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Monday, May 29, 2017

Dog Company

What does it take to hold a prisoner in a war?

You just might be surprised at the politics involved that most American's know absolutely nothing about, and if they did, I believe most would be as outraged as I am. It seems like America has to always come out like the good guy during the war and thus our treatment of those who are killing our own troops get treated better than our own soldiers do, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that would easily convict them in our own courts of law. Yet with regard to war time policies, most of this terrorists are allowed to walk free and even have our government provide them with money to leave. Doesn't this just make your blood boil?

In the book, Dog Company by Lynn Vincent and Captain Roger Hill, it highlights one particular event that happened in which American soldiers were abandoned by their high command, meaning anyone higher up the command chain. "In this case the Pentagon does not want you to read about its catch-and-release detention system that allows the same enemy fighters to ambush, bomb, and shoot at America's sons and daughters over and over again. They don't want you to read about the unworkable rules of engagement that ties our troops hands behind their back while sending them to fight against an enemy that has no such rules. They don't want you to read about a system in which young soldiers are court-martialed, kick out of the service, or even imprisoned, while enemy spies who kill Americans are set free.

Dog Company tells the story of one Army unit's tragic experience with all those evils. But Dog Company, a unit of the famed 101st Airborne, is not alone. Her story is being replayed again and again in a lawyered-up war in which, the enemy leverages our rules of engagement by blending into the local population while our warriors, operating in a combat environment, are held not to just the laws of armed conflict but to unprecedented standards of criminal law. Senior civilian and uniformed leaders allow our soldiers and Marines to be tried and convicted for war crimes when, in bygone eras, their actions, motivated by the desire to protect their mates, would have been viewed as collateral damage in the fog of war. " (Author's Note).

I received Dog Company by Lynn Vincent and Captain Roger Hill compliments of Center Street Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Groups. This is such an eye opening book that really conveys to readers the politics that interfere with our soldiers ability to do their jobs. We know that our enemies don't play by the same standards of warfare that we do and they know what we can and can't do to them, so they simply play our own rules against us and further cost American soldiers more lives lost in an effort to combat terrorism. I was immediately drawn into their story that is conveyed in this book and even includes the blacked out redactions that our government executed in an attempt to keep this from being published. The authors left it in so they could share the book as it was intended to be written so you will see pages of the book with black out phrases or paragraphs the government didn't want shared to the reader. This is such an intense but honest look at what is happening behind the battle lines that the media and most American's don't see but need to understand what is happening everytime our soldiers go out each day to deal with terrorist threats or simply doing their job while being deployed in hostile areas. Well deserving of 5 out of 5 stars and perfect for a Memorial Day read! This book does more than simply talk about the lives of those affect and lost, but gives readers more information about what is really happening to our American troops!

For more information about Dog Company, Lynn Vincent and Captain Roger Hill, or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

Dog Company: A True Story of American Soldiers Abandoned By Their High Command by Lynn Vincent and Captain Roger Hill

You can find Dog Company on Facebook to learn more about those featured in this powerful book.

You can find Captain Roger Hill on Facebook to learn more about him and his combat teams!

You can find Lynn Vincent on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest books.

To read more reviews on Dog Company, please visit Center Street Publishing's website.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Goodnight From London

"I don't think I could describe it if I hadn't lived through it. It's as simple as that. The fear of the bombs is real enough, and if there's a man or woman in London who isn't scared ruing the raids I'd like to borrow some of their courage. It's their good humor that surprises me. How this city can paste a smile on its collective face and still get to work more or less on time, still get the jobs done that need doing, and apart from a wobbly moment here or there, still find things to joke and sing and laugh about, I haven't yet figured out. When I do I'll let you know..." ~ Dispatches from London by Miss Ruby Sutton, September 31, 1940."

To work abroad covering the results of the war in London is a dream come true for Ruby Sutton, a news correspondent for the American, a paper in the states. Now she will take her love of bringing readers right into the action while working for Picture Weekly as a staff writer along with sending back her stories for her own column with the American. It would be the job opportunity of a life time and with no family back home to miss her, she was the right person for the job. Now it would be time to let readers back in America what was happening as Hitler continued to barrage London in nighttime attacks known as the Blitz. Sharing with readers what it felt like made her stories sensational, desired and desperately read as well as selling quite a bit of papers in both places. Only the last thing she ever expected to face was losing those things closest to her.

Like most of victims of the war, she too, will be faced with the greatest challenge. As an orphan, she gave up hope long ago as well as forming any close relationships with men or women. It was the very reason she was sent to London, she had no ties at home. Now working with Mary, her photographer assigned to her, they will have to face the worst things war had to offer. Seeing places that have been leveled when the day before they might have walked the very street that had faced being bombed. It is the very reason that her articles resonated with readers. Even though they didn't have to face the things Ruby saw, they felt as if they were right there with her. It doesn't hurt that she has Captain Bennett to show her around when she gets to London and offers to contact her whenever he is in town. Yet just when it seems like Ruby is about to get a second chance at life, the war will remind her that nothing is guaranteed and tomorrow is just an illusion.

