Posted in Book reviews, Books, update

December 2017

Well, December is just about over. One day left! And not only does it bring another month to a close, but it also brings the year to a close.
I will have an upcoming post regarding my favourite reads of 2017, and a brief year-wrap-up, but for now I am going along as normal with my monthly recap.
Oh December; the month of Winter and cheer, holidays and happenings, and supposed-to-have-snow. There were flurries of snow that delighted us with their beauty, but we did not get substantial snow till just the other day, and it still is only about…an inch maybe. But it’s beautiful, and I am thankful. And ready for more! :)
We’ve had plenty of cold weather though. Like negative-zero weather. Today is supposed to be very bitter, dangerous wind-chills, and basically we shall only leave the house to do our chores. XD
In the beginning of the month, my family and I celebrated The Feast of Dedication, which was very nice. It was quieter and less…organized than we had originally hoped for, due to unexpected happenings, but it was still good. :)
We had my grandmother staying with us for a week, which was nice – it’d been 5 years since she had been down to our house, and 14 since she stayed with us, so it was nice having her with us again for a bit.
A week later after our grandma had gone back home, we all went up there to help her and my grandpa move into a slightly bigger apartment (same building, just different floor), and that was….well, it was a lot of work, with very little/poor sleep. Moving is hard, even if you only have to go down a few floors. Though elevator-dizziness is a thing that happened much too often. Sometimes I still feel like I’m on one…
A highlight during that trip was going to see a beautiful light ‘show’ that I love so much. It’s put up every year, thousands of lights, and light creations, music, hot chocolate and cookies. It’s just lovely. We weren’t able to get up there the past couple years, but I’m so thankful we got to go this year! They had set-ups like Noah’s Ark, Thomas the Train, The Nativity set, police/ambulance/fire cars-trucks, dinosaurs, Santa, elves, and one of my favourites…a Viking ship. It was really cool. I got a picture, but it was on the cell phone which I haven’t transferred to the computer just yet…
Because of everything that was going on in December, family-related, I didn’t get a whole lot of reading done, but I did manage these four books:
Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris  Guilt by Association by Heather Day Gilbert  Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering  A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (Pearl Spence #3)
I actually still have to get my reviews of the last two posted…guess that will happen in the new year! But you can click on the first two to go to my reviews of those. :)
Did you have a good December? A  good holiday season? I hope so! Let me know in the comments :)
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Posted in Book reviews, Heather Day Gilbert

“Guilt by Association” by Heather Day Gilbert ~ Book Review

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“Guilt by Association” by Heather Day Gilbert

Book Three in the “A Murder in the Mountains” series

Review copy from author, being a launch team member

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

 

About the Book:

Tess Spencer hadn’t planned on returning to her hometown, but when her ex-prisoner mom puts in a special request, Tess overcomes her hesitance to help her turn over a new leaf.

Pearletta Vee’s drug-dealing past is resurrected when the body of an overdosed teen shows up—right next to her trailer. Tess decides to stick around and investigate, yet the evidence is stacked against Pearletta. Tess suspects a setup—but why?

Never one to back down from a challenge, Tess takes on a wayward teen, an abusive grandma, and more than one drug dealer in her quest for the truth. But it’s going to take a miracle to keep her from becoming a casualty in her own personal war on drugs.

Plunging into the shadowy reality of the drug epidemic in West Virginia, Guilt by Association is the third book in the award-winning Murder in the Mountains mystery series.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

:D  <—- That’s how I feel to be reading a Heather Day Gilbert book. I love her writing!
“Guilt by Association” was an absolutely excellent read. So very easy to get into, and if I could, I would’ve read it straight through – I can’t do that with a lot of books (weird quirk of mine) but I could have easily done that with this book if only time had allowed. But I so enjoyed the time I got to spend within its pages.
The mystery was very well-done, gripping to the end, yet not overly…disturbing. I hope that makes sense! There are definitely some dark murder-mystery books out there, but I don’t think Guilt by Association was dark at all, which I appreciate. It was serious without being morbid.
The drug involvement was fascinating, sharing facts I hadn’t previously been aware of. I am thankful the author included this subject and so smoothly worked it in, educating her readers a bit. I was impressed.
And of course, I absolutely loved revisiting the characters! Tess Spencer is such a strong lead character, and so enjoyable to follow along with.
Truly, reading this book was pure pleasure, and felt so realistic, so believable.
The mystery had me curious till the end, with a very satisfying conclusion. And that ending!!! Oh my word, I teared up. Yes, the ending conclusion to the mystery itself was fantastic, but the last page….yep, it hit me right here (imagine me pointing to my heart ;)). You’ll just have to read the book to find out what I mean!
So good. I don’t know what else to say other than that I loved it, enjoyed every minute of it, was impressed, and definitely recommend this series to good-mystery-suspense-homey fiction! I think “Guilt by Association” may actually be my favourite of the series so far! And I hope there’s more books to come, because…yes, very much-needed, in my opinion!! I don’t want to be done with this series. :)
profits
And look! If you buy a copy of this book this month, you will be helping an excellent cause. So do go pick up a copy of this book! (And the first 2 books in this series!)
Posted in God's Lessons, Spiritual beliefs

