Monday, June 27, 2016

Dwelling Places Book Review


 About the Book

With the dawn of each new year, Christians and spiritual seekers vow to seek a deeper, closer relationship with God and grow their spiritual life. Yet like many resolutions, as time passes, so does determination to stay the course. But what if a thriving, active faith were as simple as reading one word a day?
Award-winning author Lucinda Secrest McDowell knows that if you spend a few minutes every day turning to God's Word for wisdom and guidance, your faith can flourish and grow. Through short and inspiring readings, McDowell unpacks a single word--like mercy, beauty, gratitude, or grace--to uncover a biblical blessing or lesson you can act on that very day. Each devotion includes stories and illustrations to foster understanding and ends with a benediction, written as if God were speaking directly to you.
Organized into four seasons--fall, Advent, Lent, and summer--these devotions invite you to discover those "dwelling places" that offer the joy of God's promises and presence. Whether in the midst of busy holiday schedules, holy days, or changing seasons, a deeper faith can be a simple as a single word. (Goodreads)

Purchase a copy:

Lucinda Secrest McDowell
is the author of 11 books, including Live These Words, Amazed by Grace, and Quilts from Heaven. She has contributed to an additional 25 books and has been published in more than 50 magazines. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, she speaks internationally through her ministry Encouraging Words. An award-winning writer who has earned accolades from prominent writers' conferences and retreats, McDowell has also worked in radio broadcasting, in retreat planning, and on church pastoral staffs. She writes from "Sunnyside" cottage in Connecticut.

My Thoughts

First of all, I love how the seasons aren't called by their names. Dwell, Shine, Renew, and Grow are put in their place. This book is also the perfect size, it's not too small where you forget about it, it's not too big where you can't take it with you easy. Thus far I have focused on Fall/Dwell. Each reading includes a verse, a lovely story, and a thoughtful phrase to encourage you. Pretty typical set up but the words within the pages are what matter. I really like Lucinda's writing style and the stories are easy to relate with. 
If you are looking for a more seasonal (not daily) devotional this is a great book!

"I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review."

Drown out the busyness and noise of everyday life and find a deeper faith with something as simple as a single word in Lucinda Secrest McDowell's new book, Dwelling Places. Through short and inspiring readings, McDowell unpacks a single word—such as mercy, beauty, gratitude, or grace—to reveal a biblical blessing or challenge relevant to where you are. Full of stories and illustrations to empower you to live the word you have just read, each devotional ends with a benediction, written as if God were speaking directly to you.

Join Lucinda in celebrating the release of Dwelling Places by entering to win her Season of Refreshment giveaway.

dwelling places - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Dwelling Places
  • Dwelling Places necklace handmade by Lucinda
  • A kit full of goodies you'll need to make refreshing lemonade this summer
One second place winner will receive:
  • A copy of Dwelling Places
  • Dwelling Places necklace handmade by Lucinda
dwelling places - collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 5th. The winner will be announced July 6th on Lucinda's blog.

dwelling places - enter banner

Unashamed Book Review And Giveaway


 About the Book

 Shame is everywhere.

Whether related to relationships, body image, work, or a secret sin, we all experience shame. While shame manifests itself in fear, broken relationships, and regret, it ultimately points us to our fundamental need as fallen human beings: redemption.

Shame never disappears in solitude, and Heather Davis Nelson invites us to not only be healed of our own shame but also be a part of healing for others. She shines the life-giving light of the gospel on the things that leave us feeling worthless and rejected, giving us courage us to walk out of shame's shadows and offering hope for our bondage to brokenness. Through the gospel, we discover the only real and lasting antidote to shame: exchanging our shame for the righteousness of Christ alongside others on this same journey. (Goodreads)

About the author:
Heather Davis Nelson (MA, Westminster Theological Seminary) is a writer, counselor, and speaker. Heather writes regularly at and has been a featured writer at the Gospel Coalition, as well as a contributing author to the Journal of Biblical Counseling. She and her husband are parents to twin daughters and live in southeastern Virginia.

My Thoughts

I’ll be honest in saying I wasn’t so sure this book would mean much to me. It says everyone has shame, which I suppose is true to a point. Many of the examples in the start of the book are things like, when you feel shame when you say something you shouldn’t, or you yell at your kids in public and people give you the look. Other types of shame she writes about is when we are ashamed of our bodies, or our spouses, or our pasts. The one thing that stuck out to me was the chapter on shame of our bodies. She talks about how that idea even gets into people’s heads to begin with. Many people it’s a past memory from a simple comment. But what stood out to me is how I can help young children’s self image by not commenting negatively on my own body or others around me in a negative way. Kids see how you act and treat yourself and others and this can leave lasting memories.

So overall I think Heather hits the main points on shame, I didn’t get as much from it as I feel I could have but I’m sure for some it would be helpful!

“I received this book from FLYBY for free in exchange for an honest review.”

