Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

www.biblegateway.com


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Essential Amish Cookbook Book Review

Everyday Recipes from Farm & Pantry


SUMMARY:  Taste the goodness of Amish life.
     Bestselling cookbook author and food columnist Lovina Eicher brings together the best of Amish cooking as she shares traditional Amish recipes along with her own kitchen tips and secrets.
     These easy-to-follow, authentic recipes are prepared every day in countless homes in Old Order Amish communities.  In this richly illustrated cookbook with step-by-step photographs, learn Amish cooking just as if you were in Lovina's kitchen.  Make the hearty, similar dishes that the Amish cook together and serve at home, church services, and weddings.

                         Peach Muffins                                   Shoofly Cake
                         Caramel Pecan Rolls                         Grandma's Butterscotch Pie
                         Amish Macaroni Salad                      Fresh Corn Salsa
                         Asparagus Egg Casserole                  Sweet Dills
                         Homestyle Pot Roast                         Hot Pepper Butter
                         Lovina's Homemade Bread               Green Tomato Jam
                         Oven Crusty Chicken                        Amish Wedding Nothings

REVIEW:  I love cookbooks.  This one is no exception.  As stated, the recipes are easy to read and follow.  The pictures, not only of food but life in general within the Amish community, are beautiful.  I like the little tidbits Lovina added to each recipe about favorite recipes, tips, and cute stories.  Some of the recipes are for large quantities so you to make sure you read the recipe closely beforehand because you may need to make some adjustments BEFORE you start cooking.  I like how in the back there are recipes that are for VERY LARGE groups of people.  So, if you are ever in need, you already have some recipes to choose from.
     The recipe my daughter Hannah and I chose was Banana Cookies.  They were similar to banana bread but much lighter and covered in icing.  They were delicious.  Unfortunately, they were really soft but I think that was from the substitutions my daughter and I had to make.  We didn't have any shortening so we used butter instead, in addition to the butter that was called for.  We ran a little short of flour but we made due.  We used fresh and frozen bananas.  My oven and stove are giving me fits so I ended up baking them longer to make sure they were complete cooked.  I ran out of milk so I used buttermilk in the icing and thought it works perfectly. 
     There are a few other recipes I want to try: homemade bread, breakfast casserole, egg dutch, overnight French toast, squash casserole, outrageous chocolate chip cookies, and many more.  Can't wait to start cooking more.

This book was provided by Herald Press for review without any compensation.
 
Lovina Eicher is author of the syndicated column, Lovina’s Amish Kitchen, which appears in 40 newspapers around the United States and on a weekly blog maintain by her editors. She is the author of several cookbooks. Lovina and her husband have eight children and live in rural Michigan.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Angel's Share Book Review


This book was read and reviewed by guest commentator, Jennifer Campbell, one of my wonderful and fabulous sisters-in-law.


This book was provided by Fiction Guild and Tyndale House for review without compensation.
 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sandpiper Cove Book Review

Hope Harbor Series
 Book Three

SUMMARY:  Wishing for things that can never be is foolish - or is it?
     Hope Harbor police chief and single mom Lexie Graham has zero time for extracurricular activities - including romance.  Ex-con Adam Stone isn't looking for love either - but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief?  When Lexie enlists Adam's help to keep a troubled young man from heading down the wrong path, sparks begin to fly.  Could it be that God may have a different - and better -  future planned for them than either could image?  Lauded by Literary Journal as "as master at character development," Irene Hannon welcomes you back to this charming Oregon seaside village.

REVIEW:  Irene Hannon did another great job with Lexie and Adam's story.  I like how both overcome many obstacles and stereotypes to just enjoy each other's company.  Adam's willingness to step out of his comfort zone, face his past and help a young man turn his life around while he still has a chance was inspiring. I like how, with Adam's advice and guidance, Lexie is able to face a painful part of her past and forgive herself.  I also like how, when faced with heresay and conjecture about Adam and the work he is doing with Brian, Lexie stands up for what is right and publicly supports Adam. 
     This is an excellent story and have really enjoyed this series.  This book, as with the others in this series, is an excellent stand alone.  I would encourage you to read the others, even though they only briefly refer to the main character of the other novels.  They will give you a better feel for Hope Harbor and its residents.  From what I understand, Ms. Hannon will write more set in this small town.  If she does, I so look forward to reading them.

