Lady of a Thousand Treasures

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Lady of a Thousand Treasures

 

Reading Sandra Byrd’s A Lady of a Thousand Treasures was a much needed change of pace for me. It is a lovely Victorian Age historical filled with mystery, treasure, interesting history, and love. Many years ago I was an avid reader of all things Victoria Holt. Byrd’s novel reminds me so much of those lovely historical fiction books I read as teenager.

Both young and older readers will enjoy A Lady of a Thousand Treasures.  If I had to give it a rating for appropriateness for a younger audience, I would fall somewhere between G and PG. While there is a love story in to book, it’s mild and respectful. This lovely story is about an equally intelligent and beautiful Eleanor Sheffield. She is unique in that while she is associated with the upper crust of society, she is a woman who earns a living by evaluating antiquities. She learned her trade from her father and uncle. Early in the book, we learn that Eleanor must evaluate the worthiness of her former love interest, a baron’s son named Harry. Harry stands to inherit his father’s fortune of treasure if Eleanor finds him to be honorable and true.

While I would definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical fiction, there were a few chapters where I definitely had to push through. I would have enjoyed more page time spent with Eleanor and Harry together. However, I did enjoy getting to see a peak at their past as Eleanor flashed back throughout the story. I requested a copy of this book from its publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. This is the first time I have read a book by Sandra Byrd and I am happy to say I am excited to read her other titles.

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Summer’s Best Surprise

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sons of blackbird mountain

 

This book was one of those books that made me sorry I gave other books five stars. I am flabbergasted by the amount of love I have for this book! It is such a great story!! I couldn’t get it to download onto my e-reader, so I literally read the entire thing on my tiny i-phone 6 with my Kindle app. There are not many books I would do that for outside of  a few long-standing favorites.  I am a long time reader of historical fiction and I cannot fathom how I have missed books by this amazing author. I am feel like I have found a new favorite author and I so excited to read her other titles.

What makes this book so special is the way Bischof brings you into the story immediately. I did not have to read two or three chapters to feel like I knew and loved the characters. The book flowed so well and from the beginning I found myself cheering on Aven in her journey to a new beginning. I loved the set up, the setting, and the other characters- especially Aven’s love interest,  He is not your typical hero and has a few obstacles to overcome. As soon as I read the last page, I knew I would read this book again. I highly recommend it!

I requested this book from the publisher because I love historical fiction. I was not compensated for reviewing this book and all opinions are my own.

A New Favorite!

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engraved on the heart

 

This book is such a good example of why you should read new authors! Tara Johnson wrote an outstanding debut novel with Engraved on the Heart. It has all the essential historical fiction components: an interesting historical subject, a strong heroine, love, and a dashing hero.

I read this book in giant chunks, staying up too late to get just a little bit further.  This novel centers around the beginning of the civil war and the work of the underground railroad. A young lady, Keziah Montgomery, is the daughter of a Confederate family in Savannah. She reunites with an old friend, Dr. Micah Greyson,  who shares her heart and her desire to help enslaved people escape to freedom. Keziah does all that she can to protect their secrets, including agreeing to marry a man of her father’s choosing.

There is nothing lacking in this first effort by Tara Jacobs. I can’t wait to read her next book that should be out next summer.  If it has been awhile since you tried a new author, this one is for you. I requested a copy of this book from the publisher because I love historical fiction. I was not required to give this book a positive review. All opinions are my own and I have not been compensated.

From the author of The Mountain Between Us!

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Send Down the Rain

Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin was a risk I am so glad I took! This novel is far outside of my normal reading genre of historical fiction.  I chose to read it based on the fact that Martin is the author of The Mountain Between Us.  I enjoyed the turmoil and intense relationship between the characters in the movie and figured I would give this novel a try. Send Down the Rain did not disappoint!

