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Showing posts from July, 2014

The BTC Old Fashioned Grocery Cookbook

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The BTC Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Southern Revival by Alexe Van Beuren and Dixie Grimes is a very unique cookbook. I selected it because it is billed as being full of authentic Southern recipes, and I love Southern food, as does my husband. I thought he'd love me to make him some great authentic Southern meals. It's unique in that the recipes come from a new, still struggling old fashioned grocery store in Water Valley, Mississippi. The book itself is a sturdy hardcover with lots of pictures and is chock full of stories about the grocery store and the people who shop and eat there. My only complaint about the book is that the pages are a matte paper pages rather than the usual glossy pages that you find in a cookbook; I'm pretty rough on cookbooks as I use them wholeheartedly and their pages are usually dusted in flour and sugar with liberal drops of whatever sauces are in the recipe I'm making. This one will have to be handled with a …

Heart Of The Country

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I was introduced to Rene Gutteridge as a suspense author, so it's a bit of a change that she's been writing movie novelizations lately. I gave Heart Of The Country a try because I like her other books and it seemed like a decent story. Note: I haven't seen the movie. Book description: "Faith and Luke Carraday have it all. Faith is a beautiful singer turned socialite while Luke is an up-and-coming businessman. After taking his inheritance from his father’s stable, lucrative business to invest in a successful hedge fund with the Michov Brothers, he’s on the fast track as a rising young executive, and Faith is settling comfortably into her role as his wife.

When rumors of the Michovs’ involvement in a Ponzi scheme reach Faith, she turns to Luke for confirmation, and he assures her that all is well. But when Luke is arrested, Faith can’t understand why he would lie to her, and she runs home to the farm and the family she turned her back on years ago. Meanwhile, Luke is f…

The Antelope In The Living Room

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The Antelope In The Living Room by Melanie Shankle is, as the title suggests, laugh out loud hilarious! It's a breezy, easy read that is written almost blog-post style. Melanie explores the hilariousness, reality, struggle, and ultimate holiness of two people living together as husband and wife. This book had me in tears laughing. It's such a realistic portrayal of marriage.

By the end of this book, you'll feel like Melanie is a friend. There are great spiritual truths and nuggets about marriage sprinkled throughout. You'll leave this book refreshed and challenged in your marriage and you'll realize that EVERYONE has struggles within their marriage relationship and the best way to get through many of them is to have a healthy sense of humor. I highly recommend this book to all married couples.

The Prayer Box

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I couldn't believe my luck when they put The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate up for free for a limited time in the Kindle store! I grabbed it immediately and started reading it right away. I'd wanted to read it, but hadn't gotten around to purchasing it yet. The Prayer Box follows the story of Tandi Jo, a woman on the run with her children from an abusive husband. She takes refuge in the luscious setting of Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her life becomes intertwined with elderly Iola Anne Poole and she discovers the prayer boxes Iola kept throughout her life.

This book captivated me from the first page. Lisa used a dreamlike, prose style of writing that sucked me in right away. There was enough suspense to keep me reading till the last page. The prayer boxes weren't as much of a part of the story as I'd expected, but it made me interested enough in the idea to look them up and find more information about them. I really like the concept of the pra…

The Auschwitz Escape

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I picked up The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg from my local library. I'd read one of his books previously and really enjoyed it, so was looking forward to reading his newest work. I wasn't disappointed. The story follows Luc and his wife, Claire, as they become unwitting organizers of a network helping Jews hide from the Nazis.

This book is a fast paced thriller and definitely a page turner. I'm always interested in reading stories (fiction and nonfiction) about the Holocaust and this one didn't disappoint. Rosenberg admits he took some liberties with the time frame of certain people and events to fit with the story, but overall his facts are extremely well researched and the story reads like nonfiction. He bases much of it off of actual events. You get the feeling you are living the story. It's extremely realistic. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good thriller with Christian themes.