This book was provided by Revell for review without any compensation.

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty romantic suspense and contemporary romance novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, Sea Rose Lane, and the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series.  Her books have garnered dozen of honors, including three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America.  She is also a member of RWA's elite Hall of Fame.  In addition, she has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pursued Book Review

The Nikki Boyd Files
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Nikki Boyd's flight into Nashville was routine - until the CRASH LANDING at the airport.
     When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing - and no one will admit she was ever there.  When she learns that Erika Hamilton had been flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial, Nikki wonders if her disappearance from the crash site means she's running from trouble - or straight into it.  Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects.
     Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris has planted danger around every turn in this can't-put-it-down thrill ride that will leave you stunned.

REVIEW:  As the summary says, this story will have your head spinning with everything that happens.  Nikki goes from one jaw-dropping event to another so quickly it's hard to catch your breath.  Considering this whole story happens in just 48 hours, it's a lot to take in and process.  It's a good story.  I enjoyed everything I read, but so much happens to Nikki, it's really hard to take in.  After a while, I started to wonder just what else could she go through and just how much more she could take, especially since she was running on very little sleep and very little to eat.  Good thing this is just fiction and not real life so someone would be needing a lot of therapy.
     This is the third book in this series.  It can stand alone but it so much better if you read the other ones.  The ending was good.  I'm pretty sure this is the end of the series.  If it is, too bad.  I would really like to see how Nikki and Tyler's relationship plays out.  It would also be neat to see if she gets more information about her lost sister, and maybe even find her.
     If you are interested in reading a book that will hold your attention and take you on a wild ride, you need to pick this one up.  I don't think you will be disappointed.

This book was provided by Revell for review without any compensation.

Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 and 2015 from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta.  The author of nearly thirty books, including Vendetta, Missing, and the SOUTHERN CRIMES series, Harris and her family have spent more then thirteen years living as missionaries in southern Africa.  Learn more at www.lisaharriswrites.com.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Still Life Book Review

Chesapeake Valor Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  Someone is out there.  Watching her.  Waiting.
     Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime-scene photographer.  She expected to be laughed at, but crime-scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright - and changed her life.  But six months ago, when he feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.
     Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejeced her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit for which her friend modeled.  But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead - and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot.  Worse, her friend can't be found, and so Avery immediately calls Parker for help.
     As Avery, Parker, and their friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

REVIEW:  This book had a lot going on, which was sometimes distracting and hard to follow.  Not having read the first book, I wondered if parts of Parker and Avery's relationship was covered in it because it felt like I was coming in from behind.  Then, their friends all had something going on - finding very slim evidence of a friend that disappeared many years ago, an upcoming marriage, a potential relationship between a couple of characters - which just added to my befuddlement at times.  Also, there were two different matters going on in regards to Avery's friend that disappeared that made it difficult at times to figure out who did what within the timeline and keep everything straight.  
     That said, the story was very engaging but darker than anything else I've read by this author.  The villain was very creepy and disturbing.  His actions were even creepier.  I like how Avery was determined to do everything possible to find Skyler, even if it meant going places and seeing people from her dysfunctional past that she had left behind years earlier.  I like how Parker saw Avery for who she was now, not her actions in the past.  Though he struggled with memories of his deceased girlfriend, he is determined not to let it affect the present and his attraction to Avery.  
     This was a good book.  As I mentioned, the story was darker and more menacing than other novels by this author but I am looking forward to reading the others as they come out, and, one day, the first one.

This book was provided by Bethany House for review without any compensation.

