Where Thieves Break In by Cristina Sumners

Thieves Break In
Books Description:  The Reverend Kathryn Koerney is looking forward to guiding a group of her New Jersey parishioners through historical Oxford, England. She's also eager to visit her cousin, Richard, who works for a baronet at Datchworth Castle. But just before she departs, Kathryn gets word that Richard has fallen to his death from a castle tower. The police are calling it murder--yet they don't have a single lead. Fortunately, her friend, Chief of Police Tom Holder, is anxious to accompany her to the scene and lend his expertise. Secretly smitten with the divine lady priest, there's nothing the crime-deprived, unhappily married cop would like more than to conduct an investigation with her by his side. But his enthusiasm quickly fades when a certain marquis captures Kathryn's attention.

Datchworth has a wealth of secret treasures--and dark secrets. And when Kathryn stumbles upon what could be the most sensational find of the century, Tom and Kathryn are caught in a web of greed and madness that will require all their courage and faith--not just to save their friendship, but their lives.

My Review: This is the first book that I've read my Cristina Sumners.  I found the title Thieves Break In and that it's a divine mystery to make for a great introduction to a novel.  The book opens with construction work at Datchworth Castle in the village of Wallwoon in Oxfordshire, England, a secret room is uncovered. Expensive silver dating from the Cromwell era and manuscripts are found in the forgotten room. Rob Hillman is hired to translate and catalogue the manuscripts, a job he loves.  Later Sir Gregory is looking for Rob but Rob can't be found anywhere.
Reverend Kathryn Koerney plans to visit Oxford to show her New Jersey parishioners the real city beneath the modern day glass. She is also planning to meet up with her cousin Rob, but learns he is dead. She turns the tour over to a friend and accompanied by Police Chief Tom Holden journeys to Datchworth castle to pick up Rob's belongings and hopefully to uncover a clue, not understanding that the killer has no mercy especially when someone begins to unravel his best laid plans. 
I had high hopes for this book.  The cover is enticing and I love a good mystery set in England with all of the tea and high yummy to read about.  Even though this book mentions those yummy teas it was a very slow read for me.  I just couldn't "get into" the story.  The author had flashbacks to what had happened a year to two years in the past.  It confused me and was hard for me to keep up with what had/was happening in the story.  The mystery was interesting but there wasn't any action and the reading was slow for me.
At best I consider this a 3 star read.  

*I reviewed this book for Reader's*


Captured by Grace by Dr. David Jeremiah

Captured by Grace: No One Is Beyond the Reach of a Loving GodBook Description:  By following the dramatic story of the Amazing Grace hymn writer John Newton, and the Apostle Paul's own encounter with the God of grace, Dr. David Jeremiah helps readers understand the freeing power of permanent forgiveness and mercy. Here are dramatic stories and biblical insights about the very personal effects of grace. About how it wondrously spans all our differences, rescues us from our lostness, helps us overcome our weaknesses and takes us from victims to victors. Pastor Jeremiah's words are timely and encouraging as we all need a fresh experience of amazing grace in our lives.

My Review:  We, who are followers of Christ, talk a lot about grace.  We try to walk in grace, live by grace and follow grace.  But yet as easy as it sounds we sometimes fall short of this grace.  How many times have you sung the words to Amazing Grace in church without really letting the words penetrate your heart?  Well, Dr. David Jeremiah in his beautiful book, Captured by Grace, encourages the believer to accept God's grace through Jesus our Savior!  
As I read this book the song "Mercy Came A Running" by Phillips, Craig and Dean was singing through my soul--- "Mercy came a running, like a prisoner set free.  Past all my failures to the point of my need.  When the sin that I carried was all that I could see. And when I could not reach mercy.  Mercy came a running to me!" 
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!  I gleaned with handfuls on purpose from this wonderful book.
In chapter five, The Provision of Grace,  Dr. Jeremiah talks about the minister, E. V. Hill.  I absolutely love E.V. Hill. I heard him when he spoke at my college chapel many years ago.  E.V. Hill makes the words of the Lord come a live!  But this whole book is a true encouragement to the believer in many ways.  The underlying theme of this book is grace but once you read this book you will "see" much more of God's love for you and that He provided the gift of GRACE so that you might have a rich and true life in Him.
Oh!  To be captured by God's grace!
Feeling low, need a faith lift?  Then this is a 5 star must read for you!
*I reviewed this book for Thomas Nelson Publishing/BookSneeze*


