Beetle Bunker (The Wall Series, Book 2) by Robert Elmer

Book Description:  Berlin, August 1961. Sabine lives in a cramped apartment with her grandmother, mother, and older half-brother, Erich, in East Berlin where neighbors spy on each other, books are forbidden, and sometimes people disappear in the middle of the the west. When Sabine discovers a forgotten underground bunker, she first uses it to escape her crowded home. After the Soviets build a barrier through the middle of Berlin, Sabine thinks of a new use for the Bunker. Could it take her family under the Wall to freedom? Or are their lives in more danger than ever?

My Review:  Having read Book One in the Wall Series, Candy Bombers, I relished reading Book Two, Beetle Bunker.  
Sabine is handicapped by polio but that doesn't put "the brakes" on her adventurous spirit.  She, her Oma and her brother plus an "aunt and "uncle"  are living in a small, cramped apartment in East Berlin.  
Sabine is fighting the communist in her own quiet way while her aunt and uncle seem bent on making her join the communist youth group.  While on one of her adventures she falls into a bunker.  Low and behold!  There is also a shell of an old Volkswagen Beetle! Sabine claims this bunker as her secret hideout.  And with cramped quarters at home it's the perfect getaway/hideout.
Then the Soviets build a wall through the middle of Berlin.  The wall doesn't just divide Berlin but it divides families and takes away the peoples freedom and dignity.  Sabine decides it's time to escape.  She and her friend, Willi, make a plan to tunnel their way out of this nightmare . . . making a way to escape for them and their families!
The adventure and excitement begin! And danger lurks at every corner!  A fantastic 5 star read of history and adventure for youth and adults alike! 
The clear and smooth way that Robert Elmer creates a story makes for a great lesson in learning about the way others lived and survived during hard war times.
*This book was provided for review by Zondervan*

Winner is . . .

Congratulations to
Random #9,
Winner of 

(winner has been contacted)

True Random Number Generator9


COTT: Clash Of The Titles

A Victorious COTT Winner is ANNOUNCED!!!

Another COTT Victory!

This week Elaine Marie Cooper takes the crown over at Clash of the Titles.  The category was Most Romantic Moment and the excerpt was from her novel The Road to Deer Run.  She beat out her competitor Lorna Seilstadwith a 54% to 46% vote. 

Elaine is a wonderful addition to the COTT hall of fame, her warmth and enthusiasm making her Clash one of the most enjoyable yet.  And Elaine is no stranger to the site.  She's been a participating reader and sponsor for months.  So when she got the news she had been chosen, she responded:

I am shouting for joy that my submission has been accepted! Thank you so much!! I am very honored to be a COTT contender!

A snippet from Elaine's excerpt:

Mary began to relax. Daniel’s voice was soothing to her spirit. By the time the brush had reached the crown of her head, she was closing her eyes, the tension falling from her face.

Daniel smoothed her soft locks with his hand. “There. Your hair is lovely.”

If you missed it, you can read the full excerpt here.
What did Elaine think of her Clash? It's clear she's enjoyed every minute, even before knowing the verdict:

I'm so excited for this opportunity, Michelle and again, I so appreciate having my excerpt chosen. Thank you.

And once the Clash was underway:

It's a thrill to be here at COTT!

It's a thrill to have you! Elaine's energy infused the entire two weeks of the Clash with excitement and fun.  It ended up being one of the most commented-on clashes, for both contenders.

Readers were just as delighted.  A few comments:

  • Caught me up in what is behind the attack this woman faced and how can she get over it. Such a compassionate man at her side

  • The quiet strengthening of a bond between the characters, apparently in the aftermath of a terrible experience. That's wonderful! But what did it for me? He was brushing her hair. /sigh/

  • This sounds wonderful. I love reading about the revolutionary war and I like your cover!

Way to go, Elaine! Find out more about Elaine in her COTT interview here.

