Monday, October 31, 2016

september - october 2016

a note from me:

happy fall, dear reading friend!!!


what a full couple of months it has been, right?!? i'm so excited to share my FIVE STAR picks with you!!!  if you're starting your research on finding the perfect christmas gifts, then you won't want to miss some of these books i've reviewed for you!!! i'm especially excited about the cookbook i've reviewed and the fiction for youth along with the companion devotional (check out my nonfiction for youth) in this post!!!


for the longest time ever, the topic of our presidential candidates have been front and center in the news, social media, conversations, etc.! what's a follower of Jesus to do?!? remember this: Jesus IS King no matter who ends up in the oval office.


as a follower of Jesus, we can be certain that this is the way we are to live according to colossians 3:17 "and whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the father."


thank you for spreading the love and telling your friends about my five star picks!!!
happy reading with blessings & love! 


your reading mom, 

susan
jer. 29:11



fiction

another day another dali by sandra orchard is book two in the series, a serena jones mystery. reading friends, i absolutely love this series!!! in fact, i want to be friends with serena jones!!! yes, she's that cool. fbi special agent serena jones is on a case "unofficially" as a favor for her grandmother. someone is replacing valuable paintings with forgery and serena is determined to follow the trail. if she can find the forger, they may lead her to the ring of thieves. as her evidence begins to grow, serena stumbles on clues that may point to something more personal. on top of all the craziness, her fan club in the male department seems to be growing (i'm rooting for tanner!)!!! i just know you'll love this one as much as i did!!!


artisan's wife, the by judith miller is the third and final book in the refined by love series following the mckay family members. twin sisters, ainslee and adaira are moving to weston, west virginia to run the tile works business that their brother, ewan mckay has purchased. this venture is more of adaira's idea than ainslee's, but she agrees to go with her two because she is the one who can take care of the books and other practical matters of the business. so you can only imagine her dismay, anger and fear when adaira makes a choice that turns ainslee's world upside down! this story will make you sad (you'll read about the lunatic asylum), make you smile (enter levi judson!) and fill you with hope!


baxter family christmas, a by karen kingsbury (you know how much i love her!!!) is a story that you will need to read beside your box of kleenexes!!! oh my stars. i have such a cry headache now!!! karen writes from the heart and it's clear she loves the baxter family---in fact, they mirror her own family at times. it's the holidays and there's nothing like having all the baxters together. but john has invited someone over for christmas eve and for the first time ever, some of the family may not join because of the invited guest. you will go down on a trip to memory lane, fall in love and watch the magic of the baxter family unfold as they get through a challenging holiday together in an unforgettable way. i am soooooooo excited that roma downey is bringing the "baxter family" to life as the producer for this television series (based on karen's 23 book series)!!!


can't help falling by kara isaac is a story you are going to love!!! emelia mason has come to oxford, england to redeem herself. she loves all things narnia and her first encounter with peter carlisle is when he finds her inside a narnian-esque wardrobe in an antique shop! peter is in search of the last piece to his mother's collection and his encounter with this american girl will be life-changing. both of them are c.s. lewis fans and both have a dream----one to make it to the top and the other to start over again. both need a second chance but the secret emilia is hiding will destroy everything she's ever hoped for. warning: once you start this one, you won't be able to put it down until you're finished because that's what happened to me!


devoted, the by suzanne woods fisher is the third book in the series, the bishop's family. ruthie stoltfus has received her high scores from passing the ged and the feelings of restlessness combined with feeling unsettled about her future weighs heavily on her mind. she loves her family but wonders what else is out there for her. her charming ex-boyfriend attracts trouble and ruthie has finally had enough. but luke shrock is determined to win her back. when ruthie meets englisher patrick kelly, a young man who wishes to convert to amish and learn the language and other amish skills in 30 days, she's intrigued. patrick sees the ordinary amish ways as something more which in turn, gives ruthie new perspective. in the meantime, her bishop father is sensing issues among the people of stoney ridge that he hasn't been able to put into words and trying to lead and guide his people have been daunting as he prays for wisdom. i love how suzanne draws me into the lives of the people of stoney ridge---it's worth the journey!


