FIRST Wild Card Tour: The 365 Most Important Bible Passages for You by Jonathan Rogers

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

FaithWords (November 10, 2011)

***Special thanks to Sarah Reck, Web Publicist | FaithWords & Center Street | Hachette Book Group, for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

No matter what he is writing, Jonathan Rogers is motivated by the astonishing reality of God’s transforming grace in the lives of human beings. He is passionate about seeing the truths of Scripture bear fruit in the lives of students – lives of integrity, purpose, and joy. That passion is reflected in his books, including Words to Live By for Teens, What Really Counts for Students, and his Wilderking Trilogy of adventure novels – The Bark of the Bog Owl, The Secret of the Swamp King, and The Way of the Wilderking. Jonathan holds a PhD in English literature from Vanderbilt University. He lives with his family in Nashville Tennessee.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

This year-long devotional is both unique and simple by targeting the general reader, both men and women. Features include:

–A comprehensive overview and accompanying meditation for each passage;

–Daily encouraging and engaging scriptures that focus on the Bible passages that reveal the divine character of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; and

–Insightful comments and applications to daily life.

My Thoughts:

I think this is a great book to have on those days when you only have 5-10 minutes for devotions. I would have liked it even more if it would have been KJV instead of one of nine versions (CEV, ESV, HCSB, Message, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, and NLT), a random version everyday. Overall, I would recommend it.

Product Details:

  • List Price: $15.99
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: FaithWords (November 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446574996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446574990

AND NOW PRESS THE OPEN BOOK WIDGET TO READ THE FIRST CHAPTER:

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Blog Tour: Marian’s Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly – Review, Author Interview, and GIVEAWAY!

Marian's Christmas WishMiss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady. She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man. And she is certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavor and vows never to do such a thing. But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected— a young and handsome English lord.

I Give This Book: 1 star1 star1 star1 star

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed reading ‘Marian’s Christmas Wish’. Marian was definitely an unconventional young woman! Her father allowed her to be educated in subjects normally reserved for men at that time and she excelled at them.  When the time came for each person to make a wish on the Christmas pudding, Marian made a wish for another person – which showed her unselfishness and caring spirit.

Marian’s sister, Ariadne (what a name!), was in love with the rector, Sam Beddoe. At first Ariadne seemed more meek and reserved, as though she didn’t have a will of her own, or at least not a very strong one. But later in the story you see a deep strength in her.

I found Marian’s younger brother, Alistair, quite adorable even though he was a trial at times. He secretly arrived home earlier than expected, due to the fact that he was expelled from Eton. Throughout most of the story he appeared quite immature; but, towards the end he had become quite a mature young man.

Marian’s older brother Percy was a Diplomat. He was coming home from Belgium and was bringing two gentlemen with him, Sir William & Lord Ingraham. Sir William was a short, fat but wealthy gentleman. He was the type of man who thought he knew everything and had no problem stating his opinions on matters that were none of his concern. Lord Ingraham was also a Diplomat and a man of many secrets. He hadn’t seen his family in years, ever since an accident had left him scarred. I don’t know why, but I never really felt connected to him.

The story begins with Marian and Ariadne decorating their home for Christmas. This is the first Christmas they are celebrating since their father passed away a little over a year ago and most likely the last that will be celebrated in their ancestral home. The Wynswich family has had to tighten their purse strings since his death, because he left them with a mountain of debt, and they may have to move out of the only home they have ever known. But not if their mother, Lady Wynswich, has her way.

Lady Wynswich is plotting to marry off Ariadne to a wealthy gentleman, Sir William, who is a great deal older than she is (quite disgusting). She doesn’t care that he is so obnoxious and condescending to their family, or that Ariadne cares for another man – she just wants to be able to keep her rank in society.

There were several occasions, when Marian and Lord Ingraham were alone together, that I thought would not have been acceptable behavior for a single woman at that time. Also towards the end of the story, Lord Ingraham’s behavior was quite inappropriate and a bit shocking. I can’t give the particulars because it may spoil the story for you.

Overall I thought it was an endearing story – especially to read over the holiday season. I would recommend this book to those looking for a sweet, light Christmas story.