I received Goodnight From London by Jennifer Robson compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. I absolutely love the little tidbits that close some of the chapters, bits and pieces of the wonderful articles that Ruby writes as well as some real life examples of woman reporters covering the war across the pond. It's that basis for historical facts that make novels like this one worth reading. It's so much better than history books, even though there is much fabricated to make readers connect with the characters, but I truly love Ruby's sense of adventure and responsibility to do what very few women were able to do. Take readers into the heart of what she was seeing, from sitting in a shelter while bombs were being dropped or simply interviewing those who had lost everything. I'd give this novel a 4.5 out of 5 stars and can't wait to read more from her in the future.

For more information about Goodnight From London, Jennifer Robson or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Jennifer Robson on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Goodnight From London, please visit William Morrow's website. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Marriage Bureau

Who would have thought that two women who simply didn't want to get married themselves would find a way to eke out living just before World War II? Heather Jenner and Mary Oliver both had everything to offer a man who was searching for a wife, both good looks, education and a willing heart for romance, only both of them wanted nothing to do with finding suitable matches for their own hearts, but felt they could match up their friends and family with men they knew overseas that were looking for love, but because of the short duration of their military leaves, didn't have much time to get to know someone before they were shipped back. So an idea was formed to create a perfect place to help love find the right match.

The Marriage Bureau began in a small office in England and they would charge either parties a small fee to find them a suitable partner. While they couldn't guarantee a marriage, they would interview each potential client and find out what they were looking for in a suitable spouse. Then they would send correspondence to both parties to see if they wanted to write one another and decide if a date might be in order. Those that didn't work out, would simply be sifted back into the pile for other possible matches. Along the lines there were plenty of difficult clients to try and find suitable matches for as well as those that were the basis for their business, to find them someone to marry. Often times in as little as 4 days for dating and on the 5th day, marriage. Clients that found their suitable partner were required to pay a Marriage Fee.

It was quite the lucrative business just before the war began, and once the war did, the girls had to get creative in how to keep their business afloat or risk being forced to give it all up. But what the war did was inspire many men to get married quickly so they would have someone to come home to or at least write to during the time they were deployed. From the wealthy elite, to those who were the poorest of the poor, matches were found. Even in the midst of the war, the girls used their skills to turn in clients that might be using their service as spies for the enemy under the guise of looking for love. This is where services like or eHarmony got their humble beginnings.

I received The Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halson compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. This is the true story compiled by hours of research garnered by Penrose using newspaper articles, advertisements, film, photographs, letters and books to bring this book to life. From war veterans and widows, to debutantes and shopgirls, each was looking for love and the promise of a future with someone suited just for them. This was the birth of matchmaking based on the true stories of the two women who made it all possible for love to be found in the midst of war in an unforgettable story and most unusual business. I absolutely LOVE the section at the conclusion of the book that shows what women and men's requirements were to become a client in addition to the interview comments from 1939 to 1940. There is even a discussion guide that would make this a perfect book club selection. I give this a 4 out of 5 stars and gives us a look at history we never knew existed before.

For more information about The Marriage Bureau, Penrose Halson or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find Penrose Halson on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest books.

To read more reviews on The Marriage Bureau, please visit William Morrow's website. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Come Fly With Me

"Because that's what you do - fly into town, entertain your whims, and poof, you're off again on an adventure, leaving people to clean up your messes."

Those were the exact words that Luanne Palmer used to describe, Roy Bennett, a journalist and professional aeronaunt who found himself grounded and staying with her brother Geddes, who also piloted hot air balloons. Now waiting the next Hot Air Balloon Race in Helena, Montana, he never expected to find himself falling for Luanne, a schoolteacher at the Central Secondary School. She had signed a contact committing herself for the next year to be above reproach in all she does as one of the teachers. If she so much as tarnish her reputation in any way, it will be the end of her teaching career. So she must do what she can to persuade Mr. Bennett, that she is immune to all his charms. Now if only she could make herself believe it, it might come across as convincing.

Only she is faced with severe opposition as her family is convinced that she needs rescuing and Mr. Bennett is just the man for the job. Spending most of his life, traveling the world and writing about it to further his own travels, he isn't ready to give up his career to stay in Helena, Montana. He has many more travels planned along with a promising journalism career for one of the larger publications companies. Yet despite all his arguments, he hopes that he might be able to sway Luanne to follow her own adventurous heart and join him in his journey discovering places few have ever seen. But no matter how hard he tries to court her, she is unwilling to bend. He also faces competition with Professor Tate, whom seems convinced that Luanne would make the perfect mother to his six orphan children. Again, not an offer, Luanne wants to entertain.

So when her students listen to Roy speak at school, they seem more eager to learn about their own futures despite the standard jobs of thieving and prostitution. Luanne wants them to learn more so those are the types of jobs they won't want and instead shows them that any dream is possible if one is willing to pursue it. Perhaps it is advice she might take herself is she is to be honest and truthful with them. So when an afterschool project of building a hot air balloon begins to take flight, with the approval of the school board, Luanne is helpless to refuse. But with this new project be just the beginning of her own future or the end of one? Only time will tell.

