February 10, 2016

A Son’s Vow 
"A Son's Vow"
Shelley Shepard Gray

Three months have passed since the fire at the mill that changed the quiet and peaceful town of Charm, Ohio.  Two families that were once very close have been torn apart.  Two families that both lost their fathers.  Now the children are left to pick up the pieces and try to move on.  But not everyone is able to do that.

Aaron Kurtz has let his grief turn into anger.  An uncontrollable anger where he is hurting his siblings, especially his sister Darla.  Lukas Kinsinger finds out what Aaron is doing and tries to talk to Aaron, but he won't listen.  One day Aaron goes too far and gives Hannah, a neighbor girl, a black eye and in front of witnesses.  Lukas and two other men of the church confront Aaron and try to get him to change his ways and let go of the anger.

Will these two families ever overcome their grief and move on?  Will Darla and Luke be able to start their own family or will they have to keep on trying to hold both of their families together?

This was a different kind of Amish book.  The Amish are usually portrayed as being so forgiving, no matter what.  But this portrays them as being human, maybe too human.  

I didn't like all the abuse Aaron did, but Aaron finds forgiveness can solve problems.

It did leave out what happened to Hannah when she shows up with a black eye in the company of an English man. That left me hanging.  Maybe that will be addressed in book 2.

Read more about the book here.


February 1, 2016

Cover Art 
"Rising Darkness"
Nancy Mehl

Sophie Wittenbauer left her strict Mennonite hometown under a cloud of shame and regret. Certain she's left her past far behind her, she's now focused on her job at a newspaper and is shocked when she stumbles upon the name of someone she knew in her old life. But when she learns the man--a prisoner--claims a suspect from a decades-old unsolved crime is hiding out in the small town of Sanctuary, Missouri, she can't resist following the lead in hopes of furthering her career.

Almost immediately upon her arrival, Sophie's confronted with a face from her past and fears her intention of using a false identity to investigate is doomed. But with the help of Sanctuary's charismatic young pastor, Sophie knows she's getting close. Will she be able to conceal the truth of her own past long enough to find the suspect before someone puts a stop--fatal or otherwise--to her investigation?

This book is filled with twists and turns and will keep you guessing until the end.  Just when I thought I had it figured out, I was proven wrong.  

Nancy Mehl has created some very real and likable characters in her latest novel.   I absolutely loved the reunion of Sophie and her friend from the past.  (I don't want to give any spoilers away.)  But there were a lot of characters and it was hard to keep up with them all.  I do wish that Esther hadn't disappeared towards the end of the book.  She's a sweetheart.  

While this is book three in this series, I didn't feel like I was out of the loop because I didn't read the other books.

Read more about this book here.

Mermaid Moon 
"Mermaid Moon"
Colleen Coble

Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find . . . mother.”
Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.
Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart—and left—without a word, years ago.
When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.
As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

"Mermaid Moon" is full of unexpected twists and turns.  A page turner that will keep you up reading at night. This book is filled with suspense and leave you guessing until the very end.  

This is book two in Colleen Coble's 'Sunset Cove' series.   While you won't be lost with the main part of the story, there are some characters from book one that carried over into this book.  Their story line isn't a big part of this book, but I read the first book and had already forgotten their story, so it was difficult to keep up with that part of the book.  I do recommend that you read book one first.

While I enjoyed this suspenseful story, there are some things that I'm still confused about. Mainly the criminal part.  Maybe it's just me.  It was late when I was reading the end.  Also, there seemed to be a lot of loose ends, but they could be concluded in book three.  

Read more about the book here.


January 15, 2016

 photo cd5c9ed1-592a-4868-8e2b-7a25f00c1262.jpg 

Hey y'all,
It's been a while huh?  At least a while since I've posted something other than a book review.  Sorry about that.  Life just gets busy, you know?  

