there you have it friends, some great info on the health benefits of Kefir. I also have water Kefir and Kombucha, although I have not been able to convince anyone (including myself) to try that one, it looks a little too liverish...eek! Update: The Kombucha went to an new forever home RIP dear liver, I am far too squeamish to try you!

I have to tell you my youngest loves water kefir, and asks for it daily, the other two drink it without much complaint! That says something right there, so I will continue this journey and let you know how it goes. If you need some water Kefir I have lots extra!

God Bless friends!

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Book Review: Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary : New and Enhanced Edition, Ronald F. Youngblood

From The Back:
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary is the most comprehensive and up-to-date Bible dictionary available. With a fresh new look and updated photographs, this new and enhanced edition is a wealth of basic study information with more than 7,000 entries plus more than 500 full-color photographs, maps, and pronunciation guides.
Features include:
  • Cross-references to major translations
  • More than 7,000 up-to-date entries
  • More than 500 full-color photographs and maps
  • Enlarged type size for easier reading
  • Visual Survey of the Bible from The Open Bible                                               

    My Reflections:  
    If you have been searching for a resource that will enhance the way you research the Bible, Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary will most certainly fill all your needs and much more. 
    This comprehensive Bible Dictionary is one of the best I have seen. It is a hefty hardcover volume at over 1200 pages of charts, graphs, pictures, maps, outlines, and so much more.
    This is the new and enhances edition, It encompasses all previous editions dated from 1986 onward. When studying the bible as a family there are often those questions that I simply can`t answer, so having a resource like this on hand for our family devotions is essential.
     Everything in this bible dictionary is cross referenced and solid. When looking up entries you will either find references to exact text entries in the Bible, what translations you will find the word in and of course the meaning of the word. Such a comprehensive and complete tool. 
    My favorite aspect of this Bible is the front where it outlines a "Visual Survey of the Bible." Being a visual learner I enjoyed how clear and easy to understand this outline makes to understand the Bible. I have left it out on the coffee table and found each and every one of my family browsing though it's pages. Even the 7 year old!
    I can honestly say I was thrilled at receiving such an amazing tool, this will certainly be a well loved resource in our home for years to come. So if you have been looking for a easy to use supplement to study the Bible in greater detail, this may just be the resource you have been searching for! 
    I received this resource free of charge form Book Look Bloggers, in return for my honest review. Thank you so much Book Look!

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Book Review: The Brickmaker's Bride

Cover Art

From the Back:

In the clay-rich hills of the newly founded state of West Virginia, two families tentatively come together to rebuild a war-torn brickmaking business.

Ewan McKay has immigrated to West Virginia with his aunt and uncle, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial help. Uncle Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, and it's Ewan's job to get the company up and running again.

Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner's daughter, and he quickly feels a connection with her, but she's being courted by another man--a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Resolving that he'll make the brickworks enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Ireland, Ewan pours all his energy into the new job.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan's hard work is put in jeopardy. As his hopes for the future crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. Can she help him save the brickworks, and will Ewan finally get a shot at winning her heart?

My Reflections:

The Brickmaker's Bride is the first novel in the new series by Judith Miller, Set in the late 1860's this book encapsulates the time period splendidly. From the first page to the last the reader is transfixed with the unique characters and well thought out story line.

Having no foreknowledge of the brick making industry I quite enjoyed learning about the process and technique of what it took to produce bricks in this era.  What backbreaking hard work it was!

Laura was such an interesting character. She was driven and motivated to keep her deceased father's business and name in good standing. Although she was actively selling the business she was deeply invested in finding a good buyer who would prosper.  I am sure Laura faced great difficulties being a forward thinking individual, in a time where women were expected to be meek and mild, and not help run such a business as this. 
To confuse issues further, Laura must choose which man she wished to pursue, the upstanding Lawyer or the nephew of the man who is purchasing her families business.

Ewan an Irish immigrant is hard working and upstanding. Navigating the treacherous relationship of his overbearing uncle and aunt he tries to make a new start and overcome the stigma of his heritage. I quite enjoyed watching these two characters slowly unfold and become whole and well rounded. Such a beautiful progression to witness.

This story is rich and meaningful, peppered with history and faith it is the perfect holiday gift or winters read. Well done Judith Miller, I eagerly anticipate your next book in this series.

 "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group a division of Bethany house and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."  Thank you Graf-Martin!

The Author

  1. Judith Miller

    Judith Miller

    Judith Miller is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. When time permits, Judy enjoys traveling, visiting historical settings, and scrapbooking the photographs from her travel expeditions. She...
    Continue reading about Judith Miller

Friday 24 October 2014

Book review: To Everything a Season

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From the Back:

Beloved Author Lauraine Snelling Returns Again to Her Popular Red River Valley Setting
Trygve Knutson is devoted to his family and his community. With his job on the construction crew, he is helping to build a future for the North Dakota town of Blessing. Though he loves his home, he sometimes dreams of other horizons--especially since meeting Miriam Hastings.

