Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sky Zone by Creston Mapes


On his website, Creston Mapes says he writes the kind of books that he likes to read - "tension-filled thrillers."  I've just finished his third book in the Crittendon Files, Sky Zone which is the second Mape's book I've read this summer, and I must agree that Mapes' stories are "tension-filled." I certainly hope there are more Jack Crittendon stories to follow and I really, really wish I didn't have to wait.

With a family to feed and another Crittendon baby on the way, Jack had to find work asap when the newspaper where he worked folded. (In the previous book, Jack uncovers a scandal which leads to his paper's demise).  While his wife leaves behind her time as a stay-at-home mom, Jack takes a part-time at the Festival Arena in town. There Jack strikes up a friendship with a co-worker, Shakespeare, who shares his survivalist views with Jack. Even Shakespeare admits his fears are way out there, but even so, he wants his family to be prepared for the worst.  Both men are scheduled to work the rally for controversial presidential hopeful Martin Sterling and his supporter, a well-known Christian musician when minutes before Sterling's arrival, the arena coordinator learns of rumors of a terrorist threat.  Suddenly what should have been a busy day ushering and general security work becomes a life and death challenge.

What I like best about Mapes style (beside the intense suspense) is that he so realistically interweaves the personal back story of Jack's family into the action of the story.  Nothing seems forced or contrived.  Even the minor characters add much to both the thriller genre and the message behind the book.  I had said in my review of Poison Town that I hoped Jack's young reporter colleague would take a prominent role in future books, so I was delighted to see him appear as one of the press covering candidate Sterling.  Now I will add that I sincerely hope that new friend Shakespeare follows into the next book.  I am sure some people will shake their heads at the term "Christian thriller."  I know I was skeptical of the genre at first, but if you are willing to give it a chance, then I recommend Mapes' Crittendon Files.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Healing Quilt by Wanda E. Brunstetter

healing quilt The Healing Quilt   Book 3Wanda Brunstetter is a New York Times bestselling author known for her Amish fiction and her latest addition to the Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club series, The Healing Quilt, will not disappoint her fans.  I believe readers of Amish fiction like quiet, wholesome stories and The Healing Quilt, set in the Pinecraft area of Sarasota, FL., is just that.   Lamar and Emma Yoder Miller love their newly purchased winter retreat, but both are looking for something more to do besides their wonderful beach walks.  Lamar convinces Emma to offer a quilting class in their little home, just like she did back in Indiana.  The small group who gather each week to learn the history of quilts and to sew their own small wall hangings are a mixture of God's wounded:  BJ, an artist with terminal cancer; Jennifer, a to-be mom whose husband has just lost his job; Erika, a despondent paraplegic teenager; Kim, a waitress desperately trying to make it on her own; Noreen, a lonely retired teacher; and Mike, a charter fisherman fulfilling his wife's simple request to attend this class.  Six Saturday mornings will change their lives, each experience a form of personal healing, some simple, some more drastic.  With a different setting than most Amish stories, The Healing Quilt will have you wanting to dig your toes in the sand or look for shark teeth along with Kim and Lamar, at the same time you're savoring Emma's simple wisdom and charity.  I received a copy of this book from Handlebar Direction for Publishing.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sweetie-licious Pies: Eat Pie, Love Live by Linda Hundt

Pie has always been the dessert of choice in our family, probably because my mother was a superb pie baker.  Apple pie, especially one made with the summer transparent apple tree outside our kitchen door was her specialty.  I learned the secrets of making her pie crust when I was about ten years old and have been making pies ever since.  Needless to say, pie doesn't make too many appearances on our menus lately as we try to eat more healthily. Maybe that's why I've read several books in the past three years extolling the virtues of PIE.  Linda Hundt, owner of Sweetie-licious Pies in DeWitt, MI and multi-time national pie contest winner, is the author of my latest sweet find.  Her book of recipes and life musings was a sale item I found for my nook and it is so full of recipes just calling out to be made for someone special, each one accompanied by a short family story and some clever musings on life --- all ending with the command, "Eat Pie."

The whole candy cotton pink theme shown on the cover carries through the whole book (and I believe through her actual pie shop in Michigan).  The color theme gives everything a fifties nostalgia feel.  The photos accompanying the book are as appealing as the recipes.  I loved turning each page (electronically), anticipating what the next photo would be.  Old fashioned cast iron sinks, pastel glass cake stands, and even a glamped-up old travel trailer filled the pages.  Now that I've devoured my ebook version of this book, I am left with three tasks: 1.  Order the book in hard copy.  It is just too pretty to only have an e-version.  And technically, I don't consider having a book in my cookbook collection unless it is a physical copy.  2.  Make one or more of these fantastic recipes -- perhaps, the apple caramel? 3.  Find Dewitt, MI on the map and plan a trip there.  I want to eat her pie!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

In Perfect Time
In Perfect Time | Wings of the Nightingale series
Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.
Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don’t want to go.
Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?

