Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Son's Vow by Shelley Shepard Gray

From the publisher:
Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family. Darla’s father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm’s lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn’t looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger—with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.

As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla’s love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?

This is the first in a series by Shelley Shepard Gray.  As with most series, the first book is introducing a lot of characters.  So it might take little bit to keep everyone straightened out at first.  But soon you connect everyone together.  I was honestly more interested in one of the other characters than the main character. i felt that this other story line was more engaging and I am curious to know what happens next.  This is what is great about a series--readers will relate to certain characters more and many people will be able enjoy the series. 

While I was engaged through out the book I felt that it was too many story lines for such a small book.  But perhaps that's just because it's the first book in a series.  I also wasn't so certain about how two of the girls seemed totally fine to show off shoulders when I feel that they probably would be more reserved.

That being said, it was a good read and I will be looking forward to more books in this series.

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Delighting in God by A. W. Tozer complied and edited by James. L. Snyder

From the publisher:
Delighting in God is the message Tozer intended to be the follow-up to The Knowledge of the Holy. He demonstrates how the attributes of God--those things God has revealed about himself--are a way to understand the Christian life of worship and service. We are here to serve and adore him, but we can only fulfill that role by acknowledging who he is, which is the essence of the Christian life and the source of all our fulfillment, joy, and comfort.

A. W. Tozer is someone I see quoted all the time.  So when I heard about this compilation I wanted to read it.  I always find it interesting when others "finish" a book after someone has died, you find yourself wondering if it is what that author would have written themselves.  I think if you have read A. W. Tozer before you will be able to get a feel for whether this is how he would sound and write.  Since I haven't read his other works before I can't compare it.  But what I can say it that this is a topic I long to further develop in my own spiritual walk--not just the knowledge of God but the delighting in him.

Early on I found myself underlining and marking sections to come back to and think on. A. W. Tozer is a man who doesn't hold back just because he is worried about what other people think.  He will challenge and boldly state what he feels needs to be said.

I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen

From the publisher:

Is there anything more satisfying than a well-made Asian dumpling? 

Plump pot stickers, spicy samosas, and tender bāo (stuffed buns) are enjoyed by the million every day in dim sum restaurants, streetside stands, and private homes worldwide. Wrapped, rolled, or filled; steamed, fried, or baked–Asian dumplings are also surprisingly easy to prepare, as Andrea Nguyen demonstrates in Asian Dumplings

Nguyen is a celebrated food writer and teacher with a unique ability to interpret authentic Asian cooking styles for a Western audience.

This is an incredible book that is filled--more than 75 recipes--with Asian dumplings.  There is such a variety here that you are bound to find something you enjoy.  While most of the recipes are meat-a vegetarian could substitute the meat with meat alternatives. 

In the beginning Andrea Nguyen share what to have in your pantry so you can be prepared to make Asian dumplings.  This is great so that the cook can have these stock pilled.  

The book not only has beautiful pictures of finished dumplings but it also has black and white instructions with how to fold each new kind of dumpling.  This is greatly helpful when you don't know how to fold the dumpling.

There are sweet and savory recipes here, and honestly one of my favorite sections is where the recipes for the sauces are listed.  The sauces can make a big difference in how things taste in the end, and there is a whole section for this.

But my favorite part of this book was where the author gave short cuts for busy parents.  I can totally relate to this because as a busy mom I don't have time for all these details but by having this note in the book I can feel able to do these recipes.

I received this book free from Blogging for Book in exchange for my honest review.

Where She Belongs by Johnnie Alexander

From the publisher:
Shelby Kincaid is ready to move on from her grief. With high hopes for the future, she longs to purchase her family's ancestral homestead so she can raise her young daughters in the only place she ever truly belonged. She plans to transform the abandoned house into the perfect home of her memories. But she'll have her work cut out for her.

AJ Sullivan never wanted the homestead. Inherited as a punishment from his grandfather, it has sat empty for fifteen years and fallen into ruin. He's glad to finally unload it. But a clean break isn't possible when he can't get the young widow Shelby off his mind.