Bridge To Haven

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Bridge To Haven is Francine Rivers' latest book. I was so excited she was finally releasing a new book and couldn't wait to read it! The story is (very, very) loosely based on the book of Ezekiel. Abra was abandoned as a newborn and adopted by Pastor Zeke and his wife, Marianne. They also have a 5 year old son, Joshua. When Marianne dies from a heart condition, Abra is given up at the age of 5 to another family. The book follows her tumultuous life and eventual return and redemption.

I really, really loved this book. I literally just could not put it down. I read the whole thing in less than two days. The story was captivating and I kept wanting to turn the pages to see what would happen next. At times I just wanted to shake Abra and make her wake up and act right, but that frustration kept the storyline going. There was a rather surprising plot twist right at the end of the book that I didn't see coming. I always kind of roll my eyes when someone says a work of fiction &…

Heart Wide Open

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Heart Wide Open: Trading Mundane Faith For An Exuberant Life With Jesus by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson wasn't on my list of top picks for books. In fact, I'd been seeing it for weeks, but always selected a different book that interested me more. I figured it was probably more of the same usual "be a better Christian" books: read your Bible, pray, and go to church. Then one day I felt led to choose this book. In fact, I felt like God was telling me I NEEDED to read this book. So ... I obeyed. Reluctantly. Grudgingly. I am so glad I did.

The description reads: "You believe in God. You’re trying to serve Him.
But do you know how to truly love Him—and let Him love you?

As a Bible-believing churchgoer, author Shellie Tomlinson harbored a secret in her good-girl heart. She longed for something more than routine faith; she wanted to love God with a genuine, all-consuming passion. So she got honest with Him: “I admit it. I don’t love you like I should, but I want to lov…

Summer House With Swimming Pool

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Summer House With Swimming Pool by Herman Koch is billed as a "blistering, compulsively readable new novel". The description reads: "When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can't hide from the truth forever.

It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As t…

Blind Descent

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Blind Descent was a thrilling look at Brian Dickerson's attempt to climb Mount Everest. After losing his Sherpa guide to illness, he continued his ascent alone, and makes it to the top. Then, he goes snow blind and has to descent while low on oxygen and with no vision. This is a book that will have you on the edge of your seat and turning pages to see what will happen next. A Christian, Brian shares how God helped him safely down the mountain. This is an exciting book that will also renew your faith. I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes true stories with Christian themes mixed in.

His Treasure

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His Treasure: Gems Of Love From Your King is a devotional-style book by Sheri Rose Shepherd. Each devotion includes a "letter from God", a "Treasure of Truth", and a Scripture or two pertaining to the subject.

I really don't like writing negative reviews, and I like Sheri Rose Shepherd (I read, reviewed, and enjoyed Your Heart's Desire), so let me start with the positive. This book is absolutely beautiful. It's a gorgeous padded hardcover book with stunningly beautiful color pages inside with lovely illustrations. It looks like it would be a great book to present as a gift.

On the negative side, I did not like the style of Sheri writing letters "from God". She speaks in the first person tone as if she's speaking directly from God to you. I've not really seen this writing style before (other than the aforementioned Your Heart's Desire, but in that book it was brief blurbs here and there, not the whole book, so I just skimmed/skippe…

Tattler's Branch

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If you're looking for a fun, easy read, Tattler's Branch is it. Set in rural Kentucky in the early 1900's, the story follows Lilly, the town doctor of Skip Rock. Her husband, Tern, is away on a mining job. I don't know how realistic this setup is, but hey, it is fiction, so I went with it.

This is the perfect light summer read. Interesting characters, suspenseful story, mystery, and a bit of intrigue. It's a quick read and you won't want to put it down until you find out what happens. My only complaint is that I didn't realize this is book two of a series, so I would've like to have read book one first. The cover reads "Tattler's Branch: A Novel", so I thought it was a stand alone book. The publisher might want to make it a little more clear that this is actually a series. All in all, this was an enjoyable book, and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes historical Christian fiction.