Dani Pettrey is the acclaimed author of the ALASKAN COURAGE romantic suspense series, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, Silenced, and Sabotaged.  Her books have been honored with the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award, among others.  She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their two daughters, a son-in-law, and two super adorable grandsons.  You can find her online at www.danipettrey.com

When Tides Turn Book Review

Waves of Freedom Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  In a time of war, sometimes battles take place in the heart.
     Tess Beaumont is tired of being thought of as just a pretty face.  Eager to do her part for the war effort, she joins the Navy's newly established WAVES program for women.  Perhaps there she can convince people that there is more to her than meets the eye.
     Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills in the fight against German U-boats and hoping to admiral.  The last things he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess.  Convinced that romance will interfere with his goals.  Dan is determined to stay the course, no matter how intriguing a distraction Tess is.
    But love, like war, is unpredictable.  When Dan is shipped out at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he finds himself torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help the beguiling Tess root out a possible spy on shore.  Could this fun-loving glamour girl really be the one?

REVIEW:  The author had her main characters face many different trials, where various facets of their character and personality were cut, smoothed, and polished.  Tess, trying to show others, as well as herself, that she was something more than just a pretty face.  She was intelligent, quick thinking and could make even working late fun. I like how she reached out to others and helped others realize their hidden potential.  When faced with difficult tasks, she faced them head-on, even risking her life to safe a friend.  
     Dan was determined to follow the same path his mentor had taken.  When difficult circumstances arose, I like how he realized he needed to make changes and head in a different direction or he was going to fail.  When faced with impossible circumstances, I like how, at first, Dan reacted like we all do, with anger and frustration.  But, then he realized that he needed to respond in a godly manner, events worked themselves out and justice was served.
     This was a great conclusion to a wonderful series.  Since this is the third book, it is very helpful to read the others to understand different references made and the relationships all the characters to each other.  I always look forward to this author's books and this book, and series, just added to it.

This book was provided by Revell for review without any compensation.

Sarah Sundin is the author of Through Waters Deep and Anchor in the Storm, as well as the WINGS OF THE NIGHTINGALE and the WINGS OF GLORY series.  A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist.  During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy, and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force.  Sarah lives in California.  Visit www.sarahsundin.com for more information.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Home at Last Book Review

A Chicory Inn Novel
Book Five

SUMMARY:  When the world just sees mistakes, God sees beautiful opportunities for love and grace.

     Link Whitman has settled into the role of bachelor without ever intending to.  Now he's stuck in a dead-end job, and as the next Whitman wedding fast approaches, he is the last one standing.  The pressure from his sister's efforts to play matchmaker is heavy as he helps his parents at the Chicory Inn.
      All her life, Shayla Michaels has felt as if she straddled two worlds.  Her mother's white family rejected her African American father without even knowing him.  Her father's family also disapproved, but they eventually embraced Shayla as their own.  After her mother's death and her brother Jerry's incarceration, life has left Shayla's father bitter; her niece, Portia, an orphan; and Shayla responsible for them all.
     Everything changes one icy morning when a child runs into the street and Link nearly hits her with his pickup.  Soon he is falling hard for the little girl's aunt, Shayla, the beautiful woman who runs Coffee's On, the bakery in Langhorne.  Can Shayla and Link overcome society's view of their differences and find true love?  Is there hope of changing the ugly perspective of the world around them into something better for them all?

REVIEW:  This is the fifth and final book of the Chicory Inn series.  Since I had not read any of the others, I was worried I would get lost.  The author does a fantastic job keeping the focus on the two principal players, Shayla and Link, with the characters of the other books taking minor roles.
     With that said, this book was very enjoyable.  It makes you think about how you view others who may be different from you outwardly, whether socioeconomic, job status, housing, or marital status, but who are just like you on the inside, where it counts.  Once you get past their outer facade, you begin to see people made in God's image.  Shayla struggles with how people see her.  She has a difficult time understanding why Link would be interested in dating her.  Link only sees her beautiful soul, not the color of her skin.  He has a hard time understanding the extent of the problems Shayla experiences as a woman of mixed race.  I like how the author shows the reader both character's viewpoints and experiences and helps him or her understand it a little better.
     The story line moves at a good pace and keeps the reader engaged.  My favorite part isn't the ending but happens at almost the end.  Can't tell you what it is; you'll just have to read it for yourself. 

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press
for review without any compensation.

Deborah Raney's books have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers' Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists.  She and her husband, Ken recently traded small-town life in Kansas - the setting of many of Deb's novels - for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita.  Visit Deb on the web at DeborahRaney.com.