I received Come Fly With Me by Gina Welborn and Becca Whitman, compliments of Zebra Books and Kensington Publishing as well as Net Galley. I absolutely love the inspiration that Luanne instills within her students to hope for something better on the small frontier when not much opportunity existed for most of the towns citizens. She puts all her heart into her efforts as well as her charitable communities, showing that she is unwilling to settle for what others think is best for her. She is a take-charge woman with hopes and dreams that may or may not be beyond the borders of her own small town. I give this a 4 out of 5 stars and is a quick novel to complete in a matter of hours. The story remains engaging all the way to the end and readers are given a quick peek at another series, the Montana Brides, coming soon by the author as well.

For more information about Come Fly With Me, Gina Welborn, Becca Whitman or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find Gina Welborn on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Come Fly With Me, please visit Kensington Publishing's website. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mandisa Out of the Dark CD Giveaway

The one thing I love about Mandisa is her transparency and beautiful soul. I fell in love with her first as a contestant on American Idol, but then found her through my Christian music stations with her singles Stronger, that exemplified for listeners that we could find strength in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now her latest CD, Out of the Dark is exactly her next level of connectiveness to her listeners and fans. It never dawned on me that even Christian artists can face the temptations of the enemy and find themselves feeling alone, in the dark and at the bottom of a pit with no way out. This is why I believe this CD will identify with so many. We have all been there. Some of us are still struggling and each song on this CD will connect with those emotions.

There are 18 songs on this CD with the first being a voicemail intro of some of those trying to reach out to Mandisa, who was going through her own personal struggle. "It's been 4 years since I released my last album Overcomer. The inspiration for Overcomer was my friend, Lakisha Mitchell, who was pregnant with her second child when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. I begged God for a healthy child to be born, and for Kisha to be healed. My first prayer was answered with a resounding yes; Brennon is healthy and will be 4 this June. My second prayer didn't receive the answer I wanted or expected. Kisha had one year with Brennon and her other son BJ, and husband, Breonus, before she went home to be with Jesus. While I know that Kisha is in a better place and feels no pain, the deferred hope made my heart sick, and I spiraled into a deep depression. I ignored God, isolated myself from everyone, and turned to my old ways. I didn't go to church, didn't open my Bible, barely left my house, and after losing over 120 pounds since 2008, gained it all back and then some. Shame and insecurity weighed me down and suicidal thoughts tried to overtake me in that dark pit. Thankfully, it only takes a flicker of light to dispel the darkness. God worked through my family and friends as the literal hands and feet of Jesus." You can see her interview below:

You can read the conclusion of this story, but I feel it is more felt through the lyrics of the songs you'll find on this CD. They are powerful, life-changing and have the ability to relate to those who are experience their own time in the valley or in a pit of complete and utter darkness. Good thing is that God doesn't leave us alone to figure things out. He can use anything and everyone to get our attention and bring us back into the light where we can remain victorious and stronger! Just like Psalm 40:2-3 says, "He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord."

I received Mandisa: Out of the Dark compliments of Capital Records and Propeller LLC and FlyBy Promotions. I honestly believe like some of the lyrics Mandisa has compiled into her latest songs, this will bring light into those dark places. My favorites are believe it or not, her voicemail intro, because for me it brings me back to the reality of how when we are in the darkest places, we can push away everyone who comes around to help us out. Unfinished has recently topped the music charts and I especially LOVE Good News! There is even a duet with Jeremy Camp with the song My First Love, a duet with Britt Nicole in What You're Worth and even one with Toby Mac with Bleed the Same, a powerful song about uniting the racial tensions that are wrecking havoc in our communities all over the world. This by far is one of my new favorite albums of hers and look forward to seeing the lives that will be changed by those who are touched by this CD. By far this CD easily garners a solid 5 out of 5 stars!

For more information about Mandisa: Out of the Dark or where you can pick up a copy of this CD today, please click on the links below:

You can find Mandisa on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest projects.

To purchase Mandisa: Out of the Dark, please click here. 

Now for the best part: Thanks to the generosity of Capital Records and FlyBy Promotions, they are offering a giveaway CD to one lucky reader! Here are the guidelines to enter this giveaway!

1. "Like" Mandisa's Facebook page.

2.  Be a resident of the US or have a US mailing address! No P.O. Boxes please!

3. Leave a comment below why you'd love to win a copy of Out of the Dark! Don't forget to include your email address so I have a way to contact you, if you're the lucky winner! You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols.

4. Share this giveaway on your own social media sites, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and others! For each link you come back and share here as a comment, gives you another entry into the giveaway! You can even share it every single day until the giveaway ends! Let's spread the word!

The giveaway ends on Thursday, May 25, 2017. So enter as many times as you want. Just make sure that you post your shared link for each entry! We really want to help get the word out about this album out to as many social media contacts as possible! So please share away! Lives will be changed, I am sure of it. .

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification."

Thursday, May 18, 2017


"One way to describe it is a longing for home, though that's not quite accurate. The Welsh have a word for it: hiraeth. It's difficult to translate in English, but I've heard it described as a homesickness for a home you can't return to. Our a place that never was. I've come to acknowledge it in myself as a longing for God. 'Eternity set in the hearts of men,' as Solomon so eloquently wrote."