The Feast of Dedication

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Hello!

I don’t think I’ve ever really mentioned this on here (and if I have, well…memory blank! Just keep swimming ;)), but my family and I have come to learn quite a bit about the Biblical Jewish Holidays over the years, and one of those that we celebrate now is called the Feast of Dedication. Some call it Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights. The meaning behind it is all the same. It’s been a really neat experience to learn more about the Biblical Holy Days. To celebrate the ones that Jesus Himself celebrated, not just man-made holidays.

And yes, it’s been a change to switch to these holidays, but it’s been so good. I can honestly say that. Each year as we learn a bit more how to better celebrate the Feasts, it becomes more enjoyable. I think my favourite feast is this Winter one – The Feast of Dedication.

A family friend wrote a beautiful devotional about this Feast, and I wanted to share that here, because it really is encouraging, and also informative. Let us all shine brightly for Him this season and always! Enjoy reading this devo :)

 

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“Be The Light” by Anita Nelson

“Tuesday night began an 8 day celebration in remembrance of the dedication of the 2nd temple after the Jews reclaimed it from those who had polluted, defiled, and profaned it for over 4 years. It is a time of rededication.

Each year, the Jews remember their countrymen who died for God’s laws when …they were told they could no longer worship God in the way he had taught them. These few men preserved the Word of God so future generations would receive it.

This was a Holy War made up of few Jews in number, but numbers did not matter to them, because they trusted victory comes from God.

Just thinking….
Without Hanukkah, there would be no birth of Christ, no Savior, no songs like Oh, Holy Night.

Think on this!

John 10:22-23 tells us that Yeshua himself, kept the Feast of Dedication .
It is not a Jewish Christmas as so many of us have once thought. It is the story of God’s children refusing to assimilate into other pagan cultures. Let us learn from them!

Let us be set apart, peculiar people who will die to keep, and guard God’s commands!

Yeshua came to be the LIGHT of the World. And, this occasion is a reminder to all of us to be a light to the world.

He brought truths which made Way for all of men to see the path of righteousness, the Way of being right in God’s eyes. Those who don’t have God’s light are not sure where they are, as they are walking with just a small measure of light…the seed of God planted in them. But, just like all seeds, they need light to grow, they need God’s Truth. They need God’s Truth to guide them in what is right. So, those of us who are walking in the light, are to share our light with others who are walking in darkness. We can point them in the right Way!

Just as a light house sends out a beam of hope to guide big, and small ships to safety, our light does the same… When we share our light within us, we help others from having a ship wreck. The more light you and I have, the easier it is for others to know the Way. Many people in this world do not read God’s Word, so our righteousness is an instrument in showing the Way! This, is what Yeshua did. He came in the flesh to show people how to fulfill Obedience to Torah (God’s instructions) by doing it perfectly. We desire to be perfect as He is! And where we fail, there is forgiveness.

Let each one of us be God’s light in whatever sphere of influence he has placed us. Ask God to shine more of His “light” into you. Then, do not hide what truths you have been given, but rather, give them out to others who are seeking light in the darkness. I urge you all to be God’s light today!

God bless you all, in Yeshua’s name, and in his authority! Now, SHINE!”