Miriam is in Blessing to get practical training to become an accredited nurse. She's been promised a position in the Chicago women's hospital that will enable her to support her siblings and her ailing mother. Although eager to return to her family, Miriam is surprised to find how much she enjoys the small town of Blessing. And her growing attachment to Trygve soon has her questioning a future she always considered set in stone.

When a family emergency calls Miriam home sooner than planned, will she find a way to return? If not, will it mean losing Trygve--and her chance at love--for good?

My Reflections:

I love historical fiction, and if you follow my blog you will instantly be able to see this passion displayed in the books I choose to review. I had high aspirations in this newest series, titled Song of Blessing. Unfortunately this was not the case with this particular novel.

The main character is not introduced until well into the story, and by that time I was confused, as the synopsis on the book told a whole different story than the one I was reading. Not only is this book a slow start it also is written in a fashion that expects the reader to have a foreknowledge of characters and events. I felt through the entirety of this book that I was missing something integral to the plot. These factors had me lagging through this book with listless enthusiasm.

The thing I did enjoy about the book was the small town of Blessing, in North Dakota. The story is written for the time period of 1905. What a nice place this Author has created. Who wouldn't want to live and raise a family there. Sure there were some attitudes of prejudice, being that most of the town was made up of Norwegians, who had immigrated. I enjoyed how most of the close knit community welcomed new people who moved to Blessing with open arms.

If you enjoy a leisurely read, where characters are slowly infused into a story line, and life is just a little simpler, this may be just the book for you. I will certainly continue to read this wonderful authors books as I have quite enjoyed them in the past.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group"

Thank you Graf-Martin!

About The Author:

  1. Lauraine Snelling 

    Lauraine Snelling

    Lauraine Snelling, an award-winning author of fifty-plus books with sales of over 2 million copies, also writes for a wide range of magazines and teaches at writers' conferences across the country. She and her husband make their home in Tehachapi, California....
    Continue reading about Lauraine Snelling

Thursday 23 October 2014

Book review: Becoming Bea

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From the Back:

Can Bea and Ben Turn Rivalry Into Romance?

Beatrice Zook knows God wants her to learn patience toward others. When assisting a family overwhelmed by triplets proves surprisingly successful, her confidence in dealing with others, both young and old, grows.

One person she'll never be able to find peace with though is Ben Rupp. They've known each other forever, and Ben understands precisely how to antagonize her. What neither she nor Ben will admit is that beneath all their bickering, attraction awaits. When friends decide to try and bring the couple together, will the pair be able to find true love? Or will they damage their relationship beyond repair?

My Reflections:

Becoming Bea is a delightfully sweet story. This is book #4 in the Courtships of Lancaster Country series.

Having read Courting Cate, and loving it, I was especially thrilled to have the opportunity to read this new installment in the series. I will get around to reading the first book Adoring Addie sooner or later! So that being said I feel this book can be read as a stand alone, the author's writing style allows for enough information to encompass the gap.

Take an Amish girl who is slightly insecure and completely introverted and add an inspiring and humorous story line and you have Leslie Gould's newest release Becoming Bea.

Bea Zook takes a position as a nanny of sorts, to a neighbour who has just had triplets, she soon becomes indispensable, even though she starts off a little unsure and a lot self conscious. It was beautiful to watch this character blossom into a self assured individual.

When Bea happens upon Ben Rupp her high-school nemesis, she tries to do what she does best out spell him. The past has left some scars, but all the washing and caring for the three little ones has given her time and space to think good and hard about her true feelings concerning this certain handsome man.

Ben knows how to ignite Bea's ire, but can he learn how to communicate to her in a way that has a positive effect on her heart? Can two people who can't even agree on anything really have a future together?

Lestlie Gould has created a well rounded story, somewhat of a coming of age tale. I enjoyed how Gould was able to bring Bea's character from a introverted, insecure, and immature person into a  healthy and charming character. I think we can all relate to some of Bea's struggles, it is a rite of passage to grow and learn who we are in Christ, it truly is a beautiful progression.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group"

About The Author

  1. Leslie Gould

    Leslie Gould

    Leslie Gould is the coauthor, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 CBA bestseller The Amish Midwife, a 2012 Christy Award winner; ECPA bestseller Courting Cate, first in the Courtships of Lancaster County series; and Beyond the Blue, winner...
    Continue reading about Leslie Gould

Monday 20 October 2014

Book review: A Matter of Heart

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From the Back:

Texas born and raised Jessica Atherton is a wealthy young woman whose heart was broken when the man she intended to marry wedded another. But her world is upended when two new men come into her life, and both manage to stir her heart.

