Monday, February 23, 2015

Keys of Heaven by Adina Senft

Keys of Heaven by Adina Senft

Sarah Yoder is learning to help the people in her Amish community as a Dokterfraa, creating teas and tinctures from the herbs she grows. But her latest patient seems to have a problem that can't be resolved. Meanwhile, Sarah's relatives attempt a little matchmaking between her and a new visitor. This is the second book in the Healing Grace series (the first, Herb of Grace, received a 4 stars from RT Book Reviews!).

I received this book as part of a giveaway deal (contest closed) that included chocolate and 2 books. Amish fiction is not my favorite, plus this is #2 in a series and I did not read the first book. A very pleasant surprise. As usual, there was enough background given to give me a gist of what had happened in the first book. This book had characters that were flawed, but that made them more realistic. The mixture of people in this community from the Amish, those who had experienced living as Amish, and outsiders who knew nothing...and various experiences in between. This also showed a different slant than the usual stereotypical look at the Amish that seemed prevalent in many other books I have read.

I was caught up in the story and cared about these characters. They were humans who made errors, but were quick to make amends. There was also not a cut and dried plot that followed predictable territory. The series may, indeed, end up exactly as I expect, but I like that other trails are being explored. The fact that they can all accept and respect their differences is also refreshing. Sarah definitely has faults, but is open to admitting and correcting wrongs. I liked that she is a more mature woman who is rebuilding her life. Good book!

Copies are available for purchase at
Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million or Amazon.
 
 Disclosure: I did receive a copy of book from Hatchette Book Group for review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

Love Gently Falling by Melody Carlson

Rita Jansen is living her dream in Hollywood when her father calls with news that her mother is sick. When she gets home to Chicago, Rita finds her mother is facing a long recovery and could lose the family-owned salon. As Rita takes her mother's place at work, she also finds herself renewing a friendship with her classmate Johnny and is surprised by how far he will go to help her.

I am a fan of  Melody Carlson's books, but this is not one of my favorites by her. Perhaps it was just meant for a younger person than me because I got exasperated with Rita more than once. The story was a bit predictable, but I don't mind that as much as the ending seeming a bit rushed. To be fair, that is a common problem with novellas.

I did like the interaction between characters who have met again after a long time apart. Getting to view current situations and gaining a greater insight to issues from their past is a terrific reminder to the reader that things may not always be what they seem. It was also set in a unique setting that is different from most books. Since the book appears to be better suited to a young adult audience, that is a good lesson to learn. While I did not love the book, I did like it. It was a nice quick read and an enjoyable way to spend the evening.

You can also buy a copy at the following:
  Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook.com, or
Amazon.

Disclosure: I did receive a copy of book from Hatchette Book Group for review.
All opinions are my own.

Dance With Jesus: From Grief to Grace

In Dance With Jesus: From Grief to Grace, Susan B. Mead shares her story of how God comforted her with unimaginable love and insight during a time of overwhelming grief. She heard His voice and was shown her son as he danced with Jesus and as he worshiped in the presence of God. In this book, Susan shares her encounters with God that led her into a more intimate relationship with Him as she struggled through the loss of several close family members, including her youngest son. Along the way, He taught her about the power of forgiveness and faith, restoration that restores, and that joy can be found again as you move from grief to embrace God's grace. 

video

My Review: This is a heartfelt book dealing with grief, but is filled with moments of humor, enlightenment, and encouragement, as well as sorrow. The chapters are short enough to hold the attention of even those in the midst of deep grief, but also contains questions at the end for those who want to explore their own feelings more. The book leads to reader to the knowledge that there can be hope and healing despite the suffering and sorrow that comes with the loss of a loved one. Pointing to God as the One who can and will bring comfort through the pain, this book is a witness to the fact that we can find the light and love of God even while we are still in the darkness of despair. There is hope and joy to be found again.

Susan B Mead website

Susan B Mead on Facebook Dance With Jesus website  Twitter:  @susanbmead
LinkedIn:   SusanMead1
Amazon - Susan B. Mead
YouTube

I received a free copy of this book from the author to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Susan is a Charter Blogger on the Bible Gateway Blogger’s Grid, has been published in Medical Laboratory Observer (MLO), is on the path to becoming a Chaplain with the IFOC and has been described as a solid, comforting voice in a messy world. 10% of the profit from Dance with Jesus: From Grief to Grace will benefit Water for LIFE to help dig water wells in remote locations around the world. People Matter!


