Saturday, August 29, 2015

Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason



Irish Meadows (Bethany House, July 2015)
Faced with an uncertain future, sometimes all you have left is the courage to dream.
Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their Irish immigrant father expects them to marry well. Recently he’s put even more pressure on them, insinuating that the very future of their Long Island horse farm, Irish Meadows, rests in their ability to land prosperous husbands. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.
Brianna, a quiet girl with a quick mind, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry—as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards of the ideal groom. When former stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from business school and distant relative Rylan Montgomery visits Long Island during his seminary training, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans.
As the farm slips ever closer to ruin, James O’Leary grows more desperate. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to avoid being pawns in their father’s machinations and instead follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?
My opinion: I was so excited to read this new book from a new author, the name of the book alone and the cover were enough to get me hooked. I really liked the book followed both Brianna and Colleen, although Brianna standpoint was told more and she was clearly the nicer of the two sisters, but Colleen did get better as the book progressed. I liked the real and raw characters, Brianna was very endearing and I liked her a lot. I wish there was a tad less romance, it started awfully soon in the book, but it was still a very good read and I cannot wait to read Ms. Mason's future works. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Glory Days by Max Lucado

GloryDays cover with border


Glory Days (Thomas Nelson, September 2015)
The wilderness. Maybe you know it well.
The Israelites sure did. After all, they spent forty years wandering the desert. Victories were scarce. Progress was slow. They were free from Pharaoh but not free from fear. Saved but stuck.
Sounds a lot like midlife misery. Caught in a rut. Stalled out. Running on empty. Are you mired in the same?
You can name the day you became a Christian and escaped Egypt. But you can’t remember the last time you defeated a temptation or experienced an answered prayer. You’re fighting the same battles you fought the day you came to Christ. You’re out of Egypt, but Egypt’s not out of you.
Isn’t the Christian life supposed to be better than this?
Jesus offers abundant joy. Yet you live with oppressive grief. The epistles speak of grace. You shoulder guilt. You are more than a conqueror yet are commonly conquered by temptation or weaknesses.
But there’s good news. With God’s help you can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be. Like Joshua and the Israelites, you can move from a wilderness existence into a promised inheritance.
This is God’s vision for your life. You, at full throttle. You, as you were intended. You, as victor over the Jerichos and giants. You, minus the stumbles, hurts, and hate.
You and your Promised Land life.
My opinion: As with all of Max Lucado's previous works this one was very engaging, easy to read and very thought provoking. This books deals with issues that have long been on my heart and mind, how so often we as Christian's are so downtrodden and living a mere shadow of what we should be. I love how this book addresses those issues and so much more. I love how he talks about the abundant life that we as Christians are supposed to have. This book certainly left me a lot to think about after I read it which is a good sign! I highly recommend this book for those who are longing to live life with more purpose, it will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

A heart's home by Colleen Coble

A Heart’s Home
A Heart’s Home (Thomas Nelson, August 2015)
Emmie’s hope for a life with Isaac is overshadowed by a tragic loss at Fort Phil Kearny.
Isaac Liddle is keen to marry Emmie, and she knows she shouldn’t hide her pregnancy from him any longer. But before she can tell him her secret, a widower friend asks the impossible of Emmie: Will she honor her promise to his dead wife by marrying him to care for the orphaned baby?
With the Sioux Wars threatening outside the fort, Emmie’s solemn vow threatens her happiness from within. Will she honor a promise sure to break her heart—and Isaac’s? Or is there another way to find a home for her heart?
My opinion: I was ready for this series to be over. Filled with melodrama,  catastrophe after catastrophe and not very engaging characters I did not find this to be one of Ms. Coble's finer series. One of the only upsides to it is that the books are very short and easy to read.  These books have a ton of drama and yet it always seems to work out for the main characters in the end.  Some people might find this series enjoyable,but I did not find much merit in it. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The new sugar and spice

With such a scrumptious looking cover, how could this book not be good? With a intriguing layout, each chapter features recipes with a certain spice, many which are common and some that are quite exotic, I thought that was a fun way to have the book set up and will make it handier in the future if I am feeling like a certain spice. With different recipes and reinvented classics this cookbook is a must and I cannot wait to try the many delicious looking recipes.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Through waters deep by Sarah Sudin

Through Waters Deep
Through Waters Deep(Revell, August 2015)
It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war.
Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them.
Sarah Sundin takes readers to the tense months before the US entered WWII. Readers will encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love, in this hopeful and romantic story.
My opinion: I am always a fan of WW2 stories, there is a reason they were called the greatest generation, and this book certain was an enjoyable read. With characters that actually had depth and I enjoyed, a good mystery that kept one engaged and a interesting plot line, this book was a very easy read and I highly recommend it. I look forward to reading other books by the author in the future, she is a good writer for sure! I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Martha Stewart's appetizers

Can you say yum? This book, like any of Martha Stewart's books, makes one want to channel their inner domestic diva and have a fancy party with all of the deliciously divine recipes, fortunately there are some recipes for those who are a bit less of a diva like myself but are still pretty impressive. I love the lush photography and the innovative ideas, makes me want to have a party just to try some of the recipes out!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Secrets she kept by Cathy Gohlke

I am a big fan of Ms. Gohlke previous works and love anything to do with World War 2 so I was utterly delighted to receive this book to review. When it arrived in the mail I devoured it very quickly. I have incredibly mixed feelings about this book, it was a very easy read, well written and engaging and yet I found after I finished it that it left me feeling sad. It was hard to read about the Lieselotte of the past and reconcile her with what version Hannah saw. I loved the part of the story from the past, but was depressed with the present. I just felt like there was so much tragedy and heartbreak and that bothered me. I am probably a bit overly sensitive with being a new Mom myself but it broke my heart that the character of Hannah did not feel loved by her own Mother.:(
So was this well written? Yes, it flew by, had an interesting story line with a lot going on, intriguing characters and was rich in historical detail. Despite all of that I left reading this book very sad and bothered for lives wasted and children who grow up not feeling wanted
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets bu George Greenstein

Can you say delicious? I should of known from the scrumptious looking cover that this book was going to be a gem filled with delicious recipes. I had never heard of George Greenstein before so his amazing recipes were a whole new arena for me, but apparently he is something of a legend in New York City and I can see why.
I know I for one found this book to be filled with delicious recipes that I certainly did not grow up with and helpful baking tips. It really made me want to start baking which is no small feat as I am not a very accomplished baker.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Crazy little thing called love by Beth Vogt

Crazy Little Thing Called Love - PK


Crazy Little Thing Called Love: A Destination Wedding Novel (Howard, June 2015)
Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple’s journey down the aisle to “I do.”
Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancĂ©. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?
As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?
A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.
Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?
My opinion: Overall this book was pretty good although I would not say it was my favorite of Ms. Vogt, still it was an enjoyable, easy and very predictable read. I do tend to like stories with a little more going on in them, but this one still was a pretty good light read. I do like books that deal with redemption and second chances because we all need that in our life.:) I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Learning to see creatively by Bryan Peterson

What a fun book! For anyone who has even a passing interest in photography this book is a must as it helps you visualize and see things completely different. I love how Mr. Peterson outlined very common pitfalls that many amateur photographers fall into and how to make ones pictures come alive and be so much more interesting. I cannot wait to try the techniques that are outlined in this book and see if it helps improve my photographs. Love this book and am so excited to implement some of its techniques and ideas!