*** I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book – which I have done.***

View all my reviews

Product Details:

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (September 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599559536
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599559537
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.4 x 0.8 inches
INTERVIEW:

Carla, welcome to Hardcover Feedback! Would you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m 64, like water aerobics, never read romance fiction, because I prefer really good crime fiction. I have two degrees in history, and have written a few what I call footnote works. My scholarly backround is military history, with emphasis on the Indian Wars and Napoleonic Wars at Sea. I’m really near sighted, and a good interviewer (years and years of that with my various jobs). I like to write. Favorite movie is Yojimbo, directed by Akira Kurosawa. Favorite musicians are Michael Martin Murphey and Ian Tyson, cowboy singers. 


What are you currently working on?

I’m finishing up my current three-book contract with Harlequin. It’ll probably be my last with then, since I have several novels in the work for Cedar Fort. Also, Signet is interested in having me write for them again, so I’ll go in that direction. For my own fun, I’m also working on a little book set in the Royal Colonel of New Mexico in 1725. Don’t have a home for that one yet, but I probably will.


What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer?

No single person. I just like to write. The person who gave me the most help was my high school journalism teacher. She taught me a lot about plain, factual writing, which is still pretty much what I write. More important, she instilled in me a stewardship for words. They matter, and the right word matters even more.


What was the first book you ever wrote about and was it ever published?

I wrote a novel about the Nez Perce exodus in 1877. Never published. My first published novel came next, Daughter of Fortune, set in the Royal Colony of New Mexico in 1680. It will be coming out in ebook form soon.


Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual?

Not really. I sit at my computer and write. I do have a wonderful photo over my desk that I look at from time to time, of a 1948 trail drive in Sunlight Basin, Wyoming, from the Two Dot Ranch.  My dad was from Cody, and knew the Two Dot Ranch folks, the Taggarts. I love that photo.


I have heard that many authors listen to music while they write. Do you? If so, what do you usually listen to? 
No, I don’t listen to music. I find it distracting.

What is something that you have always wanted to do, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet?

I’ve pretty much done – career-wise- what I wanted to do: ranger, adjunct history prof, contract researcher for ND Historical Society, PR writer for a major Missouri hospital, daily newspaper feature writer and columnist. And mom.  I would like to study for a year at Oxford. The closest I came to that was writing “Miss Grimsley’s Oxford Career” for Signet. 

All the music in the world is being destroyed and you can only save one album, what would you save and why? 
Handel’s Messiah, without question. That’s a total no-brainer. I consider it the high water mark of Western civilization. And probably Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club album, if I could save two.

Borrowed LightDo you have a favorite character or one that is especially close to your heart?
It’s usually the characters I am currently working on. I do have a real fondness for Julia and Mr. Otto in Borrowed Light, because I do like stockmen. (All my own years in Wyoming.) It was nice to revisit them in Enduring Light. (They’re doing well, BTW) Currently, I’m happy with Paloma Vega and Marco Mondragon of the Chama Valley in 1725. So it goes.


What is the best gift you have ever received and who gave it to you?
My husband gave me a first-edition, boxed set of Paul Horgan’s two-volume history of New Mexico. So nice of him. I use it, and love the gorgeous prose. My oldest son gave me a first edition of a book by Jim Corbet, game warden in India during the British Raj.  And daughter Mary Ruth gave me a first edition of Kate Seredy’s The Good Master, one of my favorite books that I read to my kids. Both of those books were a thank you for all the books I read to them when they were little. They mean the world to me, because they opened a world of reading to my kids.

What are three things (not people) that you wouldn’t want to live without? 
Hot water. That’s about it. When I worked at Fort Laramie NHS as a ranger, we did living history. I discovered quickly that working in a kitchen without hot water is a pain. Book. Add books.



What is your all-time favorite book? What is your favorite book you have read this year? 
I have three, and the order shifts: War and Peace, A Town Like Alice, and The Lawrenceville Stories.  Favorite book this year?

 Fiction, it would be Richard Bradford’s “Red Sky at Morning.”  Great book. Can’t believe I didn’t read it years ago.
Enduring Light
What do you like to do in your spare time?  Spare time? Not much of that. Travel and visit old friends, but the trusty netbook is always with me for writing.

Are you an early bird or a night owl? 
Early bird. I start writing about 4:30 a.m. And night owl, if the writing is going well. 

If you were throwing a dinner party and you could invite five people (fictional or real, dead or alive) who would you invite? 
John Marshall, the Great Chief Justice; Custer– just what did happen, sir, when you took Medicine Tail Coulee? The truth now; Admiral Chester Nimitz; Bob Kisthart, a ranger friend of mine, alive and interesting; the Duke of Wellington.