Who Wants Tyler Dead? A Cozy Mystery

Book Description: Marielle Jones has been hired to drive eight-year old Tyler, his ten-year old sister Mickey, and their maternal grandmother on a camping trip across Oregon. When Tyler claims someone pushed him into a river, she doubts it. But when their party is shot at in a lava cave and Tyler's horse is spooked while he's riding on the Oregon dunes, Marielle begins to wonder: What's going on here? Who wants Tyler dead? And why? Add the mystery of the kids' missing mother, the suspicious actions of their grandmother, and the puzzling attention of a fellow camper, and Marielle is thrown into amateur sleuth mode. And where does a lazy, mixed-breed hound, an elegant purebred one, and a suave college instructor fit into the picture? It all comes together in the musty, dark corridors of an historic old military fort. 
My Review:  I enjoy reading a cozy mystery.  A cozy mystery is just that . . . no gore, ugliness or sensuality.  Just like a great cup of tea!  The title of this book, Who Wants Tyler Dead? makes for an interesting start to the story.  Marielle is hired after her accident to take ten year old Tyler, his younger  sister, and their grandmother to Oregon.  Marielle needs the money and decides it's the best things in her sight right now.  A nice, big, newer pickup with a camper hatch is provided for her to drive to Oregon.  She and her charges camp along the way.  Camping brings out ALOT of the incidences that create the mystery surrounding Tyler.  I enjoyed the trip form California to Oregon with Marielle and her charges.  
This is an interesting mystery. With some humor and romance intertwined throughout the story. Why is someone targeting Tyler? And where is the children's mother?  Marielle's sleuthing comes to the front and so she's on the case.
I had the wrong person picked as the culprit so the "real" culprit was quite a surprise to me at the end as why Tyler was the target!
I knew when I chose to review this book that it wasn't christian and there may be "words" in it.  Even though I enjoyed the book immensely the author used the word "damn/damned" more than once but other than 'that word' the book was well written and very enjoyable.
I enjoyed reading this 4 star ebook! To my knowledge this in only available in ebook form.

*I reviewed this ebook for Reader's*

WOW! Blueberry Smoothie

This smoothie is endlessly variable, so long as you stick to the basic proportions of liquids to frozen fruit. And whatever fruit you opt for, don’t leave out the frozen banana. In addition to being super- healthy (and frugal), it’s the key to giving this and any smoothie a thick, milkshake-like consistency.
And if you want to make this extra healthy, without changing the flavor or color, add 1 packed cup fresh (not frozen!) spinach leaves. No kidding. With the dark color of the blueberries, you will not even see it, and its neutral flavor is undetectable (even to my picky son and husband). It’s a great way to sneak some vegetables into your breakfast or snack.

1 1/2 cups blueberries, frozen 
1 small banana, peeled, sliced, and frozen 
1/2 cup orange juice 
1/2 cup lowfat milk (or almond milk, soy milk, or rice milk)
 1 cup lowfat vanilla or blueberry yogurt 
Optional: 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until thick and smooth. 

Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.


The Meeting Place

The Meeting Place (Song of Acadia #1)
A wonderful, historical read about the French and British settlers of Acadia.  The war divides the lives of those who have lived together in peace and now many must make a decision   . . . 

A Chance Encounter Forever Changed Their Lives—and Destinies.
Crafted by two masters of inspirational fiction—Janette Oke and T. Davis Bunn—and combining the engaging historical settings, rich characterization, and heartwarming messages quintessential to both authors, The Meeting Place is another timeless story for you to cherish.
Set along the rugged coastline of 18th century Canada in what was then called Acadia (now Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), The Meeting Place re-creates a world that was home to native Indians, French settlers, and English garrisons. Such diverse populations did not live in accord, however. Instead, they were isolated within their own groups by a brewing political tension under the difficult English rule.
Amid such chaotic times two women, both about to become brides and both trying to live lives of quiet peace, meet in a lush field of wildflowers. Louisa, a Frenchwoman, and Catherine, who is English, continue to meet secretly through the seasons, sharing both friendship and growing faith.
The outside world does not mirror their own tranquil happiness, and the dreaded crackdown by the English throne threatens far more than their growing bond. In the face of a heart-wrenching dilemma, Louisa and Catherine strive to maintain their faith and cling to their dreams of family and home.


