Thursday, March 23, 2017

Control Girl (Review)

This review is for the book "Control Girl" by Shannon Popkin. This book was such an eye-opener for me! At first I thought I would just skim this book since I have no control issues whatsoever. Well, imagine my surprise when it turns out that I am a total control freak! This book ended up helping me so much and showing me things about myself that I was just totally blind to. Yes, there are times when it is important for me to be controlling (i.e. decisions regarding my kids, etc.) but sometimes I just want to play devil's advocate. I've realized since reading this book how many times I try to be in control just for the sake of being in control, and I don't want to continue like that. I don't want to feel like I have to be in control in relationships with my friends and family! This book helped me so much with looking at ladies in the Bible and relating that to my life now. I am definitely placing this book on my bookshelf and I will refer back to it as necessary. I am really thankful I read this book and I definitely recommend it for all you control freaks, or those of you who don't think you're control freaks! You might be surprised what you learn about yourself!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Home At Last (Review)

This review is for the book "Home at Last" by Deborah Raney. This is part of her Chicory Inn series, of which I am a huge fan. I think I have read all of the other books in this series, so I know the characters and back stories really well, but you definitely don't have to read all of them to understand what is happening in this particular novel. This book is about Link Whitman, who is the last bachelor in his family. He hasn't really considered settling down until he meets someone who seems to fit every requirement he is looking for in a partner - Shayla. The problem is, Shayla feels like she is bringing a lot of baggage to a relationship. She feels like people will be prejudiced against them because she is African American and Link's family is white, she is taking care of her niece, her brother is in jail, and her dad is pretty terrifying to potential suitors! Link and Shayla may have a lot of things to overcome, but they just have to decide if their relationship is worth it in the end.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of this book.

Home at Last Deborah Raney

Monday, March 13, 2017

Home to Paradise (Review)

This review is for the book "Home to Paradise" by Barbara Cameron. This is the final book in her Coming Home series, but you can definitely read this book as a standalone novel if you cannot find the other books in the series for some reason. In this book, Rose Anna Zook has watched her two older sisters marry two Stoltzfus men, and always thought she would marry John, the third. But John is in the midst of his Rumschpringe, and doesn't seem to be missing the Amish ways at all. This bothers Rose because she is ready to settle down with John, and she certainly doesn't want to leave the church. She doesn't want to push him because that seems to make him angry, and more resistant to listening to the possibility of returning home. Throughout the book, Rose has to make sure that John not only knows her feelings for him, but her loyalty to the Amish church, and let him find his own way back. I loved this book and the characters in it. There are several sub-plots that add a lot to the story. I would definitely recommend this book.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tightropes and Teeter-Totters (Review)

This review is for the book "Tightropes and Teeter-Totters" by Lisa Pennington. In this book, the author understands that we are all on this "see-saw" of life, trying to balance everything between work, family, being the perfect spouse, being the perfect parent, feeling guilt over what we do, feeling guilt over what we don't do,etc. etc. She talks about balance and how it looks different for everyone. She uses an acronym for balance that will help you go through situations and: begin, assess, learn, account, notify, change, and endure. As the reader goes through the book, Pennington will help the reader apply all of these things to personal growth, spiritual growth, marriage, parenting, maintaining the household, finances, mood swings, friendships - basically every single tenet in life that we probably feel we're out of balance in and failing at!

This book is an easy read but it is great for self-reflection! I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to all my mom friends in particular.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book.

Amish Weddings (Review)

This review is for the book "Amish Weddings" by Leslie Gould. This is book three in the Neighbors of Lancaster County series, but you could easily read this as a standalone novel. It was really good. It was actually pretty unexpectedly juicy for an Amish romance novel! In this book, we meet Rose Lehman, who is set to marry the bishop's son, Reuben Byler. Then Rose meets an Army buddy of her sister's beau, and she can't help but be attracted to him. He seems so much more attractive than her boyfriend, and he seems to like her. It's hard to say no when he wants to spend time with her. Then Rose's sister Lila is in an awful accident, and Rose has a bit more freedom than usual. She has to decide how to use that freedom and make some difficult decisions.