Harrison Gable is a successful young lawyer with ambitions that match Jessica's dreams. His warm, attentive manner and thoughtful gifts make her feel special.

Austin Todd, a former Secret Service agent, enjoys working now as a Texas Ranger cattle inspector. But after learning of forged gold certificates and missing printing plates, he's drawn back into the world of intrigue and agrees to help solve the case. Jessica is drawn to his kind nature and the unspoken pain she sees in his eyes.

If Jessica follows her heart, where will it lead?

My Reflections:

 I am a big fan of Tracy Peterson, and although I found this book to be entertaining this book did not get the expected reaction I had anticipated.

Set in 1896 in a small town nestled in Texas, we meet Jessica Atherton, a self absorbed and pampered woman. Jessica is struggling to turn a new leaf, to change her very nature.
Being raised with her well off family has done some serious damage, and Jessica is finding change to be elusive.

Austin Todd is a man with a past, he is running to chase away his demons. Working for the Texas Rangers is a honest job that Austin truly appreciates, It keeps him too busy to remember... trying to to bury the past and move into the future he meets Jessica and is intrigued by her forthright and spunky demeanor. Will he succeed in moving on with his life, and burring the demons that haunt him?

I enjoy a complex storyline, but this one had a few too many characters for me to really connect deeply with any one of them. I found the secondary characters to be a tad flat, one dimensional and not well developed.
I did however appreciate how Peterson knit together a story rooted in faith and self discovery even though I may not have felt the same instant connection and depth as I did with some of her other novels, I was truly satisfied with this aspect of the story. It is beautiful to watch a character grow and discover who they are in Christ!

Having read the previous two novels A Sensible Arrangement and a Moment in Time, I would highly recommend  starting with book one of the Lone star Brides Series and working your way down, that way the reader will benefit from the background knowledge that Peterson is so apt at orchestrating. For this reason I would not consider this a stand alone novel.

The thing about Tracy Peterson is that she has a knack for weaving one tale into another seamlessly and without fault, she really is a talented author and for this reason, although I was not terribly moved by this book I will certainly be reading her next book: A Steadfast Heart, Brides of Seattle book #1 set to release in January of 2015.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group"

The Author

  1. Tracie Peterson
    ©Lissa Barber Photography

    Tracie Peterson

    Tracie Peterson is the award-winning author of over one hundred novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her bestselling Heirs of Montana and Alaskan Quest series. Tracie and her family make their home in...
    Continue reading about Tracie Peterson

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Book review: Renewing Your Mind

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From the Back:

Overcome the Hurts of Yesterday and the Fears of Tomorrow
As people created in the image of God, we have been given the capacity to choose what we do and do not believe. Yet even followers of Christ often stay mired in misguided ways and unhealthy thought patterns.

In Renewing Your Mind, Dr. Neil Anderson reminds us that faith is a journey of growth, and that as we mature in our beliefs, we should experience a total change from the inside out. In this fourth of eight Victory Series studies, you will learn how to allow Christ to rule in your heart, be led by the Spirit, tear down mental strongholds that keep you in bondage, live under grace, and overcome anger, depression, and losses. This study, with six sessions, can be used individually or in a group, and includes a leader's guide, along with illustrations and questions for deeper reflection and practical applications.

We are not called to dispel darkness on our own; instead, being an overcomer means knowing how to turn to the light of Christ, our source of truth. Only in doing so will we win the battle for our minds.

My Reflections:

This book is a powerful tool that will help to transform your life and grow your faith journey. In pure Anderson style you will be guided on a path to spiritual and personal growth. Anderson remains one of my favorite authors simply because he helped me change my life, directing me towards healing and ultimately the one who heals all brokenness my God. I was helped greatly through the book the Bondage Breaker, and have directed hurting people to this book (and the Bible) since.

It is no surprise that when I saw this book come through my email lists to review that I jumped at the opportunity.

This book is comprised of six sessions, the titles being: Being Transformed, Living Under Grace, Overcoming Anger, Overcoming Anxiety, Overcoming Depression, and Overcoming Losses. I equally found each chapter to hold valuable truths that can help hurting people heal and overcome struggles of depression, loss and discontentment.

In all the chapters Anderson references the bible and includes key points and verses. He also includes daily readings (passages of the bible) where we can turn to glean a greater understanding of our struggles and how God intended us to deal with them.
At the end of the chapters there is a study guide which would be great for a small group setting or to  explore your relationship with God and your life situations on your own.

This book, in my opinion like the Bondage Breaker, is a fabulous tool to help the broken and wounded people in our lives to experience the freedom only God can bring. It is such a blessing to be reading this book "healed" God is Good, all the time, in the pain and brokenness we can be made new and beautiful.

