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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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.



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.



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. 

Why I Love “Why I Hate Green Beans”


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Why I hate green beasn


I have come to love all of these memoir-ish books that feel like home, friends, and laughter. Lincee Ray is absolutely hysterical and her book,  Why I hate green beans, is pure joy.  Any woman can easily relate to Lincee and her story of growing up and taking life as it comes.

Like Lincee, I can remember my insecurities in high school like yesterday. I am not sure any woman has ever felt confident about her body…ever. The very thought of being weighed in high school…daily…makes me want to puke a bit. I would love to weigh what I weighed when I though I was fat!! For real! Lincee is honest and genuine about all of her experiences.  Reading Why I hate green beans was truly like sitting with a girlfriend and telling stories, laughing all night, and getting little sleep in the process.  I did go to bed super late these last few nights as I devoured this book!

Like me, you may find yourself googling Hot Stix after reading this book! I don’t know about you, but these curler type stix sound totally ideal!! I found myself wondering how I had missed Hot Stix in their heyday! Lincee Ray and I are close in age…surely I would have know about Hot Stix?! I requested a copy of Why I hate green beans from the publisher. It sounded similar in nature to books by Melanie Shankle (Big Mama) and Sophie Hudson (Boo Mama).  These women all know how to live and laugh. I feel like its safe to say that Lincee Ray is the same way. I was not required to give this book a positive review. If you read it, I know you will enjoy as much as I did! I have not been case you were wondering.


Beautiful Story!


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Steal Away Home


It isn’t often I read something outside of my favorite genre of historical fiction. I took a chance on author Billy Coffey when I read Some Small Magic last year. I quickly learned that Coffey is a poet and an unforgettable storyteller. Steal Away Home is a captivating, page turning, story of young love, summer, forgiveness, and redemption. If you read it and don’t love it, you didn’t read it right.

In Steal Away Home, Owen Cross has finally been given the opportunity to stand in the dug out at a major league baseball game. As the innings unfold, Owen reflects on his life. The story is told through Owen’s point of view as each inning of the game passes. This book is so much more than baseball. I dog-eared page after page so I might go back and reread all of the wonderful truth I found weaved in each remembrance.

“Your love is all wrapped up in a thing that can’t love you back…”  Bottom 5

“There is always tomorrow until there is not. ” Bottom 6

“A Lord not from wood and soil, but of them and among them, as He was of and among us all.  A dweller of the broken places.” Bottom 7

It isn’t often I underline fiction! I became mesmerized by the story of Owen Cross.  I have nothing to compare this book to, other than Field of Dreams.  Even if baseball isn’t your cup of tea, you should give this stunning work of fiction a shot. I loved it, I requested a review copy of Steal Away Home from BookLookBloggers. I was not required to give a positive review.  All thoughts are my own and I have not been compensated.



Book Review: Gospel Centered Mom


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Gospel Centered Mom

In Gospel Centered Mom, author Brooke McGlothlin tackles the idea that while we may not feel like enough as a mom, God is. Further, if we can separate ourselves from the ME gospel (where the world centered around me) we can come to terms with motherhood being worth the sacrifice.

Maybe its because my husband and I had such a difficult time having children, but I struggled getting through this book. I just want to own that this book is not what I thought it was before I continue with my review. I thought it was about lining up your parenting with the Gospel- to see my home as the most important mission field. There are so many positive aspects within the pages of Gospel Centered Mom that make it somewhat encouraging. Really, I wish i could cut and paste chapters…remove a few ideas…and add a heavy dose of joy.

While I am certain I understand the difficulty of raising boys (I have two) I found McGlothlin’s angst unrelatable. She refers to her boys as the “hard to handle” kind many times in the book. Aren’t all kids on some level and in different seasons “hard to handle?” I think a little humor would have helped tremendously. All of us with kids in retrospect can look back and laugh at some of the craziness that we experience raising our babies! Also, I had hard time finding a rhythm or order in the book. The chapters did not flow from one to the next, they felt loosely tied together.

The best part of the book can be found in the the ninth chapter, Worth Fighting For. It is here you will find helpful advice broken down in a useful way. McGlothlin encourages mom’s to fight for and not against their kids. She gives ten ways to fight for your kids: Tell God He can have you, Learn when to keep your mouth shut, Get in the habit of prayer, Embrace the power of the mommy time-out, Prepare ahead of time, Be Stronger, Love Harder, Be a student of your child, Think outside the box, and Refuse to give up. I could be off base, but those could have easily been ten chapters.

I write one critical review for every hundred positive reviews. I absolutely hate that I did not love this book. I will say, that if you need to read something by a mom who has had a difficult time, you find a friend here. This book just was not for me. I was given a copy of this book by BloggingForBooks. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own and I have not been compensated.
Continue reading

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage: A Review


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The Ladies of Ivy Cottage


From the Back Cover

A gentlewoman in reduced circumstances, Miss Rachel Ashford lives as a guest in Ivy Cottage. With her meager funds rapidly depleting, she is determined to earn her own livelihood…somehow. Her friend Jane Bell and the other village women encourage her to open a circulating library with the many books she’s inherited from her father. As villagers donate additional books and Rachel begins sorting through the volumes, she discovers mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but both find more than they bargained for.

