Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Slaying the Debt Dragon by Cherie Lowe

I am big into saving money, but I have my weaknesses and know there are many areas I can improve on (ahem, especially in the food category). The latest book by Cherie Lowe, the Queen of Free is a great inspirer and encourager. I love how honest Cherie is in her own struggles, as you read of their battle to get out from under a multitude of debts it encourages you that your own situation is not quite so hopeless.
She breaks it down into different chapters that really focus on ways to save money. I really appreciated this book and think it would be a great gift for anyone.
I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Love without end by Robin Lee Hatcher

Love without end

Chet and Kimberly have both failed when it comes to love. Will they risk their hearts to love again?
Chet Leonard’s life was forever changed when his 17-year-old son died and then, soon after, his wife walked out on their family. Over two years later, all he wants to do is hold onto his horse ranch and raise his remaining sons to be honorable men.
Kimberly Welch, widowed mother of Tara, a rebellious 15-year-old, has reached the end of her finances and nearly the end of her rope. She and Tara come to King’s Meadow to try to piece their lives back together again. Kimberly has no intention of becoming involved with the residents of this remote mountain community and certainly not with any man.
When octogenarian Anna McKenna returns to King’s Meadow and to the Leonard ranch, she becomes an agent of change and healing for the two hurting families. With her help, Kimberly and Chet may discover that true love has no end.

My opinion: This book was an interesting read and was a great reminder that God allows us to have second chances even when we stumble and fall. This was not a book that I could largely relate to given it was about a middle age couple struggling with teenage children, but that doesn't mean it was not a good book.
I loved how the author tackled some difficult subjects with such grace and style, that is part of what makes her such a great writer.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Swept Away by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven

Swept Away cover

Sara doesn’t think she wants love. But her grandmother has other plans.
Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned.
Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but his heart is as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between Drew and his new employer’s granddaughter.
Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts researching him online. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.

My opinion: Although I am not huge into quilting myself I have found the "Quilts of Love" series to be very delightful and enjoyable reads, with the latest in the series to be no exception.
I enjoyed the intrigue around Andrew's past and how the characters interacted with each other, it was a cute little story without too many surprises or frills, but it was very enjoyable.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Flour + Water by Thomas McNaughton

What a gorgeous cookbook! It has me hooked at the front cover and just got better from there. For any lover of pasta this book is simply a must. Thomas McNaughton is quite the chef giving us some amazing pasta recipes.
I really liked how the recipe was arranged into different seasons.
This book is amazing and has recipes for cooks of all different skills.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Knot little book of big wedding ideas

I wish I had this resource when I was planning my wedding! I have always appreciated the publications that The Knot has put out and this one was no exception.
Filled with helpful hints and some awesome ideas this book was pure enjoyment. I think it would make a wonderful engagement gift and would make planning ones perfect day all the easier and better.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

Abigail Foster fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry to improve her charms and the one man she thought might marry her--a longtime friend--has fallen for her younger, prettier sister.
When financial problems force her family to sell their London home, a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play . . .

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem to know something about the manor's past, the only information they offer Abigail is a warning: Beware trespassers who may be drawn by rumors that Pembrooke contains a secret room filled with treasure.
Hoping to improve her family's financial situation, Abigail surreptitiously searches for the hidden room, but the arrival of anonymous letters addressed to her, with clues about the room and the past, bring discoveries even more startling. As secrets come to light, will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

My opinion: I was so eager to read Julie Klassen's latest book and it did not disappoint! As with all of her previous works it was a delightful read and I appreciated how it had a good mystery and particularly liked how Julie developed some really good secondary characters.
Abigail was a likable heroine, I did find it ironic how she wasn't the pretty one and yet she had at least 3 guys after her...so slightly unrealistic. 
Another thing that bothered me a bit was the fact that Abigail and one of her love interest spent a decent bit of time in her bedroom, it was perfectly clean but I doubt in those days a male going into a young unmarried women's room would of been anything less than scandalous and simply wasn't done.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book regardless and was satisfied with the ending.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Destiny Defied by J.A. Marx

Desitiny Defied

A dramatic shipwreck emancipates Riki Hammad, but the island where she finds refuge is compromised. Unless she finds a power truly great enough to defeat her dark past, she will choose death over returning to captivity. Lord VĂ©tis, high priest of a cultic underground, will stop at nothing to reclaim their chosen one. Using black magic, he manipulates Riki and her four self-assigned bodyguards, triggering a battle that consumes the entire island. The underground will never allow Riki to live out her dreams of a normal life…something she has never known.

My opinion: This book was unique, very different from most Christian fantasy out there and for that reason alone I thoroughly enjoyed it. Full of wonderful characters and twists and turns that are unexpected this book was an utter delight.
This book would be a great read for young adults and adults alike as it really captures ones attention and is a page turner.