The Fight

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The Fight is author Luke Wordley's first novel. I don't generally like books about sports or boxing or anything of the sort, but it had a lot of good reviews and was on Tyndale's Summer Reading List, so I decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did. This is the setup: "Sam Pennington’s life has fallen apart. His father is dead. His mum’s started drinking. And now they’ve been dumped in a dismal public-housing complex in East London. Sam’s anger at his circumstances puts him on the brink of expulsion from school and into dangerous conflict with those around him.

Professional boxing trainer Jerry Ambrose has finally gotten everything together. After a turbulent early life, his newfound faith has helped him reconcile with his past and dedicate his life to helping others.

But when a brutal street fight leads Sam to Jerry’s boxing club, both their futures are thrown into question. As Jerry reaches out to Sam, an extraordinary fighting talent emerges—a talent that reopen…

The Sentinels Of Andersonville

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The Sentinels Of Andersonville is a historical Civil War novel by Tracy Groot. Historical fiction isn't my favorite genre, but I do enjoy certain historical novels, and this one sounded interesting. Book summary: "Near the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.

Sentry Dance Pickett has watched, helpless, for months as conditions in the camp worsen by the day. He knows any mercy will be seen as treason. Southern belle Violet Stiles cannot believe the good folk of Americus would knowingly condone such barbarism, despite the losses they’ve suffered. When her goodwill campaign stirs up accusations of Union sympathies and endangers her family, however, she realizes she must tread carefully. Confeder…

Sharing Christ With The Dying

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A Loving and Compassionate Guide to Talking With Your Family and Friends About Jesus

Melody Rossi saw God work in the hearts of three close family members after she had nearly given up hope that they might believe before dying. As their hearts softened to the gospel message she witnessed their spiritual births.

These experiences inspired Melody to write this practical book filled with hope, joy, and wisdom. When your friend or family member is facing death, here is the help you need to share Christ in loving, nonconfrontational ways. It will show you how to

· Serve in ways that speak louder than words
· Respond to signs of spiritual openness
· Discuss matters of eternal importance
· Cope with the ups and downs of this difficult time

In addition, it offers you spiritual care, answering your questions about end-of-life issues, and addressing your grief and loss.

Deliver Us From Evil

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Deliver Us From Evil by Don Basham was written in 1972, but it's been repackaged and given an updated cover. This book details Pastor Basham's reluctant change from believing that Christians can't be possessed by demons to believing that not only can they be possessed by demons, but that deliverance should be performed for many things - epilepsy, smoking, drug addictions, and more.

I was enjoying and agreeing with this book for about the first half - I believe that Satan does work today, wreaking havoc in our churches and lives, oppressing Christians, and possessing non Christians. I also believe that the church at large today often downplays potential demonic activity and tends to want to never blame anything on demonic activity. However, Don takes it a step further and claims that born again Christian believers can literally be possessed by demons. I do not believe that at all. There are many great resources on the internet explaining this concept biblically and showin…

Child Of Mine

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Child Of Mine is unique in that it's written by both Beverly Lewis and her husband, David Lewis. I was a little leery when I first saw that it was co-written, because co-written books can either be wonderful or turn out to be a disaster due to different writing styles and flow problems, but this one blew me away. It was beautifully written and I couldn't really tell it was written together by two different authors.

Child Of Mine really follows three intertwining stories: Jack Livingston, who is a flying teacher raising his orphaned niece, Natalie. Laura Mast, Natalie's nanny with a mysterious past. And Kelly Maines, who has been on a desperate search for her kidnapped daughter for the past nine years. Each storyline is richly developed and full of detail. The story skips back and forth between viewpoints, but in such a seamless way that it never becomes confusing or cumbersome.

I could not put this book down - I read it in less than two days. It was full of suspense and j…

Every Waking Moment

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Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry is a unique story. It's mainly about Treha Langsam, a custodian at Desert Gardens Retirement Home. She seems to have a gift (they call her the "whisperer") to draw out elderly dementia patients into moments of clarity. Then, Devin Hillis enters the picture as a documentary filmmaker. He is making a documentary about Desert Gardens and its elderly patients.

