Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

It seems that as soon as the weather turns crisp the bookstores bring out the Christmas novellas. A Wreath of Snow is Liz Curtis Higgs' first jump into the seasonal novella, and with it she stays true to the love she has for Scotland as we meet characters in the late 1800s in a small town in the highlands. 
Meg is traveling to her home by train and has bid farewell to her parents and handicapped brother. On the train she meets a nice young man, but things are never as they seem and before she knows it she finds out his true identity. Will she be able to trust him again? 
Higgs weaves the past and present together in a tale that will keep you warm inside. I felt like I was there with Meg on board the train in the middle of the snowstorm. 
Lovely story that took about an hour to read. Nice for an evening at home.

Be sure to visit Liz at her website where you can learn about her other books and her speaking schedule. If you've never seen her live then you're missing out. She's a treasure.

Watch the trailer for A Wreath of Snow here.

And if you're still not convinced that you need to buy this book, read the first chapter here

  I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot

Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot has got to be one of the sweetest stories I've ever read. This little novella takes the reader back to the second half of the nineteenth century to a little town in Wyoming where we find recently widowed and young mother, Celia Anderson. Celia runs a struggling boardinghouse and is hoping just to make ends meet, while several of the men in town are waiting for her year of mourning to be over so they can make their intentions known. Celia, however, hasn't given remarriage a second thought. 
Along comes Mark, a troubled man traveling the west searching for his father. Mark rents a room at the boardinghouse and soon gains work as a carpenter in the town of 150. Mark is running from the hurts of his past and makes it known that he's leaving as soon as spring arrives.
Christmas miracles abound in this story and it will leave you warm inside. 

Christmas Roses
By Amanda Cabot
Amanda Cabot invites readers to cozy up with a romantic, heartwarming tale of the greatest gift of all--love.
Celia Anderson doesn't need anything for Christmas except a few more boarders, which are hard to come by in this small mining town. She certainly doesn't have a husband on her Christmas wish list. But when a wandering carpenter finds lodging at her boarding house, she admits that she might remarry if she found the right man--the kind of man who would bring her roses for Christmas. It would take a miracle to get roses during a harsh Wyoming winter. But Christmas, after all, is the time for miracles . . .
Amanda Cabot is an accomplished author under various pen names and a popular speaker. The author of Paper Roses, Scattered Petals, Tomorrow's Garden, and Summer of Promise, she is also a charter member of Romance Writers of America, the cofounder of its New Jersey chapter, a member of the ACFW, and an avid traveler. She lives in Wyoming.
Available September 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Father of Lights DVD

Father of Lights is the third film by Darren Wilson (Finger of God, Furious Love) and is the first that I've seen. I was not prepared for what I was about to see when I started watching this film last night. The movie follows several people in several different countries who show through their lives the love of God the Father. Half of the time I sat in jaw-dropping wonder while I watched the weaving of lives and the wooing of God to capture more of His children. Moved to tears, it took everything in me not to sob at points. 
If you want more out of your own relationship with the Father. If you know someone teetering on the edge. If you don't know Him at all. If you know someone who needs to know Him.
If any of this pertains to you then you need to see this movie.  Even if it doesn't pertain to you, you will be blessed and challenged by this film. There are so many elements in it that prove, yes, PROVE that there is a God and that He cares about His creation.

Go here to watch the trailer of this movie. 

I'm also able to give away a copy of this fantastic movie. Please leave a comment below and you'll be entered to win. Winner will be chosen on November 4th.
About Father of Lights
FATHER OF LIGHTS chronicles the journey of filmmaker Darren Wilson and his team as they fearlessly travel the globe, far from the daily existence of the typical evangelical believer in the West. By thoughtfully documenting the stories of extraordinary believers and candidly filming miracles, visions and other supernatural occurrences, Wilson engages viewers in modern day examples of the true nature and character of God.  

Wilson gives honest access to his own spiritual questions as he tackles the religious misconceptions he has struggled with throughout his life.  “I went into making this film by asking the simple question: who is God? I wanted to know His character, His personality, and who He truly is. To answer this question, we had to peel back the many layers of religious garbage that has been passed onto him through generations. That He is angry. Vengeful. Wrathful. And in general, that He doesn’t like you very much. The truth, as you will see vibrantly in this film, is that He is the most loving, compassionate, and wonderful Father you can imagine.”