This book was great. The plot was really unusual for an Amish novel, but it was also a situation that probably isn't very unusual in real life. I love that there is redemption found in this novel. I enjoyed the characters a lot as well. I would definitely recommend this book and I would like to read the rest of the series as well.

Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Elusive Miss Ellison (Review)

This review is for the book "The Elusive Miss Ellison" by Carolyn Miller. This is part of the Regency Brides series. In this book, we meet Lavinia Ellison, as well as a new Earl of Hawkesbury. The new Earl has everyone just going gaga - except for Lavinia, who is less than impressed. She has a background with the Earl that brings up awful memories for her, and a situation that he was involved in for which she cannot seem to forgive him. The Earl himself is weighted down with guilt over the situation, and when he has feelings for Miss Ellison, there is a wedge driven between them because of the past.

This book will be a good read for those who enjoy historical romances. The characters are wonderful, the plot is unique and will hold your interest, and is a "feel-good" read.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book.

Regency romance fans have another must-read novel to add to their lists: Carolyn Miller's The Elusive Miss Ellison. Enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister's daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past pride and presumption to a humbled appreciation of God's grace and the true strength of love. These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society's opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.

Settle in for a cozy night of reading with a cuppa and a Kindle from Carolyn!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on March 22. The winner will be announced March 23 on the Litfuse blog.

Treasures in Dark Places (Review)

This review is for the book "Treasures in Dark Places" by Leanna Cinquanta. In this book, Leanna describes in great detail the experiences of being a missionary. I really love stories like this, but for some reason, this book was really hard for me to read. In that, I mean that it was hard for me to follow. I didn't feel like it was written in a manner that flowed smoothly. I think the story itself is beautiful, but the book to me felt too wordy and flowery, which took away from my enjoyment of reading the story. There is no doubt in my mind that what Leanna is doing is amazing and wonderful work, and I love that she is able to share her story so that more people know about the inner workings of being a missionary in India.

Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews for a copy of the book.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Mark of the King (Review)

This review is for the book "The Mark of the King" by Jocelyn Green. In this book, we are introduced to Julianne Chevalier. She is a midwife, but unfortunately is too good at her skill and there is a division between Julianne and her mentor. Through an unfortunate event, Julianne is imprisoned and branded, which marks her as a criminal beyond redemption. An opportunity arises for her to trade her sentence for exile to Louisiana, so she takes it in the hopes that she can find her long-lost brother. She doesn't realize that part of the deal is that she is forced to marry another criminal, so there are a lot of changes she is forced into all at once.

Julianne struggles to adapt to her new life, new husband, and new culture. Nothing is like she pictured it, and she can't seem to get straight answers about her brother. When her new life suddenly enters a tragic situation, she turns to military officer Marc-Paul Girard. He actually knew her brother and she feels like he can help her find some answers. He's really taking a risk by helping her because of her criminal brand. Everyone who sees that mark shuns her.

This book is full of adventure and a ton of history. It is set in the 1700s so there is a lot of conflict between the settlers and local Indians. There is so much devastation through Julianne's story but she overcomes so much, too. This novel was so interesting. There were so many twists and turns throughout her story and it was hard to know who to trust and what information was going to come up next! I really enjoyed the story and it captivated my attention.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

100 Books of 2016

In 2009, I pledged to read 100 books over the course of 2010. Here's my list of 107 books in case you're interested.

I did it again in 2011 (why not?). Here's my list of 109 books.

The tradition continued in 2012 where I read a whopping 144 books! Here is my list from that year.

In 2013 I kept on chugging along, reading 104 books. Here is my list from that year.

In 2014 I hit my best record yet, reading 152 books. Here is my list from that year.

In 2015 I beat my record, reading 187 books. Here is my list from last year. 