 

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads, Reviews

“Vanishing Point” by Lisa Harris ~ Book Review

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“Vanishing Point” by Lisa Harris

A Nikki Boyd Files novel

Review copy from Revell Publishing Review Program

My Rating:  5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the Book:

During Garrett Addison’s first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a young girl. She’s the third victim in a string of disappearances with one thing in common–a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies–number six–Garrett blames himself and believes he doesn’t have what it takes to be an agent. What he’ll discover is that, while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him–or Jordan.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris unveils an unforgettable story of a case that has haunted the public and law enforcement for more than a decade. Fans of the Nikki Boyd Files will thrill to finally discover what actually happened to Nikki’s sister, Sarah. New readers will become instant fans after devouring this chilling tale.

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My Thoughts:

 

What a conclusion to this riveting series!
“Vanishing Point” was a unique twist from the first three Nikki Boyd series, and easily captivated my attention from the get-go. Instead of it being from the point of view of Nikki Boyd, the novel starts out some years previous to one of the first abductions in the Angel Abductor’s Case, with the point of view coming from two detectives/agents, Garrett, and Jordan.
Initially I was a bit sad to find it wasn’t Nikki Boyd front and center, but it actually worked really well being this way, and it gave a lot more insight into the case itself, stringing over numerous years until we reached present-day.
The mystery held strong to the very end, and tensions were high. Definitely another action-packed novel!
This series has definitely been a favourite, and while I am really glad to see how it ended, I am a bit sad to find that it’s over. The Nikki Boyd Files certainly brought us on quite the epic journey!
The characters in Vanishing Point were well constructed, just like the first three books. And the creepiness level was definitely there in the serial killer aspect.
It was almost hard watching how the relationship of Garrett and Jordan danced along, but it was very realistic, and don’t worry….it came with a happy conclusion!
The faith thread was also well-executed, beautifully and realistically portrayed.
“Vanishing Point” is a very satisfying finish to a fantastic series, and I am very impressed and pleased with Lisa Harris’ writing ability! Definitely will be eagerly waiting for whatever she has next in store. :)
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Quotes:

 
 
“I’m realizing that sometimes you can’t fix people or relationships. Sometimes all you can fix is yourself. You have to forgive them, love them, and then move on. It’s wha I’m going to have to do.” 
“Over the past decade, Garrett had come to realize more and more that his faith couldn’t rely on what was happening around him, or whether or not he understood how God worked. His faith had to rely on God Himself – who never changed – even when he didn’t understand what God was doing.” 
Posted in Book reviews, Reviews

“Jesus Always: A Devotional” by Sarah Young

 

“Jesus Always” by Sarah Young

A Devotional

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

With scripture and new personal reflections “Jesus Always” brings Jesus’ message of joy—for today and every day. Experience true joy—now and always.
Life today is full of difficulties—loss, sadness, fear. In the midst of these challenges, joy often feels impossible or out of reach. But Jesus has more for His followers than a life of striving, pain, and discontent. He offers life abundant, life to the fullest, life brimming with joy! Jesus Always, the new 365-day devotional from bestselling author Sarah Young, was written as part of Sarah Young’s exploration of the promises of joy in scripture. Written as if Jesus Himself is speaking directly to the reader, Jesus Always invites you into a new way of living—a life of joy. 

This deluxe comfort print edition includes easy-to-read large type and the full scriptures printed out.

Reaching out with joy-filled reminders from the Word of God, these devotions will intimately and gently connect you with Jesus—the One who meets you where you are. Draw near to Him in Jesus Always.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

I love these “Jesus…” devotionals. They’re so beautiful, and full of Biblical truth, spoken from Jesus. I can be kind of picky when it comes to daily devotional books, but these have been a blessing to me, each day feeling like it came right from Yahweh just for me. The Lord definitely uses them in my life, and I find great encouragement in them.
“Jesus Always” has a beautiful cover, leather-like binding, and lovely script. This book is larger in size than my other devos, and is easy to read.
I definitely recommend “Jesus Always”, as well as the other devotionals compiled by Sarah Young. They’re full of truths and comfort.
Posted in Book reviews, Christmas

“One Enchanted Noel” by Melissa Tagg

 

One Enchanted Noël: A Novella (Enchanted Christmas Collection Book 3) by [Tagg, Melissa]

“One Enchanted Noel” by Melissa Tagg

Book Three in the “Enchanted Christmas” Collection

Review ecopy from the author

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Secrets, Sparks and Second Chances…a Heartwarming Holiday Romance

