Wednesday 29 July 2015

Book Review: Refining Fire

Cover Art

From The Back:

Twenty-two-year-old Militine Scott is in training at the Madison Bridal School in Seattle, yet she has no intention of pursuing marriage. What respectable man would have her? But she has found the school provides the perfect opportunity to keep her unsavory past hidden.

Thane Patton, though fun-loving and fiercely loyal to his friends, hides a dark secret, as well. He finds himself drawn to Militine, sensing that she harbors a haunting pain similar to his own.

Will they allow God to make something new and beautiful from the debris of their past?

My Reflections: 

Refining Fire is Tracy Peterson's second book in her "Brides of Seattle" series. The first in the Series is titled: "Steadfast Heart".
Tracy Peterson has the ability to make history come alive through her works of fiction, and I especially love how descriptive and colorful her stories become, it makes historical events feel as if you have lived them.

I was excited to learn more about Militine Scott and Thane Patton, after book one it was apparent that this book would delve into these two characters lives.

Militine is training at the Madison Bridal School and although she wishes to marry one day, secrets from her past are marring her future ambitions.

Thane Patton is in a similar predicament, his past is dragging him down, he recognizes the hurt and deep pain in Militine's eyes. Trouble is they must both work together to face their demons and try to move into the future whole and healed.

While I expected from the synopsis that these two would be the main characters, I was surprised when the story of Abrianna and Wade took centre stage for quite a chunk of the novel. It was a twist and I am betting book three will focus on these characters in greater detail.

As always I loved the three old bittys that ran the School. They were always into every ones business and up to something.

I also enjoyed the historical aspects of the Seattle fire of 1889. Unfortunately the events in this book took on a new meaning as while I was finishing up this book our neighbour's house caught on fire and scenes from the book kept running through my mind as I raced to help out where I could and try to protect the surrounding properties. So in the end this book really did come alive for us!

although I did experience some lag in the story line from time to time I did enjoy the history and the antics of the ol'bittys! I am looking forward to book three of this series to round off all of the characters in this novel.

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

About The Author

  1. Tracie Peterson
    ©Lissa Barber Photography

    Tracie Peterson

    Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Belgrade,...

    Continue reading about Tracie Peterson

Tuesday 28 July 2015

The Big Fire That Swallowed The House Whole

This sight is what I came upon tonight.

This is about 10 minutes after I arrived to see the house glowing. Our dear neighbour Susan lives here, she is a strong and wonderful woman.

Here's my adventure, there is no sleeping tonight so I am going to tuck you in with my frightening bedtime story:

Dear son is watching a neighbours chickens and although I usually make him bike over, the little one and dear husband (who is away) encouraged me to drive him tonight. We left earlier than usual. God planned? No doubt about it!

When we left everything was fine. 15 minutes later while driving back, through the trees I saw a lot of light, I knew instantly it was a fire, I told dear son go get help. Then I started to honk the horn, I ran up the drive way to the house as I was dialing 911. We have bad cell coverage so I didn't know if it went through, then I heard a voice through the phone and told them what was happening.

OK now step back imagine me panicked screaming fire!! fire!! fire!! Now the visual my friends....I'm in my pink doughnut pj bottoms, black rubber boots...Darn.

We live in the middle of no where right? Who am I screaming to, and me with my pipsqueak voice is given her all I got. I'm sure I must of sounded like a crazy woman, and I was. I was so frightened that my dear neighbour was in that house with her company, and her sweet yellow lab. I just wanted to throw up, but there was no time.

It was too hot and too big, all I could do was run around the house screaming and looking.
I didn't see anyone and I thought I had better see if there was anyone in the cabin, so I ran back and pounded on the door still screaming. No one home. Thank you Jesus!

Finally I saw another neighbour, dear son the trooper has ran to every house on the street, alerting the whole road of possible spreading fire. At this point I snapped a picture and sent out an urgent Facebook post for prayer. So many people took time out of their day to stop what they were doing and pray for our situation. I didn't know it at the time but our neighbourhood was wrapped in the prayers of our friends all across the country.

O.K. did I happen to mention how proud of my kids I am? Poor wee one was with us and was so scared she ran home and hid, not the best thing to do, but the peanut was terrified beyond understanding. My strong middle girl stayed calm the whole time packing watching the peanut, collecting farm animals, and pets and hosing down the house and forest. My kids rock!

My next fear was the forest catching and spreading to our house.
We have been in a drought, and throwing a cigarette out your car window will get your car impounded right now. This was a whole lot bigger than a cigarette ember. So my next job was hosing down the forest, moving explosives, turning vehicles around, packing. Funny how when you are faced with loosing everything how clear everything becomes. What is important?

Tonight it was apparent to me without a shadow of a doubt what I hold dear. (OK not a saint here I looove my stuff and felt a teeny bit sad)

But really when I was packing I didn't care too much, I just wanted my kids, the dogs, and the pictures. But most of all I knew I needed God. Without him none of this "stuff" mattered. He was and always will be my everything.

