Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Knitting Fairy (A Crabapple Yarns Mystery) by Jaime Marsman

Book Description:  The Knitting Fairy about a dejected librarian turned novice knitter who finds herself caught in a mysterious knitting scandal.

The cast of variegated characters will keep you laughing as the intricately woven chain of events unwinds. The mystery will have you hooked all the way to the end.

My Thoughts:  I'm not a knitter but I do like a good yarn {smile} and this is such a fun read!

A dejected, actually fired for a silly reason, young librarian, Molly,  is offered a job at a knitting shop.  As she learns to knit, she also meets very interesting people.  And to top.it.all.off she gets the privilege of living in the upstairs apartment for free.  

The characters in this story are funny and whimsical . . . the kind that make you like them at first read.
Of course, just next door to the knitting shop is the most delightful bakery with out.of.this.world cinnamon rolls!  And then there's the not too mushy romance that makes this one GREAT read!
I truly enjoyed this cozy mystery!  
I'm not sure one can label this a christian read . . . yes, prayer is mentioned but honestly, this is a cozy mystery.  But I'm grateful to christian writers who insert christian values into their reads! 
Is there really a knitting fairy?  You must read this book for yourself to find out!  

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: ShadeTree Publishing, LLC (December 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193733127X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937331276
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Match of Wits by Jen Turano

Book Description:  Two years ago, Zayne Beckett's departure from New York City to meet up with his almost-fiance caused Agatha Watson no small amount of grief. So he is the last person she wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the New York Tribune. Looking worse for the wear, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and taken back East to his family. Even though she's over him, Agatha can't help feeling sorry for him and realizes she'll have to be the one to get the stubborn man back home.

Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere. Content to sit and mope over his recent bad fortune and the desertion of his not-quite-fiance, he's prepared to drag his heels all the way back to New York. That is, until he and Agatha find themselves slipping back into the strangely enjoyable bickering and bantering of their old friendship.

It isn't until they arrive in New York City that Zayne realizes Agatha's determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies. When his attempts to repay her for helping him go sadly awry, Agatha proves herself just as stubborn as Zayne. Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth--until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?

My Thoughts:  I must admit that I am fickle.  I chose this book because first, I love the color of Agatha's dress and hat and secondly, look at her eyes.  Eyes speak from the soul and these eyes are full of merriment and mischief!  

And I wasn't disappointed.  Agatha IS full of life (and mischief).  Now, her almost fiancĂ©, Zayne, at first I was somewhat "miffed" with him.  Honestly! Can't he see what is right before his very eyes?!  

But as the story continues the reader is taken in by his bantering (hence a match of wits title) with Agatha.  

I do believe that Agatha and Zayne are two of the most stubborn souls that may have ever graced this planet.  At times I was a bit agitated with both of them.  Learning to love each other and yet, liking each other seems hard for these two.  Maybe, it's pride?!  Yeah, that's what I kept thinking...just let it go and get it together so that you can have a life together.  Quite a mix!  What a match of wits!  What a couple!  Quite a story!  One of Jen Turano's best stories, yet!

*This book was provided for review by Bethany House*
And a special thanks to the author too!  

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764211277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764211270

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Plush Bible Collection, NIV

Book Description:  The Plush Bible Collection, NIV has the same convenient size and readability as the incredibly popular NIV Thinline Bible—now in fun and furry designs for kids and teens. Features include the words of Christ in red, an easy-to-read font size, and measures less than one inch thick.

My Thoughts:  I have been looking for a "cute" Bible for a young lady.  I know that if she likes the looks of the Bible she will be more likely to open it up and read.  Also, I noticed that when she's proud of something she shows it to her friends. So, I was excited when I saw this lovely Bible. Knowing it will make the perfect gift with a lasting impression!
Yes, it's plush and pretty...but more than that it comes in a nice size, it's a thin line which means it's not bulky, it's furry and fun!  And the font (the letter size) is easy to read (this is a "biggie" for me). I know that kids won't read a book or a Bible when the letters/words are too small.
I love the feel and the look of this Bible! And the color is too cute!
This is a great gift for that tween or teen on your list!  I wouldn't recommend this Bible for anyone under third grade.
Love it!!