My Review of the book

I truly enjoyed With Every Letter and On Distant Shores, Sarah Sundin's earlier books about a group of transport nurses operating in the Italian theater.  Packed with the action of army hospitals, airfields, and those temporary tents that became everyone's homes, these books also offer believable stories of faith growing amidt danger.  Now Sundin has completed the series with Lt. Kay Jobson's story in the new book In Perfect Time. For years Kay had hidden behind a "play girl" game of flirtation.  Juggling multiple boyfriends at once, Kay actually kept everyone at bay, ending all relationships before they really started.  She never wanted anyone to get too close.  While she had bonded with nurses Mellie and Georgie, despite their strong Christian faith, she wanted nothing to do with the outspoken Christian pilot Lt. Roger Cooper.  She had enough of the "holier than thou" attitude from her judgmental family while growing up.  A simple Bible verse was enough to make all her father's condemnations echo over and over again in her memory.

Little does Kay know that Roger hears similar past voices, his recent acceptance of his Savior only beginning to block out all the damage done by the years of put downs. The need to do their dangerous jobs competently compels both to shield their hurts and vulnerabilities, resulting in a very bumpy start to their friendship.  Neither can see any possibilities of it developing anything beyond a civil acceptance of the other.  In Perfect Time can easily be read as a stand alone book, but readers will get a better understanding of the transport nurses and their role in WWII if all three books are read. Only by reading all three books are you able to connect the story of friendship that is an underlying theme throughout the series.  Of the three books, I think In Perfect Time does the best job of blending a story of faith with a story of romance in an authentic wartime setting.  Sarah Sundin has done her research and it shines through in the smallest of details.  I received a copy of this book for review purposes from LITFUSE.

Here is a listing of those on the blog tour for IN PERFECT TIME.  Check out what others have thought about the book.

Jalynn | A Simple Life, really?!
Rachelle | Inspiring Daring
Erin | For Him and My Family
Nancy | sunny island breezes
Heather | Mrs. Southern Bride
Angela | Griperang’s Bookmarks
Becky | Christian Chick’s Thoughts
Carol | Buttercup Counts Her Blessings
Rissi | Dreaming Under the Same Moon
Megan | Hardcover Feedback
Rayleigh | Accelerate The Jesus Movement
Veronica | Adventures of D and V
Kristie | Moments
Jennifer | Jen’s Journey
Revka | Our Family Porch
Megan | When life gets you down…read a book
Bethany | Perfect Beginnings
Jennifer | a glimpse of our life
Shecki | Greatly Blessed
Laura | Lighthouse Academy
Misty | The Lady Prefers To Save
Pam | Southern Gal Love to Read
Jillian | Covers and Ink
Amanda | Semel insanivimus omnes
Chelsey | Charming Chelsey’s
Kelly | Leafy Not Beefy
Preslaysa | Preslaysa
Linda | Mocha with Linda/Christian Fiction Online Magazine
Debra | Footprints in the Butter
Michelle | Our Little Corner of the World
Charity | Giveaway Lady
Jendi | Jendi’s Journal
Kathleen | Reviews From The Heart
Rachel |Crafts-n-fitness
Marjolaine | Books, Beautiful Books
Victor | Vic’s Media Room
Cindy | Cindy’s Book Reviews
Pamela | Daysong Reflections
Beckie | By The Book
Joan | Book Reviews from an Avid Reader
Kathleen | Lane Hill House
Billy | Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer
Stacey | WORD Up!
Melinda | Living, Laughing, Loving
Veronica | Veronica’s ‘Views
Cindy | All Things Are Possible
Leticia | My Daily Trek
Katrina | Life With Katie
Cassandra | Cassandra M’s Place
Melina | Melina’s Book Blog
Renee Ann | Doorkeeper
Noelle | Live and Dream a little dream
Jamie | Books and Beverages
Brooke | i blog 4 books
Margaret | The World As I See It
Andi | Radiant Light
Amada | ASC Book Reviews
Vera | Reader’s Haven Reviews
Shonda | The Knowlton Nest
Beth | For The Love of Books
Hallie | Book by Book
Brittanie | A Book Lover
Katie | Too Read or Not Too Read
Sue | Thoughts from Mill Street
Jennifer | Book reviews from a book lover
Abbi | Christian Novels
Lisa | Seeking Him with all Yur Heart
Marissa | The Review Stew
Tressa | Wishful Endings
Alena | The Homemade Creative
Margaret | Creative Madness Mama
Sara | Shoopette’s Book Reviews
Maureen | Maureen’s Musings
Mindy | A Room Without Books is Empty
Vera | Luxury Reading
Ramona | Create With Joy
Taylor | Taylor Reid Reads and Breathes
Wanda | A Book Lover’s Retreat
Amy | A Nest in the Rocks
Melanie | Christian Bookshelf Reviews
Casey | Writing for Christ
Molly | Reviews By Molly
Madilyn | The Literary Maidens

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sarah Sundin's Newest Book

'I'll be reviewing IN PERFECT TIME in just a few days. Just wanted to share about her give-away.
If the links here are live, please do a web search for Sarah Sundin's website.