In the midst of all the chaos dear middle daughter had the insight to stop us all and gather us around and ......pray......Did I mention I am so stinking proud of her?

When the world is crashing and pushing us in so many chaotic circles, it simply astounds me that simply stopping and praying can make everything stand still...and the peace settles. You know deep in your heart whatever happens, happens. God is there. He is bigger than the boogie man, the pain of the past and the uncertainty of the future.

So friends, that is my grand adventure for the day. Tonight I sit and watch, hoses at the ready for embers that my spark. Fully dressed, no pink doughnut Pj's.

If you think of it keep my dear neighbour in your prayers, she is living the reality of tonight's scary story and her nightmare has just begun.

Sunday 26 July 2015

Book Review: Hope Harbor

Cover Art


From the Back:

Come home to Hope Harbor--where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.
Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life--and love--altered her plans. Now she's home again--with a floundering farm to run . . . a tragic secret . . . and a wounded heart. Romance is not on her agenda. Nor is it on Michael Hunter's. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets and devastating regrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help with a project that is close to her heart, winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives--including their own.

My Reflections:

Irene Hannon is another favourite author on mine, I simply cannot miss reading her works. I always enjoy books set in quaint little towns, in lighthouses or on a farm. Hannon's newest book Hope Harbor is set in the fictional coastal town of Hope Harbor.

The plot is realistic and as always Hannon's characters are multidimensional, so much so that I found myself actually relating to some of their struggles on a personal level. This book is more than just a quick read it is more character development on a deeper scale. The fact that nothing is ever a coincidence, but God's hand in our very lives resonates deeply in the depths of this book. Hannon masterfully paints the canvas and shines light into her characters hurts and regrets and thus helps her readers to possibly ponder their lives and trials. as well.

This book gets a page flipping rating not because of the suspense or drama but for the desire to know the outcome of the characters plight. Sometimes fictional books are not about the spine tingling suspense, or mindless fluff but more about life lessons and a deeper understanding of what God wants us to develop in our lives.

This book is not the usual Hannon style, but I quite enjoyed this one just the same. Love how God can work in our lives, even through a work of fiction!

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

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

Saturday 25 July 2015

Book Review: The Innocent

Cover Art

From the Back:

She longs for peace--for her land and her heart--but can it truly be found at Harmony Hill?
Carlyn Kearney has spent two lonely years not knowing whether to mourn or to hope after she receives word from the Union Army that her husband is missing. When the war ends without further word, Carlyn finds herself penniless, in debt, and forced from her home. With nowhere else to go, she seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill.

The Shakers profess peace through simple living, but to Carlyn, the Shaker life seems anything but simple. When mysterious deaths disturb the peace of the village, Carlyn falls under intense scrutiny. Can a kind sheriff help her expose the true culprit?

My Reflections:
What interesting subject matter Gabhart's newest Shaker novel explores. I am intrigued by the foreign concepts of this teaching, and although I would not embrace the beliefs, the premise is at the heart of what we all yearn for to some degree; simplicity, peace, harmony.
Although I seriously don't know how this sect survives since the members are not permitted to marry. If a married couple joins this group they are split up. Even the children are segregated and not raised by their parents, no this is not for me, but such an interesting subject! 

Carlyn Kearney grew up the daughter of a travelling preacher. Her father an overbearing and unyielding man, thought women were not capable of interpreting scriptures. Her mother however instills a glimmer of faith which Carlyn holds dear.
Naturally when Carlyn met Ambrose her longing for love and acceptance drove her into his arms. Unfortunately the war tares the two apart and after two long years of struggle and heartache, with no word of his safety Carlyn has no means to support herself. 

The Shaker community seems like an answer to her prayers and offers much needed refuge. While Carlyn is grateful to the community for their provisions she struggles to conform to this tight knit group. Though they preach simplicity and peace there seems to be a sinister force at work laying low under that blanket of harmony and love....

I enjoyed Gabhart's The Innocent, It starts slowly and builds onto the character development and storyline. This may make some readers impatient, but I was able to relax and savour the pace I was glad I did, the ending was quite unexpected!
Before Gabhart's novels I only knew of Shaker chairs, I am so thankful I was able to read her novels to gain an understanding of this group of people. In fact her last books spurred me onto researching the Shaker people and the Belief's attached to them, love when a book makes you want to delve into a new area of study!

If you are looking for something a little different, this just may be the next book you pick up.
This book was provided free of charge from Graf Martin Communications in return for my honest review.
Thank you Graf Martin!
This 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 - See more at:
This 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 - See more at:

About The Author

  1. Ann H. Gabhart
    © Memories by Chris

    Ann H. Gabhart

    Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Words Spoken True, as well as several Shaker novels--The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted--and...
    Continue reading about Ann H. Gabhart

Friday 17 July 2015

The Adventures Of An Autism Assistance Dog

Our Family has had the extraordinary gift of receiving an "Autism Assistance Dog Guide" from the Lions Foundation of Canada.