I encourage you if you are hurting and in need of help, pick up this book or the Bondage Breaker, seek out a good Christian counselor, talk to your family doctor, and ask your church family for help. Don't suffer alone, there is light on the other side, God is with you even when all you can see is darkness, he will open your eyes to his love and freedom. Wholeness can be yours, I am living proof of Gods grace. I will be praying for you my friend!

About The Author:

  1. Neil T. Anderson

    Neil T. Anderson

    Dr. Neil T. Anderson is founder and president emeritus of Freedom in Christ Ministries. He was formerly the chairman of the Practical Theology Department at Talbot School of Theology. He holds five degrees from Talbot, Pepperdine University, and Arizona State...
    Continue reading about Neil T. Anderson

Monday 13 October 2014

Book Review: The Marriage You've Always Wanted

Marriage You've Always Wanted, The  
ISBN13: 9780802411570 

From the Back:

From America's favorite marriage expert and author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, The 5 Love Languages®
Respected marriage counselor Gary Chapman looks at the key issues that will help you build the marriage you've always wanted, answering such real-life questions as . . .
  • Why won't they change?
  • Why do we always fight about tasks and responsibilities?
  • Why should we have to work at sex?
In the warm, practical style that has endeared him to audiences worldwide, Dr. Chapman delivers advice on all the "big issues" of:
  • Money
  • Communication
  • Decision making
  • In-laws
  • and much more
Each chapter includes a "Your Turn" opportunity for reflection and interaction with between spouses.
Discover the "joy potential" in your marriage and your "ministry potential" for God!

My Reflections:

Another stellar book from best selling Gary Chapman. His insight and the practical approach to relationships has made this book one of my favorites, along side of the Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, my top favorite. Gary Chapman is the bestselling author of the Five Love Languages, he is a well known and trusted professional who has helped countless couples achieve greater intimacy and deeper loving relationships.

When I decided to order this book for review I thought, "just another book on relationships," this one is well worth your time, a must read if you are thinking about marriage, or have been married for 40 + years. 

This unassumingly small book of 143 pages, can save your marriage.

I have a pretty awesome marriage, we love each other, we are devoted and pretty darn happy with each other, but I was able to glean so much from this book that I am happy to say that I am learning to take our relationship past awesome. The changes I am experiencing are not from trying to change HIM they are about changing ME, and my attitude on how I deal with the little conflicts that are bound to crop up.

I think ideally it would be beneficial if both couples read the book together, that being said change is achievable by adjusting your attitudes and the way you react to the irritants in your relationship. I loved Chapman's story about his wife being a neglectful drawer closer, and how he had to simply accept his role as the man in the house who would close every drawer and cupboard that was left ajar.

My favorite part of the book was a section at the end of each chapter titled, "Your Turn" you are encouraged to dig a little deeper and explore your life by working through a set of questions. A great way to weed out your selfish desires and walk along side God and really lean onto the scriptures. After all it takes three to have a good marriage, God at the top and you and your spouse on each side!

This is definitely a book I will keep in my library to reference and loan out to friends!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Moody Publishers and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Moody Publishers".

About the Author : 

Gary Chapman

 Gary Chapman

GARY CHAPMAN is the author of the bestselling Five Love Languages series and the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. Gary travels the world presenting seminars, and his radio program airs on more than 400 stations. For more information, visit

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Book Review: The Berenstain Bears God Shows the Way

From the Back:

Now in a convenient 3 stories in one collection, young readers will learn from the Berenstain Bears just how important it is to serve and love one another. Written in level one of the I Can Read standards, this bind-up of stories from the Berenstain Bears Living Lights I Can Read series is sure to please young, emergent readers as well as parents and grandparents looking for good quality reading that will help practice early reading skills as well as teach lessons about serving and caring for others. Included in this collection are the following titles: Faith Gets Us Through Have No Fear, God Is Near Piggy Bank Blessings

My Reflections: 

I had the opportunity to review another Berenstain Bear book titled "God Shows the Way."
This book caught my eye because it was an "I can read Series" and my girl is loving her new found skill of reading books to me. She gave this book a thumbs up, and made me AND her big sister read it to her again and again! This is one for the shelves, friends It is pure joy to see your wee one loving a book.

Faith Gets Us trough is about a Bear Scout, navigating through a cave. Perfect because big brother is a scout so little one could relate to this!

Do not Fear, God is Near reminds children to place their trust in God when fearful. Sister bear gets the lead role in this story.

Piggy Bank Blessings Brother Bear and Sister Bear learn to save their money for something they really want.