You are given a ticket that will bring you anywhere that you want to go, at anytime in history. Where would you want to go and why?

Philadelphia, for the debates on the Constitution. And then probably Waterloo. Wish I could visit some strands in my family history, which runs through all the royal houses of Europe. Some real nasties there.

Where can people connect with you online? H’mm. I have an ego-sounding email address ckellycanwrite@gmail.com.  Can’t guarantee how much time I’d have to reply.


Thanks you so much Carla for being on Hardcover Feedback!
You’re welcome. I think I’ll get that dinner party ready now. What fun that will be.  Do you think John Marshall will like enchiladas?


Make sure to visit the other blogs participating in this book tour. For a complete listing of them go HERE.

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A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner

A Sound Among the Trees: A NovelA house shrouded in time. A line of women with a heritage of loss.

As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn’t believe that Susannah’s ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.

When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband’s home, it isn’t long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.

With Adelaide’s richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak— and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.   

I GIVE THIS BOOK:1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

MY REVIEW:
‘A Sound Among the Trees’ is the second book by Susan Meissner that I have read and I enjoyed every page of it! I love the fact that this book is set in both present day and the Civil War era – it’s like getting two stories in one!

I was intrigued when I was reading about the house being haunted and couldn’t wait to see what was really going on. So many people were convinced that Holly Oak was haunted by Susannah Page. However, Adelaide thought that it was the house, not Susannah, that was causing the problems.

The story begins with Marielle and Carson’s wedding reception at Holly Oak. It is during the party that Marielle first hears about the rumors of the house being haunted. At first she doesn’t believe it, but slowly doubt begins to creep into her mind. So she tries to uncover the true reason misfortune comes to all the women of Holly Oak and the reason will surprise you!

I loved ‘A Sound Among the Trees’ – it was such a wonderful story! I think that almost anyone would enjoy reading this book. Alhough it is a contemporary novel, it has historical elements. If this is something you like, you should enjoy ‘ Sound Among the Trees: A Novel‘ by Susan Meissner.

*** I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book – which I have done. ***

Product Details:

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307458857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307458858
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
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His Steadfast Love by Golden Keyes Parsons

His Steadfast Love
In one of the most heartbreaking times in American history, a Southern preacher’s daughter makes a tragic error that pits her against the very people she loves most.

It’s the spring of 1861 on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Although Amanda Belle never thought she would marry, her attraction to Captain Kent Littlefield is undeniable.

When Texas secedes from the Union, her brother Daniel marches off to war to fight for the Confederate States and Kent remains with the Union troops.

Her heart is torn between the two men she loves and the two sides of the conflict. When she turns to God for help, Amanda expects direction and support, but hears nothing. Is God listening to her anymore? Does He not care about the atrocities of war-and whose side is He on?

The war is dragging on for much longer than expected, and Amanda struggles between the opposing philosophies of slavery. But after the death of her pastor father, she learns some hard truths about love, the human condition, and God’s role in her life.

Amanda must trust God to bring her family through the chaos that threatens her home, her family, and the beloved state of Texas.

I Give This Book: 1 star1 star1 star1-1/2 stars

My Thoughts:
I really enjoy reading novels that are set during the Civil War era and this book was no exception!

I liked how the book started six months before the start of the war and ended shortly after the war. I got to see how different both sides were towards one another before the war, and how drastically that changed. I thought ‘His Steadfast Love’ portrayed very well how torn most people must have been during this time, with brother fighting against brother, friend against friend, and father against son.

Amanda knows just how this feels. She is torn between both sides. Her brother is fighting for the Confederacy and the man she loves is fighting for the Union. Every victory is a defeat, every advance is a setback, when one is winning the other is losing. She will never be completely happy until this war is over. Little does she know that even that may not solve all the problems that have been created.

The reason I didn’t give ‘His Steadfast Love‘ five stars, is because several times very obscure words were used and had I not been reading this book on a Kindle I would have had to look them up because I couldn’t figure out what they meant. I liked that I learned some new words, but at the same time this slowed the story down. I also didn’t like how abrupt the ending was – I felt that there should at least have been a few more pages.

Overall, ‘His Steadfast Love’ is a book that I would recommend. I think that this book would make an excellent movie – especially if they made the ending a little longer! Anyone who loves Civil War era books should LOVE this book – I know I did!

*** I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of it – which I have done.***

View all my reviews

If you found this review helpful please say so here. Thanks!