The central character in Send Down the Rain is Joseph, Vietnam Vet who has spent most of his life in anguish.  He has lost everything including the love of his life. This story is riveting, fast-paced, action-packed, and a page turner! It is also centered on a life long unrequited love story.  If you are looking for a novel to hold your interest this summer, Send Down the Rain is your book! If you are in a reading slump (happens to the most devout book lover), this is your book!

I truly enjoyed Charles Martin’s new title Send Down the Rain. I requested a copy from BookLookBloggers in search of a new favorite author and I feel as though i was successful. I was not required to give this title a positive review. All opinions and enthusiasm are my own.

 

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

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hurrican season

 

“Weeks before landfall, the storm had begun as a puff of air, a gentle breeze that floated across Africa, picking up dust and dirt and red Saharan Heat. It coasted to the ocean were it spread out over the water like milk from an overturned bucket.”  Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton begins the same way, a gentle breeze. I loved so many things about this book: the setting, the building of the storm, the relationships, and an ending that feels like a beginning. Denton’s story of two sisters with different struggles and circumstances in the heat of summer and hurricane season makes for perfect beach reading.

Having experienced difficulty in having children without medical intervention, I could totally relate to Denton’s character Betsy Franklin. That being said, if you have recently been made aware of your own fertility issues, this book might need to wait a bit. Other than that, this book is an excellent read! I requested a copy of Hurricane Season from BookLookBloggers. This was a book I literally chose because of the amazing cover! I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own and I have not been compensated in any way.

More Than Parenting Advice

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The Life Giving Parent

I love the heart behind this new book by Clay and Sally Clarkson. The Life Giving Parent  is not a step by step instruction book full of the do’s and don’ts of raising children. It is a philosophy of parenting children based on eight key principles derived from scripture. Reading this book was like getting the best parenting counseling session from a Godly couple who successfully raised children who love the Lord.

I enjoyed the chapter on Cultivating Your Child’s Character the most. This chapter is about your child’s “inner person,” their identity, personality, and capability. Clay describes their identity as who they are in God’s eyes, their personality as what they are like by God’s design, and their capability as what they can do with God’s help. Influencing their inner person develops and forms their character. It is so important for our children to know they are loved, redeemed, and created for a purpose. I love how Clay and Sally make a point to remind us that we are the most important influence our children have! Our own lives, how we live and walk out the Christian faith, is the greatest opportunity we have to develop our children’s character.

If you are an expectant parent, or a parent of children who are already half-grown, this book is for you.  I love and appreciate the wisdom of Clay and Sally Clarkson! I requested an advanced copy of  The Life Giving Parent from Tyndale publishing. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions are my own.

The BEST Book About the Holy Land

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The Road The Rock and The Rabbai

 

A few years ago I had the privilege to travel to Israel and tour with a group of pastors.  I was really in awe of everything I saw, and our tour guide did an amazing job of connecting the Bible to each site we visited. However, now that I have read the Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi,  I want to go back! There is so much I missed! Kathie Lee Gifford and Rabbi Jason Sobel do an amazing job telling the story of the Holy Land,  and communicating the significance of related scripture.

I imagine the travel itinerary for trips to Israel is similar regardless of the tour company you choose. This book covers it all including Mount Carmel, Capernaum, The Sea of Galilee, Bethlehem, The Mount of Olives, The Upper Room, The Garden of Gethsemane, and Jerusalem.  I was given a book on my tour to help me better understand all that I was going to see.  Where it was information, this book is insight! Even if you never get to go to Israel, this book will allow you to connect scripture with geography.  I absolutely loved it!  If you have a list of books you are wanting to read this year, move the Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi to the top of your list!

I requested a copy of this book from BookLookBloggers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own and I have not been compensated.

Love and Revolution

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A refugee assured

 

Lovers of historical fiction will find a new favorite in this story of revolution, adventure, and romance.  A Refuge Assured is a page turner with interesting and flawed characters who come alive as the story unfolds. Green writes around a tense and gory time in French history. In fact, the first few chapters had me googling to remind myself of history I had forgotten. While this book does involve a romance, it is not the focus. The love story of A Refuge Assured  is subtle and slow. There is no instant love, quick romance, and rush to marriage.