Well even though it's a bit late, here is the bulletin board that I put up at Church for Christmas this year.  I believe this is one of my favorite ones, if not my absolute favorite.  It may look complicated and difficult, but it's actually pretty easy.  The hardest part was finding a picture of the King James Bible, opened and at the right angle.  It's a play on words, get it?  "Spend time in God's presence (presents)"?  You're smart, I know I didn't have to point that out to you! ;)

Here's what you need:
1.  material (for background)
2.  Christmas garland (for border - $ store) 
3.  small gift bags ($ store) and ribbon
4.  Tissue paper
5.  wrapped box (with bow and ribbon)
6.  appropriate sized letters
7.  card stock (for gift tags)

Want to know how to do it?  
1.  Make sure you have the right letters (something that always hinders me is not having the right amount or size of letters)
2.  print a picture of the Bible.  Yep, it's just a piece of paper.
3.  wrap a box (for the Bible) place bow and ribbon the box (my sister actually made the bow, but you can buy a bow and it will work just as good)
4. make gift tags that say "Church", "God's Word", and "Prayer" (make sure they're facing the right way according to which direction you put them) and attach to the gift bags with ribbon
5.  Add a red ribbon to the Bible for a bookmark.  I actually did this after I took the picture. 

Attaching to the bulletin board:
1. attach background
2.  attach border
3.  attach the box onto the board with thumbtacks (this is the most difficult of the whole board)
4.  take the Bible picture onto the top of the opened box
5.  place the box lid at an angle and to the side of the Bible, as if it you had just opened the package
3.  attach gift bags with thumbtacks through the back of the bag only (not front, so to make sure you get the 3-D effect)
4.  add the tissue paper into the gift bags
5.  add your letters (the reason why I did this last instead of first is because I didn't know how much room I was going to have to work with)

While this is a Christmas bulletin board, you can adjust it and use any time of the year, since we should time in God's presence year 'round and not just at Christmas.

Hope you all enjoy and have a happy weekend! 

SMILE, GOD LOVES YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cover Art 
"Murder At The Courthouse"
Ann Gabhart

Welcome to Hidden Springs
732 731
Michael Keane's stressful days as a Columbus police officer are done. He's ready to relax into his new position as deputy sheriff in his sleepy hometown. Nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs, Kentucky--and that's just fine with Michael.

Nothing, that is, until a dead body is discovered on the courthouse steps. As Michael works to solve the case, it seems that every nosy resident in town has a theory. When the sheriff insists Michael check out one of these harebrained theories, his surprising discovery sends him on a bewildering search for a mysterious killer that has him questioning everything he has ever believed about life in Hidden Springs.

Bringing with her a knack for creating settings you want to visit and an uncanny ability to bring characters to life, A. H. Gabhart pens a whodunit that will keep you guessing.

A "cute" and quirky whodunit novel, yet predictable.  Things seemed to be obvious and not very mysterious.  For me, the more mysterious the better.  

A light read if you're not looking for something that completely draws you away from everything.  

The faith of the main characters is probably the best part of the book.

Read more about this book here.

"Keeping Christmas"
Dan Walsh

Stan opened the ugly ornaments box and pulled out the top three ornaments, the ones wrapped in green paper, the kids' favorites, and set them on the coffee table. He picked up the first one, the biggest one--Anna's blue pinecone--and began to unwrap it. Without thinking, Judith walked up, stopped him, and gently took it out of his hand. She wrapped it back up, set it carefully in the box. Then picked up the other two ornaments, put them in the box, and closed the flaps.

"What's the matter?" Stan said. "Did I do something wrong?"

"I don't think I can do this."

Nothing is more beautiful than family
For the first time since their children were born, empty nesters Judith and Stan Winters spent Thanksgiving without the kids, and it's looking like Christmas will be the same. Judith can't bring herself to even start decorating for the holiday; her kids always hung the first ornaments on the tree, ornaments they had made each year since they were toddlers. Sure, the ornaments were strange-looking--some were downright ugly--but they were tradition.

With Judith refusing to decorate the bare spruce tree in their living room, Stan's only hope for saving the holiday is found in a box of handmade ornaments . . .
I could not really get into this book at first.  I was afraid that it was going to be a sad, depressing story and those just are not for me.  This book actually turns out being really sweet and heartwarming.  A true reminder of the importance of family and the memories that we create with them, not only at Christmas time, but year 'round.  

While we all may have different family traditions, they are intended to do the same thing, pull us together as a family.  Make us closer and remind us of good times.  That's what "Keeping Christmas" is all about. 

Read more about the book here.