  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan James Publishing (March 31, 2015)
  • Language: English

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dashing Dish by Katie Farrell

From the creator of the wildly popular cooking and healthy lifestyle website DashingDish.com, comes a clean eating cookbook designed to give home cooks a healthy start to 2015. Dashing Dish: 100 Simple and Delicious Recipes for Clean Eating (Nelson Books) by Katie Farrell combines delicious and simple recipes with easy tips for incorporating clean eating habits for a healthier lifestyle.  As a registered nurse, Farrell has spent years teaching others about nutrition, health and overall well being.  Since its inception, her hit website DashingDish.com has garnered more than 25,000 monthly subscribers who access her recipes, cooking videos and fitness plans.
For readers new to clean eating, Dashing Dish makes it easy to transition by providing lists of valuable pantry, fridge and freezer items helpful for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The book also includes important conversion charts and offers clean substitutes for some popular unhealthy foods, making the jump to clean eating as simple as possible. (from the publisher)

My Review: Let me begin with the disclaimer that I am NOT a cook! One of my favorite quotes is by Rita Rudner:I read recipes the same way I read science fiction. I get to the end and say to myself "well, that's not going to happen But I am trying to eat healthier, so I decided to check out this cookbook.

For starters, I found out that "clean eating" does not mean the same to everyone. I was thinking Levitical Law clean and unclean foods, so I was startled to find bacon in the very first recipe. Granted, I was also delighted!Of course, I also just browsed through looking a the bright colorful photos of very tempting looking prepared dishes. Some of the ingredients are more suitable for Summer when the price is more reasonable, but most of the recipes were for things readily available in local grocery stores. There is also a wide variety of recipes.

Having the nutritional values and calories is another helpful addition. One of my favorite parts, though, was the inclusion of a staples list of foods to keep in stock. Some of my more 'creative' attempts at cooking have been trying to come up with food made out of whatever I pull out of the cabinet. She also had a list of healthy snack items. Snacking is often my downfall. While I am still not really excited about cooking, I did find quite a few recipes that may raise my enthusiasm. The only part I am less certain of is the sugar substitutes used since I hear so many warnings, but most of the dishes I want to try don't need sweetener. Also, a bit expensive, but there is the convenience of having them all bound together to consider.


Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for this review from Icon Media Group
Dashing Dish Links:

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Give Books, Not Roses

Recently I received an email from HACHETTE BOOK GROUP about a fun giveaway they thought I would enjoy for my blog readers. To celebrate Valentine's Day and promote a love of reading, they came up with #ValentinesDayReads campaign! They are offering 2 FaithWords books and chocolate! Here are the details of what is in this prize package:




Rita Jansen is living her dream in Hollywood when her father calls with news that her mother is sick. When she gets home to Chicago, Rita finds her mother is facing a long recovery and could lose the family-owned salon. As Rita takes her mother's place at work, she also finds herself renewing a friendship with her classmate Johnny and is surprised by how far he will go to help her.
Link to my review of Love Gently Falling


You can also buy a copy at the following:
  Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook.com, or
Amazon.


Sarah Yoder is learning to help the people in her Amish community as a Dokterfraa, creating teas and tinctures from the herbs she grows. But her latest patient seems to have a problem that can't be resolved. Meanwhile, Sarah's relatives attempt a little matchmaking between her and a new visitor. This is the second book in the Healing Grace series (the first, Herb of Grace, received a 4 stars from RT Book Reviews!).
Link to my review of Keys of Heaven

Copies are available for purchase at
Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million or Amazon.


And for that added touch of sweetness to this giveaway package...CHOCOLATE!! The winner will also receive a bar of Olive and Sinclair Chocolate. Olive & Sinclair is a BEAN-TO-BAR Chocolate Maker in Nashville TN. Our Chocolate is made with select single origin cacao beans, slow roasted, stone ground with only Pure brown sugar for a robust flavor unique to Southern Artisan Chocolate™.

Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co. on Facebook
Follow @olivesinclair on Twitter


Disclosure: I did receive a copy of books (and chocolate) from Hatchette Book Group for review.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Team Us

Team Us: Marriage Together by Ashleigh Slater (Forward by Dr. Gary Chapman, "5 Love Languages") offers practical ways to cultivate and strengthen unity in their marriages. Author Ashleigh Slater shares from her own marriage as she presents couples with realistic ideas on how to foster cooperation, deepen commitment, and exercise grace on a daily basis.

