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Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Stray

My Thoughts:
My husband and I took our 12 and 8-year-old to see The Stray on opening night last week on Friday night.  We really enjoyed the movie.  The story is endearing and based on a true story.  My 12-year-old son even commented several times about how he enjoyed the kids that were portrayed in the story and how "cute" they were.  While it is obvious this was a lower budget movie, the story behind what you see on the screen is such an important one and was very well told.  Families can get off track and distracted from the most important by the good.  God uses all kinds of things to draw us back to Him and the most important things in life...even a stray!

You can win tickets for your family by visiting

Happy viewing,

The Pretender: A Blackguard In Disguise

Born and raised in South Dakota, Ta`Mara loves to write about the Great Plains and the beauty and people of Italia. While her husband and children manage their two pizza ristoranti, Ta`Mara works full time on The Caselli Family Series, and ministers to women. It is Ta`Mara s prayer that as the readers explore the truths in these volumes, they will come away with a new perspective on love, forgiveness, obedience, and God's plan for marriage
Find out more about Ta'Mara at
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Set in South Dakota in 1975, where eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beer in a bar, and loaded guns were kept under the counter.
Frankie Valli sang "My Eyes Adored You," and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.
It's within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again. Their lives were mysteriously intertwined-and had been for many years-yet they had no idea. 
From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart---and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride's deception.
My Thoughts:
Ta'Mara Hanscom is a new author to me. And she has certainly caught my attention with The Pretender!  There are four other books in the series and I will be reading them as well.  In this first book, readers are introduced to the Caselli and Hansen families through Noah and Tillie.  This cast of characters is absolutely intriguing.  There are so many secrets and family dynamics at play.  I got only a couple of pages in and was completely invested in the story.  And the ending!  Hanscom leaves readers hanging.  I especially like how Hanscom had the gospel woven throughout the story; not in a preachy way but as a natural part of the characters' interaction with one another.  And speaking of characters, Maggie might just be my favorite!
*I was given a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

The Pretender Ta'Mara Hanscom

Happy Reading Ya'll,

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Divide

Jolina Petersheim is a bestselling author whose unique Mennonite heritage originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  She and her husband now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their two young daughters.
You can follow Jolina's blog at

In this gripping conclusion to The Alliance, nearly six months have passed since Leora Ebersole's Old Order Mennonite community fled to the mountains for refuge after an attack destroyed the power grid and altered life as they knew it.  Since then, Lora has watched and waited for news of Moses Hughes, the young Englischer pilot who held off invading looters long enough for everyone to escape.  Unsure Moses even survived, Leora has begun to warm to the affections of Jabil Snyder, who has courted her patiently.  But she struggles to see herself as the next bishop's wife, especially when she learns that Moses is alive and has now joined a local militia.
An unexpected encounter in the woods deepens Leora's crisis, as does a terrifying new threat that brings Moses's militia into the community's shaky alliance with the few Englischers left among them.  When long-held beliefs are once again put to the test, Leora wrestles with the divide between having faith and taking action.
Just how much will her shifting landscape change her?

My Thoughts:
For me, The Divide, had somewhat of a dystopian feel to it.  This is the follow-up book to Petersheim's The Alliance, which I had not read before diving into this second book.  I definitely recommend reading The Alliance first as Petersheim seems to pick up right where the first book left off.  I missed much of the characters' backstories and felt a bit lost in the drama.  With that being said, The Divide was ripe with emotion and tension both in the relationships depicted and circumstances of the Old Order Mennonite community.  Petersheim gives readers a peek into their ideologies and how they approach life in general.  I appreciated that Petersheim wrote from both Leora and Moses' perspectives.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions here are my own.

Happy Reading Ya'll,

Egypt's Sister

Angela Hunt has published more than one hundred books, with sales nearing five million copies worldwide.  She's the New York Times bestselling author of The Tale of Three Trees, The Note, and the Nativity Story.
She holds both a doctorate in Biblical Studies and a Th.D. degree.  Angela and her husband live in Florida, along with their mastiffs.
For a complete list of Angela's books, visit

You don't know her name.  The world remembers only her greatest friend:

Raised together in the Alexandrian palace, Chava, the Hebrew daughter of the royal tutor, and Urbi, an Egyptian princess, become as close as sisters - and rivals with their dreams of greatness.  When Urbi unexpectedly ascends the throne as Queen Cleopatra, Chava believes their bond is strong enough to survive.  But absolute power has a way of changing everything.
The ultimate betrayal rips Chava from everything she's ever known and sends her to the lowest rung of Roman society where she must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God's will for her life is she hopes to rise again.

My Thoughts:
Angela Hunt always brings a unique perspective and a massive amount of apparent research.  In her current series, Hunt tackles The Silent Years.  And, the first book is Egypt's Sister:  A Novel of Cleopatra.  Hunt transports us to the time between the testaments in Scripture.  Readers will find it easy to envision the sights and sounds through Hunt's rich relaying of history and her mix of "what it must have been like" and "what could have happened".  Hunt's book is an easy read and before you know it, you will turn the last page and have a longing for more.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions here are my own.