domino effect, the by davis bunn captivated me right from the start! davis has this incredible gift of making his stories (that are influenced from his years in the international banking industry) so compelling that you quickly forget that you're reading a work of fiction. he's the only one i've ever met who can make global banking, numbers and investment strategies  so incredibly interesting!!! esther harding is my hero. she has the most to lose once she uncovers the truth that is a worldwide ticking bomb... this fast-paced suspense novel will have you questioning what is truth and what is fiction when it comes to the global economy. get ready for a thrilling read!!!


end of the roadie: a mystery for d.i. costello by elizabeth flynn has detective inspector angela costello putting together the clues to the mystery of one man's death. rock-star brendan phelan knows how to put on a show which includes cracking whips and gunshots in sync to the music. but the gunshot after the show is what brings d.i. angela costello and her team forward as they solve a mystery involving the death of a not-so-liked roadie with secrets. the crew is not coming forward with everything they know and costello and her team will have to figure out a way to break the silence or they'll never catch the killer...


heart most certain, a by melissa jaguars is book 2 in the teaville moral society series. lydia king is to be engaged to the town's wealthiest man but her heart isn't in it because she's only obeying her parent's wishes. when she is given the challenge to secure funding for a quilting project, lydia must prove to her future mother-in-law that she can be resourceful and solicit donations from the town's wealthiest and stingiest benefactor. i love lydia's tenacity!!! in the end, she learns how she can make a difference with those at the bottom rung of society.


lady unrivaled, a by roseanna m. white is the grand finale in this series, ladies of the manor. if you are a fan of downton abbey, then you are going to love this series!!! set in 1913, you will fall in love with the castle and the rich details and contrast between the nobility and those who serve them!  the mysterious fire eye diamonds have cursed all those who have been connected with it and lady ella myerston is determined to get to the bottom of it. but she's not the only one after the gems. this is a lovely story steeped in mystery, romance, danger and unsavory characters! i absolutely loved it!!!


love's faithful promise by susan anne mason is the third book in the courage to dream series. deirdre o'leary is looking forward to the day when she can complete medical school and practice pediatric medicine, but her plans are put on hold when her mother suffers a stroke. set in 1922, this story will take you back in time! i love the characters (especially mrs. o'leary!!!) and the different stories about the various o'leary siblings that are interwoven to make this story complete. 


love transformed, a by tracie peterson is the final book in the sapphire brides series which is set in new york city and turn-of-the-century montana. clara vesper was forced into a loveless marriage by her mother and now that her husband has suddenly died, she is determined to take control of her own life.  as the designer of sapphire jewelry while her husband and his brother took credit for her designs, clara now finds herself widowed and penniless with two small children. she returns to montana to be with her favor aunt and uncle who are sheep ranchers never dreaming that danger will follow her in light of her late husband's affiliations. whew! get ready for some adventure and danger ahead!


mattie's pledge by jan drexler continues the saga of the schrock family in this second book of the series journey to pleasant prairie. mattie schrock is used to her father picking up and relocating the family. she dreams of life beyond the mountains and the adventures that just beyond her reach. jacob yoder is the opposite. he yearns for stability and roots... and mattie schrock's heart! when mattie meets an englisher who promises her adventure and thrills, she has to make a decision that will change the course of her life and dreams.


name i call myself, the by beth moran is hilarious, witty and engaging!!! you're going to love this one!!! faith is marrying perry--- a rich, gorgeous and wonderful man. it's a pinch me type of dream but it's his mother who has her waking up in nightmares! in the midst of the out-of-control wedding planning, faith and her best friend join a choir... accidentally. you're going to love hester, the choir director and all the woman in that choir!!!


progeny, the by tosca lee is a heart-pounding thriller that is intriguing, captivating and full of fascinating characters! emily porter is twenty-one years old and in a letter written to herself, she discovers that her name isn't real. someone is after her or after something she has but she has no recollection why. all she knows is that she can't go digging in the past and she has to stay away from the internet. emily has to figure out who is trustworthy and how to uncover the secrets that haunt her and are life threatening to everyone around her. the ending is a cliff hanger and i can't wait until tosca delivers book 2 in the spring of 2017!


