March 6, 2015

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe 
"Miracle At The Higher Grounds Cafe"
Max Lucado

What if you could ask God anything? What would you ask? And how would he answer?
Chelsea Chambers is on her own. After a public split from her NFL superstar husband, Chelsea takes a bold step out of the limelight and behind the counter of the Higher Grounds Café, an old-fashioned coffee shop in dire need of reinvention. But when her courage, expert planning, and out-of-this-world cupcakes fail to pay the bills, this newly single mom finds herself desperate for help. Better yet, a miracle.
Then a curious stranger lands at Chelsea's door, and with him, an even curiouser string of events. Soon, customers are flocking to the Higher Grounds Café, and not just for the cupcakes and cappuccino. They've come for the internet connection to the divine. Now the café has become the go-to place for people in search of answers to life's biggest questions.
When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own. After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask, and heaven answers in a most unexpected way. 

Ever since I first heard about "Miracle At The Higher Grounds Cafe" I've been very intrigued by it.  First of all, coffee always gets my attention.  Secondly, the whole plot about an angel working at a coffee shop more than piqued my interest.  Needless to say, I was very excited to be able to get to review this book.  

Max Lucado's ability to get your imagination working is amazing.  While this is a fiction book the spiritual aspect of this book is not.  Reading this book reminded me of the spiritual war that is going on around us, yet we may not exactly be aware of it.  The way that he wrote about guardian angels and spiritual warfare was so neat.  Who would ever think to write about Gabriel and Micheal the Archangel and make them characters in a book?  

This book made me thankful that God doesn't leave us to fight our battles alone.  We always have His help, even if we don't realize it.  The devil is constantly trying to get us to fall, but God is also constantly helping us not to, if we let Him.

Read more about the book here.  


March 5, 2015

Betting on Hope 
"Betting On Hope"
Debra Clopton

Maggie Hope is an advice columnist whose background leaves her with little advice to give . . . and it’s beginning to show. When Maggie fills in at an interview with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan, the on-camera chemistry between them is undeniable. Maggie’s bosses know this is the opportunity she’s been looking for to launch her career—and their bank accounts. In order to save her column, Maggie takes Tru up on the bet that he can teach her to ride a quick-stepping cutting horse like any cowgirl, despite the fact that she has never been on a horse. And in the meantime, she can get the scoop on the man under the cowboy hat.
Tru has been on the competition circuit for longer than he’d like, but he knows it’s the only way he can afford to keep the Four of Hearts Ranch that means so much to his ailing grandfather. So when his sponsors see the opportunity for Tru’s fans to get to know the star on a more intimate level, he knows he must oblige. To his dismay, Maggie not only invades his small town of Wishing Springs, but she also invades his heart, and that is something he cannot let any woman do—for her own good.
In Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart’s desires.

This was my first time reading a book by Debra Clopton and it won't be my last.  "Betting On Hope" had my attention from the beginning.  The characters were so real, likeable and easy to relate to.  Usually a book that has so many different characters gets confusing and hard to keep the characters straight, but Debra Clopton knows how to pull them all together into an easy read. 

While I liked the message the book had on hope, faith and courage, I couldn't help but think that things would have gone a lot of easier for everyone if they would have prayed more.  Yes, they acknowledged God, but acknowledging Him and praying to Him are two different things.

I enjoyed every page of this book.  Most of the time I can guess what's going to happen, but this book kept me guessing. "Betting On Hope" pulls on all of your emotions and will have you right in the middle of this small town in Texas wondering what's going to happen next.  I can't wait for the next book!  

Read more about the book here.


February 27, 2015

Twisted Innocence 
"Twisted Innocence"
Terri Blackstock

Holly Cramer’s past choices have finally caught up to her, but she never expected them to endanger her baby.
Though Holly’s stumbled through most of her adult life as a party girl, she longs to live a more stable life for her daughter. Then police show up to question her about the whereabouts of Creed Kershaw, Lily’s father. She has kept his identity a secret from friends and family—she never even told him about the pregnancy. Now he’s a person of interest in a drug-related murder case.
Determined to keep him out of their lives and turn him over to police, Holly uses her private investigating skills to search for him. But her bravado backfires when he turns the tables and takes her and the baby hostage. As desperate hours tick by, Holly realizes his connection to Leonard Miller—the man who has gunned down several members of her family. Creed claims he’s innocent and that Miller is after him too. His gentleness with Lily moves her, but she can’t trust a man who has held her at gunpoint . . . even if he reminds her so much of herself.
Dangers old and new threaten Holly and her baby, and lives are demanded as sacrifices for love. Through a complex web of mistakes and regret, redemption is the one hope Holly has left to hold on to.

Terri Blackstock's books are always full of suspense, twists n turns, romance and the unexpected.  "Twisted Innocence" was no different.  This book is a can't-put-down-page-turner, that will keep you up late at night reading it to find out what happens.  

