Thursday, April 28, 2016

Together at the Table: A Novel of Lost Love and Second Helpings (Two Blue Doors) by Hillary Manton Lodge

Book Description:  Three months ago, Juliette D’Alisa’s world changed.
In a bittersweet series of events, her mother’s health took a turn for the worse. Juliette and her brother opened their restaurant together to rave reviews, but her romance with Memphis immunologist Neil McLaren ended in anger and tears.
As autumn sweeps into the Pacific Northwest, Juliette feels that she’s finally on the cusp of equilibrium. The restaurant continues to thrive, and her family is closer than ever. She and sous-chef Adrien are seeing each other, both in and out of the kitchen. Just when she thinks her world might stop spinning, a trip to the waterfront lands a familiar face into her path.
Rather than dwell on her personal life, Juliette throws herself into work and research. After reading her grandmother’s letters from war-torn Paris, she still wants to know the full story –  and she’ll travel across countries and oceans to find it.
But even Juliette can’t outrun the man who stole her heart. As she finally uncovers the truth about her family history, what will it mean for her own chances at lasting love?

My Thoughts:  I had mixed feelings about reading this book, simply because it's the third book in the Two Blue Doors trilogy.  It's the last book.  Maybe I'm too sappy but I enjoy reading a "series" of books and learning all about a characters life. 
This "last" book is simply wonderful!
It's interesting that the title of this book is Together at the Table because this book is chock full of wonderful, delicious foods.  Quite a few recipes are included too.  Yummy!
Juliette's family is all together in this last "chapter."  I loved reading about all of them, reading about all the fine food and well, the romance.
If you read, Reservations for Two, then you'll remember that the story didn't end well.  Neil and Juliette ended their relationship in tears and anger.  And Juliette goes back home and begins working with and seeing sous-chef Adrien.
Juliette feels that her heart just belongs to another.  
Then she begins reading her grandmother's letter from war-torn Paris.  It seems that these letters "speak" to Juliette's heart.
And Juliette uncovers truth in her family history.
I loved this ending to the triology of the Two Blue Doors.  

*This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah*

The first two books:

  • Series: Two Blue Doors
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (May 3, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307731790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307731791

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

I saw this recipe for Miranda Lambert's meatloaf ( actually I believe that her mom, Bev, makes it but it's the family fav!)in a magazine.  
We are not fans of meatloaf
but I wanted something different for supper.
  WOW!  It's great!
Miranda's Meatloaf Recipe

 2 lbs. ground beef

1 lb. ground breakfast sausage (mild or regular)

1/2 sleeve of finely crushed saltines or Ritz crackers
2 eggs
1 dash of Worcestershire
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. ketchup
1/2 c. finely chopped bell pepper
1/2 finely chopped onion

Mix all the above ingredients together ( use two hands for better mixing).
Put into a baking dish (casserole or loaf style).
Bake at 350° for 1 hour. 

Prepare topping while baking.
 Topping: Blend together 1 c. ketchup and 1/4 c. brown sugar.
 After baking, pour grease off of loaf. Spread topping over meat generously. (If using a large pan you may need extra...follow above measurements).

Place pan back in the oven for 15 minutes to bake. 
Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
Happy Eating!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Siren's Song (The Storm Trilogy) by Mary Webber

Book Description:  “The realization hits: We’re not going to win. It’s why I couldn’t defeat Draewulf in Bron—because this power was never mine anyway. I drop my arms and let the energy die off. And turn around to Face Eogan.”
After a fierce battle with Draewulf, Nym barely escaped with her life. Now, fleeing the scorched landscape of Tulla, her storm-summoning abilities are returning; only . . . the dark power is still inside her.
Broken and bloodied, Nym needs time to recover, but when the full scope of the shapeshifter’s horrific plot is revealed, the strong-willed Elemental must race across the Hidden Lands and warn the other kingdoms before Draewulf ’s final attack.
From the crystalline palaces of Cashlin to the legendary Valley of Origin, Nym scrambles to gather an army. But even if she can, will she be able to uncover the secret to defeating Draewulf that has eluded her people for generations? With a legion of monsters approaching, and the Hidden Lands standing on the brink of destruction, the stage is set for a battle that will decide the fate of the world.
This time, will the Siren’s Song have the power to save it?

My Thoughts:    I was a little perplexed by the title, "Siren's Song" so I looked up the word siren.  I was surprised to find out that a siren is from Greek mythology.  A siren was a beautiful but dangerous creature, one who lured sailors to ship wreck by their enchanting music and voices.  
After finding out about a siren, I began to read this story.  I didn't read the first two books in this series and I think it's a must to read the other two stories first....because this is the conclusion.
Even though this isn't the type of reading material I would choose, I must say that this is one fast paced read.  And the author does a great job with description.  
The reader can probably tell by the book cover that this is story is labeled as christian fantasy.  
To tell the truth I have a hard time reading fantasy...any kind.  I just don't enjoy it.  It seems too made up to me.  
Even though this is a well written book, I just couldn't "get into the story."
This is book for this christian fantasy readers.  And it has a grand ending!

