Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Place at Our Table

Love is a scary thing. It challenges you to hope for the best when you can't help but thinking the worst. Sometimes, it comes in the most unlikely of places and often times with the person you last expect. What would you do if your heart betrayed you and fell for the one person who represents everything you fear? Would you step out on faith and give love a chance? Or would you play it safe and guard your heart?

Kayla Dienner is busy working at her family's restaurant. She has no plans of ever getting married or having a family, especially after the way Abram embarrassed by dumping her like yesterday's garbage. She's not sure she will ever trust her heart to love again; better to just find other pursuits to occupy one's time. Love is a funny thing though and it comes along when one least expects it, like when the family barn catches on fire and you can't help but notice how handsome one firefighter in particular is. You don't want it to be true, you try to talk yourself out of it, but really what's the harm in admitting that you find him, at the very least, interesting.

Jamie Riehl is a hard working man. He volunteers at the local fire station and helps his family run their farm. The absolute last thing he has time for is a relationship. When he responds to a barn fire in the community he thinks it is business as usual but when he lays eyes on Kayla Dienner his world is changed forever. After saving Nathan Dienner from the burning barn, Jamie earns the admiration and thanks of the Dienner family but when he informs Nathan that he is old enough to start firefighter training he earns Kayla's ire. He has no idea what he said to make her so angry but he would do almost anything to take it back. Can he fix things before it's too late?

When Jamie's mother dies unexpectedly, Kayla is one of the first to step in and try to console Jamie and his family. She goes out of her way to help him through his grief and help him heal. She refuses to give up on him when he lashes out in anger and hurt. As Jamie keeps pulling away, Kayla starts to wonder if she's worth fighting for. Will anyone ever love her enough to put her first?

A Place at our Table will give you all the feels and more.  Jamie and Kayla's relationship is rocky from the start. First she loves him for saving her brother, then she loathes him for suggesting Nathan take training classes. Can a guy ever win? I could totally relate to Kayla though. It's hard seeing someone you love, or even care about, making decisions that can hurt them. We don't want them to take risks or get hurt. Kayla had already lost a brother to fire and she couldn't bear to lose another. Her fears, while understandable, sometimes made her irrational. 

I don't want you to get the wrong idea about Kayla, she isn't a basket case by any means, she is a strong, hardworking, independent woman. It takes guts to know what you want and not settle for anything less. She is kind, caring, and compassionate. She helps her family run the restaurant and helps look after her younger brother. She is sympathetic to the needs of those around her and wants to help out anyway she can. Her positive qualities far outweigh any negative she may have.

I could go on and on but I'm sure you'd rather read it for yourself! What are you waiting for? Go grab a copy of A Place at Our Table and setting in for a read that will take you on a roller coaster of a ride and make you believe that love, truly does, conquer all.

You can grab a copy here: A Place at Our Table

* I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

ESV Illuminated Bible

Recently, I was offered the opportunity to review the ESV Illuminated Bible. I love bibles of all kinds but I'm especially fond of the journaling bibles. When the Bible arrived it was a bit heavier than I thought. That's due to it being a hard cover bible. I prefer a soft cover bible, because they are lighter and easier to tote, but this cover is absolutely gorgeous!
The inside is filled with beautiful illustrations in gold that you can color, or you could just leave them as they are. There are also margins on each page for you to add your own notes or draw if you'd like.

Even the back cover is a thing of beauty! I love how they included a scripture verse on the back. All in all I was extremely impressed with the ESV Illuminated Bible. From the front cover to the back it truly is a work of art. I enjoyed the fact it is in the ESV translation, I enjoy several translations but when I'm journaling I want one that's easier to read and understand. I love how it comes with pictures already drawn, that way you aren't just looking at a blank page, which can be intimidating. The margins are generous so if you want to try your hand at drawing, or if you're like me and an avid note taker there is plenty of room for that too. The ESV Illuminated bible is a terrific value and would make an excellent gift for anyone on your list!