The pictures are bright and attractive, the story line simple and easy to read and understand. While I enjoyed the fact that little one loved reading the books I found my self wishing the story line was not so contrite. The scriptural passages, while I loved them they seemed a little dry. I don't think my gal was able to relate to them. I was also surprised that in the last book Piggy Bank, tithing was not mentioned. This would have been a great way to teach kids about how to save AND spend, God getting his first fruits.

Overall I would recommend this book as an excellent tool to get children excited about reading, it is wholesome and entertaining at the same time. As always pre-read the book, some more sensitive children may find a few of the pictures a tad scary.

I received this book free of charge from BookLook in exchange for my honest review. Thank you BookLook!

Friday 26 September 2014

Book review: The River

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ISBN 9780764212451

From the Back:

She looked once more at the dreaded river. Since Anna's death, it had been such a barrier . . . a place and a moment she could not seem to move past.
A line I can't move beyond...
The River

Tilly and Ruth, two formerly Amish sisters, are plagued by unresolved relationships when they reluctantly return to Lancaster County for their parents' landmark wedding anniversary. Since departing their Plain upbringing, Tilly has married an Englisher, but Ruth remains single and hasn't entirely forgotten her failed courtship with her Amish beau.

Past meets present as Tilly and Ruth yearn for acceptance and redemption. Can they face the future in the light of a past they can't undo?

My Reflections:

Beverly Lewis is one of my all time favorite authors so it is no surprise to my followers that I will give this new novel a glowing review.

Lewis has the ability to take mere pages of a book, words on a page and transform them into relationships, family, beauty, life and faith viewed from the onlooker. You become one with the story, merge into a world away from dirty floors and piled dishes. Lewis must write unceasingly; there's always a new book to read, keeping her dedicated readers satisfied and content.

Tilly a Amish drop out returns home after a note arrives from her brother, Melvin. In the letter he begs of her to return home for an anniversary celebration. He pleas for her to convince their sister Ruth to accompany Tilly as well. 

Both sisters have long ago left their Amish roots to join the fancy world. Tilly has made this transition wholly, marrying an Englisher, using modern appliances and even driving her red little car.

Ruth follows in her sisters footsteps, leaving the Amish life a few years after Tilly, but unlike Tilly Ruth does not marry an Englisher, she is still bruised over her relationship with her former beau.

Both sisters struggle with unresolved issues from the past, one of them being the untimely death of their young sister. To complicate things their father is not a well man, and each family member must come to terms with their past and the reasons for their actions.

Beverly Lewis is known for her Amish fiction, and "The River" is just another tribute to Lewis's stellar writing abilities. I most enjoyed the way Lewis slowly revealed tidbits of the story, bit by tantalizing bit, it made for a savory read.

I highly recommend this book, fall is here and what better to do than leave the dishes and the sticky floor and curl up with a good Beverly Lewis book and a great cuppa tea! Just do it after the kids go to bed, you wouldn't want to ignore the little ones..

 "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group"

About the Author:
 Beverly Lewis

Beverly Lewis

Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, is the New York Times bestselling author of more than ninety books. Her stories have been published in eleven languages worldwide. A keen interest in her mother's Plain heritage has...
Continue reading about Beverly Lewis

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Book Review: The Princess Within

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It's time to get ready for the ball.Girls of all ages want to feel like Cinderella at the ball. But maybe you feel more like Cinderella before the ball--overlooked, inadequate, hurting, maybe even used and abused. Sometimes it's hard to feel beautiful, in God's eyes or your own, when something or someone has robbed you of your inner beauty.

Serita Ann Jakes understands those feelings. She knows how past failures and present hurts can prevent you from realizing your true identity in Jesus Christ. She has helped hundreds of girls work through personal struggles, and now she wants to help you. Whether you're struggling with poor self-esteem, difficult friendships, family problems, secret shame, or something else, above all, she wants you to know,

You are a princess--a daughter of the King!

Serita Ann's insights and encouragement will give you the courage and strength to shed your tattered rags and find your inner princess--and to walk in confidence as a young woman who knows her true beauty comes from a Christ-honoring life.

My Reflections: 

This book caught my eye as I have a daughter who is approaching her teen years. I am always on the prowl for relevant, God centered resources that will enrich and smooth the transition to adulthood.

This book is written for teenage girls to help them navigate today's rocky and treacherous path to maturity. It boasts 17 chapters, each covering challenging and relevant topics. Each chapter includes a current playlist, the challenge with applications to real life situations, and journal exercises to think through the topics deeper. Some chapters have additional activities such as quizzes to develop better self discovery.

Right off you are transported into very deep if not somewhat disturbing content, the first chapter opens with physical abuse and guns being  held to head. But perhaps teens today need straight forward, shocking dialog to bring them in.