About Wanderlust Productions
Wanderlust Productions is a video production company focusing on creating content for various media that highlights, informs, and is designed to spiritually stretch our audience.  Created by Darren Wilson, Professor at Judson University, Wanderlust’s focus is on telling stories that inspire and agitate, that are unwavering in their honesty yet are emotionally compelling.  While our content will always be Christian in nature, we are not afraid to explore themes, concepts, or areas that may be considered “risky” by the Christian establishment.  Wanderlust prides itself on its willingness to put the story above the message.  That being said, the message will never waver.  

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Christmas Pony by Melody Carlson

A book by Melody Carlson is always a treat. And always different from the last one. This author pumps out books at a ridiculous level and none of them are alike. The Christmas Pony is a special Christmas story set in the late 1930s. The Book is only 169 pages, but is packed full of nostalgia and is so perfectly real. I enjoyed watching Lucy experience the surprise boarders during December at her home-turned-boarding house. Her fascination with the actress want-to-be was darling and watching her discover the truth was even better.
This novella will warm your heart. It took about an hour for me to read and the only thing that could have made it better was some hot cocoa, a warm fire, and snowflakes outside of my window.

About the book:
It is 1937, and Lucy Turnbull knows better than to wish for a pony this Christmas. Her mother has assured her in no uncertain terms that asking for a pony is the same as asking for the moon. Besides, the only extra mouths they need at their boarding house are the paying kind. Then an interesting pair of strangers comes to town, and Lucy's world changes forever.

This book was provided for review by Revell. 

She's Got Issues by Nicole Unice

The She's Got Issues set by Nicole Unice sparked my interest when I first heard about it. I received the book, started reading, and shortly afterwards lost interest. While I'm sure some of the topics are helpful to other women, they didn't at all pertain to me and I couldn't relate to the book in any way. This is not a bad thing though, it's all part of God's grand design, none of us are alike. This may be a perfect book for you and a great series for a group of women at your church to study together. Just because it didn't vibe with me doesn't mean it won't with you.

About the book:
 The everyday stuff that drives you crazy is about to transform your life.
Some days living up to the whole good-Christian thing seems impossible. You do the right things (well, most of the time), and on the surface you look pretty good. But you just don't feel changed by your faith. Deep down, like all of us, you're still dealing with some of the same old stuff that has been around since middle school...the everyday issues that steal your joy and keep you from living a fulfilled, abundant, and fearless life.
In She's Got Issues, Christian counselor, ministry leader, and regular mom Nicole Unice explores five (and a half) everyday issues that can hold you back from living free and loving well: control, insecurity, comparison, fear, and anger (along with its cousin, unforgiveness.)
The good news? You don't have to "fix" yourself. You have access to the power of Christ. His power can transform your everyday weaknesses into your greatest strengths and gifts. Join Nicole on a new journey of learning to better understand yourself and others by exploring how these issues affect us...and why we don't have to settle for letting them win.

This book provided by Tyndale.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Farmer's Daughter by Dawn Stoltzfus

A Farmer's Daughter Recipes from a Mennonite Kitchen by Dawn Stoltzfus is such a fun cookbook. Normally I need pictures in cookbooks, but I didn't even realize I missed them until time came to write up this review. The recipes are mostly mouthwatering that I can picture in my mind.
Tonight I cooked up the Baked Chicken with Rice and Broccoli (found on page 130) and was delighted at the simplicity of it and the homemade taste.

Baked Chicken with Rice and Broccoli

1 1/2 cups (white) rice, uncooked
1 tsp salt*
1 tsp celery seed*
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cups broccoli florets
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 cups chicken broth*
4 bone-in chicken breasts*
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp paprika

Pour the rice into a 9x13 pan and sprinkle with salt & celery seeds. Stir in onions, broccoli and mushrooms. Pour the broth over all of it and lay the chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until chicken is done.
Serves 4

I didn't have celery seed so I used celery salt instead. I also didn't have chicken broth so I used vegetable broth.
I used two bone-in breasts and two boneless. The boneless were done much quicker so I cranked up the heat and cooked the bone-in a while longer.