Guess What?!?! You have the chance to win your very own copy of the ESV Illuminated Bible. All you have to do is leave a comment below. It's that easy! Winner will be chosen Dec 5 from all those who commented. Good Luck!!

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Friday, November 24, 2017

21 Days of Christmas

About the Book

Name of book: 21 Days of Christmas: A Fiction Lover’s  Devotional
Author: Kathy Ide
Genre: Christian Fiction Devotional
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Christmas is more than just a holiday. It is a time to recapture the joy and wonder of God’s greatest gift: His Son, Jesus.
21 Days of Christmas will warm your heart with stories about giving, loving, and family. These engaging tales celebrate the hope and joy that make this blessed season unique. At the end of each story you’ll find an insightful message that will help you discover anew the true meaning of this special time of year. So grab a cup of hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick, curl up in your favorite chair beside a picture window overlooking a serene spot, and savor the true meaning of Christmas through these inspirational and encouraging stories.
My Thoughts: This devotional would make a great gift for the book lover in your life. The devotions are short, just a few pages long and include a life application section. They also include prayer starters to help you start your quiet time. Each one is guaranteed to add joy to your life and help get you in the Christmas spirit. 
* I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own. 
More About Kathy Ide

Kathy is the editor/compiler of the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series
( and author of “Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors” ( She has also written numerous articles, short stories, devotionals, play scripts, and Sunday school curriculum. She has ghostwritten ten nonfiction books and a five-book novel series.
She is also a full-time freelance editor, working with aspiring, new, and experienced authors as well as publishers.
Kathy speaks at writers’ conferences across the country.
She is the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network ( and the Christian Editor Connection (
For more about Kathy, visit

Guest Post from Kathy Ide

Looking for a great Christmas gift for friends and family who love fiction … or devotionals? You can give them both in one book!

21 Days of Christmas: Stories that Celebrate God’s Greatest Gift is book two in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. It’s a collection of 21 fiction stories, each written by a different author—including well-known novelists such as Lena Nelson Dooley, Joanne Bischof, Jan Cline, and Lynn Kinnaman. Some stories are about the first Christmas, when Mary and Joseph brought God’s Son into the world. Others are about how we celebrate that history-changing event today. Each story is followed by a brief Life Application written by the author of that story.

The first chapter starts out with an amusing tale of a modern-day couple in the front seat of a car, on Christmas Eve, traveling to see relatives for the holiday. They’re griping about the hassles of the season, and hollering at the the kids, who are playing with the foil on Mom’s Jell-O salad in the backseat. Then we break from that to a scene of Mary and Joseph entering Bethlehem, about to bring God’s Son into the world. It contrasts the modern-day wife, not wanting to go into a sleazy diner because it’s the only place open on Christmas Eve, with Mary hesitating to go into a smelly barnyard to give birth. When the modern-day couple decide to tell their children the Christmas story—complete with snow and a little drummer boy—the contrasts become both highly funny and very poignant.

I wrote one of the chapters in the book. It’s about the first Christmas, from the perspective of Joseph. What he must have thought and felt when Mary was giving birth to Jesus, knowing that he had been personally given the divine responsibility to teach God’s Son about God. Based on the Old Testament teachings he’d been raised with, what did Joseph think Jesus would be like when He was born, and how did reality clash with those expectations?

This book makes a great gift for family and friends, with its beautiful debossed hardback cover, full-color interior, and a ribbon page marker. With stories about the Nativity as well as tales of modern-day people celebrating that event, almost anyone would enjoy receiving a copy and reading it—even those who don’t believe in Christ as their Savior. It’s small enough to be a stocking stuffer (or tucked into the pocket of a Christmas-themed pot holder!) and inexpensive enough to be a practical gift for those people you’re not sure will reciprocate, or who may feel uncomfortable if they didn’t get you anything.

This devotional would also be ideal to incorporate into an individual’s or a family’s advent celebration, reading one chapter a day during the three weeks leading up to Christmas.

Each chapter takes only about ten minutes to read, which makes it ideal for the hectic holiday season. And since each chapter stands alone, it doesn’t matter whether you read one or two stories, half the book, or the whole thing.