This year, I was able to read 166 books. I'm trying so hard to get rid of books that I've been hanging on to for years and have not read yet! My goal for 2016 was to read 50 books that I already owned and get them out of the house. Luckily, I was able to do that! I'd like to do that again so that I can put other things under my bed instead of piles of books! Here is my list:

  • "Mounting Fears" by Stuart Woods (166)
  •  "The Christmas Train" by David Baldacci (165)
  • "Dwelling Places" by Lucinda McDowell (164)
  • "Hot Mahogany" by Stuart Woods (163)
  • "Union with Christ" by Rankin Wilbourne (162)
  • "Cut and Thrust" by Stuart Woods (161)
  • "Good & Angry" by David Powlison (160)
  • "Under the Lake" by Stuart Woods (159)
  • "Getaway with God" by Letitia Suk (158)
  • "Receiving the 12 Blessings of Israel" by Paul Thangiah (157)
  • "Severe Clear" by Stuart Woods (156)
  • "Miscarried Joy" by Tanika Fitzgerald (155)
  • "Of Stillness and Storm" by Michele Phoenix (154)
  • "You're Saying It Wrong" by Ross and Kathryn Petras (153)
  • "Pursuing Gold" by Cynthia Simmons (152)
  • "The Remnant" by Monte Wolverton (151)
  • "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" by Ace Collins (150)
  • "Trust My Heart" by Carol J. Post (149)
  • "Christian's Hope" by Ervin R. Stutzman (148)
  • "Fatal Frost" by Nancy Mehl (147)
  • "40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood" by Sarah Humphrey (146)
  • "Total Family Makeover" by Melissa Spoelstra (145)
  • "The 10 Myths of Teen Dating" by Daniel and Jacquelyn Anderson (144)
  • "From the Pen of Pastor Paul" by Daniel R. Hyde (143)
  • "A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue" by J.A. Myhre (142)
  • "The Wish" by Beverly Lewis (141)
  • "Against the Flow" by John Lennox (140)
  • "Awakening Faith" by James Stuart Bell (139)
  • "Habit Changers" by M.J. Ryan (138)
  • "Experiencing God Through His Names" by Sheryl Giesbrecht (137)
  • "A Sister's Wish" by Shelley Shepard Gray (136)
  • "An Amish Family Christmas" by Shelley Shepard Gray (135)
  • "Marry Wisely, Marry Well" by Ernie Baker (134)
  • "When Love Comes Home" by Arlene James (133) (H)
  • "Trusting Him" by Brenda Minton (132) (H)
  • "Trial by Fire" by Cara Putman (131) (H)
  • "To Love Again" by Bonnie K. Winn (130) (H)
  • "The Wedding Girl" by Madeleine Wickham (129) (H)
  • "Same Kind of Different as Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore (128) (H)
  • "A Time to Protect" by Lois Richer (127) (H)
  • "Son of Stone" by Stuart Woods (126) (H)
  • "Summer Promise" by Marianne Ellis (125) (H)
  • "Home Cooking" by Laurie Colwin (124)
  • "Snowbound in Dry Creek" by Janet Tronstad (123) (H)
  • "The Burning Room" by Michael Connelly (122)
  • "Delilah" by Angela Hunt (121)
  • "The Soldier's Holiday Vow" by Jillian Hart (120) (H)
  • "No Way Up" by Mary Connealy (119)
  • "Shadow Bones" by Colleen Rhoads (118) (H)
  • "Service Tails" by Ace Collins (117)
  • "Dreams & Visions" by Jane Hamon (116)
  • "Hour Game" by David Baldacci (115) (H)
  • "Strictly Confidential" by Terri Reed (114) (H)
  • "Starving Hearts" by Janine Mendenhall (113)
  • "When Death Draws Near" by Carrie Stuart Parks (112)
  • "(un)Natural Mom" by Hettie Brittz (111)
  • "Harvesting the Heart" by Jodi Picoult (110)
  • "Spring Flowers, Summer Love" by Lois Richer (109) (H)
  • "Vinegar Girl" by Anne Tyler (108)
  • "Made to Crave" by Lysa TerKeurst (107) (H)
  • "A Man Called Blessed" by Bill Bright and Ted Dekker (106) (H)
  • "The Things We Knew" by Catherine West" (105)
  • "The Loyal Heart" by Shelley Shepard Gray (104)
  • "A Beauty Refined" by Tracie Peterson (103)
  • "Lord, Where Are You When Bad Things Happen?" by Kay Arthur (102) (H)
  • "The Sisterhood of the Dropped Stitches" by Janet Tronstad (101) (H)
  • "Fetching Sweetness" by Dana Mentink (100)
  • "If My Husband Would Change, I'd Be Happy" by Rhonda Stoppe (99)
  • "Sleeping Arrangements" by Madeleine Wickham (98) (H)
  • "Like a River From Its Course" by Kelli Stuart (97)
  • "The Atonement" by Beverly Lewis (96)
  • "Dressed for Death" by Julianna Deering (95)
  • "The God I Love" by Joni Eareckson Tada (94) (H)
  • "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson (93) (H)
  • "Hidden Agendas" by Steve Brown (92)
  • "Don't Go to Bed Angry" by Deb and Ron DeArmond (91)
  • "A Man of Heroism and Humility: Elijah" by Charles Swindoll (90) (H)