This book is engaging from the beginning until the end.  I was surprised at the different layers in the story.  If you read this, keep in mind that this is book one in a series and so not all the lose ends will be tied up with this book.  But that only means that you get to look forward to another book to enjoy!

That being said, there are a lot of characters so at first I found it hard to keep track of how each of them played into the story, especially with the grandparents and their names and all those happenings  AJ and Shelby were enjoyable characters to read and Misty Willow house made me want to visit it and maybe live there.

This story is more than just romance, there is suspense and foreshadowing as well.  It will be interesting to see what the author does in the future with this series.

I received this book free from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Top Ten Books for 2015

This year was particularly painful for me to choose my top ten.  I read some great books this year.  I am going to have a top ten adult books, runners up, and amazing children's books--which really means you should go and buy/read all of the ones I mentioned. (Also, this is my way of semi-cheating and listing more books than I should with a top ten.)

Total books read: 83 (not including the ba-zillion children's books I read)

Total pages read: 22,828

Top Ten Books for 2015
(Here we go!)


I read this book in January of last year and knew right away this would be in the top ten. This book is one of the books that I will treasure for it's lasting spiritual influence in my life.

Donald Miller is a writer that I have enjoyed before but this was his best book yet. This book talks about the importance of relationships in a way you probably have never read before.

I was given this book as a gift by one of my best friends. This book challenged me spiritually and called me to step out into what God is calling me to, and to pray, "Anything Lord."

Leslie Ludy has always been a favorite author of mine and with her latest book I was again challenged and blessed. Though this is a "girl" book it is not a weak spiritual book. Leslie challenges you to a deep and real walk that will affect all areas of your life. 

This is the best parenting book I have read. This is more than just a "how-to" this is raising your child for a life bigger than themselves.


Tracy Groot. She is a new favorite author. This book highlighted a time that is a dark time for American but is written so well. The only reason her other book, "Maggie Bright" is in runners up is because I was trying to just have one book per author.

Another new favorite author. Same note about the second book as above. This book combined historical and Biblical fiction. Two of my favorites.

Masterful. That is one word to describe Kristy Cambron's writing. This and the sequel were breathtaking (see runners up). Achingly beautiful story and writing. 

This was the last book I read this year. So good. I have a lot of WWII books this year but this one shared a part of history I had never read before that was almost painful for me to read but very good.

I am putting this series as one unit because once you pick it up you will have to read the rest. A lot of trilogies put the best book first and then the last book is disappointing. Not the case at all here. The first book is a terrifying and thrilling ride and the books just get richer and deeper. The last book was brilliant. The whole series was brilliant. I loved them. And I bought this set for three people for Christmas.

Runners Up: (These are really in my top ten, except I can't put them as top ten because I'd be over ten.)

Becky Wade is a favorite author of mine. The Porter series is great. Becky Wade is addicting to read. Once you have read her, you will want to read everything she's written.

Sequel to "The Butterfly and the Violin." Masterful.  Again.

A classic I had never read before. It was convicting to read. 

I wanted to put this in the top ten but I also wanted to put the Gifting series, but this book was so good. I loved the ending. Loved it. Not because it tied up perfectly but because of the hope it gave in the midst of things being hard and not perfect. The spiritual depth of Katie Ganshert's writing blows me away every time. 

This just made me happy. Denise Hunter's books are wonderful. 

I really also wanted this to be in the top ten. Powerful and moving.

Another great WWII novel but from a different perspective.

This book on parenting is amazing.  This book goes to the foundation of good parenting and lays it out. This is not a "how-to" book, but it lays our guidelines that can be very helpful.

Amazing Children's Books:

This is an Advent book and we read it with our son.  But it moved on my heart.

This book is also my son's, but just so beautiful as it brings the gospel through in every story-- Old and New Testament.

This is a book parents need to buy.  It is a book to help children protect their bodies but done in the best way I've yet read.  It doesn't shame the body but instead values it as it should be and guards in.