This series focus's on three sisters and the disasters that have come their way.  But they stick together and remain united as a family.  They are there for each other and support each other through the ups n downs, blessings and mistakes of life.  This is how a family should be and reminded me of my sisters and me.   Although our personalities are not like the characters in the book, in the end we're still sisters and we're still family.  

I liked how Holly tried so hard to get her life back together and didn't give in to the temptation of her old life. (Something I didn't like was how much it talked about her feeding her baby.  Of course the baby needed to be fed, there's no reason to go on and on about it.)
She loved her baby too much.  She realized that God loves her even with her mistakes.  Which is always a great reminder.  God always loves us, no matter what!  

Read more about the book here.


February 24, 2015

"Paper Hearts"
Courtney Walsh

Abigail Pressman never would have guessed that love notes penned on paper hearts by an anonymous couple could challenge her doubts about romance. A business owner in a quaint tourist town, she dreams of expanding. But lately, she’s more focused on resisting the matchmaking efforts of the Valentine Volunteers, who gather in her store to continue Loves Park’s tradition of stamping mail with the city’s romantic postmark.
When Abigail is unwillingly drafted into the Volunteers, she encounters the hearts, a distraction that couldn’t come at a worse time. A hard-to-read doctor has become Abigail’s new landlord, and he’s threatening to end her lease.
As she fights a growing attraction to this man intent on crushing her dreams, Abigail is inspired to string the hearts in her store, sparking a citywide infatuation with the artsy trend. But when a new batch of hearts arrives, it appears something tragic has happened to the couple. Will uncovering their story confirm Abigail’s doubts, or could it rescue her dreams . . . and her heart?

I was intrigued by this book from the beginning.  Probably because I'm a hopeless romantic and was curious about the story behind the paper hearts.  

The first few chapters were a bit slow for me and really the beginning of the whole story was slow.  I was anxious to read about these paper hearts and they weren't even mentioned until about a third of the way through the book.  

Jacob was a bit annoying as he wasn't man enough to stand up for himself and for what was right.  He did eventually, so I guess we can give him partial credit.  What really bothered me was that he let a flashy woman he didn't even really care about do the pushing around.  

My favorite character was Ursula.  She seemed a bit crusty, but had everyone's best interests at heart, mainly Abigail's.  

"Paper Hearts" was a sweet story and was an relaxing read.  At times it was predictable, but still enjoyable.  

What I liked most about this book was the whole idea of the paper hearts.  It's very sweet, romantic and sentimental, although I would keep my paper hearts.  

 Read more about the book here.  


February 19, 2015

"Remember the Lilies"
Liz Tolsma 

Interred by the Japanese, missionary Irene Reynolds comes across a mysterious note while working at the censor’s office. She memorizes the parts she must black out and delivers it to wealthy nightclub owner Rand Sterling. Before she knows what’s happening, she’s drawn into a web of secrets and danger.
Rand Sterling wants nothing more than to reopen his nightclubs once the war ends. But slimy Frank Covey wants his hand in the till—and has news that could threaten Rand’s reputation if it became public. More importantly, beautiful and intriguing Irene Reynolds cannot discover this information if he expects to persuade her to become his wife.
When Irene is attacked by a sinister Japanese guard and their secrets are exposed, they must learn the true meaning of forgiveness—if they can stave off starvation until the American troops bring freedom.
Although I enjoyed this book, the characters never really became real to me.  Not as the characters did in "Daisies Are Forever".  Rand turned out being a lot better guy than the summary of the book led me to believe.  It was almost as if he were two different people.  Although Irene was supposed to always have a positive outlook, she didn't seem too positive to me.  Not that I can blame her in her situation, but the book portrayed her as being a positive person when she really wasn't.  Anita was my favorite character and I missed her when she wasn't around anymore.  I found myself expecting her to provide her wisdom and strong faith for Irene and was sad when it didn't come. 

"Remember The Lilies" had more gospel in it than "Daisies Are Forever" and I really liked that.  The way that the author intertwined life's lessons into the book was really good and she did without being preachy.   While the life lessons were good for me as a reader, it seemed the characters were forced to learn them, which made it almost unbelievable. 

World War II has always been interesting to me.  All of the things that our forefathers went through to protect this country still amazes me.  "Remember The Lilies" was a great reminder of the sacrifices they made for the freedom that we have today.  This book reveals things about the war and internment camps that I didn't know or never really thought about. 

The way the author included the title of the book throughout the story was lovely.  I liked the fact that she didn't just mention it once, but several times throughout. 

Read more about the book here


February 12, 2015

Hey y'all,

How are you?  I just wanted to drop in and share another gift Dixie made for me for Christmas.  She is just so talented.  That little creative mind of hers is full of ideas.  She made each of us in our family a clock for Christmas.  This one is mine!  I just LOVE it!  Three of my favorite things:  orange, coffee and the SF Giants!  :)

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Have a great day!
SMILE, GOD LOVES YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!