Thursday, October 1, 2015


a note from me:
happy fall, reading friend!!!

it's the perfect season to make my apple cider caramel cookies and snickerdoodles. yum! this is one of my favorite seasons to devour books because it's the perfect time to cuddle under warm blankets propped up by lots of pillows while reading. how about you?!?

i can't wait to share my favorite reads with you this month! although i didn't get to read as many books as i normally do because of my schedule, i think you'll really enjoy my five star picks that i've reviewed for you.

i love that we share a mutual love for reading! but i want to encourage you to always stay connected to being in God's word everyday. i love the message of jeremiah 29:11... jeremiah is a prophet who is writing to the jews who are currently exiled in babylon because they have been taken captive due to their unfaithfulness to God's laws. they have been through war, death, property, crop loss and more. but, in this letter, jeremiah encourages to people to build homes, plant gardens, marry and have children while they are in exile and he tells them why in jeremiah 29:11. this is a verse that fills me with hope because i serve a God who is a covenant keeper. he promises to never leave us or abandon us (hebrews 13:5). he's "El-Roi---the God Who Sees." remember the story of hagar in the wilderness in genesis 16? he sees our pain, suffering and brokenness and intimately understands our disappointments. he has compassion for you (lamentations 3:22-23) and he cares for for you deeply (1 peter 5:7).

have a wonderful day, reading friend!!! happy reading!!!

blessings & love from my heart to yours!!!

susan, your reading mom :o)

jer. 29:11


captain for laura rose, a by stephanie grace whitson is a fascinating historical novel set in 1867 about family, riverboats and second chances. laura rose white learned everything about piloting a missouri river steamboat from her late father. her instincts are spot on and her courage unwavering, but unfortunately, a female riverboat captain is unheard of so getting an opportunity to pilot her boat is nearly impossible. i love that laura is spunky and fearless in the face of danger! stephanie uses her magic to weave a riveting story about one woman's courage and determination to overcome the odds in the face of loss, danger and deadlines! i love how she's added the rest of the story in the "afterword" page at the end of the story. you'll get to follow marriages, careers, etc. of the characters making you forget this is a work of fiction!

cold as ice by m.k. gilroy is "a kristen conner mystery" which is packed with danger, murder, hit men and intrigue! confession: i am quickly becoming addicted to anything m.k. gilroy!!! although, i'm not a fan of danger, suspense or murder, his stories are so intense and fascinating that i forget i prefer cozy mysteries and chick lit!!! i love detective kristen conner. she's authentic in her faith, involved in an intriguing romantic relationship (that she nearly blows) and fiercely protective of her family. check this one out because you don't want to miss the opportunity to accelerate your heart rate!!!

daughter of jerusalem by joan wolf is simply a brilliant read!!! this is the story of mary magdalene---a woman often misunderstood and overlooked. wolf does a wonderful job weaving in history, culture & tradition, fascinating characters and faith in this fictional story of mary's life. 

daughter of the regiment by stephanie grace whitson takes place during the american civil war. stephanie artfully draws her readers into the world of maggie malone, an irish immigrant and her privileged neighbor, elizabeth blair. maggie's world is turned upside down when her brothers enlist and elizabeth's world is turned upside down when her brother turns their home into the headquarters for the regiment. this is a story inspired by women known as "vivandieeres" or "daughters of the regiment." they tended the wounded, mended uniforms, helped in battles, boosted the morale of their men, etc. again, you'll find the rest of the story where you get to find out who married whom, where they lived, what they did, etc. in the "afterword" page after the story ends. it makes you forget these are fictional characters and it gives you satisfactory closure!

endless christmas, an by cynthia ruchti was one of my favorite reads! i really love her writing style and interesting characters (gotta love paul!!!) that have smart and funny dialogue! it starts out with an awkward scenario that is every girl's nightmare (i'm totally not going to tell you or i will spoil it!!!)! kudos to ruchti for making this story so believable that i felt the pain of being embarrassed and uncomfortable for katie vale! i love the binder family---i wish they were real (and in my life!!!) and the town of stillwater is absolutely charming! another one of my favorite scenes is the reenactment of the christmas story according to the angels---super clever and incredibly hilarious!!! definitely a five stars read :o)

mercy's rain by cindy k. sproles has been one of my favorite reads ever!!! this story takes you into the appalachian community and the experiences of mercy and her mother will just rip your heart out. you are totally going to need a box of kleenexes next to you because there it's impossible to get through mercy's story without bawling like a baby! mercy is spunky, courageous, compassionate and flat out angry. and she has a right to be. it will take the love of a family and some friends to show her the true meaning of her name... mercy.

promise to keep by elizabeth baler younts is the final book in her series, the promise of sunrise. i find it fascinating that younts has an amish background which is why she can take her readers inside the amish community and give an authentic point of view from her experiences as well as her experiences as the wife of an military officer. 

esther detweiler has lost nearly everyone important to her---her father, her mother, her shunned cousin and now her dear grandmother. at her grandmother's funeral, she gets the shock of her life. everything in esther's orderly world begins to spin out out of control and only God's love and forgiveness can bring true healing.

rust by corbin bernsen is his debut novel that's an adaptation of his 2010 film, rust. this is a heartwarming story of one man's struggle with his faith, family and community. when a fire takes out an entire family in their farmhouse, james moore, former pastor, is determined to find the truth. in the process, the truth brings healing to james, his family and his community.

sea keeper's daughters by lisa wingate was the kind of book i couldn't put down!!! it's about faith, complicated family relationships (who can't relate, right?!?), deception and love, of course! what's not to love?!? you'll be taken on a journey from modern-day roanoke island to north carolina's outer banks to north carolina's blue ridge mountains and back. meet whitney monroe who happens to stumble across some old letters of a possible relative while she's sorting through things that belonged to her mother and her grandmother. she's desperate for cash to keep her business afloat and while searching for things with a high cash value to sell, she finds something far more valuable. this is the kind of thing i wish would happen to me!!! you'll find some history, intrigue and mystery here.

sweet sanctuary by kim vogel sawyer is a sweet love story set during world war II. i love how kim takes us back to a time in history where patriotism in america is at its height while overseas, hitler is beginning his reign of terror and annihilation of the jewish people. this is a story of faith, hope and answered prayers while we watch each of the main characters live out their calling during turbulent times. and when their paths cross in the midst of difficult circumstances, hope and love have a place to grow. 


stand: staying balanced with answers for real teen life by shannon perry is a reflection of conversations she had with ten teen girls every week for two months. the result is a book that deals with the topics of gender identity, cutting, suicide, etc. as well as everyday topics teen girls face today. i love that scripture is woven throughout this book---you'll find even more under "appendix a."

family-friendly resources

owlegories vol. 1 - the sun, the seed, and the water dvd is a brand new video series that your children will love! and speaking of love... i love how each lesson features something about nature that teaches children about the characteristics of God's character and important truths from his word. i found each episode very child-friendly and charming. my favorite owls are violet and nora (i love how her glasses coordinate with her hair bows!!!)---these little owls are adorable!!! to find out more about owlegories, visit

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