*This book was provided for review by the Fiction Guild*

  • Series: The Storm Siren Trilogy
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401690408
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401690403

The Goodbye Bride (A Summer Harbor Novel, #2) by Denise Hunter

Book Description:  She only remembers loving him. But he can’t forget the way she left.
Lucy Lovett can’t remember the last seven months of her life. She doesn’t remember leaving her fiancĂ© Zac Callahan weeks before their wedding or moving to Portland, Maine. And she sure doesn’t remember getting engaged to another man. All she remembers is loving Zac more than life itself
Zac was just beginning to get his life back on track after Lucy left him with no explanation. And now she’s back—vulnerable, homeless, and still in love with him. Has he been given a second chance with the only woman who stirs his passion and haunts his dreams?
Lucy knows she must unlock those missing months and discover why she threw everything away. And Zac knows that if he follows his heart he’ll win back the love of his life—but if Lucy’s memory returns, his would-be bride might say goodbye forever.

My Thoughts:  This is one of the "funniest" christian romances I've read this year.  I'm not sure it's suppose to be a humorous read but as I read it I kept seeing the scenarios in my head and would laugh out loud.
Lucy Lovett seems to have lost the last seven months of her life.  She doesn't remember leaving her fiancee, Zac, or moving to Portland.  
But when Lucy has to go back "home" with no memory of the last seven months and love in her heart for Zac....well, it makes a confusing world for Zac.  This is what I found humorous.  All the situations and poor Lucy still doesn't understand because she has no "back memory."
And, then, poor Zac he is SO confused but it is a romance story  and without letting out all the juicy details I will tell you it is a fun read.
Christian romance readers are sure to enjoy this lovely novel.
And here's bonus for you lovely readers you can go to Spotify music playlist and listen to the playlist for The Goodbye Bride as you read the novel:  SPOTIFY Music for The Goodbye Bride  Enjoy the music and the book!

*This book was provided for review by the Fiction Guild*

  • Series: A Summer Harbor Novel (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 8, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718023730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718023737     

Monday, April 25, 2016

COTT {Clash of the Titles}

And now... the Laurel Finalists!!


Clash of the Titles would like to offer a HUGE congratulations to our three Laurel contest finalists! Our contestants made it a tough competition this year with wonderful entries. Our panel of judges, made up entirely of readers, has narrowed it down to three finalists. And they are...

Paula Wiseman's Touched

Delia Lathem's At First Sight

H. L. Wegley's Voice in the Wilderness

Congratulations to our three authors and their books! We at COTT are proud to honor your work, and we wish you luck in the next round.

The annual Laurel Contest is a reader-judged competition that Clash of the Titles offers to highlight published novels in Christian fiction. We love to showcase wonderful talent and to make readers aware of fabulous reads!

All three of our finalist entries will stand before our judging panel again, and a winner will be chosen from among them. We offer a sincere thanks to our reader judges and all our entrants for participating in this contest!

Be sure to check back--the winner will be announced in early May!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

SoooGoood!  Pumpkin Pie French Toast!
I won this cook book from $5 meals
and love this recipe for a fun supper:

  • 12 slices whole wheat sandwich bread 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin 
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Butter and syrup for serving 
  • Fresh fruit or smoothie as side 
  • Set out the bread for dipping.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pumpkin and pie spice until smooth.
  • Dip each side of the bread and cook on a hot, greased griddle or skillet. Flip after 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Once all are cooked, serve with butter and maple. And a side of fresh fruit or bacon/sausage.  
  • If freezing, let cool completely to reduce freezer burn.
  • Enjoy this perfect fall “breakfast for dinner”!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

NIrV, Under the Sea Holy Bible by Zondervan (Author)

Book Description:  The Under the Sea Holy Bible, NIrV is a perfect gift for children ages 6 to 10. Themes of underwater fun and sparkling fish grace the interior of this wonderful children’s Bible. The outside is covered in foil and sparkle. The interior has color inserts featuring whimsical underwater scenes with themes of God’s care and love for each of us and all of creation.

My Thoughts:  When my son was little he loved the show Under the Sea.
Maybe it was all those cute, colorful fishes or they fun way of presenting their lesson...whatever it was, when I saw this beautiful, hard cover Bible I knew it would be a great gift for the young lady in our family.
Now this Bible is for the younger set.  Ages 6-10, even though a five year old might like it too.  
It's written in NIrV (New International Reader's Version ) for a child to understand.  This version is a simplified version of the NIV.  
The Bible is 1,152 pages long and is interspersed with eight glossy colored under the sea themed pages.  
My only disappointed with this Bible was the small print.
Most children ages 6-10 are not always confident readers so a larger font would have been nicer for the young reader.
Overall, the Bible is nice and the hardback cover may be a plus for a young reader since it can withstand more hands.on trauma. 

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Hardcover: 1152 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz (March 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310754046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310754046