I guess everyone has their own definition of what "home" really means. All I know is it is NOT confined to the walls of a brick and mortar building, but it is what is located in my heart. "It is either the sturdy foundation or the crumbling underpinnings a child is built upon." Home is in here. In our hearts, and time or distance have no bearing on it or cause us to lose our sense of where home really is.

In Ginny L. Yttrup's latest novel, "Home," we get a sense of what it means for quite a few of her characters. For married couple Melanie and Craig, who have been married for twenty-three years are struggling to come to terms with where their future might be headed. After learning that they can't have children, they have both faced their own uncertainties. Craig is a home builder struggling to manage both his business and home with the rising financial downturns of the local economy. All he knows is that he has to come clean with Melanie that they might have to sell their custom built home and cut spending until things pick up. He feels at fault for not providing for their family. Melanie, a successful author now on her sixteenth novel, but is now wondering if she has more creativity left to inspire her to her looming deadline with her publisher. She wants to contribute to the finances, but if she can't complete this novel, they will have to look at selling their dream home.

Their neighbors Marcos and Jill are facing their own struggles as well. For Jill it is dealing with her OCD behaviors that are beginning to impact her way of life and the way she relates to her family. She believes it has to do with a recurring nightmare that she is putting together bits and pieces of things that don't make sense to her. When she tries to explain it to her mother, she is dismissed. However it is possible these aren't nightmares but repressed memories? All she knows is that if she doesn't get help soon, she will come unglued and possibly hurt herself or her family without meaning to. Her only ally is her best friend Melanie, but even they are dealing with their own issues and now that Melanie has taken a trip away to a lakeside home to finish her novel, is it possible it is the end of her marriage as well to Craig?

I received Home by Ginny L. Yttrup compliments of Barbour Publishing and Net Galley. This novel really hit home for me after a particular rough Mother's Day and found myself questioning whether I made a difference in the lives of our family. I can't believe how much I found myself relating to Melanie's character. Struggling to understand if she loved Craig as much as she should being married or it is possible they simply have grown apart. Is there a way to put things back together and see one another differently now that they're in different places in their personal and professional relationships. One thing is certain, temptation is just around the corner in places they least expected. Home is found in our hearts! Everything else is simply temporary. We are all created to live life to the full, and we can only do that if we're willing to fully participate! That is what I realized, after reading this novel. It isn't about what others are doing, but what we contribute to the life we are living. We can partner with our spouse or walk away. It is always better to work together!! There are some great discussion questions at the conclusion of this novel that would be great for a book club. For me, this one earns a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion, because it changed something even in my own heart, and for a novel to that, it has to be extraordinary.

For more information about Home, Ginny Yttrup or where you can pick a copy of this novel today by clicking on the links below:

You can find Ginny L. Yttrup on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Home, please visit Barbour Publishing's website. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone - DVD Giveaway

Buy this!!!

That's truly all you need to know if you're looking for a great, well produced Christian movie that the entire family can enjoy! The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is such an incredible movie that shows what the power of grace and redemption can give to those who put their lives in Jesus Christ, from Universal Pictures! This is NOT your cheesy, poorly written Christian movie most of us are used to seeing. There is an exceptional plot, recognizable actors and well filmed so it truly looks like something you would see on the bigger movie screens. In fact it did make its debut on select theaters but didn't stay out too long. Now it is available on Blu Ray, DVD and Ultra-Violet!

The premise behind this one is childhood star Gavin Stone, (Brett Dalton, Agents of Shield) made it big when he was little but is struggling to find any roles now that he is grown. So like most childhood actors we know, he decides to exemplify the bad boy image and instead has turned to parties with less than desirable results. He is the spotlight star on reality news and the recent action of trashing a penthouse roof in a high rise hotel has now landed him on the wrong side of the law. With either jail or 200 hours of community service, he opts for the lesser of two evils. Only his community service is within the confines of a local church as a custodian.

When he happens upon the pastor's kid, attractive but means business Kelly Richardson, (Anjelah Johnson-Reyes) he learns that she is putting together a theater performance of Crown of Thorns and is auditioning local talent to play the parts of the show. Believing he is just the right person for the job as lead, he convinces the pastor of the megachurch, Pastor Allen Richardson, (D.B. Sweeney) to allow him to utilize his remaining hours to help out the struggling production. He wants to star as the lead, Jesus Christ. When Pastor Allen tells him that only Christians are allowed in the production, he lies and tells him that he's a Christian. That's when things get interesting, because now he has to prove it by acting like one, talking like one and sharing his testimony before the church. Will he be able to pull it off?

I received The Resurrection of Gavin Stone compliments of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Icon Media. I can't begin to tell you how incredible this movie was and am so glad I had the opportunity to watch this. Most well meaning Christian movies never really pull off the expectations most of us have for a great movie without a big budget behind it or a lesser known cast. But seeing Brett Dalton, Agents of Shield Grant Ward, play Gavin Stone, well this was a part suited just for his acting experience as well as everyone else who put this entire movie together. There are some great bonus features like deleted scenes, church uniform advice and interviews with the cast and Pastor James MacDonald. This movie is rated PG due to the crucifixion scene might be a bit graphic but the message of one man's redemption is simply one you won't want to miss. We even wish they included the entire play, because it was so well conceived in the parts you get to see. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars!