tangled webs by irene hannon is the third and final book in the series, men of valor focusing on finn mcgregor. finn is taking some time to regroup and recover from some injuries when he meets his nearest neighbor in the dead of night after a horrendous piercing scream. staying at her grandfather's lakeside cabin should be peaceful for dana lewis, but now her safety may be in jeopardy. finn becomes the one person she can rely on and it's going to be a rocky road uncovering the secrets that begin to surface. i love the mcgregor brothers (!) and can't wait to review Shannon's next novel, sandpiper cove coming this spring!!!


tapestry of secrets, a by sarah loudin thomas is a beautiful story that will capture your heart! perla phillips has a secret and she is desperate to share it because it is time. but when she suffers a stroke, she loses the ability to communicate. her granddaughter, ella has returned home to help her aunt sadie care for perla and ella's relationship with her grandmother has always been special. when sadie reveals her mission to locate the one person who may have answers, ella is reluctant to go along and help her because it may mean breaking her grandmother's trust. this heartwarming story is about forgiveness, courage and love.


when love arrives by johnnie alexander is a stand alone novel that i absolutely loved!!! dani prescott is on a mission to find a way to bring down the man who has defamed her mother's reputation. she just never expected to get to know the real brett somers and now she has a dilemma because she's in too deep. accepting her dream job has never made her feel so guilty! when brett stumbles on the evidence she's been hiding, dani has no where to go but far away to a job she doesn't have a heart for. this is one of those stories that will have you rooting for love!!!


where two hearts meet by liz johnson is book 2 in the prince edward island dreams series. i adore this series and the characters have seriously made their way into my heart!!! executive chef caden holt loves her kitchen at rose's red door inn but when a former competitive islander returns, caden fears for her job. but that's not all. rose's red door inn is in financial trouble and it's up to caden to impress a prestigious magazine's travel writer and show him around her island. no pressure, right?!? and then there's the famous north shore lobster cook-off that caden needs to win. for once... instead of coming in second place like she has every year. this is a heartwarming story about stepping outside of your comfort zone and exhaling God's grace throughout the obstacles in life. i can't wait until book 3 which is coming our way summer 2017 (you'll find a sneak peak into chapter 1 at the end of the book)!!!


fiction for youth


prince warriors and the unseen invasion, the by priscilla shirer with gina detwiler is book two in this popular tween fiction trilogy series, the prince warriors. tween readers (actually, it doesn't matter what your age is!!!) will come away with a clearer understanding of spiritual warfare based on ephesians 6:10-18. this story is engaging, full of adventure and easy to read!!! young readers who are fans of fantasy genre should definitely be introduced to this series so think ahead to christmas, because this series makes a great gift for the readers in your family (book 1 is called the prince warriors which introduces brothers evan and xavier and their friends)!!! priscilla shirer is one of my favorite bible teachers and her heart for tweens and biblical truth comes through passionately in this series!!! check out my review of the new companion devotional below in the nonfiction for youth.


nonfiction


hungry is a mighty fine sauce: recipes & rambling from the belle of all things southern by shellie rushing tomlinson is filled with 125 recipes, beautiful photography, belle tips and stories! the stories will warm your heart and some of them will make you laugh-out-loud, so don't skip them while you're checking out all the delicious looking recipes!!! whether you're a southern belle or not, you're going to love this collection of recipes from the heart!!!


wait and see: finding peace in God's pauses and plans by wendy pope (of the ministry, proverbs 31) will encourage you through your life seasons of waiting. and waiting. i can't tell you how timely this book has been for me!!! You'll find scriptural examples, journaling opportunities and real-life stories to encourage you as it did for me. hang on, friend because God teaches us valuable lessons while we learn to wait well on him. i like that you can use this book individually or in a small group setting---try it and let me know how it goes for you!


nonfiction for youth


unseen: the prince warriors by renowned bible teacher priscilla shirer is a 365 devotional that helps engage tweens in their spiritual walk. i love that this devotional gives them scriptural tools to help them be victorious during times of spiritual warfare. priscilla clearly communicates the reality of spiritual warfare in a way that young readers will understand and it helps to have the connection between the devotional and the prince warrior series! the look of this devotional is aesthetically appealing and the language is relevant and age-appropriate. kudos to the b&h team for their work on this devotional!!! by the way, moms, there's a coordinating smartphone app that accompanies the series so add this devo on your christmas gift shopping list!!!

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