Other books in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series are:
21 Days of Grace: Stories that Celebrate God’s Unconditional Love
21 Days of Love: Stories that Celebrate Treasured Relationships
21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Motherhood

Blog Stops

Reader’s Cozy CornerNovember 22
Blossoms and BlessingsNovember 23
Carpe Diem, November 23
Multifarious, November 25
A Reader’s Brain, November 25
A Greater YesNovember 26
Lane Hill House, November 26
Texas Book -aholic, November 27
Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 27
Karen Sue Hadley, November 28
By The Book, November 29
Mary Hake, November 30
Remebrancy, December 2


To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away a grand prize of a set of 21 days devotional books!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Cowboy Christmas Guardian

About the Book:

Name of book: Cowboy Christmas Guardian
Author: Dana Mentink
Genre: Isnpy Romance Suspense

Someone is dead set on stopping Shelby Arroyo from doing her job: assessing mineral rights in a mine in gold country. But after rancher Barrett Thorn rescues her from an attack, the handsome widowed cowboy seems to feel responsible for her. That is, until he discovers she’s from the family that he’ll never forgive for his wife’s death. As the threats against Shelby escalate, cowboy honor and an unexpected attraction keep Barrett by her side, even at his own risk. And since Shelby won’t back down, Barrett must protect the brave, loyal woman he has no business falling for…a woman someone wants to kill by Christmas.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed the Cowboy Christmas Guardian. Suspense is not my typical genre of choice but after reading this gem by Dana Mentink I might just change my mind! First of all the story is well written. Normally in a suspense book I can figure out who the "bad guy" is within the first few chapters but the Cowboy Christmas Guardian kept me guessing all the way through. Second, the characters are real and will most likely remind you of someone you know. I don't know any cowboys personally but Shelby reminded me of a few of my friends, loyal to a fault. All in all I truly enjoyed Cowboy Christmas Guardian and I believe you will too. Even if this isn't your typical choice of genre to read you should give it a try. Who knows? It may become your new favorite! 

About the Author:

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over thirty-five titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a nutty terrier, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.

Guest Post from Dana Mentink

Howdy, readers! I am thrilled to be bringing you this four book Gold Country Cowboys series that takes place in an area near and dear to my heart! My family and I have enjoyed many adventures in this amazing area, from exploring gold mines, to climbing through caverns, and soaking in the incredible history. As a matter of fact, we recently enjoyed a train trip on the historic V and T Railroad which took us past abandoned mines and even some active ones where people are engaged in modern day treasure hunting. California’s Gold Country is a fascinating place filled with secret treasures. I hope you will enjoy some wild adventures with four cowboy brothers who have some secrets of their own. God bless you all!

Blog Stops

Cordially Barbara, November 16
Genesis 5020, November 16
Have A Wonderful Day, November 17
A Greater Yes, November 17
ASC Book Reviews, November 18
Splashes of Joy, November 18
Red Headed Book Lady, November 19
Remembrancy, November 19
Autism mom, November 20
Janices book reviews, November 21
Moments Dipped in Ink, November 22
New Horizon Reviews, November 23
Pause for Tales, November 24
Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 24
Cafinated Reads, November 25
Blogging With Carol, November 26
Daysong Reflections, November 26
Carpe Diem, November 27
Karen Sue Hadley, November 27
Babs Book Bistro, November 28
Bibliophile Reviews, November 28
The Power of Words, November 29


In honor of her tour, Dana is giving away a copy of Cowboy Christmas Guardian in print or ebook, a horse scarf and a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Gift

The Gift is Shelly Shepard Gray's third installment in her Amish of Hart County series. Although it's the third book it can be read as a stand alone. I believe once you read it though you will go back and read the entire series so far, it's that good!

Susanna Schwartz and her family are enjoying their new farm. On her way home from dropping her sister off at a friends house, Susanna has a buggy accident. It takes her a few weeks to recover, but once she's ready she is excited to attend their first church service in the new community. When she receives a less than warm greeting she is confused as to why half the community is angry with her and her family. They had hoped this was a chance for a new beginning, but she's beginning to think they will never be welcome.