*This Bible was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Age Range: 8 and up 
  • Hardcover: 1152 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Box edition (September 30, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310746388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310746386

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Clara's Wish: An Amish Christmas Romance by Beth Shriver

Book Description:  In this Amish Christmas romance, Lizzy Ryder discovers that this holiday season could be her best friend’s last. Will she find the comfort and love she desperately needs?

My Thoughts: Another Christmas read before the busy holiday season gets under way! I love Christmas books and this one is more than Christmas it's about love and giving . . . not an overdone Christmas read!
I found the story of Lizzy and Clara and their sweet friendship to be more than a Christmas story.
Lizzy discovers that giving in the holiday season is more about selfless love and giving than about other things.  Even though the Amish are quite nonmaterialistic it seems that all humans struggle with giving more than pie, cakes and other goods. Not wanting to give any spoilers but want, you reader, to know that hair is involved.  To an Amish girl her hair is her pride and sometimes things happen to Amish girls just as  it might happen to an English girl.  {a little kleenex here} Sickness/illness affects all humans, Amish or English we all have trials to overcome.
This is a slower read but I found it quite interesting and, there are twists and turns that make this read interesting. Sometimes a slower read is needed with hot chocolate and a warm fire . . . it calms the mind and makes for a warm winter's eve.
If you enjoy Amish fiction then this is another great read for you!

*This book was provided for review by Bookteria*

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Realms (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1621365972
  • ISBN-13: 978-1621365976

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

Tooo cute!  I found this adorable
 Thanksgiving treat on Pinterst!

Easy to make:

Assemble by placing
 three pretzels on cookie sheet
 place one peppermint pattie on pretzels
 then add eyes 
 one candy corn for nose

**Unfortunately, I could not find the directions so after assembling I placed the cookie sheet in the oven for three minutes at 400*.  The barely melting method made it all stick together.
However, I did the eyes after the melting process and I used drops of white icing with a small dollop of white icing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Love Undone (An Amish Novel of Shattered Dreams and God's Unfailing Grace) by Cindy Woodsmall

Book Description:  A husband and son abandoned to forge a path alone.

A young woman who sacrificed her dreams.
How will the God of grace and hope help them find their way?
At nineteen years old, Old Order Amish Jolene Keim was on the brink of happily-ever-after when everything changed, stealing the future she expected and burdening her with an unbearable decision. For the next ten years, Jolene throws herself into family life—and then she meets Andy Fisher. The horse trainer and father to a sweet nine year-old challenges her and holds up a mirror to issues Jolene has been unwilling to face.
Andy is cautious about his deepening friendship with Jolene, but he believes she knows the truth about him – that he is a grass widower. As a man whose wife has abandoned him six years past, he is unable to divorce or remarry according to the Amish ways. Andy has wrestled with God concerning his reality, and he had found peace with the solitary future facing him…until he met Jolene.
As Andy and Jolene find themselves confronted by difficult choices, will they trust in God's guidance—or will the allure of their deepening friendship only lead to further temptation?

My Thoughts:  When I read a Cindy Woodsmall novel I am always amazed at how much research she has done when writing about the Amish/Old Order Amish.  And in A Love Undone Ms. Woodsmall writes about Jolene and Andy. . . . Old Order Amish.
Jolene is one of those obedient responsible types.  So, it's no surprise when her parents pass away from a drowning accident that she takes it on herself to postpone her own plans, her own happiness to take care of her siblings....well, the next ten years fly by.  
Then Jolene meets Andy.  
I learned a new word in this read . . . grass widower which means 
1. A man who is divorced or separated from his wife.  2. A man whose wife is temporarily absent.  
Andy is a grass widower.  And when Andy meets Jolene he assumes that she knows he is a grass widower.  Ooops!  Never assume!  Simce andy's wife abandoned him, he cannot divorce or remarry according to Amish "laws."
Now, Andy and Jolene are confronted with their feelings and they must also rely on God's ways and trust Him with their feelings.
Quite a read!  Not only well written but interesting with a new twist on Amish culture!

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

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (September 9, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030773000X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307730008

Monday, November 17, 2014

COTT {Clash of the Titles} September New Releases Clash Champion

And we have a champion! 

Congratulations to clash winner Sharyn Kopf and her book Spinstered: The Novel. A touching debut, Spinstered began as a nonfiction book idea and, through God's design, became a novel that will speak to many women. 