This book is packed full of good things for all occasions.
The chapters include:
Appetizers, Dips, and Beverages
Breakfast and Breads
Spring Salads and Dressings
Summer Sandwiches and Winter Soups
Garden Fresh Veggies, Comfort Food, and Sides
Main Entrees
Cookies, Cakes, and Bars
Simple Do-It-Yourself Recipes

Over 200 recipes! Make your own chocolate syrup for chocolate milk. I can't wait to do that one!

About the book & author:
A Farmer’s Daughter:
Recipes from a Mennonite Kitchen

Welcome to the warm and inviting kitchen of Dawn Stoltzfus, a young Mennonite wife and mother who was raised on a dairy farm where simple, wholesome food was a key ingredient of the good life. In A Farmer's Daughter, she opens up her recipe box, wipes away the crumbs and wrinkles from the well-loved recipes and shares them with cooks and food-lovers everywhere. She offers us over two hundred delicious recipes that reflect the comfort foods she learned to cook from her mother, the same hearty and creative recipes she made and sold at The Farmer's Wife Market.

Along with the simple, wholesome recipes for starters, main dishes, sides and desserts, readers will find charming stories from Dawn's Mennonite upbringing, tips and tricks for easy meal planning and preparation, and ideas for serving with flair. Anyone who loves to feed their loved ones hearty, wholesome meals will treasure this cookbook.

Dawn Stoltzfus is a wife, a mother of two sweet little boys and a lover of anything creative. She started and ran The Farmer's Wife Market until 2008 when she sold it in order to stay at home to raise her family. She loves to cook, for one or three hundred and sees cooking and entertaining as an opportunity to serve them out of love and joy rather than out of a sense of obligation. Her love for cooking was inspired by her mother and developed as she cooked for her family of six on their active, working dairy farm in Ohio.
 Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hot Buttons by Nocole O'Dell

The Hot Buttons series by Nicole O'Dell is designed for parents of teens to read so they can learn how to address certain topics with their children. There are four books in the series:

These four little 6"x6" books are packed full of information. The first half of the books gives a ton of information about the specific topic. The second half of the book gives scenarios to share with your teens. While it's a great idea, I can't help but be reminded of the classic 80s film Better off Dead where the father is reading a book on how to relate to teens, how to speak their lingo, while the teen character is rolling his eyes. I say this to make you aware that your teen may react the same way if you suddenly spring this on them. Perhaps instead of reading each scenario to them a better idea would be to read the scenario to yourself, remember it and then share it with your child. Maybe while driving in the car or while sharing a meal at a restaurant. It might make them more open to discussing these topics.

There are also prayers and commitments included. If you're facing things with your teens that you need extra help with then I urge you to get these books. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed with raising our children. Nicole wants to help. You are not alone in this and you can do it. These books may just be the lifeline that you need.

Provided for review by Litfuse.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kyle Sherman HEAR ME

I always hesitate when asked to review a new bit of music. You just never know what you're getting into, but then I remind myself that I may find a gem.
Kyle Sherman's Hear Me CD is hard to put into a specific genre. At first I thought it was bad mid-80s CCM, then I thought it was country Christian, then southern gospel. Then I realized it was not for me. At all.
There are twelve tracks on this CD and they are all musically different from each other. They are pretty laid back and relaxed (no, Demon Hunter fans, this is not for you). Lyrically the songs really did remind me of mid-80s CCM, when everything was simple and bubblegum. Today's younger generation wants songs with deeper meaning.
This album would be perfect for older people.
Unfortunately I'd give it a 2 star rating. While Kyle has a nice voice and is easy to listen to, there's nothing in this to set it apart.

This album was provided for review by Fly By Promotions
Releasing 10/9/12

Album Bio
Fort Worth-based singer-songwriter Kyle Sherman recently signed on as the flagship artist to brand new label RayLynn Records, an opportunity that presented itself during a time period when a record deal wasn't even on his radar. 

"It's crazy how God works," Kyle says. 'Five years ago, I pushed pretty hard to do my own thing as a singer-songwriter, but every well I approached would dry up. It clearly wasn't the right time." So Kyle continued on a path of leading worship, taking a full-time role as worship leader at Lifechurch.TV's Fort Worth campus under the leadership of renowned pastor/author Craig Groeschel.