Davis Bunn is the author of over nineteen national bestsellers, and his books have sold over six million copies in sixteen languages. The recipient of three Christy Awards, Bunn currently serves as writer-in-residence at Oxford University.

Janette Oke (pronounced 'oak') pioneered inspirational fiction and is the leading author in the category today. Love Comes Softly, her first novel, has sold over one million copies. Janette is now the bestselling author of over 70 books, 32 of which have been translated into fourteen languages. Her books have sold over 22 million copies.
Janette receives fan mail from all over the world and answers each letter personally. She received the 1992 President's Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association for her significant contribution to Christian fiction, the 1999 CBA Life Impact Award and has been awarded the Gold Medallion Award for fiction. Janette and her husband, Edward, have four grown children and enjoy their many grandchildren. They make their home in Canada.


The Bootlegger's Secret by Michael Springer

Book DescriptionOne day while swimming in the river, they spot the hood ornament of a submerged 1931 Pierce-Arrow. Swede swims down, inside the car and finds an inlaid-gold cigarette case containing a music box, Turkish filter-tips and the photograph of a beautiful woman. Later, police recover the corpse of the car's owner, Eddie Knowland, local bootlegging kingpin and member of Al Capone's Chicago gang. Knowland and his car have been missing for eight years. 

The cigarette case has a secret compartment containing Knowland's business records. Treasury agents want the records to prosecute corrupt officials bribed by Knowland. Chicago gangsters want the records for blackmail.

When the cigarette case disappears, Mark and Swede are caught in a deadly squeeze between the T-men and the gangsters. They are not even safe at home or in their treehouse. Summer vacation becomes a nightmare of shadows and ghosts.

My Review:  This story is about eleven-year olds in the summer of 1941.  Mark and Swede are best friends who are swimming in the river experiencing a lazy and delicious summer day of do-nothing-ness when Swede takes a dive and finds a submerged car. AH!  What is in this wet car?  Could any young tween boy not be curious and take a look?  Nothing doing!  Swede finds a nice cigarette case.  Now the mystery begins as he and Mark take the case back to their tree house.  In checking the case they find some interesting papers.  Unknowingly, the two boys become caught between the good guys and the bad guys.
This story is great for incorporating the work ethic into a boy's summer.  The boys have chores to do and even when having fun they remember to go home and finish their jobs.  
This is a "somewhat Mayberry type" read . . . murder, mayhem and malicious misdeeds take precedents. However, I didn't find this to be a gory or "yucky" read.  A page turning mystery that begs to be read in a day!
A fast paced, action packed, in the lazy days of summer mystery, page turner.  A fantastic 5 star read for youth but I found this book to be a no ager---I think all ages would enjoy this read.

*I reviewed this book for Reader's*


Simple Gifts by Lori Copeland

Simple Gifts
Book Description:  When Marlene Queens has to go home to Missouri to settle her aunt's estate, she only plans to stay for a week. She never intends to run into her childhood sweetheart, get drawn back into the life of the town or risk revealing the secret that she's kept for years.

My Review:  Ahhh!  Reading, Simple Gifts, is like eating a smooth, piece of Dove chocolate.  The first sentence hits your sensory perception like chocolate on the tip of your tongue.  Wonderful!  
I love a story that grips my heart but yet leaves me with the warm fuzzy feeling.  Simple Gifts does just that!
A zany aunt, a true love come-back and a woman seeking a place to fit in.  Not to mention a mystery.  This story has it all! With God's gracefulness He leads Marlene back to the starting place so that she may receive what He has for her.  Somewhat like some of us who know of Him but don't truly know Him. Marlene finds that her childhood place is a place of peace and rest. And she finds that lies don't make life easier.  
Even though Marlene lies (a lot!) I did find the lesson of lying to be a good reminder that truth will always prevail.  
If you've ever lived in a small town then you'll definitely find this book entertaining!  A fantastic 4 star read!  Once again, another favorite author, Lori Copland, hits a home run!
This book is labeled christian/ romance/fiction but I like to think of this read as great chick lit.  