Happy Reading Ya'll,

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

These Healing Hils

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, Love Comes Home, Words Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series as well as several Shaker novels.  She lives with her husband and a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky.
Learn more at
Francine Howard has her life all mapped out - until the man she loves announces his plans to bring home an English bride from war-torn Europe in 1945.  Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service. 

Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky.  His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he's at a loss when it comes to envisioning what's next for his life.

When Francine's and Ben's paths intersect, it's immediately clear that they are from different worlds and value different things.  But love has a way of healing old wounds...and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.

My Thoughts:
Ann H. Gabhart is a new author to me and I am thankful for discovering her writing.  These Healing Hills was a delightful read.  Gabhart transports readers to the hills of Kentucky with living color descriptions and believable characters.  I felt as though I could actually see the people and places within the pages of this book.  Francine and Ben's journey was a joy to experience.  The way Gabhart interspersed nuggets of faith was especially enjoyable.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions given here are my own.

Happy Reading,

Monday, October 2, 2017

Crown of Souls: The Tox Files

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat.  She's penned over a dozen novels, including the best-selling Conspiracy of Silence.  She and her hunky hero hubby have a fun, crazy life with their children and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia.

You can connect with Ronie on Facebook and Twitter.  

When you stare into the abyss it also stares into you!

The bullet that rips into Cole "Tox" Russell was never meant to kill.  It was meant to send a message.  Only one man is skilled enough to have taken the shot, a rogue Special Forces operator who vanished months ago.

Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he's out for justice.  Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay.  And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier.

Afraid his old friend could be right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team are forced into another deadly encounter with antiquity.  It appears Alec is harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity.  Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.

My Thoughts:
Crown of Souls is the second installment in Ronie Kendig's The Tox Files.  Pssst!  Don't tell my husband, but I've kinda fallen for Cole "Tox" Russell!  All kidding aside, Kendig delivers a wild, action-filled, and impactful ride in this second Tox book.  Her research is evident but what drives these books are her characters. 

Readers are introduced to Tox and his team in book one:  Conspiracy of Silence.  Each have their own set of past circumstances and personalities that make them believable.  That's one thing I really appreciate about Kendig's is genuine.  I also appreciate that Kendig's Tox Files have action, tension, emotion, and romance but all in proportions that are appealing to both male and female readers.

Kendig somehow brings together present-day military drama, history, biblical elements, and the otherworldly aspect to give readers an enjoyable read on all fronts.  I sat on the edge of my couch and couldn't turn the pages fast enough! Kendig adds greater depth to the characters as the story progresses and each scene adds a twist or clue to what's to come.  And goodness, there were a few times I had to lay the book in my lap and shed a few tears.  Kendig is in a league of her own and you don't want to miss a book she writes.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions stated here are my own.

Happy Reading Ya'll,

Free to Lean: Making Peace With Your Lopsided Life

 Award-winning author Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage in readers through both fiction and non-fiction.  A former military wife, she offers encouragement and hope to military wives worldwide through her Faith Deployed ministry.  She loves Mexican food, the color red, reading on her patio, and spending time with her husband, Rob, and two small children in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

You can connect with Jocelyn on Facebook and Twitter.

Pull the plug on guilt and find peace in a life that leans.

Work projects, family time, church activities, personal hobbies, fitness goals - there's never enough time to squeeze it all in and give everyone and everything equal attention.  But maybe achieving "balance" in life shouldn't be the goal.  Maybe the goal should be seeking God's agenda and passionately doing the task He has for you right now.

Jocelyn Green feels the pressure - like most of us - to do everything well and still have time to relax with a latte at day's end.  But she has learned that a balanced life is overrated...and not even scriptural.  God never asked us to "do it all".  He asks us to lean on Him.  Then He provides the strength we need to accomplish what's on His list for us.

By focusing on what God hs for this season of your life, you will discover the joy of a lopsided life.

My Thoughts:
I so appreciate Jocelyn Green's writing ministry in both her fiction and non-fiction titles.  She inspires readers in both.  However, she has given us something extra special in Free to Lean.  Green gives us permission.  Not that she's superior to us and not even that we need anyone to give us permission.  But as a kind friend who loves us and wants us to know God's grace and gift of abundant life, Green reminds us and gently challenges us to learn to say "no" to some things (maybe even good things) and say "yes" to better things (what God wants for our lives).  
"It is not a sin to know and communicate our limits."
Reading Free to Lean was like taking a big exhale and releasing frustration and anxiety.  Green reminds us that we can't be all things to all people all of the time, nor should we even be trying.

Most importantly, Green's encouragement in the book is biblically sound and gospel-centered.  
"Whether we're living out our big-picture purpose or we're in a season of waiting and trusting, we are always expected to represent Christ.  This is our daily call.  No matter what our agenda holds, we can reflect His image when we love our neighbors, model Chrislikeness in our interactions with others, and bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  This is a calling and a purpose that always applies."
Green ends each chapter with "Your Turn" (questions for reflection) and "Truths to Trust" (short statement summarizing the main truth of the chapter.  Free to Lean would be a perfect choice for personal devotional reading/study, small group emphasis, or in a mentor/disciple relationship.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book.  All opinions shared here are my own.