Early reviewer Anne Lemon says this about Spinstered:"Spinstered is a poignant and realistic portrait of extended singleness. It offers comfort and hope to readers who have never married and are brokenhearted about it. It's also just a plain good read that single women will see themselves in, laugh, and maybe cry, too. ... In Kopf's novel, just like in real life, the gut-punches of our alone-ness don't always get resolved in a marital happy ending. But she offers the promise that we all can have the prize that Catie ultimately finds. For this message of hope, single readers will be grateful."

Spinstered, The Novel: 

Three friends. Three stories. Three women trying to figure out how they ended up over 40 and still single.

Committed to her job and pushing fifty, Catie Delaney has almost given up on her dream of love and marriage. Maybe, she tells herself, she’d be happier just embracing her singleness. Maybe that's been God’s will all along.

Catie's friends, Jolene and Uli, have their own struggles with men, careers, and family.

Then into this mix of feminine angst walks Brian Kemper—the latest GWP (Guy With Potential) to join their church’s singles group. But just as something seems about to happen between him and Catie, her world falls apart.

With their hearts on the line, these three friends search for hope ... and find it in unexpected places.

Purchase Spinstered, The Novel:

Pull up a chair now and join us for a look inside the creation of this book, and a glimpse of its author's heart.
Let’s start at the beginning—how long have you wanted to be a writer and what did you envision for your writing life?

I knew I wanted to be a writer when I wrote my first poem at the age of 5. And, for the longest time, that dream meant being a romance novelist. In my 20s, I saw myself becoming the clean, Christian version of Kathleen Turner’s character in Romancing the Stone—enjoying a life of adventure and romance and lots of bestsellers. 

So, what happened?
Well, things didn’t turn out the way I imagined. (Do they ever?) On October 15, I turned 51 and, though I suppose I’ve had a few mild adventures, I still dream of true love and being such a popular novelist that even people in the jungles of Columbia have heard of me. 

Then, in my 40s, I realized I needed to write about my single heart and broken dreams. When I started working on Spinstered, it was a nonfiction book about grieving singleness. I took the seven stages of grief—denial, disbelief, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression and hope—and applied them to what I was dealing with as a 40-something single woman. 

A few years later, while at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, a friend encouraged me to focus on my fiction writing. As a result, Spinstered the Novel was born.

What are some of your strengths as a writer?
Years ago, I had the privilege to work for the in-house radio marketing department at Focus on the Family. I learned I not only love writing scripts and dialog but I’m pretty good at it. I even won a few awards while I was there. 

I’m also passionately committed to making my manuscript as good as I can. Though that can also be a detriment because I’m a bit OCD about it, which means I have a hard time letting something I wrote go until it’s perfect. And it’s never perfect.

Continuing that thought, what are your weaknesses as a writer?
Well, to be honest, I don’t write as much as I should. I think it’s a mixture of fear and laziness. Fear that what I write won’t be any good. And the laziness that comes from letting other things distract me from what I know needs to be done. Like spending too much time on Facebook.

Why did you decide to self-publish Spinstered? 
That’s a long, sad story but suffice it to say I went through a disappointing contract experience that did not end with a published book. In the meantime, numerous interactions with singles fed the urgency I felt to get this book to the audience I know is out there. 

My choice was to start over with submitting to agents or editors—a process that can take years—or self-publish. Since the novel had already gone through several rounds of edits, I knew I could have it ready within a week or two. In fact, I was able to make my goal of taking copies to the Labor Day Singles Retreat at Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, NC. I sold several copies there and made some great connections. It also led to my first 5-star review!

What’s next?
First, I plan to finish and self-publish the nonfiction version—Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40—in the next few months. In addition, I wrote an unrelated novella titled Cold Read that I hope to have available soon. Finally, I have two sequels to Spinstered the Novel in the works. Book two will be titled Inconceived and I’ll probably name book 3 Altared. Of course, all of that could change. I’m open to whatever God wants to do!

About Sharyn:
Spinstered is Sharyn Kopf’s first novel. Over the years, her work has included co-authoring a book about traumatic brain injury, penning scripts for stage, and writing for newspaper as well as Focus on the Family radio. 

Every Friday, Sharyn ponders the over-40 single life at www.girlsnightin40.com, the blog she shares with two other authors. For her day job(s), she works as a literary publicist for Route 1 Manuscripts and teaches high school English at a small Christian school.

She lives in Bellefontaine, Ohio, just five minutes from her favorite people in the world—her family. You can connect with Sharyn through her blog or on Facebook.