*I reviewed this book for Zondervan*


Interview with a favorite author: Robin Jones Gunn

Under a Maui Moon: A Novel (The Hideaway Series)

Carissa doesn't know who she is anymore. She and her husband, Richard, are recent empty nesters; Richard is spending more and more time at work counseling his volatile clients and less time at home with his wife; his clients are starting to show up at the house at night causing Carissa to feel scared in her own home; and to top it all off, Carissa's boss informs her that she's been "let go." She wonders where God is in all of this since He doesn't seem to be around to protect her - and she's already stopped trusting her husband. In the midst of her world tilting off center, she's offered time at a hideaway on Maui. Hiding seems like the best way to respond to life's overload, and the thought of being alone sounds like just the right balm to soothe her wounded heart. The languid Hawaiian sun, white beaches, and warm-hearted people bring respite, but meeting handsome Kai causes Carissa to toy with the idea of being romantically involved with him. Then, under a Maui moon, she looks to God for guidance and hope for the future. That's when she discovers His hand still is on her life, and that love is closer than she ever realized. 
I absolutely LOVE all of Robin Jones Gunn's books.  Her latest book, Under A Maui Moon, is WONDERFUL!!  Thanks for stopping by!  

Please tell us a bit about yourself. Is it true that you've always been a storyteller?
Yes. And I have proof! A few years ago my mom gave me a box filled with childhood mementos including my grade-school report cards. The teacher's note on my report card from first grade said, "Robin has not yet grasped her basic math skills but
she does keep the entire class entertained with her stories at rug time." How's that for early evidence? And I'm still challenged when it comes to math.

When it was clear that you were a storyteller, did you naturally decide you wanted to be a writer?
No. I wanted to be a missionary. I thought there was no higher calling than going to an unreached people group in some remote corner of the world and telling them about God's love. A long time ago a good friend told me that telling stories is simply what God created me to do and I shouldn't fight it. I didn't like their conclusion but I did like telling stories so that's what I put my heart into doing. Now, almost three decades later, I've discovered that exactly what I longed for has happened-my books have found their way to remote corners of the world and through the stories many people are hearing about God's love.
What does the writing process look like for you?
I start by dreaming up a main character. She becomes a compilation of real-life friends as well as some of my own faults
and foibles. Once I can "see" her in my mind's eye and feel as if we are truly "imaginary" friends, then I ask her quite candidly,"What is your biggest problem right now?" As soon as she tells me I start spinning all the possibilities of what could happen along the way as that problem gets resolved. I don't usually know the ending of the story or the way her problem
gets resolved. That seems to happen organically as the story unfolds. This process often feels as if I've started out standing on a riverbank observing the scenery and tossing a few pebbles of possibility into the story to see what happens. Then I put my toes in and start writing. At some point I find I've waded in deeper and deeper until I'm immersed and can easily swim around inside the story. At that point the story seems to move me along on its current and I just keep my head up and type as fast as I can.

Aside from your strong love for Hawaii, what other parts in Under a Maui Moon were inspired from your own life?
Well, to be quite transparent, I'll tell you that my husband is a counselor. He specializes in counseling men who struggle
with sexual addiction. Like Carissa, I experienced a frightening situation one night when I was home alone and because of
my husband's line of work I did not feel safe in my own home. My similarities to Carissa's experience end there but that one
event planted seeds in my imagination for this story. I wanted to see what would happen when a woman like Carissa started to believe that "everything is redeemable" and that men who struggle with this prevalent problem are worth going after and helping through to the other side of the addiction. For helpful information on understanding sexual addiction, please visit
Do you receive a lot of responses from your readers?
Yes, I do. It's always a happy day when I hear back from a reader. One of the most curious things to me is hearing what readers take away from a story. Many times readers will say that a certain part of a book was just what they needed to hear. However, what they got out of the book wasn't at all what I was thinking when I wrote that part. Sometimes my favorite parts never receive comments while other parts carry deep meaning for the reader. It's such a lovely mystery the way that happens. I've come to believe even more humbly in the power of fiction. A story that comes from the heart will most certainly touch another Heart.

