Tuesday, February 23, 2016

january - february 2016

january - february

a note from me:

hello, dear friend!!!

welcome to another new year together!!! at the beginning of january, i started trying to figure out my "word" for the year. do you do that? at first, the word grateful popped up in my head. but upon further contemplation, i finally settled on the word... reflect. as i get older, i'm realizing how time seems to be on this perpetual "fast forward" mode. i want to savor the moments and reflect on all the things i am grateful for. every day. i picked up my journal from back when i was doing ann voskamp's one thousand gifts bible study with some friends and am working on being more consistent with recording my daily gifts in the journal.

i also chose the word reflect for this year because i am more aware than ever that the only thing i can take to heaven with me are... people. so i want to make sure i am living my life intentionally by being a reflection of my Lord and Savior. i hope to use my time better and evaluate my impact on things that really matter.

i'm about to leave for a trip with my favorite daughter to australia!!! the weeks leading up to this day have been so crazy busy as you can imagine. so, i'm posting my five star reads before i fly out today and hope you love everything as much as i have!!!

the verse i have chosen for this year is from zephaniah 3:17. "for the Lord your God is living in your midst. he is a mighty Savior. he will take delight in you with gladness. with his love, he will calm all your fears. he will rejoice over you with joyful songs."

happy reading, friend!!!

blessings & love!!!

susan, your reading mom
jer. 29:11


aleppo code, the by terry brennan is the third book in the series, jerusalem prophecies. the final book in this adventure trilogy offers murder, spine-tingling suspense, narrow escapes and possibly the final key that may lead to a hidden object that has the power to destroy the world if gotten in the wrong hands. tom bohannon and his team have risked their lives to decipher the code that will lead them to the garden of eden. but who will get there first? bohannon and his team or the relentless assassins of the prophet's guard who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the secret first?

ashes to ashes: the chronicles of hugh de singleton, surgeon by mel starr is a novel set in medieval times where you'll find plenty of danger, action, intrigue and fascinating historical detail (mel starr is an authority on medieval surgery!). i love this series---it captivates my attention from the get go and it transports me to another time and place (and then i am happy to return back to reality!)!!! This is like the medieval csi or law & order!

body under the bridge, the: a father gilder mystery by paul mccusker is an incredible read!!! i think it's one of my favorite mystery whodunits ever!!! there's a centuries-old feud between two families, a rising dead body count, missing historical relics and even an ancient curse! father gilbert (he was a former scotland yard detective) never expects to uncover the secret of his anglican church in the modest town of hailsham! i'm a fan!!!

i hope you dance by beth moran is a heart-warming and moving story of a single mom's return home after leaving her family in disgrace. ruth comes from a family of champion dancers. but she harbored a secret until it tore her apart and in the end, ruth realizes that it doesn't define her. i love ruth and i firmly believe everyone needs a band of friends like lois, ana luisa, emily, ellie and rupa!!! these women are hilarious and charming!!!  this eclectic mix of women save ruth from herself and show her love even in the messiness of life. the dialogue is witty and hilarious and the cast of characters will inch their way into your heart (except for creepy dr. c!!!). what's not to love, right?!?

keeper of the stars by robin lee hatcher is the final book in the kings meadow romance series. robin does it again! this is a story that will touch your heart as you get to know the cartwright family. when penny cartwright meets the man who is the reason why her brother brad left in the first place, she is understandably furious and full of bitterness. country singer, trevor reynold has spent his life chasing fame and fortune. he aims to make it big as a country singer, but for now, he's fulfilling a promise he made to his band member.  trevor never expects to find what he's been searching for and penny never expects how healing forgiveness is. this is the perfect read while you're snuggled up under mounds of blankets because winter in kings meadow is enchanting!

peacock throne, the by lisa karon richardson is a historical romance that is full of danger, fierce storms, espionage and treasure! so, what does an earl and an orphaned young woman have in common? two murders and two distinct weapons. miss lydia garrett and the earl of danbury must team up to find a murderer. this includes solving a mystery regarding the magnificent peacock throne, finding its location and bringing it back to its rightful owner. meanwhile, the earl of danbury is under suspicion for aiding the french and miss garrett is coerced to spy on him.  miss garrett will have to figure out who she can trust and who she can confide in in this epic adventure!

prophetess, the: deborah's story by jill eileen smith is the second book in her daughters of the promised land series. smith does such an amazing job at bringing deborah from the book of judges to life! her wisdom, strength and calling are so evident as she leads the israelite's against canaan. i really love the historical detail and the themes of grace and redemption that smith weaves in her story of deborah, the prophetess. i always feel like i'm right there with her main characters!

rising darkness by nancy meal is book 3 in the finding sanctuary series. journalist sophie wittenbauer intends to find the story of a lifetime and further her career while going undercover. she just doesn't expect to run into somebody from her past. and, while searching for clues, she finds that somebody wants her out of town. trying to lose her mennonite past is challenging in the mennonite town of sanctuary, missouri and sophie knows she is finished with God. but what she uncovers along her investigation may change her life. forever.

where she belongs by johnnie alexander is the debut book of her misty willow series. i haven't read anything by alexander before but i think she just became one of my favorite authors to follow and read!!! owning her family's homestead, misty willow, is a dream come true for shelby kincaid. but there are pain and secrets associated with this run down family home. will shelby have the freedom to bring up her daughters in the home that has the sweetest memories for her or will she lose everything again? fall in love with shelby and her daughters and be reminded that we're all being pulled into a place where we all want to belong.

with this ring: a novella collection of proposals gone awry by karen witemeyer, mary connealy, regina jennings and melissa jagears is funny, historical, witty and romantic! i mean, just by the title, you can already tell that this is  a collection of stories that will make you at least smile!


the story of God bible commentary: genesis by tremper longman III begins with an introduction to the book of genesis. the wording is so easy to read and understand that you will forget you're reading a bible commentary! i really like how longman III gives you an overview from the perspective of reading in the context of the old testament, reading in the context of the new testament and reading from the perspective of the twenty-first century. what i found as i read through some of these sections and beyond is that you don't have to be a theologian or have a masters of divinity degree to understand genesis! the writing keeps you engaged and you will find yourself wanting to dig deeper into this book; in fact, as i read, i really wanted to see more hebrew words and their literal meaning!

the story of God bible commentary: romans by michael f. bird takes the every day reader into the world of paul and his letter to the romans. if i'm ever doing a study on romans, i want this commentary beside me! michael f. bird uses historical details, biblical truth and modern day stories to explain romans---i find this commentary series very engaging, relatable and captivating!

family-friendly resources

owlegories: the ant, the fruit, the butterfly is volume no. 2 in this dvd series. and, because technology is so accessible, owlegories tv can be downloaded as an app to any of your smart devices! one of the best things about owlegories is that it's ad free and safe for the entire family. of course, i love the adorable characters and the series help children learn more about God and how they can be followers of Jesus. they will learn lessons about hard work, the fruit of the spirit and more with professor owlester and his students. your little ones are going to love owlegories!!!

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