Seb Pierce isn’t exactly a cowboy, but after fifteen years on a ranch in Texas, he might as well be. And he’d do just about anything to keep the rancher who took him in so many years ago from losing his land…including returning to the wealthy roots he’s long since abandoned. Seb agrees to work for his stern grandfather for one year in return for an early draw on his inheritance. But he never expected the agreement to land him in a quirky small town in Iowa at Christmas-time, renovating a dilapidated theater…and running into a woman he never thought he’d see again. She might not remember him, but he remembers her.
After too many years away from her hometown—and too many failures to count—Leigh Renwycke is finally back in Maple Valley and living the stable life she used to wish for. If only she could shake the old restlessness that used to get her into trouble. When Seb Pierce waltzes into her world and begs for her help planning the theater’s holiday reopening, it could be the solution to her discontent. If she pulls it off, it might be enough to jumpstart a new career…and to prove once and for all that the new-and-improved Leigh is here to stay. 
But between old secrets and new sparks, restoring a town treasure in time for Christmas may not be as easy as it seems…especially once Leigh learns the truth about Seb. 

 

 

My Thoughts:

Surprise! Another darling novella from the amazing Melissa Tagg! I don’t think it’s possible for her to write an un-darling story. (Also I’m pleased with myself for using ‘darling’ twice already, because…well, read the story to find out. ^.^)
As usual, the characters were so life-like, so real. And each one so unique. As this is the third novella (and final novella to the Enchanted Christmas Collection), we finally got the chance to read Leigh’s story! We’ve witnessed parts of her life and struggles through the first two novellas, but finally here, we get to see her life as a whole, see her get her own Happily Ever After. That doesn’t always come easy though. But that only adds the depth and reality of the story.
The hero, Seb, was quite nice. ^.^ He had his own bit of struggles, too, and they both had to find peace through it all.
The whole feeling of the novella was charming. The snow, the movie theater, the festivals that Maple Valley comes up with! I love it.
If you’re in the mood for a sweet and charming Winter Novella, pick this one up! You won’t regret reading a Melissa Tagg story. :)
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Where We Belong” by Lynn Austin

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“Where We Belong” by Lynn Austin

Review copy through Bethany House

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

The Adventure of a Lifetime for Two Indomitable Socialite Sisters 

In the city of Chicago in 1892, the rules for Victorian women are strict, their roles limited. But sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian ladies. Their love of adventure and their desire to use their God-given talents has brought them to the Sinai Desert–and into a sandstorm. 

Accompanied by Soren Petersen, their somber young butler, and Kate Rafferty, a street urchin who is learning to be their ladies’ maid, the two women are on a quest to find an important biblical manuscript. As the journey becomes more dangerous and uncertain, the four travelers sift through memories of their past, recalling the events that shaped them and the circumstances that brought them to this time and place.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was my first Lynn Austin book, and I can gladly say that I enjoyed her writing. It was thorough, and pleasant.
It was delightful to follow the sisters, Rebecca and Flora, on their great many adventures, and their center goal always being the Lord. I also loved their saying, “The Lord knows our end”, because that’s true. He’s got us in the palm of His hand, and our days are ordered by Him.
Both sisters were very unique, and different from each other, yet shared such a strong bond. I did actually like having different parts of the story told from the various array of characters, starting with Rebecca, continuing on with Flora, then Soren, and then Kate, and ending with Rebecca again. It all tied together nicely.
This wasn’t an “on the edge of your seat” read – this was more so a “take it slow” read. It wasn’t packed with action, but neither was it boring. As I said, I enjoyed their journeys, and just their lives.
I really enjoyed the character, Soren. His story was good, and real, and sad. I’m so glad he got his own ‘happy ending’ in a way. That was sweet.
It certainly was a long book, but I didn’t find that tiresome as I might in other cases. I also didn’t see much that could’ve been left out. It was a sound story, and their finds on their adventures were exciting! Even more fun was reading the author’s note and finding that it was based on a true story – very neat.
If you like historical fiction, I definitely recommend this one.

Quotes:

“Egyption thinking would say that we must have angered Him. That He’s punishing us. But our faith asks us to trust Him and to believe that He has a plan for our good, even in the midst of disaster.”
“I need to leave my life in God’s hands and be content. I admit I haven’t found contentment yet, but I’m trying. Meanwhile, I need to keep doing His work without expecting to be rewarded with all of my wishes in return.”
“We need to show her grace, Soren.  Jesus said ‘Freely ye have received, freely give’. We must pray for her, too – not that she’ll change into what we want her to be, but that she’ll become all that God intends her to be.”