You can find out more about Golden Keyes Parsons on her website. She is also on Goodreads and Facebook.

Product Detail:

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595546294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595546296
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1 inches

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FIRST Wild Card Tour: The "What’s for Dinner?" Solution by Kathi Lipp

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking each year to thousands of women throughout the United States. She is the author of The Husband Project and The Marriage Project and has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four teenagers and young adults.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

For many women, dread turns to panic around 4:00 in the afternoon. That’s when they have to answer that age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” Many resort to another supermarket rotisserie chicken or—worse yet—ordering dinner through a drive-thru intercom.

In The “What’s for Dinner” Solution, popular author and speaker Kathi Lipp provides a full-kitchen approach for getting dinner on the table every night. After putting her 21-day plan into action, women will

* save time—with bulk shopping and cooking
* save money—no more last-minute phone calls to the delivery pizza place
* save their sanity—forget the last-minute scramble every night and know what they’re having for dinner

The book includes real recipes from real women, a quick guide to planning meals for a month, the best shopping strategies for saving time and money, and tips on the best ways to use a slow cooker, freezer, and pantry.

With Kathi’s book in hand, there’s no more need to hit the panic button.

MY THOUGHTS:
‘The “What’s for Dinner?” Solution’ has so many helpful hints to make planning dinner easier. I haven’t tried any of the recipes, so I can’t say whether or not they are any good, but the tips and tricks this book provides are great. This is a book that I will definitely be using a lot!

Product Details:

  • List Price: $12.99
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0736938370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736938372

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Girl Meets Kitchen, or Not

Necessarily a Love Story

“Happy and successful cooking doesn’t rely only on know-how;
it comes from the heart, makes great demands on the palate and needs enthusiasm and a deep love of food to bring it to life.”

Georges Blanc, from Ma Cuisine des Saisons

I was not the kind of kid who grew up at my mom’s knee, helping her chop carrots for Sunday night’s chicken soup. I never really helped with any meal preparation, preferring to turn my attention in the kitchen to baking. There was always some social event with friends or a youth group party where I needed to bring brownies. The one memorable time I tried to make instant potatoes? Instead of the specified one-quarter tablespoon of salt, I used a quarter cup salt. That incident happened over twenty-five years ago, and I have yet to stop hearing about it from my loving and encouraging family.

Suffice to say, I was a bit ill-prepared for the cooking adventures that lay ahead as I lived on my own for the first time. And to complicate matters? My first apartment was in Uji, Japan, approximately seven thousand miles from my mother’s loving embrace and her pot-roast recipe (as if I could afford beef in Japan).

The recipe cards were stacked against me. No cooking skills to speak of, living in a foreign land where most of the time I couldn’t identify what I was eating much less figure out how it was prepared, a kitchen the size of my coat closet back home, and an oven so small it made me long for the Easy-Bake one of my childhood.

I was terrified going to the supermarket without an escort and a translator. I didn’t speak the language (as a short-term missionary teaching conversational English, speaking Japanese was actually a disadvantage in my job), and as unfamiliar as I was with food shopping in the U.S., shopping in Uji was like watching a foreign movie without subtitles and then having to write a paper on the plot.

Oh, and eating out? So not an option. While my cooking skills were limited, my food budget was near nonexistent.

A few things were easy to recognize. The bread in Japan was amazing. It was buttery and flaky and perfect. And there was some really lovely cheese and ham. So, for the first three months of exploring this exotic new culture, I ate ham and cheese sandwiches every single night for dinner.

As I started to get to know some of my students and coworkers better, I had this urge to invite them over to hang out with me. But I had a sneaking suspicion they would want to be fed. I knew that my students would love some authentic American dishes. The question was, Who would I get to cook them?

Another short-term missionary, Diana, had a cookbook called More-With-Less. This wonderful little book produced by the Mennonite community had tons of recipes that used simple ingredients most cooks would have in their kitchen. While I didn’t have a lot of pantry staples in my four-story walk-up, I was now armed with a grocery list as well as an English-to-Japanese dictionary for my trips to the store.

I started to look for simple things I could make: salads, sandwiches, curries, and mini-pizzas out of English muffins and ketchup. (I promise, my culinary skills and taste have gotten better over the years.) As I grew braver in all things cuisine, I started to ask my mom to send some of my favorite recipes from back home.