I loved getting to know the character of Vivienne Rivard as her life changes drastically in just a few short years.  As the story begins, Vivienne is a lacemaker for Mary Antoinette and the nobility of France.  After the French Revolution begins, Vivienne is forced to flee to America to save her own neck.  Everyone she loves is gone, and she must begin a new life. While there is a hero in this historical tale, Vivienne is a heroine in her own right. I love that Green allows Vivienne to make her own way and have a love story!

If you are an avid historical fiction reader, you will pick up on a connections between this novel and The Lacemaker by Laura Franz.  This connection was hinted at in Frantz’s book in the acknowledgements, which ultimately led me to read A Refuge Assured.  Both books are about 18th century lacemakers. I truly enjoyed both and highly recommend them. I requested a copy of this book from Bethany House Fiction because it was on my must read list. I was not disappointed! Bethany House does not require me to write a positive review. I have not been compensated and all opinions are my own.

New from Sarah Sundin!

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the Sea before us

 

This is the very first time I have read a book by Sarah Sundin! I am so glad I discovered her book, The Sea Before Us! It is the first book in her new series Sunrise at Normandy. I typically read 19th century historicals, so this World War II book felt new and interesting to me. This series will follow the lives of three brothers who are each on an unplanned path. The Sea Before Us is about the oldest of the Paxton brothers, Wyatt.  After tragedy strikes his family, Wyatt fleas his life in Texas and eventually joins the war effort in Great  Britain with the U.S. Navy. It is there he meets Dorothy, a Wren in the Royal Navy. While her heart belongs to someone else, Wyatt can’t help his growing affection for Wren.

While this book is definitely a romance, it also is full of substance. There is mystery, love, war, and so much history in this novel. Sundin clearly does her homework before writing. If I had one critique of the book, it would be the amount of technical information included. I got a little lost in all of the Navy speak, but it did not cause me to lose interest.

If you are looking for a new favorite author, you will find one in Sundin. I am anxiously awaiting book two, Sunrise at Normandy. I have also made a list of the other novels by Sundin to read in the meantime. I requested a review copy of this book from its publisher. I have not been compensated and all opinions are my own.

 

 

100 One-Dish Vegan Meals

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power-plates.jpg

 

While my family does not eat vegan all of the time, we do eat vegan many weeknights.  I love to feed my family whole food meals that are packed with veggies and satisfy.  I really have enjoyed exploring Gena Hamshaw’s new book Power Plates. Gena offers a fresh take on vegan meals that are sustaining and delicious.

Because I have two young boys, with somewhat picky palates, I wanted to try a recipe from Power Plates that I thought my entire family would enjoy. I decided on Gena’s Tortilla Soup with Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa.

I started by roasting corn, red onions, and poblano chiles tossed with chili powder, cumin and cayenne powder for a lovely salsa.

salsa

 

It came together beautifully with black beans and lime juice.

salsa done

 

I then made the soup by sautéing onion, carrots, and garlic in a bit of olive oil. I added the called for fire roasted tomatoes, chipotle peppers in their sauce, along with some additional seasoning and stock. After a quick blend in my Vitamix, it was ready to devour!

soup done

 

Gena’s beautiful illustration in Power Plates is far lovelier than my photo.

soup

 

I would only make one adjustment to this delicious soup! The chipotle peppers made the soup wonderfully spicy…but too spicy for my boys. I detest making two dinners, so in the future,  I’ll just add just one tablespoon of chipotle peppers. Other than that, this soup was amazing!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is ready to give healthy cooking a go. Gena Hamshaw truly offers some amazing meal options. I am excited to try  her Sushi bowl, Spring Panzanella, and White Bean Soup. Thank you BloggingforBooks for a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and I have not been compensated. Check out more from Gena Hamshaw at The Full Helping.