Don't miss Sarah Sundin's hot-off-the-press novel, In Perfect Time. Publishers Weekly gives it an enthusiastic thumbs up: “Sundin excels at well-researched historical detail . . . with such accurate depictions of culture and setting that we are fully immersed in the times as well as in the story. The strength of relationships forged in war and the apprehension of God in times of trouble infuse this well-crafted novel with substance and light.”


Sarah is celebrating the release of her book with a fun giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle HDX
  • The Wings of the Nightingale Series (With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, and In Perfect Time)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 24th. Winner will be announced August 25th at Sarah's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Sarah's blog on the 25th to see if you won! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Blessings of Friendship Treasury by Mary Engelbreit

The Blessings of Friendship Treasury

Artist and author Mary Engelbreit's newest book is a joyous collection of poems, Bible verses, and sayings about friendship coupled with Engelbreit's refreshing art.  Classified as a children's book, I am sure this volume will bring just as many smiles to adults as to youngsters.  I see the book as the perfect gift to a treasured friend, especially a childhood friend that you've kept close over the years.
The last page shows two little girls seated on stools, holding hands.  Below the illustration is this verse by Edgar A. Guest: I'd like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me.  I'd like to be the help that you've been always glad to be; I'd like to mean as much to you each minutre of the day as you have meant, old friend of mine, to be along the way.  With such an ending, you can see why this book would be an ideal way of letting someone special know how you feel.  And don't we all have a friend or two who needs to hear just how much they mean to us?

Of course, the book is still a fun book for little ones.  It could spark meaningful conversations about friends,true friendships, and putting others first.  I received a copy of this title from BookLook for my honest review.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

No time to read?

I've been finding it more and more difficult to find reading time this month.  What have I been doing?  Family reunions (planned and spontaneous), time with grandkids, and taking in some special summer events have filled some evenings and weekends.  The garden plenty needs to be taken care of, and now that we are hitting a dry spell, I have to water flowers and veggies again.  I have managed to finish a couple sewing projects so I thought I would share.

First, my newest purse.  Like so many items I've done, this is made from string squares I sewed while at the cabin.  I usually delegate those blocks for donation items, but the color combination really appeals to me, so I turned the squares into my fall purse.  The Amish clerk at the local Amish grocery store complimented me on it today, so that made me feel really good.

Lots of decorative stitches along the strips.

Just yesterday, I finished a baby quilt, ready for the next baby girl to arrive.  Or maybe it will be a donation quilt.  Either way it is made from colorful string squares, alternating with embroidered squares with sayings I Love Mommy, I Love Daddy, Cute as button, You are My Sunshine.  All embroidery designs are from Embroidery Library.   

Close up of the squares

As I said earlier, taking care of garden produce (ours and purchased) has been taking up a lot of time.
Today I made a big batch of homemade Italian tomato sauce for the freezer using local tomatoes.  Most of my tomato plants are orange variety, so I bought some lovely big tomatoes yesterday for this sauce.  Russ and I also made freezer corn today.  The sweet corn that we've been picking up at a nearby Amish stand is the best we've eaten in years, so naturally I wanted to freeze some.  We only have one upright freezer and I have already made several kinds of jam and frozen both blueberries and strawberries, so I couldn't do too much corn.  At least we'll have an occasional taste of that sweetness mid-winter.  

A week ago I tried another recipe from the CQ recipe book I blogged about awhile ago.  This time I made Peach-blueberry jam.  The recipe does not make a firm jam, but it sure tastes good.  We used it on waffles and I really think it should be used for a dessert sauce.  
Peach Blueberry Jam for the freezer

So that's what I've been doing.  Since supper (stuffed peppers using our yellow peppers) is in the crockpot and I've already watered flowers, I hope to grab a glass of lemonade and read a few pages before supper.  That brings me to my last share for the time being.  Today I tried a simple new recipe. Just combine one large can of frozen lemonade, one third can water, three peeled peaches, and two or three handfuls of ice.  Blend in blender.  This is absolutely wonderful.  I found the recipe online, but I apologize to the blogger who posted it.  I cannot find a source on my printed recipe and I can't find the site anymore.  Try it, you will like it!!