This book was written for teens not adults, and you can tell the author is genuinely a caring and passionate advocate for this age group, I think perhaps though that I will be waiting before I give this one to my girl, we are simply not at this stage of the journey.This book would be a suitable resource for older teens who are struggling, and need a compass to navigate the world around them. Our girls need to look to God to uplift them not what a boy, a song, or the world around them tells them.

I was given this book free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion from Bethany House Publishers. Thank you Bethany House!

About the Author: 
 Serita Ann Jakes

Serita Ann Jakes

Serita Ann Jakes has been involved in ministry all her life. God was preparing her for the responsibility of carrying out God's vision for his people with her husband, Bishop T.D. Jakes. Her training in theater and mass communications, coupled with her...
Continue reading about Serita Ann Jakes

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Book Review: A Light in the Wilderness

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From the Back:

Three very different women. One dangerous journey. And a future that seems just out of reach.
Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause most white folks to treat her like a human being, but at least they show she is free. She trusts in those words she cannot read--as she is beginning to trust in Davey Carson, an Irish immigrant cattleman who wants her to come west with him.

Nancy Hawkins is loathe to leave her settled life for the treacherous journey by wagon train, but she is so deeply in love with her husband and she knows she will follow him anywhere--even when the trek exacts a terrible cost.

Betsy is a Kalapuya Indian, the last remnant of a once proud tribe in the Willamette Valley in Oregon territory. She spends her time trying to impart the wisdom and ways of her people to her grandson. But she will soon have another person to care for.

As season turns to season, suspicion turns to friendship, and fear turns to courage, three spirited women will discover what it means to be truly free in a land that makes promises it cannot fulfill. This multilayered story from bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick will grip your heart and mind as you travel on the dusty and dangerous Oregon Trail into the boundless American West. Based on a true story.

My Reflections:

Based on a true story, A Light in the Wilderness by Jane Kirkpatrick is a story about a black woman who follows the Oregon Trail, and the inequities she faces in her pursuit of freedom.

This account turned into fiction, is simply put a masterpiece.
I adore the fact that the authors notes delve into this astonishing story on a deeper level, it breathes life and substance into its fictional twin.

Kirkpatrick has a way with words, she is homespun, her work is raw and cuts to the chafe. It is a real treat to read such brilliant work!

The story is three fold really, three women and their life stories.

Letitia Carson the true main character in this tale is a woman striving for freedom and a new start. Her story is riddled with heartbreak, loneliness and a fierce determination to be whole.
When Irish immigrant and cattleman, Davey Carson implores Letitia to flee with him to the west, Letitia must make decisions that will change her life..

Nancy Hawkins has her hands full with raising a large family. Unwillingly she follows her husband Zach on the trip down the Oregon trail, She will do just about anything for the man she adores. Letitia being a midwife is the perfect solution to Nancy's need for care, and the two bond quickly. Embarking on a life filled with heart break and tragedy Nancy must be strong.

Betsy a Kalapuya Indian, cares for her grandson in the Williamette Valley. She is determined to pass on the way of her people. She is steadfast and dependable just the type of person Nancy and Letitia will need when they arrive in Oregon.

This was a book that I though I had pegged but turned out so much better than I could have imagined. I give this on 4.5 stars well done Jane Kirkpatrick!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group"

About The Author

  1. Jane Kirkpatrick 

    Jane Kirkpatrick

    Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have been...
    Continue reading about Jane Kirkpatrick

Monday 22 September 2014

Book Review: Tried And True

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ISBN 9780764211782

From The Back:

Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister--and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It's a risk--they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as "boys"--but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

My Reflections:

Mary Connealy has served up a novel wrought with wit and adventure, mix this with a fast paced strong story line and you have the makings of a best selling series.

I loved, I mean Loved this book.

The story is set in 1866 of the Utah Territory, a rough and untamed land where everyone is scrambling to right the world after the Civil War.

Kylie the youngest of her three surviving siblings is determined to tough out the three years of her homesteading claim. This being a legacy to her deceased brother. This ruse is not her making, Kylie's father has strong-armed the three sisters to stand up for the memory of the beloved son killed in action.  Kylie and her sisters are encouraged to go into battle under the guise of men.

After her years of service, Kylie is once again wrangled by her father into staking a claim....problem is she has to be a man to qualify for the service exemption...When Aaron (the land claims officer) comes to validate the claim and finds a woman dangling from the rooftop of her tidy little homestead trouble starts to brew, and feelings are set to stir.

Kylie is the perfect blend of tough yet vulnerable, she fights in the war and comes back weary of having to  be brave and self sufficient. I loved the relationship she had with her two sisters Bailey and Shannon a wonderful representation of the youngest sibling who wants everyone to do the work for her!