Just 3-years later Kyle made it back to Nashville, pouring his heart into a microphone at Sony studio with veteran producer and country singer-songwriter Mark Collie making his first album. God is faithful. Hear Me, the result of those sessions, is an eclectic and authentic mix of rootsy, southern soul.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Girl's Still Got It by Liz Curtis Higgs

Liz Curtis Higgs is a master of Bible study books. She's written about mostly bad girls of the Bible, but this time switches course and teaches about one of the ultimate good girls. Ruth. This book is extremely in depth as she takes us verse by verse through the book of Ruth. She gives more insight than I'd ever imagined and truly reveals the entire story. You'll be amazed at how much you'll learn, and how much you thought you knew before.
There are also little snippets included from real life mothers-in-law, wives, and other women who share their insight as well.
This is not a book that you'll read through quickly, it's one to take time to linger over and learn the lessons that it has to offer. It really will show you how God rocked her world!

View the trailer for the book here:

This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program.

The Trouble with Cowboys by Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter is my favorite author for a sweet love story. Her books exude an innocence that (from my reading journey) no other author can lay claim to. The Trouble with Cowboys is no exception.
In this volume of her Big Sky Romance series we find Annie, a horse trainer and local columnist dating a man that she isn't all that excited about. But he's stable and not a cowboy. Living in Montana, she's been around cowboys all of her life and she knows the reputation they have.
Enter Dylan, local cowboy with a reputation as big as the Montana sky. Dylan needs her help when his horse begins to go blind and she needs his help for her new column. They make a deal and before she knows it she's in over her head. 

There's a whole lot more packed into this little book.
A single mother who's hiding a secret that may just destroy Annie's dreams.
If you're not familiar with Denise's books then I urge you go pick this one up. It'll brighten your day.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse.

You can also meet Denise on her Facebook chat and enter to win a Kindle!

   October 11th! The trouble with Cowboys by Denise Hunter

Monday, October 8, 2012

Song of the Brokenhearted by Sheila Walsh & Cindy Coloma

I've looked forward to novels by Sheila Walsh for a couple of years now and I've enjoyed each one with their touching stories. This is the first one that I've felt differently about. This didn't live up to the expectations that I had for it. The story is forgettable. I finished it over the weekend and truthfully can't even remember the names of the characters now (it's Monday!) I didn't think that the whole willow tree thing hit as hard as the authors planned for it to, it seemed like they really wanted it to have an impact on the reader, but in my mind's eye it was predictable.
It was easy reading, however, and I was able to get through it rather quickly. It isn't one that I'd recommend though. It just didn't have substance to it.

This book was provided for review by Booksneeze.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Escaping the Cauldron by Kristine McGuire

Escaping the Cauldron by Kristine McGuire is subtitled exposing occult influences in everyday life, and while I found it to be interesting reading I was hoping for more. Kristine openly shares about her eight year involvement in which she called herself a "Christian witch" and how she found herself deceived. She stayed active in her church during this time and justified her actions, even using the Bible to do so. This book would be good reading for anyone who is more than a little interested in the paranormal. You know the kind of person. They can't pull themselves away from it and they claim that it won't affect their walk with the Lord. This book will prove to them that even a little bit of involvement in these activities is harmful and could potentially affect their eternity.

Kristine does a very good job of explaining the differences between gifts of the Spirit and the things the was doing as a witch, medium, and ghost hunter. She now knows where to draw the line and teaches others to do the same.

At the end of each chapter is a "digging deeper" section where she asks questions and gives Bible references to find the answers.

There's a section in the back of the book where she addresses questions about Twilight, Harry Potter, and more.

From the back cover:
An eight year journey through the occult and into freedom.
Though Kristine McGuire was raised in a Christian home, at an early age she became fascinated by the occult. At sleepovers she and her friends told fortunes and held seances.  As a teenager she was convicted and put all games of mysticism aside. She went to a Christian college and married a Christian man, but despite her decision to follow God, a longing for the occult persisted, leading her to leave her church and husband and fully embrace witchcraft.
Escaping the Cauldron takes you deep inside Kristine's eight year journey as a witch, medium, and ghost hunter. Part Bible study, part memoir, it exposes the subtle occult influences that affect us as it reveals how God mercifully delivered her out of the occult altogether and restored her faith and life in Christ.

This book was provided for review by Glass Road PR