Rachel’s hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and finds fulfillment in managing her girls school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what-or whom-has captured each man’s attention? The truth may surprise them all.

My Review

I really enjoyed this second book in Julie Klassen’s Tales from Ivy Hill. While I felt it was a bit slow to start, it was a very satisfying read. This book picks up where the first book,  The Inn Keeper of Ivy Hill leaves off.  In fact, I suggest reading the first book first.  It has been awhile since I read the first book and it took me a bit to remember and connect the characters again. In fact, this book is full of characters. I almost needed a guide at the beginning of the book to help me sort through them. The Ladies of Ivy Cottage tells the story of three main characters, Jane Bell (the focus of book one), Rachel Ashford, and Mercy Grove. Even though Rachel’s story seems to be the focus of this book, there are many chapters devoted to Mercy and Jane.

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage reminds me so much of my favorite BBC, Masterpiece, and PBS shows. This book is not for the reader who needs instant gratification though. Because the story continues from book one, and all plot lines are yet to be resolved in this second book, a little patience is required, I appreciate the longevity of this series. I am found of Klassen’s characters and I become invested in their stories!  Fans of other village series books like Jan Karon’s Mitford series or the BBC series Lark Rise to Candleford will certainly enjoy the Tales from Ivy Hill.

I am a long time fan of Julie Klassen. In fact, I have read every novel she has written.  Although The Ladies of Ivy Hill is not my favorite, it is definitely worth reading. I requested a review copy from the book’s publisher, Bethany House. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my own and I have not been compensated.

My Favorites

My favorite titles from Julie Klassen include the following: The Painter’s Daughter, The Secret of Pembrooke Park,  and The Girl in the Gatehouse




New from Laura Frantz!!


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the lacemaker


From the Back Cover

Lady Elizabeth ”Liberty” Lawson has nearly everything a lady of her position could want. Daughter of the British lieutenant governor of the Virginia Colony and a darling of fine society in a rugged land, she is anticipating an advantageous marriage. That her betrothal is a rake and love is lacking is of little consequence- or she tells herself.

Though her own life seems in order, colonial Williamsburg is a powder keg on the verge of exploding, and her fiancé’s cousin, Noble Rynallt carries the flame of the revolution in his heart. Those with connections to the British nobility are suspected as spies, and Liberty  soon finds herself left with a terrible choice. Will she stay true to her English roots? Or side with Noble and the radical revolutionaries?

My Thoughts

I was so thrilled to receive a copy of the Lacemaker in the mail this week! I simply loved it in every way. Laura Frantz tells an unforgettable story, rich in history with vivid characters and perhaps my favorite heroine yet! The story unfolds in perfect tempo, with enough turns and twists to keep you up late reading! I loved that Liberty fought for her own independence as the story unfolded. The hero of the story, Noble Rynallt, could not have been better suited for this revolutionary tale.

Many years ago, I stumbled upon Laura Frantz’s first book, The Frontiersman’s Daughter, in my local library. For me, it was love at first read. I have a short list of favorites, and Frantz is at the top! The Lacemaker is Frantz at her best! You do not want to miss this book!  As a side note, I live in Fredericksburg, Virginia, not far from Williamsburg. This book was especially thrilling to read because I know the places in it so well. Thank you Laura Frantz for another piece of perfect historical fiction!

I requested a copy of The Lacemaker from its publisher. I was not required to give a positive review. I would have purchased this book had I not received a copy because Laura Frantz is my favorite! All opinions are my own and I have not been compensated.

About the Author

Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the ECPA best-selling author of several books, including The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel’s Lady, The Mistress of Tall Acre, A Moonbow Night, and the Ballantyne Legacy series. She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. Learn more at

A Long Awaited New Release!


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The Sound of Rain


After reading Sarah Loudin Thomas’ new book, The Sound of Rain, I find myself ready for a part two! There must be a part two! It has been a long time since I have had the joy of reading a new book from Thomas. I can only hope she is already half finished with the next chapter of this story.

The Sound of Rain is about a West Virginia coal miner, Judd Markley, who survives a near death experience in the bowels of the mountain. He suffers a great loss that leaves him determined to live a different life. Judd finds his way to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina…a stark contrast to his prior existence. It is there he meets the lovely Larkin and begins work as a lumber jack for a timber company.  Both Judd and Larkin are seeking their meant to be life and the thing they were put on this earth to do.  The struggles and triumphs of Judd and Larkin make this book a good read! I highly recommend all of Sarah Loudin Thomas’ novels. I am hoping she continues this story by finding a soul mate for Larkin’s brother, Ben. It would make for a great story!

I am an avid reader of Christian Fiction, but have found after reading countless novels that only a few gifted storytellers exist. I would count Thomas as one of those gifted storytellers. Don’t miss this book or any other title by Sarah Loudin Thomas. I requested this book to review from Bethany House Fiction. I am not required to give a positive review. I have not been been compensated and all opinions are my own.