You recently took a trip to Africa, can you tell us a bit about the purpose of the trip?  Will you be writing about the trip or the area you were in?
I went to the LittWorld Conference in Nairobi, Kenya to teach some workshops on writing. We had 150 conferees from 36 countries at the tri-annual conference and the fellowship there was incredibly sweet. I'm on the Board of Directors of Media Associates International. MAI is committed to providing training for Christian writers and publishers in difficult parts of the world.  <
Last year Angie Hunt and I partnered with a number of our Christian novelists friends and worked with Tyndale to publish "A Novel Idea".  This handbook on fiction writing is a terrific resource book for new writers around the world. The best part is that all proceeds of sales of this book are going toward scholarships for future LittWorld Conferences.
I'm sure that one day Nairobi, the tea fields of Lemuru and the wildlife trek I took with my friend, Wambura, will show up in a future story. I've been so privileged to see so much of God's beautiful world. Those places and His people in those locations always inspire another story.

How did you come up with the concept for Under the Maui Moon?
At my first writer's conference more than twenty-five years ago I was given this advice: Write about what you know.
Since my husband and I were involved in youth ministry at the time I knew a bit about teens and began writing the still popular Christy Miller series. Over the years I've come to know what a gift it is to have close friendships and so I wrote about love and friendships in the Glenbrooke series and the SisterchicksR series.
Then three summers ago my husband and I were on the island of Maui celebrating our thirtieth wedding anniversary and I asked God, "What should I write about for the next twenty five years?" The answer floated to me on the gentle trade wind. Write about what you love.
At the top of my "What I Love" list are the Hawaiian Islands. Our honeymoon was on Oahu and our family lived on Maui for a year in the 1990s. Even though we've called Portland, Oregon, our home for many years, and love it here, our family returns to the islands every chance we get. Our aloha a'ina (love of the land) grows with each visit.
While we were living on Maui I picked up a Hawaiian history book in the reference section of the Lahaina library. Never would I have guessed how that book would ignite a passion in me for the people and places of Old Hawaii. I joined the Calabash Cousins of the Daughters of Hawai'i and began making trips to the Mission Houses Museum in Honolulu to research original documents held in the archives. What fascinates me the most is that everything the women on the islands felt and struggled with one hundred fifty years ago are still common issues for women today.
In my research of Ka'ahumanu, I found her to be a woman of great strength who used her influence and power to change the course of a nation. I love seeing women who get their strength back after a rough season. I call it "getting their heart back." I can relate. I've been through such seasons. I know my readers have, as well.
Do you have a character in this book that stands out to you?
As I was writing Under a Maui Moon I felt so sympathetic toward Carissa. Everything came at her at once and she could have made some decisions that would have changed the course of her life. But, as in real life, God had His hand on her. He was relentless in His pursuit of her and I think once she caught a glimpse of how Ka'ahumanu "made herself strong," Carissa began to get her heart back. That's what I pray will happen in the hearts of many readers when they read "Under a Maui Moon."
Will you have more books like Under a Maui Moon coming out with Howard Books?
Yes! Two more. The second one is set on the Canary Islands and the third one takes places on the Oregon Coast.  These books are all stand-alone and not part of a series per se but the women in each book; Carissa, Carolyn and Erin, all go through difficult seasons of life and find that they need to come apart before they completely come apart.
That's an interesting thought and one that all women can relate to. How did you come up with that concept?
During my quiet time a few years I had copied a key phrase Jesus said to his disciples in Mark 6:31. Crowds of people were coming and going so that Jesus and his followers did not even have time to eat when Jesus said, "Come apart and rest awhile." I jotted a note to myself: "What does it look like when a woman takes the time to come apart before her life starts to come apart?"
That question became the sheltering theme for the three novels I wrote over the next 18 months. Each writing day I took extended dives into the deep places of my heart in order to revisit times in my life when I faced an experience I wasn't able to process in the moment. I had purposefully weighted and sunk those memories knowing that some day, when I was ready to make a fresh start, I would return to the wreckage and see what treasure might be salvageable.
Life is rough. We all know that. But there is treasure in the wreckage of all of our lives. God's mercies are new every morning. When we "come apart and rest awhile" as Jesus said, we find that's when we begin to get our heart back and remember what's really important.
Will you be adding any more books to the SisterchicksR series?
I don't have plans for another Sisterchicks novel at this time but you never know!
You keep in touch with readers through your newsletter and your facebook page. How can new readers get your Robin's Nest e-newsletter and connect with you on facebook?
It's easy to get the newsletter. Simply go to and sign up.
My facebook address is:
Also, you can contact me at To see about setting up a time for me to come speak at your women's event, school, retreat or other event you can email Natalie