Neil Vance and his family are the talk of the town. His dad finally had to come clean about his gambling and all the debts he owed.The family had to put the farm up for sale. That's bad enough but the family that bought the farm barely offered them enough to make it worth selling. Forced to move in with his dad's brother, Joseph, the family's shame and anger is at an all-time high. Neil can't stop thinking about the girl he helped in the buggy wreck. She was the prettiest girl he had ever seen and he would love to see her again. Imagine his surprise when the girl of his dreams shows up at church! Things were going along great until he learns her name, Susanna Schwartz. Then his admiration turns to anger, her family is the family that bought his farm, and in his opinion cheated his family.

The Gift is a great reminder that there are always two sides to every story and that things aren't always what they seem. Susanna and Neil spend a great deal of their time trying to figure out their friendship because of family bias. I understand the need for family loyalty but sometimes you have to make up your own mind about a person. Neil is hurt and angry and sometimes he takes that anger out on Susanna. What I love about him though is that he's quick to apologize and mean it. You have to give him credit for that. I know people who are wrong and know they are wrong but never will admit it. Neil isn't a guy who plays around with someone's feelings. He's a straight shooter and you always know where you stand. He comes off as gruff and abrasive at times but I really liked the fact he wasn't a flirt.

Susanna lacks self confidence. She always sees herself as an odd ball and an ugly duckling, which couldn't be further from the truth. Sure she isn't as outgoing as her sister, but she is a true blue friend and will stick by you no matter what. I love her heart, she is open and honest and willing to do just about anything to help a friend. Her shyness makes her a little awkward in social situations, but once you get to know her you will love her. I really liked Susanna, I feel like we could be friends in real life.  She has a kind and compassionate heart and isn't overly dramatic. I felt bad for her though, because she kind of took the brunt of the Vance's family anger for a while, but she was persistent and eventually won them all over.

As Neil and Susanna's friendship grows a series of random accidents has them questioning everything they know. Can Susanna trust Neil? Or could he be the one causing her family all the trouble? When Susanna shares with Neil her belief that these accidents are anything but random their friendship will be put to the ultimate test.

Shelley Shepard Gray has done an amazing job of weaving mystery and romance together. You will be hooked from the first page and won't be able to put the book down until you finish. She creates characters that are flawed yet have redeeming qualities and you will find yourself having a hard time remembering they are fiction! I absolutely loved The Gift and believe you will too.It would make a great gift or stocking stuffer for the book nerd in your life. And if you're like me and are the book nerd in your family treat yourself to this great book. You'll be glad you did!

Here's what other's are saying about The Gift:

*I received a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.

The Christmas Admirer

About the Book

Name of book: The Christmas Admirer
Author: Laura V Hilton
Genre: Amish Romance
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Amish romance fans will love this heartwarming holiday story, perfect for gift-giving.
Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but when his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, he was now the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters. What woman would want to put up with that? Still, against his better judgment, he can’t help leaving her a gift now and then, anonymously addressing her name in big block print, just to catch a smile. Roses one month, maple syrup candy another; and maybe this time, something special for Christmas.
Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, but now the clock is ticking. Her father is selling his glass-blowing business, remarrying in January, and moving to Iowa with his bossy wife-to-be. Angry and frustrated, Susanna realizes she’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah?
My Thoughts: You will absolutely love this book! Not only is the cover absolutely beautiful but the characters make their way into your heart. I'm typically not a fan of Christmas stories but since this one was by Ms. Hamilton, and I've read other stories by her and loved them, I decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did. You will be hooked from the start and get so wrapped up in the story that you forget the characters are fictional. It's truly a heart warming story that is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit. 
*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own. 