What are you agreeing to when you say “I do”? When a couple promises “I do,” they agree to more than just a shared last name, a joint bank account, and no more dateless nights. This husband and wife duo forms a new team. “Life together” becomes their mantra. Nothing can come between them. At least, that’s the plan. But then real life sets in. With it come disappointments and frustrations. If the couple isn’t intentional in their day-to-day interactions, that once enthusiastic “we” can slowly revert to “you” and “me.” Before long, the couple’s left wondering what happened to their team spirit.(back cover)


"Team Us" Official Book Trailer 
My Review: This is a personal, hands-on book of experiences gained that help a marriage survive and thrive. We live during a time when many people are not even willing to work through the small differences, let alone major ones, so I really like the team emphasis. There is a conversational tone that gives one the impression of chatting with a friend. Comments included as blurbs from Ashleigh's husband, Ted, carry on that impression. You've had those times with friends when a spouse adds another POV or clarity. Most added a humorous touch and I enjoyed reading Ted's thoughts.

While this isn't a book suitable for me, I have no hesitation about passing it along to my recently married granddaughter. It is important to realize from the beginning of a marriage that you and your spouse are a new team who must work together. From the silly things like television preferences to major issues of moving and loss, it is important to understand that compromise and even caring more about bring joy to your spouse can turn around frustrations and build a solid foundation.

"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.
Leave a comment to be entered into drawing for a copy of book...no later than Feb 11, 2015 at 12 Noon. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. USA & Canada only. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.





Sunday, February 1, 2015

Nourished: A Search for Health, Happiness, and a Full Night's Sleep

Becky Johnson is a laid-back, go with the flow woman who tends to flourish with a certain amount of clutter. Her daughter, Rachel Randolph, a mom of a pre-schooler, prefers more organization, schedules, and minimal furnishings. In many ways they are complete opposites, yet they do share common needs. Both believe that women desire a life that nourishes them inside and out. In Nourished: A Search for Health, Happiness, and a Full Night's Sleep, the mother-daughter duo, also known as the blogging team at We Laugh We Cry We Cook, confront the “Top 10 Stressors” that can distract any woman. Are any of the following on YOUR list?
•Cluttered Surroundings •Exhaustion of parenting
•Time-starved marriages •Feeling like a spiritual slacker
•Crowded Schedules •Negative Body Image

The challenges of finding what works best is a combination of research, trial-and-error, and some accidental discoveries, but each are told with humor, along with practical tips to help you receive the nourishment you need to thrive in your surroundings while remaining comfortable in your own skin and personality. If you are exhausted, unhappy, or even just have a vague feeling that something is not right, this may be the very book you are looking for to re-evaluate and revive yourself.

In both age and temperament, I am much more like Becky, but I do know I thrive better in a space that has less clutter. Ahh...good intentions. However, I did feel more encouraged as I read through the book and saw things she was doing to corral the chaos to something more manageable and be comfortable in her surroundings. I also have a few Rachel traits, too, though. I have gone past the parenting, and even grandparenting, stage of life that can keep you tied a bit more to home. But, I also work at home, and often feel tied to my computer. So, her efforts to go out and meet others with common interests and receive the nourishment of friendship with others gave me something to think about.

I truly enjoyed the book and feel that there is going to be something for all women who read it. It make me realize how starved I am for a bit of nourishment, but it is also just a very good read. Their styles blend well together for getting a message across, and I especially loved the humor that often had me laughing. A book that offers practical tips, humor, sage advice, memories, and leaves you with the feeling that you are listening to a couple of your friends gave me a bit of nourishment each evening as I read another couple of chapters. Good book for any woman, no matter what stage of life. We all need to be nourished.

"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 [USA and Canada only], 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.”


To enter contest to win a copy, leave a comment by 9am CT on Feb 10, 2015.
We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook on Facebook

Becky Johnson is the author, coauthor, or collaborator of more than forty books. She’s a natural storyteller who has inspired and entertained audiences for years. Most recently she co-authored We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook alone with a blog by the same name with her daughter, Rachel Randolph. She and her husband, Greg, live in Denver, Colorado. Website/blog: www.laughcrycook.com

Rachel Randolph writes and speaks with humor and honesty about parenting a toddler, young married life, and her mostly plant-based cooking adventures. Rachel is married to Jared, a high school football and baseball coach. They live near Dallas, Texas with their son, Jackson. Nourished is her second book.
Website/Blog: www.nourishedmama.com