In fact, when I threw a Christmas celebration with my friend Spenser in my micro-sized apartment, we managed to make a fondue-potless version of my mom’s Pizza Fondue. Shopping for the ingredients proved challenging, even for Spenser who spoke near-fluent Japanese. After several attempts to translate cornstarch into the native language (One would think corn + starch = cornstarch, right? Wrong. It’s pronounced korunstarcha.), we headed back to my kitchen and made one of the best meals I have ever eaten—lots of tomato sauce, some ground beef, loads of cheese, and just the right amount of korunstarcha.

Pizza Fondue
(Connie Richerson)

½ lb. ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

2 10½-oz. cans pizza sauce (I use marinara sauce)

1 T. cornstarch (or korunstarcha, if you prefer)

1½ tsp. oregano

¼ tsp. garlic powder

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 loaf French bread

Brown the ground beef and onion; drain. Put meat, sauce, cornstarch, and spices in fondue pot. When cooked and bubbly, add cheese. Spear crusty French bread cubes, then dip and swirl in fondue. This is also delicious with breadsticks. Serves 4 to 6.

From that point on, I was hooked on collecting my favorite recipes. I bought my own copy of More-With-Less when I got back to the States, and when I got married a few months later, I received my very first copy of everyone’s favorite red-and-white-plaid Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, with every recipe an emerging home cook could want.

I think most of us home cooks have a similar story to tell. OK, you probably didn’t have your first significant cooking experience in Uji, Japan, but I bet the first few times you got dinner on the table all on your own, you might as well have been in a different country.

Maybe your mom had you peeling potatoes before you could walk. Maybe you have a rich heritage of recipes passed down from your grandmother. None of our cooking histories are going to look the same, but we do have one thing in common: We all need to get dinner on the table.

I am not a professional cook. Tom Colicchio will never be critiquing my braised kale and chocolate with bacon foam on Top Chef. But over the past twenty years I have put dinner on the table almost every single night. And while my family still likes a pizza from the neighborhood shop, our kids who have left home really look forward to coming back for a home-cooked meal.

That is all the reward I need.

Why This Book?

So, you discovered my deep dark secret—I’m not a professional chef. I don’t have my own show on Food Network, my own brand of spatulas, and I’m not going to be appearing on any morning show making a frittata for Kathie Lee Gifford.

Still, I’m required to feed our large family almost daily. So when I come across a cookbook, I have an unnatural need to own it. I’m always looking for new recipes to keep dinner interesting at our house. I have an entire bookshelf in my kitchen for my ever-growing collection.

But to be honest with you, most of the money I’ve spent on those cookbooks could have been better spent on a good set of knives or a heavy iron skillet.

I have found that most cookbooks are aimed at the fantasy life many of us aspire to—entertaining regularly, having unusual and exotic ingredients on hand, and hours and hours in the kitchen to create these masterpieces, from scratch.

And then there is my reality. Yes, sometimes I like to spend a Saturday afternoon cooking up a big feast for friends and family. But most days? I want to get a delicious, healthy meal on the table quickly.

My test when I’m purchasing new cookbooks? I flip to a half dozen or so recipes throughout the book and ask myself, Can I imagine cooking this recipe in the next couple of weeks? If most of the recipes fail the test, the book stays at the store.

I want the reality. I want dinner on the table every night without being seduced by pictures of stylist-arranged food that—let’s be honest—I’m never going to prepare.

While those books offer up a lot of grilled-chicken-in-a-peanut-sauce-in-the-sky dreams, I need some reality. It’s not just about the recipe; it’s about all the aspects of getting dinner on the table.

By the end of this book, my hope for you is that you will be able to:

save time, money, and energy when it comes to
preparing meals
have less stress when it comes to shopping
get your kitchen prepared for battle
learn some stress-free ways to get dinner on the table
get out of your cooking rut
This book is all about the process, the how of getting dinner on the table. It reflects the collective wisdom of hundreds of women who don’t have prep cooks or a crew of interns trying out new recipes. We are the women who spend a significant part of our days thinking about, shopping for, and preparing dinner. And all these wise, wonderful women are going to show you a better way to get dinner on the table no matter what your cooking background or skill level.

This is the book I wish I’d had when I first started cooking, as well as when I was raising my brood of pint-sized food critics.

Don’t worry, there will be plenty of recipes. We all love to find that one recipe that is going to become a family favorite! But this book has much more than that. My hope is that you will be able to use the recipes you already have, the ones in this book, and the new ones you find along the way to set a big, bountiful table for your family.