Professional History:
Christian, Wife, Mother, Grammie to triplets, Registered Nurse, Novelist, Blog Writer for Reflections in and The Barn Door , Magazine Freelance writer, Newspaper columnist.

Fun Bio:
I have three favorite grandchildren: Jack, Chloe and Luke. :-) I love my family. I drink hot tea all year and LOTS of it (caffeinated of course). I want to rescue all the shelter dogs but my husband says, "NO!" (we already have three dogs...) I cry at Hallmark commercials. I love Hallmark movies. I love to read, write, crochet, cross stitch, watch Jane Austen movies. I love to look at my flower garden (after I have weeded it and when there is no snow!) I hate mushrooms. I dream of living closer to my grandbabies.

Make sure to come take part in our next Clash on MondayEmotional Intensity from our waiting-to-be-published authors.


When the Heart Cries (Sisters of the Quilt, Book 1) by Cindy Woodsmall

Book Description:  Despite being raised in a traditional Old Order Amish family, seventeen-year-old Hannah Lapp desires to break with custom, forgo baptism into the faith, and marry outside the cloistered community. She’s been in love with Mennonite Paul Waddell for three years, and before returning to college for his senior year, Paul asks Hannah to be his wife. Hannah accepts, aware that her marriage will change her relationship with her family forever.
On the evening of their engagement, tragedy strikes and in one unwelcome encounter, all that Hannah has known and believed is destroyed. As she finds herself entangled in questions that the Old Ways of her people cannot answer, Hannah faces the possibility of losing her place in her family, in her community– and in the heart of the man she loves.

My Review:  Hannah Lapp chaffs at her father's Old Order ways and his non-mercy toward his family.  Hannah wants something different from life than what her parents have offered her.  She longs for mercy, love and acceptance.  At seventeen she is able to "make up her own mind" and secretly she's in love with a Mennonite boy, Paul.
Paul is off to college but asks Hannah to marry him.  Hannah knows her engagement to Paul will change her relationship with her family and community forever.  Is love strong enough to conquer all?!?  
But alas, tragedy strikes and Hannah has an unwelcome encounter with the "ugly side" of life.  As events drag on . . . Hannah must decide if she will stay in the Old Order ways of her people and the traditions that have been instilled in her or will she break free to follow her heart.
Breaking free from family and life traditions is never easy so for a seventeen year old to make these decisions seems even harder.  As one reads Hannah's story it will break your heart to see a young woman with so much potential have to deal with the hardness of people's attitudes.  But yet, the peace and love that come from a loving God will increase one's hope.
Amish fiction either causes one to think about rules and regulations or it's a reminder that God is in control. All we have to do is make the decision to follow His ways!
This is an excellent 5 star read about the Amish and Mennonite peoples.
Looking forward to reading the next book in this series, When the Morning Comes (Sisters of the Quilt, Book 2).
*This book was provided for review by Waterbrook Multnomah*

Buy Book HERE!

Seek Me With All Your Heart(A Land of Canaan Series) by Beth Wiseman

Book Description:  What would cause the Amish to move to Colorado, leaving family and friends behind?  Some Amish are making the trek to Colorado for cheaper land. Others are fleeing strict bishops with long memories. For Emily Detweiler and her family, the move is more personal. Tragedy struck Emily in Ohio, shaking loose everything she believed was firm, including her faith. Her family took the bold step of leaving Ohio to resettle in a small Amish community in Canaan, Colorado, where they hope the distance will help erase painful memories. David Stoltzfus's family moved to Colorado for reasons he doesn't understand. But Canaan is turning out to be something other than the promised land they all anticipated. Fearing that a health condition will cut his life short, David plans to return home to Paradise, Pennsylvania, as soon as he can. But then he meets Emily, who stirs feelings in his heart despite his apprehension about the future. Emily's growing love for David surprises her, but she fears that he will find out the truth about her past and reject her. But what if the truth is that they are made for each other? And that God longs to give them the desires of their hearts if only they will seek Him first?