Why A dog guide you ask?

What can a dog like this do for us?

Where can we go with our dog?

Where can you get more information?

Individuals with Autism usually experience many barriers in life. 

People don't understand the impact autism has on the family as a whole.

Often times we don't go to certain places because we know it may be too loud, too crowded, too hot, too cold, unsafe (some families have kids who bolt or are unaware of stranger danger) Another big unknown changes, something may not go as planned and set off a meltdown. The list of reasons is extensive, and although we don't face all these issues, some are definitely a big deal.

There is a multitude of challenges kids and adults with autism may face, It is a spectrum, after all, no two children are the same even within the same family. I love what the doctor told me "If you have met one child with Autism, you have met one child with Autism."

So our journey to apply for an Autism Assistance dog began early on after the diagnosis.
I was searching for answers and ideas on how best to support our child when I came across Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. I was intrigued and after much consideration and prayer decided to apply.

We got a call back the same week and within two weeks, and a gentleman came to our house to do an assessment/ home visit.

Then we needed to wait to see if we qualified. Two more weeks went by of anxious waiting until one morning we received a call telling us that we did indeed qualify.

The wait lists are quite long, so we patiently waited for the 1 1/2 to 2 years and got the call to come in for training!

I attended 10 days of very intensive training to finally graduate and take our doggy home with us. We have had him for just over a month now.

So what does our dog do for us?

Number one he is a best friend, He loves unconditionally, he is faithful, he is attentive and he is fun!
He provides a calming presence when stress and anxiety become too much.
He is a source of pride.
He helps facilitate conversations and also gets our family out in the community!

These are just a few things this wonderful dog does for our family!

Where can we go with the Guide dog?
almost everywhere!

A few of the places we have been in the last month are, an air plane, movies, grocery stores, pet stores, restaurants, library, and doctors offices, where ever we go our dog comes with us!

In a little over a month, we already see so many wonderful benefits to having this fabulous pooch in our lives, he is such a blessing!

If you have any more questions about our journey I would love to speak to you or direct you to the appropriate person who can answer your questions.

To get more information you can visit:

Here is just a little more about the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides taken from their website:

In the early 1980's Lions Clubs across Canada sought to develop a national project to reflect their service to Canadians with visual impairments. The result was Lions Foundation of Canada and its founding program, Canine Vision Canada, which was established in 1985. Since then the Foundation has grown to include additional Dog Guide programs: 
Hearing EarServiceSeizure ResponseAutism Assistance, and newly introduced, Diabetic Alert Dog Guides. 

Lions Foundation of Canada's mission is to assist Canadians with a medical or physical disability by providing them Dog Guides at no cost. To do this, the Foundation operates Dog Guides Canada, a preeminent national training school and charity that assists individuals with disabilities through specialized Dog Guide programs. These Dog Guides are provided at no cost to eligible Canadians from coast to coast despite costing $25,000 to train and place. The Foundation relies on donations from individuals, service clubs, foundations, and corporations and does not receive any government funding. 

Wednesday 1 July 2015

Book Review: Hearts Made Whole

Cover Art

From the Back:

Windmill Point, Michigan

Can She Forgive the Hurting Man Who Costs Her the Role She Loves?

After her father's death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren't supposed to have such roles, so it's only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper--even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He's secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation--the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He's not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who's angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he's in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he's unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope...and possibly love?

My Reflections:

Who wouldn't love a story with Windmill Point as the quaint and fascinating backdrop. I absolutely love the idea of living in a lighthouse, in fact I have a friend who grew up in a lighthouse, and I am always delighted to hear the stories this dear woman has to tell.

It was a pleasure to read  Jody Hedlund's newest book "Hearts Made Whole" #2 in the Beacon's of Hope series. The characters were authentic and stole my heart early in, sigh..Oh so good!

Caroline's plight tugged at my heart strings and made me stand up and root for her. After a traumatizing situation occurs, she must find a way to provide for her family, but her prospects are limited. Her lighthouse job is what keeps her siblings fed and sheltered, but in 1865 it is just not proper for a single woman to hold a position like this.

When Ryan Chambers is hired on as the new lighthouse keeper Caroline must handle the situation with tact and determination, something she is apt to do!

Ryan Chambers has had some rough years, he has survived the Civil War but his body and soul have taken a major hit. It will take a compassionate heart, patience and perhaps the help of a certain spunky ex lighthouse keeper for him to heal and try to recover. But there is the fact that he stole her job and her income to contend with...

All the trademarks of a great novel are present in Hedlund's newest novel, drama, gripping suspense, romance and a fabulous setting, not to mention an expertly woven storyline which seamlessly flows from her previous novel to this one. Just enough detail to fill the reader in. Suitable for a stand alone, but treat your self and start at the first novel in this series, Love Unexpected.
Brilliant work Jody Hedlund!

This 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. Jody Hedlund
    © Sarah Davis Photography

    Jody Hedlund

    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 received a...
    Continue reading about Jody Hedlund
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