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There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

There You'll Find MeIn a small cottage house in rural Ireland, Finley discovers she can no longer outrun the past.

When Finley travels to Ireland as a foreign exchange student, she hopes to create a new identity and get some answers from the God who took her brother away and seems to have left her high and dry.

But from the moment she boards the plane and sits by Beckett Rush, teen star of the hottest vampire flicks, nothing goes according to Finley’s plan.

When she gets too close to Beckett, a classmate goes on a mission to make sure Finley packs her bags, departs Ireland-and leaves Beckett alone.

Finley feels the pressure all around. As things start to fall apart, she begins to rely on a not-so-healthy method of taking control of her life.

Finley tries to balance it all-disasters on the set of Beckett’s new movie, the demands of school, and her growing romance with one actor who is not what he seems. Yet Finley is also not who she portrays to Beckett and her friends.

For the first time in her life, Finley must get honest with herself to get right with God.

I Give This Book:1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

My Thoughts:
I am a bit obsessed with all things Irish. So when I saw that this book took place in Ireland, I knew that I had to read it. Then I noticed that it was a Young Adult book and wasn’t sure whether or not to get it, but I’m so glad that I did! Even though this book is categorized as juvenile , I think that this is a book that can be enjoyed by any age.

Ever since the death of her brother Will two years ago, grief has been Finley Sinclair’s constant companion. So she decides to become a foreign-exchange student in Ireland, to be able to visit all the places in Will’s travel journal. To be able to be where he felt the closest to God, and she hopes that she will be able to feel that way too.

Her host family are the Callaghans and they own a B & B. Sean and Nora Callaghan are the parents of Erin and Liam, 12. Erin is the same age as Finley and they become fast friends.

She meets Beckett Rush on her flight to Ireland, but she will not fall into his charms – or so she hopes. Everywhere Finley goes she seems to run into Beckett and slowly she starts to let her guard down – but is that a mistake?

Beckett has a bad boy image to be sure, but he never seems like that around her – in fact he seems quite the opposite. But, he has a gorgeous, Hollywood starlet girlfriend and beautiful girls falling all over him everywhere he goes, so why does he seem to be most interested in spending time with her?

Finley has to finish the song she is composing for her audition, a song that is inspired by her brother. But she feels that she needs to find the location of this one picture that was in Will’s travel journal before she can write the ending. However, finding that location will be like trying to find a needle in a hay stack.

Finley finds that in Ireland most people her age don’t have a car, that they will either walk or ride a bike to where they need to go. This hinders her plans, because the places that she wants to go to are very far and would take forever on a bike. So Finley and Beckett strike up a deal, she will help him with his lines and he will drive her where she wants to go. At first this is working out great, but soon the time that they spend together is because of more than just a deal.

On Finley’s first day of school in Ireland, she meets Beatrice and they form an instant dislike towards one another. Beatrice’s father is the principal at the school, so she can get away with almost anything and she takes full advantage of this.

Also on the first day of school, all the students are assigned an elderly person that they have to spend at least 20 hours with by the end of the term. Finley gets Cathleen Sweeney, a woman who is bitter, eaten up with guilt and regret and who is dying of cancer. Cathleen reminded me a lot of Mrs. Snow,the character played by Agnes Moorehead in Pollyanna. In fact she is almost identical to her. Finley on the other hand is no Pollyanna, because Finley is just as depressed as Cathleen – though she does try to brighten up Mrs. Sweeney’s day.

‘There You’ll Find Me’ has some serious issues like cancer, bullying, the death of a loved one, etc. in it. The emotions that Finley feels because of these issues are portrayed with such honesty and clarity. This book had me feeling happy, sad, excited, concerned, hopeful, angry, confused, relieved, and shocked (not necessarily in that order:). The way that the author describes the scenery, makes it pop off the page – I want to go to Ireland even more now!

I completely enjoyed reading ‘There You’ll Find Me’. This is a novel that I heartily recommend!

*** I received a complimentary copy of the book from BookSneeze to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book – which I have done. ***

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Be sure to check out Jenny’s website! You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Here are some of the places where you can purchase ‘There You’ll Find Me’: Christian Book, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and The Book Depository.

Product Details:

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595545409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595545404
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches

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Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy

Reclaiming LilyA storm the size of Texas brews when Gloria Powell and Kai Chang meet in a Dallas hotel. They have come to discuss the future of Lily, the daughter Gloria adopted from China and the sister Kai hopes to reclaim. Kai is a doctor who had to give up her little sister during the Cultural Revolution and has since discovered that an inherited genetic defect may be waiting to fatally strike Lily.