Now for the best part, thanks to Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Icon Media, they are offering a giveaway copy of this movie as a combination Blu Ray, DVD and Ultraviolet to one lucky reader! Here's the details to enter to win!

1. "Like" the Resurrection of Gavin Stone's Facebook page. 

2. Be a resident of the US or have a US mailing address. No P.O. Boxes please.

3. Leave me a comment below telling me why you'd love to win this movie along with your email address. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols, but I need a way to reach you in case you're the lucky winner.

4. Share this giveaway on social media or blogs. Please share your link below in the comments. For each share, you are entered in the giveaway. So the more you share, the more chances you have at winning!

The giveaway ends on May 24, 2017 and I will be emailing the winner of the giveaway. This is why you need to include your email address with your comment. I can't tell you how many times I have had to redraw winners because they left me no way to contact them. 

For more information about The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, Icon Media or where you can pick up a copy of this DVD today, please click on the links below:

You can find The Resurrection of Gavin Stone on Facebook to get more details about the movie.

You can purchase a copy of this movie through Universal Pictures Home Entertainment or a retailer near you.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Day at the Beach - Devotional

One of the best places I love to go to gain some peace and perspective is the beach. There is something calming, mesmerizing, and relaxing watching the waves splash along the sand, the saltiness of the breeze and laughter of children. Its a place where we can let go of the stress and just let go of our daily worries. Sadly many people are landlocked and few have actually visited a real beach so these experiences are not commonly shared but often times have lakes or rivers they visit. The experience is relatively the same.

Jedd and Todd Hafer have written a wonderful devotional called A Day at the Beach with daily inspirations to help you relax, reflect and renew yourself. Each devotional carries with it a Bible verse and how we can simply change our attitudes to help reflect the peace that God can provide. So many of the best things in life are willing to wait for us. Perhaps this is God's way of telling us to embrace the anticipation rather than fight it. To surf with the tide rather than swim against it. To let the journey unfold on its own schedule so it can be savored. Good advice for the beach to road trips and for life itself. You can refresh your soul and encounter God even if there isn't an ocean in the picture.

This devotional is filled with a collection of personal accounts, intriguing beach trivia, and even a fable or two. It is geared to help your reading to be as refreshing as a day at the beach, offering soothing waters for your mind and sunshine for your soul. There are devotionals reminding us about the importance of being unplugged, which seems to be common place, that we simply forget about the things and people around us because we are caught up in social media, texting and our smart phones. People seem to use the phrase that they are simply, "too busy to find time to spend with God," but the truth is if we simply set our phones to vibrate, we can let go and find quality time in our days to get things done and enjoy those around us more and spend time with God in our devotionals or Bible reading. These are short and sweet but pack a lot of things to consider and hopefully give the reader a break for all the things that can drive us crazy.

I received A Day at the Beach by Jedd and Todd Hafer compliments of Tyndale House Publishers. Some of the topics include, Making the Ordinary Extraordinary, Nothing Ever Happens on "Someday," Ocean Baptism, A Sail With Attitude, The Throwaway Ritual, Uses for Sand, Thanks for Nothing and so many more. There are 70 devotions tucked inside a beautiful orange soft cover that is so cool to tuck away into your purse or beach bag. This would make the perfect graduation gift or even something to use to have a short Bible devotion the next time you are at the beach or lake. The topics are perfect for discussion to utilize ways to make our days a bit more stress-free and relaxing. I easily give this a 5 out of 5 stars and now have to find a way to get it back from my 18-year-old daughter who took it to a beach birthday party for her Christian friends.

For more information about A Day at the Beach, Jedd and Todd Hafer or where you can pick up a copy of this devotional today, please click on the links below:

To read more reviews on A Day at the Beach, please visit Tyndale House Publisher's website. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Alice's Notions

Great historical novels are usually based around historical facts and that is what makes them so good. During WWII, America faced its own challenges dealing with German or Russian spies living among small cities and learning what they could to help win the war. In the novel, Alice's Notions, Alice Brighton is facing her future as a war-time widow, losing her husband Joe as one of those casualties. Now she has opened a small sewing and craft notions store designed for women, but it isn't being received well by her landlord, Rick Morrison. He believes his rental property should be given to men returning home from the war and not something just for women.

The one thing Alice understands is that she isn't going to be bullied by him and has vowed to stand her ground. She even takes in a war refugee to aid in running her shop, she just never expected Greta Engell to be a German migrant. She doesn't believe she can deal with having someone of the same country that took the life of her husband working under her, and would have sent her packing if she didn't sprain her ankle trying to set things up. Now she has no choice but to deal with Greta's help for now if she wants to open her store on time. In order to begin to bring some new businesses back to Burning Bush, her women's committee suggests a barn quilt tour. However not all the town's residents are so open to having strangers tour their small town. They are fine with them staying in the confines of town just not the outlying barns that are in the hollers.