US and Canada Only Please. This is a giveaway for one copy of Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame by Heather Davis Nelson. Use the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"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, 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.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Apache Wars Book Review


 About the Book

They called him Mickey Free. His kidnapping started the longest war in American history, and both sides--the Apaches and the white invaders—blamed him for it. A mixed-blood warrior who moved uneasily between the worlds of the Apaches and the American soldiers, he was never trusted by either but desperately needed by both. He was the only man Geronimo ever feared. He played a pivotal role in this long war for the desert Southwest from its beginning in 1861 until its end in 1890 with his pursuit of the renegade scout, Apache Kid.

In this sprawling, monumental work, Paul Hutton unfolds over two decades of the last war for the West through the eyes of the men and women who lived it. This is Mickey Free's story, but also the story of his contemporaries: the great Apache leaders Mangas Coloradas, Cochise, and Victorio; the soldiers Kit Carson, O. O. Howard, George Crook, and Nelson Miles; the scouts and frontiersmen Al Sieber, Tom Horn, Tom Jeffords, and Texas John Slaughter; the great White Mountain scout Alchesay and the Apache female warrior Lozen; the fierce Apache warrior Geronimo; and the Apache Kid. These lives shaped the violent history of the deserts and mountains of the Southwestern borderlands--a bleak and unforgiving world where a people would make a final, bloody stand against an American war machine bent on their destruction. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

This is a great book. I have really enjoyed the history and the pictures included within it's pages. There is so much history about the Apache life and who they were then and now. Some of the details are what you would expect, how they tortured people etc. But this book really packs a punch when talking about how things have changed and what all came about from the different people.Great research and really a solid book from start to finish. 
Highly recommend to history lovers!

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for an honest review."

Feisty and Feminine Book Review


 About the Book

CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, Penny Young Nance is the new face of an emerging brand of conservative women who are tired of the political prattle, and she is ready to change the way women are portrayed. In her debut title Relevant, she takes an honest look at what it means to be a conservative woman with thoughtful beliefs that are increasingly relevant in today’s valueless world. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I didn't really have any desire to read this book until a fellow blogger gave it a good review. I am not a huge political person and more often than not I just get frustrated with everything. But this book was really really good. It was written well and in a way for those of us who don't know everything about what's going on. I love how she writes the truth, the facts, and then asks what we can do as Christian women in each area. She writes about topics from sexual assault to ISIS. I really enjoyed the chapters on abortion and marriage, she really hits home on these issues and does it without being hateful.
If you are a conservative Christian who wants to read about politics and issues in our world, this is the book for you!! I highly recommend!

"I received this book from BookLook Bloggers for free in exchange for an honest review."

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Ringmaster's Wife Book Review


 About the Book
What is revealed when you draw back the curtain of the Greatest Show on Earth?

Rosamund Easling is no stranger to opulence. As the daughter of an earl, she’s grown up with every comfort money can buy. But when hard times befall the family’s Yorkshire estate in the aftermath of the Great War, Rosamund’s father sells her beloved horse, setting the stage for a series of events that would extend beyond even her wildest dreams.

Though expected to marry for a title instead of love, Rosamund feels called to a different life – one of adventure outside the confines of a ladies’ parlor. She abandons all she’s known and follows in pursuit as her horse is shipped to the new owner – an American entertainer by the name of John Ringling. Once introduced to the Ringling Brothers’ circus and knowing she has much to learn, Rosamund agrees to a bareback riding apprenticeship in the shadow of the Ringlings’ winter home—Ca’D’Zan. It is at that mansion, in what would become the last days of the enigmatic Mable Ringling’s life, that Rosamund finds a deeper sense of purpose in the life she’s been given, and the awakening of faith in her heart.

With a supporting cast of characters as mysterious and dazzling as the Ringlings’ big-top world, Rosamund’s journey takes her from the tradition of the English countryside to the last days of America’s Roaring ‘20s—a journey that forever changes what one life might have been. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Oh where to start on this one. I have loved Kristy Cambron's previous books so this book was highly anticipated. The setting is grand of course and I really like John and Mable's story. I just felt like the story was rushed and there is a ton of back and forth in all different years. I'll be honest I was getting frustrated with this, usually I like the different time lines but it was like two time lines for each person. I thought it was too much and it took away from the story. I don't feel like I got to know any of the characters because of all of the jumping around. I thought the history part was interesting and overall a good story. I just wish it had been a bit more organized. Just my thoughts. I still look forward to her novels and I'm sure many will adore this book. 
Four stars. 

"I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review."

Purchase a copy:

Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal Reviews' "Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction)" for February 2015.

Cambron is an art/design manager at storytelling ministry. She holds a degree in art history from Indiana University and has nearly 15 years of experience in instructional design and communications for a Fortune-100 company. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Becoming A Woman of Excellence Book Review

 About the Book

Society beckons us to succeed--to achieve excellence in our appearance, our earning power, our family life. God Himself also beckons us to be women of excellence. But what exactly is He asking? If you're hungry for God's perspective on success in a society that bombards you with conflicting demands, feed on the truths of God's Word that you'll discover in these pages. You will not only learn to "approve the things that are excellent" but will also experience the joy of becoming God's woman of excellence. This bestselling topical Bible study has helped over one million women over the past 30 years, and is newly revised and updated so today's women can discover who God designed them to be in this day and age. Written by Navigator author and Bible teacher Cynthia Heald, the 11 sessions in this Bible study explore what your identity in Christ is and how you can best serve Him. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

This is the 30th anniversary edition of this book, so it is a pretty popular book. So far what I have gotten from this book is a very in depth, multiple question, Bible study. I love the organization of this book and the many verse references. I love the "thoughts and reflections from an older woman" sections. Great advice, good Bible backing on the topics, and truly shows you the Biblical meaning of a woman of excellence. 