Gloria’s relationship with her daughter is tattered and strained, and the arrival of Kai, despite the woman’s apparent good intentions, makes Gloria fearful. Gloria longs to restore her relationship with Lily, but in the wake of this potentially devastating diagnosis, is Kai an answer to prayer…or will her arrival force Gloria to sacrifice more than she ever imagined?

I Give This Book:1 star1 star1-1/2 stars


My Thoughts:
I had a really hard time getting into this book. The first half of ‘Reclaiming Lily’ covered just one day and was very slow moving. It would alternate between the present day and the stories that Kai would tell about her life in China. However, about two-thirds into the book the story really got interesting, and I found myself rushing to reach the conclusion. The last twenty or so pages were especially moving, although abit abrupt, and left me guessing until the very end – literally until the last paragraph!

The story of Kai’s life in China was so vividly written. I have heard of China’s one child policy, but this story drives home how difficult that policy really is. Kai’s mother had three daughters before the policy was put in place, but shortly after it goes into effect she finds herself pregnant again. Fearing what the government might do, her husband demands that she get an abortion, but she refuses to kill her child. Knowing that she can’t keep her baby, she makes the heart breaking decision to leave her baby (Lily) at an orphanage (because a healthy child that was left at an orphanage would be taken care of), with the hopes of one day reclaiming her. But it would not go as planned.

When Lily was ten years old Pastor Andrew and Gloria Powell, an American couple, adopted her, changed her name to Joy and brought her home to Texas. Kai was there when they took her from the orphanage, watching from a distance horrified that her baby sister was being taken away and helpless to stop it.

The Powells have raised Joy to believe in God, but lately she has been rebeling against them at ever turn. Joy turns against a God that she at one time claimed to believe in and not only that but she acts out in so many different ways, that they never know what to expect from her anymore.

When Kai brings the news to them that Joy might have Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), they are wary of Kai at first, but she soons endears herself to them. PKD is an hereditery disease, and Kai and Joy’s mother had had it. The only treatment is dialysis or a kidney transplant and Kai wants her tested for it right away.

I didn’t like how long it took for me to get into the book and how when it got to the more crucial parts of the story it would jump ahead – sometimes by years. I felt that for a book that has 384 pages, it seemed rushed at the end, like the story was getting to long and so was just quickly finished.

Overall, I found ‘Reclaiming Lily’ to be an enjoyable book, but not one that I would be quick to recommend and likely won’t be a book that I will read again.

*** I received a complimentary copy of this book through Litfuse to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book – which I have done. ***

View all my reviews

About the Author:

Patti Lacy graduated from Baylor University with a BS in education and completed master’s-level courses in English at Indiana State University. She taught at Heartland Community College until May 2006, when she resigned to pursue her passion of writing. The author of three previous novels, Patti is the mother of two grown children and lives with her husband in Normal, Illinois.

For more about Patti and her books, visit her website at www.pattilacy.com. She is also on Goodreads and Facebook.


Product Details:
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764209418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764209413
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
Here are some of the places where you can purchase Reclaiming Lily: Christian Book, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and The Book Depository.
Now for the Giveaway:
Patti Lacy is celebrating the release of her latest book, Reclaiming Lily,
 with a KindleTouch Giveaway, blog tour and FB Book Chat Party!

Follow the blog tour and
read the reviews!


Patti and her publisher, Bethany House, are giving away a Reclaiming Lily prize
package worth over $150 to one lucky winner!!!!

Enter the Reclaiming Lily Giveaway and you could win:

  • A brand new just released KindleTouch with Wi-Fi
  • $25 gift cetificate to Amazon.com

But, wait there’s more!

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. Giveaway ends on 10/19!
Patti will be announcing the winner of the Reclaiming Lily Giveaway at her Party on Facebook
October 20th
! She’ll be hosting a book club chat of Reclaiming Lily (it’s
okay if you haven’t read it – you could win a copy!)
 and giving away other

fun prizes! (signed copies of her books and gift certificates to Amazon.com, Starbucks,
& iTunes!). Don’t miss the fun at Patti’s FB Author Page on 10/20/11 at 5pm
PST ( 6 pm MST, 7 pm CST, & 8 pm EST)! RSVP today!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

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