While Rick Morrison vanishes on 'business trips' without any explanation where he is headed and when he will return, Alice learns that he served with Joe and has Joe to thank for saving his life. Now he believes it is his personally responsibility to care for Alice. While she won't give up the idea of opening her notions store, she is mildly curious about her growing attraction to him and why he seems to have all this money even though he lives in such a small town like Burning Bush. Can Alice trust those that she knows the most, or are there spies living where she least expects it? Time will tell if she can survive long enough to know the truth.

I received Alice's Notions by Tamera Lynn Kraft compliments of Desert Breeze Publishing. This is such a wonderful story not only about the effects of war on those left behind, but how they moved on in spite of the odds against them. Enemies spies were prevalent in small towns based on their close proximity to government buildings or industrial plants. People living in small towns didn't realize that some of these people turned out to be friends or even family living under the same roof that they did and this novel plays on those historical facts very well. Makes you second guess just how well you know the people around you. I give this novel a 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to many more novels from Tamera Lynn Kraft in the near future!

For more information about Alice's Notions, Tamera Lynn Kraft or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Tamera Lynn Kraft on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Alice's Notions, please visit Desert Breeze Publishing's website. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Forensic Faith

Some people believe that the word apologetics means to apologize for something, but it actually means a way to defend what you believe. Most Christians fail miserably to defend their faith when push comes to shove. They know what they believe but they can't prove or defend it when it comes to someone who wants to know more. How then can we, as parents, provide the means to do just that, when sending our kids off to public schools and colleges only to have our kids unable to communicate effectively the case of faith in Jesus Christ?

The answer is so simple, and I myself found out the hard way when I opened up Forensic Faith, by homicide detective and former atheist, J. Warner Wallace. He found that by using the very same principles he used to re-open cold cases, and applied it to discovering the claims of Christianity, Jesus, the resurrection, God and if the Bible is in fact true. He pointed out something that is missing in churches and youth groups everywhere, that we are spending countless hours, teaching our children about the Bible and Jesus, but failing to train them in defending their faith, so when they leave home, they can be confident in their answers of why they believe what they believe. Just like our military and police don't receive teaching on their jobs or skills, they are trained in every potential situation that might come up in their line of work, that this is the very reason so many are walking away from their faith in Jesus temporarily or often times for good. We are missing the point of what we, as parents, teachers, pastors and others, should be doing in helping our children to be deployed into a world that is growing increasingly hostile towards Christians.

J. Warner Wallace is the author of Cold-Case Christianity and God's Crime Scene, helps readers understand that the very sample principles and techniques he used to re investigate cold cases is the very same techniques he teaches to defend our faith and belief in Jesus. He invites readers to answer 7 simple questions in under 21 minutes to show you where you need to spend more time in training yourself in preparing to defend your faith. These are your areas where you are weak and need to devote some time and training should you need it. They are: 1. Why are you a Christian? 2. What evidence do you have to believe God exists? 3. Why do you trust what the Bible says about Jesus? 4. Why would God send people to hell just because they don't believe in Jesus? 5. If God is all-loving and all-powerful, why is there so much evil in the world? 6. If God is the creator of everything, who created God? 7. Why would a loving God command the total destruction of all of Israel's enemies (including their children and livestock)?

I received Forensic Faith by J. Warner Wallace compliments of David C Cook Publishers and Litfuse Publicity. I can't recommend this book enough to Christians. This is exactly what should be happening inside our youth programs and churches, not only for our children but for new believers and old believers as well. Most people haven't even read their Bibles from cover to cover, and the Bible is our "casebook" that we rely on to determine our relationship with Jesus Christ. Why are so many people walking away from their faith? How as parents can we accurately answer our children's doubts when they have them? This book is the perfect engaging resource to help you know why you believe what you believe and help you to truly understand everything you ever wanted to know about defending the faith we so desperately hold on to. This book provides the training we need as well as resources to help you launch your own investigation into forensic faith. I easily give this book a 5 out of 5 stars and also recommend you pick up Cold-Case Christianity and God's Crime Scene which are referred to in this book as well for more ways to become an expert detective and investigator of the Christian faith.

For more information about Forensic Faith, J. Warner Wallace or where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find J. Warner Wallace on Facebook to stay up to date on all the latest information to defend the Christian faith.

To read more reviews on Forensic Faith, please visit Litfuse Publicity's book tour page.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Peace in the Valley

"Two years before, Sam Stafford had dreamed the impossible dream. To have his family reunited, here, in the lush Kittitas Valley of Washington, snugged between the rising forms of the Cascade Range. He knew it wouldn't happen. He knew it couldn't happen. He'd done to much damage in his time, and there no quick fixed in sight. Then he got sick. Illness threatened his time fame and his life and for months, he couldn't imagine how he could bring his dream about. How he could fix things just so. Make things right. Now he realized he didn't have to. God fixed things. God offered chances and choices, and this time Sam chose wisely, even when he didn't much like the offerings."

As head patriarch of the Double S Ranch, Sam has made more than a few mistakes along the way to being the successful rancher that he is. Now that two of his sons have found their way back home and begun to set up their own homes on the property with weddings in the near future, Sam believes that he has little time left to right a few of those wrongs and one of them is giving back to his neighbor Lucy Carlton, a single mother raising three young kids while her ranch, home and barn are falling into disrepair. It gets even worse, when his youngest son, Trey gets into an accident running a stop sign and totaling not only Lucy's van but her home based flower business as well. Perhaps this is just the window of opportunity Sam's been praying for. Now that Trey has come home as a liver recipient for Sam's operation, he is putting his country music career on hold for now, praying that the operation is a success and allows them both a chance at a new life.