Lonestar Homecoming by Colleen Coble

Lonestar HomecomingBook Description:  For most, it's the safest place on earth. For Gracie, it's the last place she wants to be...and the one place she must return.
With nothing but five dollars and the wedding dress she's wearing, Gracie Lister flees with her daughter by train to West Texas, to the town she ran away from so long ago. There they find refuge in the home of Michael Wayne--devoted single father, seasoned soldier--who gives Gracie a job caring for his two children and the hiding place she needs from her former fiance.
Michael and Gracie aren't looking for love, but it finds them right away. And then trouble comes to call in the form of Gracie's ex-fiance who is now on the FBI's most-wanted list. Together, Michael and Gracie must find the strength they need to protect their newly forged family.

My Review:  Collen Coble is a favorite author of mine so I was excited to review this book. When I began reading Lonestar Homecoming I didn't realize that it was the third in a series.  Somewhat disappointed that I had missed the first two books before reading this one and fearing that this book would refer to the other two I began reading this book with trepidation.  Not to fear! From page one this book had me hooked and I do mean hooked!  The story of Gracie and her daughter, Hope, takes off at a fast run.  You just about catch your breath when another adventure starts.
Gracie has been running from one thing or another all her life.  Then quite by accident she runs into the arms of Michael.  She and Michael form an alliance and combine their two families---No easy feat!  Along with the suspense of Gracie's life there is also the mystery in Michael's life so there are really two mysteries happening side-by-side.  Gracie runs from her problems and Michael faces his problems head on.  Michael teaches Gracie that love does cover a multitude of sins and that God is always for you not against you!  Gracie teaches Michael love is patience and kind.  This is the first book I've read by Collen Coble that included children.  She incorporates the children into this story like a sprinkles of cinnamon in a sweet tasting apple pie.  A hint that it's there but not overwhelming with just the children's story.
I absolutely loved reading this  5 star read!  A story of redemption, love and suspense . . . lots of suspense and romance!  Just a delightful, wonderful read!  
Since I didn't read the first two books in the series, Lonestar Sanctuary and Lonestar Secrets, I will be looking those up to read them.  Also, I do feel that this book is a stand alone book.  A story in itself and not leaning on the other two for support.  Enjoy the adventure . . . Read On!

*I reviewed this book for Reader's*


WOW! Carrot Cake Cupcakes

The great thing about carrot bread, carrot cake and carrot cupcakes is they can be made low-fat and with CARROTS!
3/4 cup cake flour, plus
2 tablespoons cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 cup Splenda (or similar store brand) sugar substitute
3 tablespoons applesauce
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 1/4 cups shredded carrots
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Fat free cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a medium bowl, combine first seven ingredients
In a large bowl, whisk together next six ingredients
Stir in the flour mixture, followed by prepped carrots and walnuts
Spray muffin tray with cooking spray
Pour batter into muffin tray
Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Ice with cream cheese icing....yum!  yum!


Vanishing Act by Liz Johnson

Vanishing Act
Book Description:  Eighteen months ago, Nora James watched as her father was shot in an alley—and then she fl ed. She changed her name, her appearance and her job, hoping to keep her father's shooter at bay. For months, it worked…but now her luck has run out. A ruthless assassin is on her trail, and soon Nora, now known as Danielle, will be found. But this time, she has FBI agent Nate Andersen by her side—right? The handsome agent would give his life to protect Danielle, but he's wary of giving his heart…until a deadly confrontation leaves him with both on the line.