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Uncommon marriage adventure by Tony and Lauren Dungy

"Marriage is an adventure unlike any other. At times, you and your spouse may feel so close, connected, and in love that you're ready to take on the world together. But other times, things grow distant, and you wonder where all the joy and excitement has gone. What is the secret to a happy, healthy, God-honoring marriage--one that will last through anything that comes your way?Join Tony and Lauren Dungy in "The Uncommon Marriage Adventure," a series of daily reflections for couples. With transparency, wisdom, and humor, the Dungys share what they've learned over 30 years of marriage about faith, teamwork, conflict, communication, and more. Through each day's reading, you and your spouse will go deeper in loving, understanding, and learning to serve each other. Dare to embark on your own marriage adventure--and discover how to make your relationship truly uncommon.

My opinion: I am always in the market for a good marriage book so I was delighted to read this book by a previously unknown couple and I was delightfully surprised. It was insightful and easy to read, drawn from over 30 years of marriage and how to handle things that will come up in marriage. I enjoyed their frank honesty and came away from reading the book with some new insights, very encouraged to make my marriage uncommonly good.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Skinny Gut Diet by Brenda Watson

I was skeptical getting this book, any book that talks about permanent weight loss is probably too good to be true. After reading the book I am still not totally sure. It had some interesting parts and had some good advice but I am not sure that it will truly lead to a skinny gut or not. I am thinking of giving some of the recipes a try to see how it goes but until then I am still a bit of a skeptic.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I have seen God by Klaus-Dieter John

I Have Seen God

The miraculous founding of a top class hospital for some of the world’s poorest people
Klaus-Dieter and Martina John–both brilliant, talented, and highly qualified doctors–turned their backs on lucrative careers to follow their dream to open a first-rate medical facility for the Indians of the Peruvian Andes, some of the world’s poorest people. The Peruvian Andes natives suffer appallingly from the diseases of poverty and, although they make up approximately 40 percent of Peru’s population, are ignored by the authorities.
Having studied at the universities of Harvard, Yale, and Johannesburg during his training as a surgeon, Dr. Klaus-Dieter John together with his wife, Dr. Martina John, a pediatrician, developed a concept for a modern hospital in the Peruvian Highlands.
Turning down other offers, including a professorship, they set themselves the task of raising the millions of dollars needed. God opened the hearts and consciences of individuals and companies to create not just a health center, but a fully equipped hospital. Their story and vision has captured attention around the world and today they have the backing of 180 corporations and 50,000 private supporters.
The hospital’s name, Diospi Suyana, means “we trust in God” in Quechua, the native language of the people it serves. It is a testament to their experience that with God the impossible can happen. The incredible conviction and profound faith of the Johns will refresh your heart and stir your spirit.
My opinion: I loved this book! Talk about an extraordinary couple. It was so neat to witness how this couple gave up an easy life for that which is so much more satisfying. They truly helped the least of these and reading their accounts is wonderful! I came away from this book very inspired and praising God. 
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Brothers' Keeper by NLB Horton

Adobe Photoshop PDF

A friend’s deception. A family’s dilemma.
While cataloging looted antiquities in Brussels, archaeologist Grace Madison learns that her daughter has disappeared in France, and daughter-in-law has been attacked in Switzerland. But before the Madisons can save themselves, they must rescue an old friend—if he’ll let them. Navigating a deadly, four-thousand-year-old artifact trail that crosses three continents, they jeopardize hearts and lives against a foe as old as time—as time runs out.
Because choosing what’s right is all that’s left.
My opinion: I did feel at a slight disadvantage as I had not read the prior book in this series, but that certainly did not mean I did not thoroughly enjoy this book. It had all the key elements to a good book, excellent characters, beautiful writing and an intriguing story line. I really enjoyed following the Madison family around the world was an exquisite adventure! 

Look and Live by Matt Papa

"Popular worship leader and speaker shows that our lives follow what our hearts focus on, whether the glory of God or ourselves and our desires"

My opinion: This was a great book. I really enjoyed the authors unique and inspiring approach to really focus ones heart on God and putting His desires ahead of our own. I know too often in my life I forget how glorious the glory of Christ really is, too often I limit him in my own mind and forget all He has done to break the bands of sin and how he longs for us to come back into his presence. 
I highly recommend this book and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Your Life still counts by Tracie Miles

God still has a plan for you--not in spite of your past, but because of it! 
Do regret and shame over your failures, sins, and shortcomings make you wonder how you could ever be loved, much less used, by a holy God? Tracie Miles felt the same way until she discovered the path to healing, peace, and significance. 
She helps you recognize that God not only has a purpose for you, but He has prepared you for your divine purpose based specifically on the experiences of your past. 
Through her own story and stories from other women who have discovered God's purpose for their lives because of adverse experiences, Tracie helps you see how God can turn pain into purpose. You will find forgiveness and healing from the troubles of your past, discover the courage to step out of your comfort zone to help others find hope and strength, and be inspired to step into the beautiful future God divinely designed for you. 

My opinion: This book was a well, written deeply insightful book. I loved how Tracie was so honest and open about her past and lovingly encouraging to remind one that God can turn ones pain into something He can use.
I know sometimes in my own life I struggle with things I have done or not done and wonder how God can love such an unlovable creature such as myself. This book is a great reminder of God's love and forgiveness.

I highly recommend this book for all, as we all have a past and God want's our future to be so much more.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.