  • "Love in the Face of ISIS" by Lorraine Marie Varela (89)
  • "Come With Me" by Suzanne Eller (88)
  • "The Sweetest Gift" by Jillian Hart (87) (H)
  • "Plum Pudding Murder" by Joanne Fluke (86) (H)
  • "He Still Moves Stones" by Max Lucado (85)
  • "I Don't Get You" by Sherry Graf (84)
  • "Counseling One Another" by Paul Tautges (83)
  • "Precious Blessings" by Jillian Hart (82) (H)
  • "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" by Kim Edwards (81) (H)
  • "Grace Abounding" by John Bunyan (80) (H)
  • "Love Walked In" by Merrillee Whren (79) (H)
  • "Kiss" by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy (78) (H)
  • "The Seed" by Erik Guzman (77)
  • "My Father's House" by Rose Chandler Johnson (76)
  • "Sister Eve and the Blue Nun" by Lynne Hinton (75)
  • "Through the Shadows" by Karen Barnett (74)
  • "Medical Judgment" by Richard Mabry (73)
  • "Protected Hearts" by Bonnie Winn (72) (H)
  • "The Beautiful Pretender" by Melanie Dickerson (71)
  • "Her One and Only" by Becky Wade (70)
  • "Past Secrets, Present Love" by Lois Richer (69) (H)
  • "How to Talk to a Widower" by Jonathan Tropper (68) (H)
  • "A Moment of Weakness" by Karen Kingsbury (67)
  • "Anchor in the Storm" by Sarah Sundin (66)
  • "Get Off Your Knees and Pray" by Sheila Walsh (65) (H)
  • "Land's End" by Marta Perry (64) (H)
  • "How to Get the Most From God's Word" by John MacArthur, Jr. (63)
  • "Heavenly Help" by Sarah Bowling (62)
  • "Someone Like You" by Victoria Bylin (61)
  • "The Hole is Our Holiness" by Kevin DeYoung (60)
  • "A Love So Strong" by Arlene James (59) (H)
  • "A Daughter's Dream" by Shelley Shepard Gray (58)
  • "One Minute After You Die" by Erwin Lutzer (57) (H)
  • "Hunting Hope" by Nika Maples (56)
  • "Mars... With Venus Rising" by Hope Toler Dougherty (55)
  • "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson (54) (H)
  • "The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder" by Rachel McMillan (53)
  • "Song of Silence" by Cynthia Ruchti (52)
  • "Sister Dear" by Laura McNeill (51)
  • "Every Day Deserves a Chance" by Max Lucado (50)
  • "21 Seconds to Change Your World" by Mark Rutland (49)
  • "Sit Stay Love" by Dana Mentink (48)
  • "Simple Pleasures" by Marianne Jantzi (47)
  • "A Dream of Miracles" by Ruth Reid (46)
  • "Back in the Saddle" by Ruth Logan Herne (45)
  • "Keeping Faith" by Jodi Picoult (44)
  • "In the Dead of Winter" by Nancy Mehl (43) (H)
  • "I Want It All" by Gwen Smith (42)
  • "Synced" by Jennifer Kennedy Dean (41)
  • "Playing the Part" by Jen Turano (40)
  • "Finding God in the Ruins" by Matt Bays (39)
  • "Pitchin' A Fit!" by Israel & Brook Wayne (38)
  • "Tying the Knot" by Rob Green (37)
  • "In the Enemy's Sights" by Marta Perry (36) (H)
  • "Inner Harbor" by Lois Richer (35) (H)
  • "His Uptown Girl" by Gail Sattler (34) (H)
  • "The Highly Suspicious Halo" by Eileen Berger (33) (H)
  • "Halos" by Kristen Heitzmann (32) (H)
  • "Encountering Angels" by Judith MacNutt (31)
  • "And It Was Beautiful" by Kara Tippetts (30)
  • "Her Only Hero" by Marta Perry (29) (H)
  • "Hero Dad" by Marta Perry (28) (H)
  • "Your New Money Mindset" by Brad Hewitt and James Moline (27)
  • "Finding Amy" by Carol Steward (26) (H)
  • "Hide in Plain Sight" by Marta Perry (25) (H)
  • "Hard Evidence" by Roxanne Rostand (24) (H)
  • "The Gatecrasher" by Madeleine Wickham (23) (H)
  • "Come Empty" by Saundra Dalton-Smith (22)
  • "If I Run" by Terri Blackstock (21)
  • "Kissed by a Cowboy" by Debra Clopton (20)
  • "Driven by Eternity" by John Bevere (19) (H)
  • "A Son's Vow" by Shelley Shepard Gray (18)
  • "Bronner" by Sherri Burgess (17)
  • "Keeper of the Stars" by Robin Lee Hatcher (16)
  • "Blue Ribbon Trail Ride" by Miralee Ferrell (15)
  • "Rediscovering Discipleship" by Robby Gallaty (14)
  • "Evangelicals Adrift" by Matthew Ferris (13) (H)
  • "Ready to Return" by Ken Ham (12) (H)
  • "Dinosaurs: Marvels of God's Design" by Dr. Tim Clarey (11)
  • "Dear Mary" by Sarah Jakes (10) (H)
  • "Judges For You" by Timothy Keller (9) (H)
  • "Make It Last" by Yankee Magazine (8) (H)
  • "Shopaholic to the Rescue" by Sophie Kinsella (7)
  • "Beyond the Silence" by Tracie Peterson (6) (H)
  • "God's Smuggler" by Brother Andrew (5) (H)
  • "At Love's Bidding" by Regina Jennings (4) (H)
  • "Duets" by John & Anita Renfroe (3) (H)
  • "Gideon" by Priscilla Shirer (2)
  • "Growing Deep in the Christian Life" by Charles Swindoll (1) (House)