Aaron is the perfect gentleman, strong, steady and ready to rescue a damsel in distress, even one wearing men's britches. I was captivated by the way the story between these two strong characters played out. Perfect in my opinion!

I can't wait for the release of book two in this series, we will finally get to discover what becomes of Shannon. Sitting on Pins and needles write Mrs. Connealy write!

 "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group"

About the Author:

 Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy is an award-winning, bestselling author known for her fun and lively historical romances. An author, teacher, and journalist, Mary lives on an eastern Nebraska ranch with her cowboy husband and has four daughters and two grandchildren. Learn more...
Continue reading about Mary Connealy

Sunday 21 September 2014

Book Review: Have A Happy Family By Friday

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You really can have a happier home in just 5 days!
Every member of a family plays a vital role in the health and happiness of the household. Everyone is important, deserves to be treated with love and respect, and needs to know that when they make mistakes they will still be loved unconditionally. And when every member of the family is pulling for each other and on the same team, everybody wins.

Is this kind of family life even possible?

Parenting expert and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Kevin Leman says it is, and he's ready to show you exactly how you can make it happen in your family--in just five days. He shows families how to

· communicate honestly and kindly
· prioritize the right things
· maintain great attitudes and behaviors
· determine the role each person plays in the family structure
· make family time count

As always, Dr. Leman's outstanding advice is laced with humor, great stories, and the wisdom that comes from a lifetime of experience.

If you've had it up to here with bickering, hurt feelings, and emotional exhaustion, Have a Happy Family by Friday is just what the doctor ordered.

Does any of this sound familiar?
· You're sick of the word whatever.
· You'd have a coronary if you ever walked into one of your kids' rooms and it was picked up.
· You remember way back when you and your spouse paid attention to each other.
· A good day is when you only send your kids to their room once.
· An exciting evening with your spouse is no yelling and no trips to the ER.
· You'd like to ground your kids for life . . . somewhere else.
· Everybody wants a piece of you, and there's nothing left to give.
· The only family member who listens to you is the dog.
· You spend a lot of your time wishing things were different in your family.

Well, wishes can come true. You can be on your way today to a happy family by Friday. Is it really possible? Yes! Embrace the truths and suggestions in this book, practice them, and watch them last a lifetime.

I guarantee it.

My Reflections: 

Who wouldn't want a happy family by Friday? For that very reason I chose to review this particular book, that and the fact that I love Kevin Leman's style of writing, and no nonsense philosophy. When we marry and have a houseful of children we tend to think "what could go wrong, we are family?" But add in different personalities, hormones, misunderstandings, and opinions and you now have the recipe for potential relational melt downs.

In this comprehensive book you will explore five days worth of food for thought and nuggets of encouragement.
The chapter headings for your daily readings are as follows:

Monday: Choose Your Words, Change Your Family. This chapter really hit home with me. I thoroughly enjoyed the reminder of how I set the tone of the family by the way I respond to situations.

Tuesday: The big time, priorities, Activities, Work, and Finances. Another great chapter, to the point and direct loved the tips on what to do and not to do in these areas. We are extremely busy with homeschooling activities so keeping the balance of extracurricular activities is a must! I loved the family first mantra in this chapter.

Wednesday: Navigating the Perfect Storm: Um... Yes please, can we say 12, 14 and 6. Perfect storm, enough said!

Thursday: Why Dad Can't be Mom and Mom Can't be Dad. Great, simply great! I was raised in a single parent home so often times I parent from a completely different angle, not to mention trying to navigate what being a good wife is all about and how to please my dear sweet husband. This chapter was wonderful because it really lays out his and hers. I especially enjoyed reading over the Q and A section. makes you realize others deal with the same kinds of issues.

Friday: Family Connections. Time together is a must in a deep and meaningful relationship, and often times our busy schedules prevent us from really connecting in an meaningful way.

At the end there is also a section titled "Ask Dr. Leman, brilliant!

Over all I would certainly recommend this book to families in all ages and stages. well written, it may take a little longer than Friday to change your attitude, (and possibly your families) but with a little determination and prayer, I know you can do it!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

About The Author

  1. Dr. Kevin Leman

    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

Monday 15 September 2014

Book Review: The Berenstain Bears: Blessed are the Peacemakers

 From the Back:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.”
Matthew 5:9

In this new Berenstain Bears 8x8 book, Blessed are the Peacemakers , Brother and Sister have a wide circle of friends at Bear Country School and they get along with pretty much everyone. But not all their friends get along with each other. Too Tall and his bullying gang, for instance, are often in conflict with Cousin Fred, Ferdy Factual, and their friends. So what happens when the cubs all need to work together on the annual school play? Brother and Sister have to decide whether they should “mind their own business” or get involved as peacemakers and try to calm the troubled waters.