My Review:  I enjoy Love Inspired Suspense novels.  They are a fast, intriguing read.  Vanishing Act is a great-tastic suspense read.  Nora sees her father shot at the hands of a dangerous man.  Having been warned by her father to leave should "anything" happen, Nora takes off for parts unknown as soon as she frees herself from the bad guys. But not just the bad guys are after her.  The FBI is also looking for Nora (aka. Danielle).  Enter good guy....Nate.  Nate discovers Nora by accident and then the trouble really begins.  A fast, sweet, intrigue with romance and great suspense.
I enjoyed reading this book because of the suspense but I also liked the way the author put God as the main source of life and joy.  Yes, I believe, a good suspense story can include a God who loves us and takes care of us.  
If you're looking for a great read that doesn't have cuss words or inappropriate bedroom scenes but instead is a story of people somewhat like you and me who trust the Lord during difficult times then this is a book for you.
This story line is somewhat predictable and for that reason I give it 4 stars.

*I reviewed this book for Reader's*

Winner of Screen Play. . .

Congratulations to 
Winner of Screen Play!

*Winner has been contacted by email*


Blind Hope by Kim Meeder {GIVEAWAY}

Blind Hope: An Unwanted Dog and the Woman She RescuedBook Description:  An unwanted dog. An emotional rescue.
Two lives forever changed.

  Laurie's dreams had been shattered before she came to work at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch—the ranch of rescued dreams—where broken horses and broken children encounter healing every day. In an attempt to soothe her aching soul, Laurie reached out to save a dog in need. And she soon began to realize that the dog was rescuing her. 

   An inspiring true story told through the engaging voice of Kim Meeder, Blind Hope reveals poignant life lessons Laurie experienced from her ailing, yet courageous canine friend. Despite the blindness of her dog—and her own heart—Laurie uncovered what she really needed most: authentic love, unconditional trust, and true acceptance, faults and all.

   As Laurie and her dog, Mia, both learned to follow the lead of a master they couldn’t see, Laurie discovered the transforming power of God’s grace even for imperfect and selfish people—and she experienced a greater love than she had ever known.

My Review:  Have you ever felt alone, unwanted, defenseless?  Exactly how Laurie feels when arriving at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch.  Not wanting to get close to anyone nor feeling the need to be close Laurie encounters, Mia.  Mia loves and accepts Laurie and the other youth who are experiencing life's turmoils.  Mia seeks out those who she "feels" need her acceptance and unconditional love.  As she works her canine comfort on Laurie and the other youth Mia begins to lose her sight.  Now the ailing dog needs the unconditional love of those around her.  
This is a sweet, loving story of hope and faith.  I enjoyed this 4 star read as I felt that God can/will use animals when humans are not in tune with each other.  Also, in my opinion, sometimes animals feel the greater hurt and can comfort when no one else can.  Ever ran your hands through a cat's soft fur or petted a dog and felt the comfort?
  I loved this quote from the book, "My dog was blind . . . but now I see."
If you love animals especially dogs then this wonderful, inspiring true story is for you.  If you need an uplifting, encouraging story with faith, love and acceptance then you'll enjoy reading Blind Hope.

*I reviewed this book for Waterbrook/Multnomah*

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Something to do together . . .

Here's something fun your child can make on a "I need something to do, Mom!"day.

Kool-Aid® Play Dough
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 package unsweetened Kool-Aid
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar and Kool-Aid® in a medium pot. Add water and oil. Stir over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes. When mixture forms a ball in pot, remove. Knead until smooth. Put in a plastic bag and refrigerate.