About the Author

Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Amish of Jamesport includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. In spring 2016 she released The Amish Firefighter with the setting in Jamesport, MO, the same as for The Amish Wanderer.
Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

Guest Post from Laura V. Hilton

Glass Blowing and The Christmas Admirer

Right before my youngest son joined the Coast Guard we went on a short mini-vacation to Springfield, Missouri, actually going farther north almost to Kansas City to see another Amish community near there in Osceola. There is a cheese factory there and my son wanted to try some of their cheeses – such as a ghost pepper cheese. Too spicy for me.
But upon the return to Springfield, Steve read about a glass blowers shop in the downtown area. We found the address and went to visit it. It is owned by an older gentleman and his son. They had a display area set up where people could see their wares and buy them and then a work area where the son mostly worked, and talked about how the fire needed to be so hot, and showed us how he worked and made things. As we watched, he made a lovely flower, a lily, in different colors of glass, green, white, pinks.

It was fascinating.

And I got to thinking what if…
So I did some more research. Asked questions. Probably drove them nuts. But when Whitaker House indicated they’d be interested in a Christmas novel, I proposed one about a glass blower.

The story is set in Jamesport, Missouri, and while completely stand alone, it does have some continuing characters from other books I’ve written set in Jamesport. If you are interested, the books set there are:
Amish Books set in Jamesport, Missouri:
The Snow Globe
The Postcard
The Birdhouse
The Amish Firefighter
The Amish Wanderer
The Kissing Bridge (part of Springs of Love collection)
The Christmas Admirer
Gingerbread Wishes (part of A Plain Thanksgiving collection–November 2018)
Love by the Numbers (February 2018)
I haven’t read any books about an Amish glass blower, but that’s not to say they aren’t out
there. I haven’t read all the Amish books available. Jamesport is an area that is more tourist-oriented than the books set in Seymour / Webster County Missouri. They give buggy tours, have bed and breakfasts, open their homes for visitors to eat supper with them, and have businesses.

All Amish districts are different and the rules vary depending on the bishop and preachers. Some are more liberal and some more conservative. Some keep themselves distant and don’t welcome attention from non-Amish and some embrace it. While Jamesport is not as touristy as some districts in Lancaster Pennsylvania or in Ohio, it is much more so than others.


  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
  • 1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 medium apple, chopped
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  1. In a large bowl, mix the first six ingredients until blended. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Just before serving, fold cream and walnuts into cranberry mixture.Makes 16 servings.


For on top of turkey sandwiches as Becca requested
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water or orange juice

In colander, rinse cranberries. In sauce pan, add water or orange juice and sugar, boil until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook about 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries had burst. Let cool.


  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup shortening, melted slightly
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ c water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
Shift together flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside.
In mixing bowl, mix shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are absorbed. Divide dough into three pieces, pat down until about 1 ½ inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut in desired shapes. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes in preheated oven. Cool on wire racks. When cool, decorate as desired.

Blog Stops

ASC Book Reviews, November 9
Books n Baubles, November 9
Janices book review, November 9
Have A Wonderful Day, November 10
A Greater Yes, November 10
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 11
A Holland Reads, November 12
Simple Harvest Reads, November 12
Beck To Basics, November 13
Carpe Diem, November 13
Christian Bookaholic, November 14
Blossoms and BlessingsNovember 14
Baker Kella, November 16
Quiet Quilter, November 16
Karen Sue Hadley, November 16
Pause for Tales, November 17
Pursuing StacieNovember 17
For The Love of Books, November 18
Blogging With CarolNovember 18
Bigreadersite, November 19
Vicky Sluiter, November 19
SusanLovesBooks, November 19
Moments Dipped in Ink, November 20
New Horizon Reviews, November 20
Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 22
Daysong ReflectionsNovember 22
Splashes of JoyNovember 22


In honor of her tour, Laura is giving away
Grand Prize Package: The Christmas Admirer, “Unto Us a Child is Born” painting on decorative serving plate by Donna White, The Hearthside Collection, Inc., and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo).
1st Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and The Very First Christmas by Juliet David with interactive illustrations by Pauline Siewert (children’s book).
2nd Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and “The Woman Who Honors The Lord Shall Be Praised” myrrh-scented candle from abba Jerusalem!
Click the link to enter!