My Reflections:

I have grown up on the Berenstain Bears, and in turn have enthusiastically read this wonderful series to my children as well. This particular children's book is written by Mike Berenstain (the son of the original authors Stan and Jan Berenstain)

The book has a christian theme to it, abet somewhat watered down and vague in its execution. This being said when I read it to my 6 year old she seemed to enjoy the book. When her 12 year old sister re read it to her the next night this older sibling had quite a few questions. One being the fact that if someone quoted scripture in the middle of an argument they were likely to be ignored or bullied as well, and very doubtfully would the bulling party be saying "oh cool", and move on.

The book opened up some great discussions on bullying and the different groups of people within school or social settings. We were able to discuss, in depth strategies to defuse tricky situations, and reference what the bible says about fighting and turning the other cheek. Although I found the book to be surface teaching I was glad to have it on hand to jump-start some valuable discussions in this very prevalent and difficult subject.

The back of the book lists activities and questions you can utilize to help your family work through the issue of bullying. Because our children will not be left unscathed from bulling, a proactive stance is a great way to prepare our children for the realities of living in a fallen world. This resource is just another tool you can use to empower your effectiveness in raising resilient children.

I received this book free of charge form Book Look Bloggers in return for my honest opinion. Thank you Book Look!

Saturday 6 September 2014

Book Review: What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days

Cover Art 

From the Back:

We all have days that make us want to pull the covers back over our heads and eat a dozen cupcakes.

Thankfully, Jesus said we don't "live on bread alone"--that includes cupcakes--"but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). What we really need is truth.

If you're tired, discouraged, or feel a little empty inside, my prayer is that by the end of our time together, you'll be refreshed and nourished in a way that will sustain you through whatever the future may hold.

Remember, you're not alone, my friend.

In this uplifting book, Holley Gerth invites you to be filled with the strength, peace, and joy that come from God's promises. Each of the 52 devotions based on the Psalms will help you remember that God is good and we're all in this together.

This book is the perfect companion to Holley's book You're Going to Be Okay.

My Reflections:

When I received this book I dove in straight away. It is small enough to fit in your purse and encouraging enough to fill your day with inspiration and hope.

This book really spoke to me, it is filled with nuggets of wisdom. As I read this book I had the impression of having a good heart felt conversation with my BFF.

My favorite aspect of this book was the sections where you are encouraged to write down your reflections. It includes a prayer and space to add your own words, along with an additional journal exercise that prompt you to reflect on what God may be impressing on your heart. At the end of each reading there is a verse that pertains to the topic. Absolutely a wonderful resource!

I would recommend this book to any woman who would like a little encouragement to start the day. I will be keeping this one beside my bed for nightly rereading!

 "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

About the Author:

  Holley Gerth

Holley Gerth is a bestselling writer, certified life coach, and speaker. She loves connecting with the hearts of women through her popular blog and books like You're Already Amazing, You're Made for a God-Sized Dream, and Opening the Door to...

Continue reading about Holley Gerth

Thursday 4 September 2014

Movie Review: When the Game Stands Tall

When The Game Stands Tall 
This movie based on a true story, tells about a young coach Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel) who launches a small high school football team to legendary status over a 138 game winning streak. This incredible feat tackled all American records in football history. The De La Salle High School Spartans were a team with heart, they played with intensity and passion, yet banded together to form a force that was unstoppable, until the unthinkable happens. This story shows the depth of the human spirit and how the bond of brotherhood can raise a generation to greatness.

Last night I had the opportunity to view this movie When The Game Stands Tall.
I must confess that I am not a sports nut, heck I don't even like to watch my kids play WII sports. 
I do however have to tell you that this movie is a must see for your next date night, or do what I did drive two hours with some great gal pals and have a girls night out. How ever you swing it, this is one of those rare movies that will have you crying, laughing, and rooting for the team..even if you have no clue about how the game is played.
This movie would be great entertainment for teens and parents to watch together as there is no swearing, or sexually explicit content. There are some potentially disturbing scenes hence the PG rating. Plugged in gave this movie a 4 out of 5 stars, and I concur. Great clean movie, I would love to see more directors follow this trend!

Thank you Graf-Martin Communications for sending me the two tickets, I enjoyed this movie immensely!
Directed by:Scott Marshall Smith
Thomas Carter
Produced by:Cathy Schulman
David Zelon
Screenwriter:Scott Marshall Smith
Cast:Jim Caviezel ... Coach Bob Ladouceur
Laura Dern ... Bev Ladouceur
Michael Chiklis ... Terry Eidson
Alexander Ludwig ... Chris Ryan
Gavin Casalegno ... Michael Ladouceur
Joe Massingill ... Beaser
LaJessie Smith ... Jamal
Studio/Distributor:TriStar Pictures
Production Companies:Mandalay Pictures

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