This unique tale isn't a typical book I would read, but it sounded intriguing, so I wanted to read it. It was overall a pretty good story, interesting and heartwarming at the same time. He kept the tension going about Treha and her mysterious gift, and the plight of the filmmaker was interesting as well. I found myself rooting for him and his film. The story was told from various viewpoints, which got confusing and bogged down the story at times. The main problem with this book was the fact that so much wasn't resolved at the end. I felt like he got tired of writing and just …

Claiming Mariah

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Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman is a Christian romance novel set in historical western times. The back cover copy reads: "After her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truth: her father’s farm—the only home she’s ever known—was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his family’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though a local landowner promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.

With the Lazy M ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he unearths more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal, and murder threatens the well-being of the ranch, endangering those who hold it dear. As the days dwindle until …

Annie's Stories

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Annie's Stories by Cindy Thomson is a part of her Ellis Island series. I didn't realize that this book was a part of a series, so I was kind of bummed about that. I don't like reading book series out of order. I'm not sure if all the books in the series are stand alone stories or if they intertwine, but just be aware that this is a series.

Annie's Stories follows the story of Annie Gallagher, an Irish immigrant. She lives in a boarding house with a mysterious guest and an overly-friendly postman. She's brought with her the children's stories her father wrote her, and wants to share them with other children, but in her own way and her own time.

This was a pretty decent book. It wasn't the most amazing book I ever read, but it was a pretty good storyline. The story dragged at some points, but overall had enough intrigue and romance to carry it through to the end. I'd recommend this book to those who love historical Christian fiction.

The Wish

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I was a little hesitant to read Wish by Jake Smith because I'm not much of a baseball, or any type of sport fan, really. But the cover drew me in and the premise was intriguing, despite the heavy emphasis on baseball. I'm a sucker for books about kids with cancer (why???), and this had all the elements of a tear jerker, sentimental story. I did enjoy this story even though I'm not a baseball fan. I think the heart wrenching story of the McConnell family will draw just about anyone in. This story was a little light on the Christianity, which I wasn't expecting since it's a Tyndale House book, but that may be a plus or minus for you, depending on what type of book you like to read. I'd recommend this for baseball fans, or anyone who enjoys a good family tear jerker.

30 Days To A More Beautiful You

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30 Days To A More Beautiful You by Kylie Bisutti is marketed as a devotional for girls. I have two daughters so I'm always interested in reading things pertaining to girls for things they might be able to use in the future. This devotional is just okay. It's extremely short (the 99 cent price tag should clue you in to that, I guess!) and the devotions themselves are rather shallow, just barely touching the surface. I was expecting something more deep. It seems like it would be good for very young girls, but then it throws in some references that wouldn't be appropriate for very young girls. So it seems to struggle a bit at what its target audience actually is. It's okay, but not great.

Left Behind

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Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins is one of those books that has become a Christian fiction classic. I've read and enjoyed this book several times. It seems like many of the negative reviewers of this book treat it like it's supposed to be a nonfiction, completely accurate description of the end times. I think the best way to look at this book is as it is written - a fictional book. I take it as more of a "what if?" scenario of the end times. Of course we can't know exactly what is going to happen. This is just a fun book, and a thrilling page turner. Read this book and enjoy it for what it is, don't dissect it into a theological treatise.

Firewall

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Firewall is book one in the new FBI: Houston series by DiAnn Mills. We're dropped into the story as Taryn and her new husband, Shep, are on their way to their dream honeymoon when a bomb explodes in the airport. Taryn is injured and wakes up in the hospital to find out that her new husband fleed the airport just before the bomb went off and had been using a false name. The story takes off from there as they try to discover the players behind a plot full of international intrigue. Along the way Taryn and FBI agent Grayson begin to have feeling for each other. Will they discover the mastermind in time to save Taryn's kidnapped goddaughter, Zoey, and will Taryn and Grayson fall in love?

This was a good, solid Christian thriller for me. Christian thrillers are my favorite genre, so I'm always excited to read a new one. DiAnn Mills is a new-to-me author, so I was happy to discover another great writer in this genre. I thought the book started off great - I read the first third…