Highly recommend!

"I received this book from Tyndale Publishing for free in exchange for an honest review."

Jilted Book Review

About the book:

Jilted (David C. Cook, June 2016)

Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago.

Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life where the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.

Jilted tells of a woman who has lost the joy of living, a man determined to draw her back toward happiness, and a town that must---once and for all---leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good.

Purchase a copy:

About the author:

Varina Denman is author of the Mended Hearts series and a native Texan. She spent her high school years in a rural town and now writes stories about the struggles women face in similar small town settings. She and her husband live near Fort Worth, where they enjoy spending time with their five mostly grown children.

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My Thoughts

I have loved every part of this series and this book was simply wonderful. I love the nitty gritty details of life that Varina Denman is able to write about. She doesn't beat around the bush and she has such a way with making characters jump off the page. Lynda has been in the previous two books so I would recommend reading these books in order. Jilted has a great story that continues the other character's as well. Great book full of evidence of God's grace even in the worst of circumstances.

"I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review." 

Can all things really work together for good, and can the joy of living be found once again? Don't miss one woman's story in book three, Jilted, of Varina Denman's Mended Hearts series. Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago. Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life where the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.

Celebrate the release of Varina's Jilted by entering to win a $50 gift card.


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Jilted to kick off a summer of reading
  • A $50 Kohl's gift card to make your summertime sweet
The giveaway ends on July 1st. The winner will be announced July 5th on Varina's website.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

New Delights

 Isn't this just grand! I was thrilled when I found this!

 Two tiny little eggs. : )

I still can't believe I live here..

 These little beauties will soon cover our fields. They are everywhere. God makes some pretty things.....

Thursday, June 2, 2016

From This Moment Book Review


 About the Book

Romulus White has tried for years to hire illustrator Stella West for his renowned scientific magazine. She is the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry.
But Stella abruptly quit the art world and moved to Boston with a single purpose: to solve the mysterious death of her beloved sister. Romulus, a man with connections to high society and every important power circle in the city, could be her most valuable ally.
Sparks fly the instant Stella and Romulus join forces, and Romulus soon realizes the strong-willed and charismatic Stella could disrupt his hard-won independence. Can they continue to help each other when their efforts draw the wrong kind of attention from the powers-that-be and put all they've worked for at risk? (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

 Yep, this was another all-nighter for me! Elizabeth Camden is one of my favorite authors and she has yet to disappoint. I loved this book and couldn't put it down even though I really needed to be asleep. I liked the setting in Boston and I never knew any history surrounding the city. Stella is just a great character, I liked her wit and charm. Romulus I had to warm up to. He was a good character for the part, Camden is brilliant at creating male characters that have unique personalities. There are fun science facts that added a lot to the story (you must read it to understand) and how magazines were printed was interesting. While there is a romance story, compared to Camden's other books this one was a lot less romantic. That doesn't make it bad it's just how I viewed the book as I was reading it. And if you haven't read this author before and you like this genre-you must pick up her books!
Great read, five stars!

"I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review."

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Broth & Stock Cookbook Review


 About the Book

A cookbook from the author of the popular website The Nourished Kitchen, featuring 60 recipes for nutritious and healthy master broths, soups, stews, gravies and other dishes using poultry, meat, vegetable, and seafood broths.

Nutrient-dense bone broths are having a major moment: from the $8 per cup servings at New York "broth bars" to Kobe Bryant crediting its restorative properties for his improved athletic performance, broths are in the news and being turned to for their health properties. Jennifer McGruther is the perfect author to address this topic--a trusted authority on traditional foods who has been touting the value of broth since before it was trendy. The health benefits of broth are many: it is rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals, which are easily absorbed by the body when consumed in liquid form. Bone broth has been proven to help mitigate the effects of arthritis and joint pain since it contains glucosamine, gelatin, collage, and chondroitin.Broth and Stock from the Nourished Kitchen features recipes for the broths themselves as well as soups, stews, and meat dishes that incorporate broths, and is the ideal guide for anyone interested in integrating these healthful concoctions into their daily lives simply and approachably. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Who knew there was a difference between broth, stock, and bone broth? Who knew you could make broth with chicken feet? If you don't know these things this book has it all! Simple broths, to yummy soups, with minimal ingredients. The only tricky part is being able to find certain items, such as chicken feet. But I might just pass on that recipe because I don't think I could do it. But really this book gives good instruction on how to make broth and stock, which I think is wonderful especially for this generation. 
Four stars. 

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for an honest review."