Favorite authors of 2016: Stuart Woods (always), J.A. Myhre, Ace Collins, Madeleine Wickham (always), Shelley Shepard Gray, Angela Hunt, Kelli Stuart, Joanne Fluke, Melanie Dickerson, Kara Tippetts

Books that I gushed about: "Hidden Agendas" by Steve Brown, "Pitchin' A Fit" by Israel Wayne, "Union With Christ" by Rankin Wilbourne, "Same Kind of Different As Me" by Ron Hall, "Home Cooking" by Laurie Colwin, "(un)Natural Mom" by Hettie Britz, "Vinegar Girl" by Anne Tyler, "The Hole in Our Holiness" by Kevin DeYoung, "Rediscovering Discipleship" by Robby Gallaty

Any good reads of YOURS this year? I'd love to have the titles and authors of some of your favorite reads so I can look into them! 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Good & Angry (Review)

This review is for the book "Good & Angry" by David Powlison. I really enjoyed this book and I think that it is a book that a lot of people would probably get a lot out of reading. In this book, Powlison talks about the universal problem of anger and he compares it to God's righteous anger. In the first section of the book, the author talks about your own personal experience with anger and what tends to set you off. Each chapter contains discussion questions that you can answer on your own and more deeply explore your emotions. In the second part of the book, Powlison discusses the things that trigger our anger, where our anger comes from, and he really discusses the anger of God in this section. The next section talks about how to change and how to handle our trigger situations. Then the last section talks about the really hard cases. This would be extreme provocations to anger, everyday irritants (like traffic), anger at yourself (usually for past decisions) and anger at God. I really enjoyed this book because I think it is a topic that so many people struggle with and need to focus on. It is easy to read but you will learn a lot about yourself in reading this book. I definitely recommend it.

Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews for a copy of the book.