The Gathering Storm in the Middle East by Robert Thomas Fertig

The Gathering Storm in the Middle East: Intrigue, Passion and Love at the Crucial Turning Point of the CrisisBook Description:  Corrupt International Bankers.  Nuclear threats in the Middle East.  A Wife, a Seductress, an Angel. 
All a far cry from the sedate suburban life and mundane corporate existence Richard Rinaldi has been leading. But now he is on a quest for real meaning in life, passion and true love.
Which of these three women will satisfy that quest?
There's Eva, the seductress. She and Victor lead Richard into the quicksand of immorality and illegal business deals and Richard suddenly finds himself imprisoned in a dungeon waiting trial for fraud. But Eva is sexy, a wild spirit, and extremely passionate.
There's Anne. A double agent who has the "right contacts" in Iran and delivers to them the computer technology they need to make their nuclear-tipped missiles more accurate. Richard has fallen in love with her. Is it real love? How can he trust his feelings for this angelic blond beauty?
There's Susan, a devoted loving wife and mother of his children of twenty-one years. How can he possibly abandon them for this uncompromising quest for truth in life and real love?
Richard learns the lessons of life and love as the international plot between Iran, Syria, Israel and the U.S. Obama administration comes together to confront him and Anne, and he discovers that the real battleground on Earth is that one absolute freedom that we all have: choosing between good and evil.
My Review:   I was curious about this book upon receiving it to review.  I love suspense and espionage and, yes, this book has it all.  It is a highly charged, technical read.  At times it was too intense for me.  The plot is okay....I did understand what the author was trying to get across but on the other hand it was just too intense with too many people involved.  At times I couldn't remember who was doing what or why.  To be honest this is an okay book for those who enjoy the intensity of espionage.  I like a story with spies who have morals and seek God's will----so I was biased when I stared reading this story.  
However, in my opinion, there were WAY TOO many references to sexual encounters (mostly between unmarried people), words others may deem as slang--I deem them as plain old foul curse words.  I simply lose interest when an author starts using curse words.  I don't use those words nor do I want to read them and have them stuck in my head.  
I do give the author credit for all his research and for creating a well thought out plot.  It's not a book I liked nor would I keep it on my bookshelf AND that is why I give this read 3 stars.

*I reviewed this book for Reader's*


Resurrection In May by Lisa Samson

Resurrection in May
Book Description:  May Seymour graduated from college with the world at her feet and no idea what to do with it.  A mission trip to Rwanda brought her a sense of purpose in loving others. So when the genocide began she chose to remain in the village, which was subsequently slaughtered. Only May survived.

May journeyed to heal on the farm of Claudius Borne, a sweet, innocent old man who understood plants and animals far better than people.
Years later, having not stepped a foot off Claudius' farm, May learns an old college flame, now a death-row inmate, is refusing to appeal his sentence. Can she convince him to grab hold of life once again? Their surprising friendship turns the tables, for the prisoner, Eli Campbell, has a deeper faith from which to draw than she. Eli slowly begins to pull May from her cloistered existence. With the help of Eli, their tiny town, and ultimately a renewal of faith, May comes to life once again.

My Review:   Resurrection In May is not a book to read if you are looking for a sweet, love story.  May's life parallels that of a soul seeker who divines to know more of God and seeks to do right but seems to encounter loss at every turn.  Lisa Sampson portrays May's time as a missionary helper in Rwanda as the truth of what may have happened. May works with a Catholic mission and helps the Father.  The Father becomes somewhat of a surrogate father to May and helps her see God in many ways.  Then the war begins.  The army comes to the village . . . the evil of the killings in Rwanda were written as too real . . . by heart broke and grieved with all the blood and loss of life.  This part of the story was almost too much for me and yet it was written in a "soft format."  
I read the story because it caught my attention and I wanted to find out about May's life, how Claudius would influence May and of how Eli's life would be portrayed.  
Too be honest I didn't really enjoy this story or truly like it.  It's just not my cup of tea, so to speak.  But yet, Lisa Samson wrote a a well though out plot. For this I give the book 4 stars.  However, this story may be right up your alley and you may enjoy reading about the Rwanda war, a girl trying to find her place in this world, an old man's thoughtful journey to help a lost young woman and a young man's grief of youthful misdeeds.  

*I reviewed this book for Thomas Nelson Publishing/BookSneeze*


WOW! Squash and Zucchini Cakes

Our garden produces mammoth amounts of zucchini so I'm always looking for zucchini recipes to give my family variety on a great vegetable.  This is a great-tastic recipe!


  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 3 medium yellow squash
  • 1 cup toasted bread crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup minced Vidalia onion
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 jar store-bought marinara sauce


Grate zucchini and squash with a fine grater. Press between paper towels to remove excess moisture.
In a medium bowl, combine grated zucchini and squash and next 7 ingredients. Shape mixture into 2-inch patties, pressing together firmly.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook squash and zucchini cakes 3 to 4 minutes per side or until lightly browned.
Place onto serving platter and serve with marinara sauce.
*My note:  I don't serve them with marinara sauce...we use ketchup or salsa.