Trey isn't looking for love when he takes up his father's plea to help Lucy will fixing up the land and ranch he had sought to buy before they did, and now feels it is only right to help in any way he can. Trey on the other hand realizes that he has to tread carefully around Lucy as she is more than cautious about letting anyone seeing her as a charity case, even when it will help not only herself but her kids as well. Now that she is also allowing her former husband's sister to stay with her, Ashley at 14, will test the very limits of her patience as not only a rebellious teen but someone who needs guidance, second chances and most importantly love that lasts and is true. Can Lucy and Trey find peace in the valley or will they allow their own stubborn pride to stand in the way of true and lasting happiness?

I received Peace in the Valley by Ruth Logan Herne compliments of Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers. This is the third novel in the Double Ranch Series, and I have to say I have a special place in my heart for those true cowboys whose genteel manners and kindness like Trey's makes my heart melt, I mean, "He wanted to make her smile, See her relax and laugh. Give her the gift of time, ease her work burden." who wouldn't want a man like that in her own life. Perhaps the best theme of this novel is the simple quote Lucy keeps in kitchen, "What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you took time to thank God for today?" This is such a heartwarming story of healing, lasting love, forgiveness and second chances and blessings that come in disguise as a single mother, and a charming cowboy who loves to tip his hat to her! Not only do you get romance, but also some mouth watering recipes at the end. A win-win for me and well deserving of all 5 out of 5 stars. I am just praying that this isn't the end to the series! I just not ready for it to end yet.

For more information about Peace in the Valley, Ruth Logan Herne or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Ruth Logan Herne on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Peace in the Valley, please visit Waterbrook Multnomah Publisher's website. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Love So True

Evelyn Wisely had a heart for the unfortunate, and David Kingsman will do what he can to help her in any way she needs. After arriving in Teaville to begin the sale of the A.K. Glass company for his father, he has always done what his father has asked in hopes that one day he might just be proud of him, but so far that hasn't happened. It seems that nothing that David does is good enough for his father, who manages the family business and is wealthy beyond comparison.

Only David didn't hope to get his heart involved with Evelyn Wisely who runs the orphanage in town and tries her best to work with the soiled doves in Teaville to provide them with a way out of prostitution in the Red Light District. All her efforts to garner support from the local businesses seems to be in vain as no one wants anything to do with helping them because to do so would shine a light on them. For now, they are content that Evelyn does all the charity work involving them, because despite their reputations they believe that she will never marry because she purposely pushes all eligible men away from trying to court her.

For both David and Evelyn, they are running from their pasts and feel that the good they both do in the present will somehow make up for their short comings. What they don't realize however is that neither of them has anything to fear from their pasts. It is only by working together and exposing the truth that they have kept hidden that will not show how weak they are, but how strong they can be when they are willing to allow others to help them achieve the goals they have in life. Is it possible, that God has brought them together to accomplish more than what they would have been able to achieve on their own? Time will tell.

I received A Love So True by Melissa Jagears compliments of Bethany House Publishers and Net Galley. Sometimes the best thing about historical novels like this one is the fun historical facts readers uncover in the process like in the Author's Note section. Readers will uncover what is really wrong with Baby Hope at the conclusion of the book even though you try to figure it out while reading the novel, I was off by a long shot on this. This is the second novel in the Teaville Moral Society Series with A Heart Most Certain being the first. I really love how well David and Evelyn work towards the greater good and show just what a servant's heart really looks like. I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

For more information about A Love So True, Melissa Jagears or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Melissa Jagears on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on A Love So True, please visit Bethany House Publisher's website.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Essential Amish Cookbook

I have always told my family one of my bucket lists was to stay at an Amish farm just to taste the mouth-watering foods that they make and often grow themselves. No artificial anything in them. I've certainly read about most of them but wondered how hard it would be to try and master them in my own kitchen since flights to anywhere the Amish live right now isn't on my budget. Then I was invited to review The Essential Amish Cookbook by Lovina Eicher and I feel as if I had hit the jackpot.

Not only do you get some mouth-watering recipes, but beautifully illustrated photos to definitely bring out the cook and baker in all of us. They are divided first of all by types, of course the first being my first weakness, freshly baked breads and muffins, then you'll find breakfast foods, soups and salads, vegetables and sides, meats and main dishes, cakes and frostings, pies, cookies and bars, dessert and candies, snacks and beverages, relishes, pickles, jams and jellies along with some bigger meals like Amish Church meals and Amish Wedding meals.

The author opens the cookbook with a little about her family and what their individual interests are and what they do each day on their farms. What started out as a simple column under the name The Amish Cook, suddenly expanded into Lovina's Amish Kitchen as it remains in newspapers today. She had co-authors cookbooks before like the Amish Cook at Home, The Amish Cook's Baking Book and the Amish Cook's Anniversary Book and Amish Cooks across America. There is a wholesomeness that comes across not only through Lovina's recipes but in her tips and ideas she posts along with them. Just some of the dishes I have tried and are now our own family favorites are, Refrigerator Rolls, think of those ones in the can that I hate trying to open. You can keep these in the refrigerator for 5-6 days and make only what you need. I love the French Toast (Overnight) Casserole and this will be a must have on Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning, just to make things delicious and so much easier to enjoy during the Christmas festivities.