My Review:  This is a new, refreshing read about the Amish coming.of.age! Emily is ready to leave the tragedy and sadness of Ohio.  So off to Canaan, Colorado she and her family go to join other Amish families on a trek for affordable land and a new start.
Emily has a strong inner will that seems to get her through the toughest times but yet at times she questions her worth.  
Then David also comes to town with his family.  David has poor health and fears that his life may not have worth.  Thus, David and Emily find out that God has other plans.
David plans to return to Paradise, Pennsylvania for he thinks that's where he needs to be; however, he meets Emily.  Intrigued David's heart is stirred by Emily.  Emily has "unwanted" feelings for David.  If he really knew her and her past could he truly love her?  But yet she finds herself drawn to David.  
So, now Emily and David are in Canaan.  Canaan, Colorado that is!  And wonderful things are in store for those who have traveled and made it to Canaan!  
There are other well developed characters in this read who give strong support to this very believable read about the Amish community and their beliefs.  Love, humor, tribulations and faith are all aspects of this!
This is a fantastic 5 star story that probes and brings out the issues that people struggle with in life whether one is Amish or English.  Those who seek Him with all their heart will find peace and love!
Don't miss this great new series by Beth Wiseman.  Looking forward to the next book, The Wonder of Your Love.
*This book was provided by Thomas Nelson/BookSneeze*


WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday} Crock pot Candy!

116 oz. jar roasted, unsalted peanuts
116 oz. jar roasted, salted peanuts
112 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1bar (4 ozs.) german chocolate, broken into pieces
3lbs. (two 24 oz. pkgs.) white almond bark, broken into pieces

 Put ingredients into a 4 or 5-quart crockpot in EXACT order as listed. Cover and cook on low 3 hours. DO NOT remove lid! Turn off and allow to cool slightly. Mixture will not be melted but will be soft. Mix thoroughly and drop by teaspoon size cookie dropper or a teaspoon onto wax paper. Let cool thoroughly. Makes approximately 150 - 170 pieces.

NOTE: This candy is made best by following the recipe to the letter. Make other variations and changes at your own risk, as this is the voice of experience speaking. Please take into consideration that it may alter the quality of the finished product.


Don't Make Me Come Up There!

At times have you ever yelled at your kids, 
"Don't Make me come up there!"???
Well, now there's help for us moms! 
We Are That Family is celebrating
a new devotional for moms
"Don't Make Me Come Up There!"
by Kristen Welch.

My CSN Review

After looking around my house, I decided that I wanted an end table in our living room.  I love this one because it is the color (cherry) that matches my other furniture and the magazine holder will come in handy!
  My ten year old son to put this together for me  

My husband showed him how to look at the directions and then let him at it!  
It took our ten year old about ten minutes to put this sweet table together.  
 I'm very pleased with this end table/magazine rack.  Small and handy!  Very pleased with my CSN item!  I must also say that CSN has a wonderful customer service.

Thanks to Caitlin and the CSN for allowing me to review this wonderful table!


Blood Covenant by Lisa Harris

Book Description:  From the explosive first pages, Lisa Harris weaves a tale of heart-stopping suspense and adventure with her second book in the Mission Hope Series. When fighting erupts between government forces and renegade Ghost Soldiers deep within the Republic of Dhambizao, thousands are forced to leave their homes. Dr. Paige Ryan, who works with Volunteers of Hope International, is sent to lead a team to set up a refugee transit site---where the immediate needs for shelter, water, sanitation, and food are critical. Nick Gilbert, a bush pilot for Compassion Air, joins the team to help fly supplies in and out of the area. With the refugee camp already experiencing overcrowding, raids, and uprisings, a group of American mountain climbers is attacked by the Ghost Soldiers. Paige's medical team responds immediately, rescuing survivors and taking them into the camp. When it's discovered that one of the trekkers is carrying an infectious disease, the harrowing conditions of the camp are forgotten. In desperate need of vaccines and the Ghost Soldiers blocking the only road out until their demands for amnesty are met, it won't be long before the disease is out of control ... and there is nowhere to run.