One of my favorites and so simple I hadn't considered it before is the BLT salad. I mean for those of you skipping your bread, why not simply incorporate a few of the ingredients and have it as a salad with a few extra surprises to make it so tasty. This has been perfect for us during our California heatwave since it is cold, crisp and delicious, plus there is bacon. Hello? Bacon!!! No further explanation is required. There are so many I can't wait to try out but let me say this if you LOVE to cook, this is a must have. What a great Mother's Day gift as well!

I received The Essential Amish Cookbook by Lovina Eicher compliments of the Herald Press. If you think those recipes sounded delicious wait til you try their desserts like Pumpkin Cookies with icing, Banana Whoopie Pies, Apple Pie and even some great canning recipes that I have always wanted to try to keep those seasonal favorites going all year long like cucumber salad, pickles, jams and jellies! Just think of the great gifts these would make to a family member or friend who is need of comfort food when they're not feeling well. I easily give this cook book a 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about The Essential Amish Cookbook, Lovina Eicher or where you can pick up a copy of this cookbook today, please click on the links below:

You can find Lovina's Amish Kitchen on Facebook and learn more about Amish cooking and living.

To read more review on The Essential Amish Cookbook, please visit Herald Press' website. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Writing Desk

Are you more of a fan of contemporary romances or historical romances like traditional regencies? If you're like me, you truly enjoy them both equally. The latest novel by Rachel Hauck gives romance lovers a bit of both in The Writing Desk. It parallels two vastly different time periods from the late Regency period to present day all revolving around a single piece of furniture, a writing desk. For Tenley Roth, she has been compared to her great-great-grandfather and father Conrad Roth for having the flair to turn out best selling novels. With her latest novel Someone to Love written during the time when she lost her father, she poured out all her emotions into her characters and of course the literary world is loving it. But with every best seller comes the next one and Tenley has just a few short months before her deadline and she is faced with writers block.

Besides facing an unexpected engagement and last minute proposal from her boyfriend Holt Armstrong, she didn't exactly say yes or no to him and has taken his ring and kept it in the same Tiffany box it arrived in. She is facing another dilemma when Holt offers her a trip to Paris to work on his screenplay alongside an award winning actress thinking it may relive whatever has kept her from writing, while at the same time, she is asked by her estranged mother Blanche Hastings to help care for her now that she is facing a cancer diagnosis and must endure chemotherapy treatments with no one else to help her. The only thing keeping Tenley from immediately coming to her mother's aid is the fact she walked out on her and her father and never looked back and now she wants Tenley's help as if nothing happened. Faced with such a choice she believes heading to Florida to care for her mother might give her the time she needs to resolve any issues with her mom in case she should lose her battle with cancer and not have a second chance. Holt however decides to head to Paris without her.

As the novel toggles between present day with Tenley and Blanche, it also goes back in history to Birdie Shehorn, a wealthy American socialite who has been tasked with finding a suitable match to keep the family at the top of the social ladder and possibly the next to replace the Astor family. But Birdie has a fondness for writing but can't seem to find a suitable publisher to take her seriously since when would someone like her need money? She manages to run into Gordon Phipps Roth, a man who is famous for all his romance novels and she believes if she can convince him to consider her writing, maybe she might stand a chance. However her mother keeps her bound to her own plans for marriage and arranges a suitable match with Alfonse Van Cliffs, who will take them to the top of the social ladder. But Alfonse isn't looking for a love match, but more along the lines of the same desires her parents have. If only her childhood friend Elijah Percy who is soon to become the next Earl of Montague, and has his own sets of plans to wed Rose Gottlieb to help shore up his weakening financial state due to mismanagement from his fathers business plans. Why does marrying for love have to be so complicated?

I received The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck compliments of Zondervan Publishing and Net Galley. I absolutely love that as a reader, you feel like you are getting two complete novels in one. With Birdie's saga as well as Tenley's they both share a love for writing that transcends generations and ties them both with unexpected surprises found in The Writing Desk. I love Birdie's true determination to stand up to both her mother and father against what society deems is acceptable for her social status as well as Tenley coming to terms with her issues with her mother and being held to such a high standard based on the literature both of her great-great-grandfather and her father. Whether now or the Gilded Age. Women want to be safe, free and loved. They want to provide for their children. In the Gilded Age, woman wanted to climb the social ladder. In the modern age, women want to climb the corporate ladder." But as they will both see, they are not cut out for what the world has in store for them and instead will follow their own hearts even if it means they stand alone instead of with the crowd. I easily give this a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars and includes discussion questions that make this a perfect book club selection.

For more information about The Writing Desk, Rachel Hauck or where you can pre-order a copy of this novel due out in July of 2017.

You can find Rachel Hauck on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Writing Desk, please visit Zondervan Publishing's website.