My Review:  After reading Blood Ransom I was excited to read Blood Covenant.  Blood Covenant doesn't take up where Blood Ransom left off.  Blood Covenant is a stand-alone read just as Blood Ransom is a stand-alone read.  
The Mission Hope Series are the first books I've had the pleasure to read by Lisa Harris and, also, the first books I've read that deal with the "off the headlines" of the African ghost soldiers, famine, disease and fighting.
Dr. Paige Ryan is a volunteer doctor who has come to Africa to help and heal.  She meets Nick Gilbert, a bush pilot who has also come to Africa to help the less fortunate.
Hope International (Mission Hope) is an organization that brings medicine, some foods and much needed medical supplies to the dying and hurting peoples of Africa.
Then there's Brandon and Ashley, a honeymooning couple, making a hiking trek among the mountains of Africa.  This subplot brings in the diseases that Americans may unknowingly bring into Africa.
Asim and his father are also part of this adventure.  Asim brings a side story of hope and captures Paige's heart.
Sometimes the heart pounding excitement of the story as Paige, Nick, Brandon, Ashely and the others seek to escape and go around the ghost soldiers leaves the reader feeling as if she was on this trek in the African wilds.
Learning about the ghost soldiers and the terrible plots of the government to use their own people and get rich by human slavery makes this 5 star read absolutely fabulous!  
*This book was provided for review by Zondervan*


COTT: Clash Of The Titles

COTT:  Laying Bare
Laying Bare is this week's Clash Of The Titles and just wanted to let you know that if you head over to COTT website all next week and leave a comment on the blog you'll be entered to win a free book from one of the COTT authors! Extra entries available if you follow them via Twitter, FB, Blogger, or Networked Blogs. Just let them know! 

Reading all the excerpts shared at Clash of the Titles this month, and discussing falling for heroes, has made me think back to other tender scenes I've encountered. Many stories make our hearts beat faster or awaken a deep longing within us—both in books and movies—and one such story is The Notebook. Yeah, yeah, it's often ridiculed by the guys. But women everywhere swoon. Why? Because in the movie we see a man who loves a woman—even when she doesn't know him.
Sound familiar?
We've been having a pitter-patter love fest here at COTT the past few weeks with all these Romantic Moments--by Lorna Seilstad, Elaine Marie Cooper, Joanne Troppello, and Karen Witemeyer--and as we come down off the sugar rush of Valentine's candy it occurred to me that no Valentine's month would be complete without focusing on our first love. And I don't mean the boy you kissed behind the bleachers in seventh grade, or even prince charming. I'm talking about the King of Kings. Today I thought it only appropriate to turn my eyes upward.
John 1:10 tells us that He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 
So The Notebook in this way is a picture of Christ loving his bride, the church. Christ is the lover of our souls!
We also read in Romans 5:8 that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. And from John 15:13 we know Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
His love is not based on what we do or how we look. It's not based on seduction, flirtation, or how we make Him feel. He loves us for who we are; He loves us when we are exposed.
Isn't it breath-takingly romantic when a husband finds his wife most beautiful first thing in the morning, before she's applied her makeup and arranged her hair just right? So also, we need no "beauty tricks" to win Him. We don't need to hide our flaws, whether physical or spiritual. We couldn't if we tried—all things are laid bare before Him. And yet He loves us. Enough to die.
That's what I call a hero.
Thank you, Jesus, for rescuing me and drawing me into your embrace; for loving me with all my flaws exposed.  I'm deep in love with you, Lord.
What other pictures of Christ have you found in romantic stories? Or, share how He captures your heart.

By Michelle Massaro