Monday, March 5, 2018

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano, Tyndale Publishing

Rachel Bishop, part owner of Paisley, a casual fine dining establishment is determined to keep her eatery alive and kicking, but when food critic Carlton Epsy stops in for a bite, the future of Paisley is now questionable. After Epsy reviews the eatery, Rachel’s partners buys her out of the company and Rachel must decide whether to continue culinary cuisine or give it up.

The real problem for Rachel comes when Alexander Kamin writes an essay entitled ‘The Civl War’ that includes his subtle defense of Rachel and Paisley (that are mentioned by name) concerning Epsy’s review.  Kamin’s comments do more harm than good and leads Kamin to help Rachel re-establish her credibility as a culinary genius.

Kamin steps in by hosting ‘The Saturday Night Supper Club’, an exclusive ‘pop-up’ dinner event, eventhough Rachel is not quite sure or ready to completely trust him after the damaging article was published.

The Saturday Night Supper Club has a different and refreshing plot as compared to other books I have read. At the same time, it was a little slow evolving and would have liked it better if the pace had picked up. I recommend to book lovers who enjoy the culinary arts and cooking with a little romance.

I received this book from the Tyndale Publishing book review group in exchange for an honest review according to the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines.

The Healthy Living Handbook by Laura Harris Smith, Chosen Books

The Healthy Living Handbook is divided into three parts: Section 1 – Spirit, Section 2 - Mind, Section 3 - Body. Each chapter concludes with Healthy Habit Helpers which questions asked place you in a spiritual thought process and a prayer that you are asked to place your hand over your heart and repeat aloud.

In Section 1- Spirit, Chapter 8, Accept No Substitutes Laura Harris Smith discusses the top five substitutions people use for “peace, comfort, and companionship instead of turning to God for His guidance. The top five she refers to are:
ü Food
ü Alcohol and other substances
ü Yoga or New Age Meditations
ü Relationships
ü Business/Work/Ministry

She further explains using substitutions are considered as “potentially dangerous spiritual substitutions” quoting “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3 KJV)

In Section 2-Mind, Chapter 9-Keep Good Company, there is a test to complete in the Healthy Habit Helper section. Naming your three closest friends, you answer questions referring to their vocal love for Jesus Christ, if they are seeking the Kingdom of God, and whether they are “planted in church by attendance and flourishing.”

In Section 3-Body Chapter 7-Strike Oil, the discussion based on the importance of essential oils and their several uses (i.e., bath, shower, food, and spot baths). Included is a list of most common ailments and which oils are best to support healing.

The Healthy Living Handbook has scriptural references throughout each chapter to support the discussions Laura Harris Smith shares with her audience. Overall, the handbook is an easy read that recommended for all spiritual believers alike.

I received this book from the Crossed Focus reviewers group in exchange for an honest review according to the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Royal Affair by Amy Saunders

As crown princess of Lorencia, Desi can handle other royals, dignitaries, and celebrities without batting an eyelash. But Astin Gold, the suave heir to a hotel empire? No amount of diplomatic training prepared her for him.

Or the whirlwind media scandal she’s about to ignite with him.

Rumors swirl, and the pressure is on to deflect the attention. But Desi’s feelings for Astin only blossom, despite allegations that he’s using her for his own gain. As she dares to date him under the radar, it becomes clear someone close to her is behind the scandal. And their secret won’t stay secret forever.

As tensions rise, Desi must decide if Astin deserves her trust. And, more important, her heart.

Crown Princess of Lorencia, Desdemona Catarina Marie Ferrara-Patar, is better known as simply Princess Desi who has a spotted mini pig named Octavian for a pet. Desi is still finding herself as a young woman who will eventually be the Queen of Lorencia. She gets plenty advice from those who are around and close to her. Chloe, her private secretary, helps Desi with her daily itinerary who also gives advice on her personal affairs. Queen Mother Nanon, Queen Emilia’s mother and Desi’s grandmother always reminds Desi that she and her daughter have been through some of the same situations Desi is now facing.

Desi’s mother, Queen Emilia, allows Desi much freedom to do as she pleases until a certain suitor makes himself known, Astin Gold. Astin is heir to the famous Gold Hotels Empire whom Desi knew since their teenage years through college. He recently arrived in Lorencia to seek permission from the Royal Family to expand the Gold Hotel located there. As Astin attempts to woo Desi, she is taking care that he does not use her for his own personal gain.

I will not reveal anything other than what I mentioned in previous paragraphs. I want you to read for yourself and feel just as good as I did for Desi and her official decisions and for Astin as he comes to a definite conclusion concerning his feelings for Desi.

I enjoyed the plot of this mystery love story and the concept behind it. Just when you think Desi and Astin are going to bed down, they do not. This was very refreshing for a love story being that there was no explicit sex described. Very refreshing. The story line was of good quality but the constant descriptive reference to Desi and how she felt when meeting Astin or the different ways Astin smiled, or did not smile was redundant and should have been edited a little more.

I recommend this mystery love story novel to those who like mysteries and love stories. This one should be read on a cozy afternoon with a cup of tea, coffee or cocoa and teacakes, croissants or biscotti.

I received this novel from CLP Blog Tours in exchange for an honest opinion in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines.

Amy is a sci-fi/mystery addict 
with a soft spot for humor and romance. 
She lives in Massachusetts, 
and loves to bake and watch movies.


Friday, January 5, 2018

Whisper, How to Hear the Voice of God by Mark Batterson, Multnomah

“We lean toward a whisper, and that’s what God wants. The goal of hearing the heavenly Father’s voice isn’t just hearing His Voice, it’s intimacy with him…His whisper is the very breath of life.”  
Mark Batterson, pages 9-10

In his book, Batterson discusses how to listen for the whisper of God’s voice. He also discusses ‘The Seven Love Languages’ which are Scripture, Desire, Doors, Dreams, People, Promptings, and Pain. Each language section begins with a bible scripture and reveals the topic’s relation to that scripture.

One of my favorite languages I enjoyed reading was Hidden Figures: “To believe that any of those people are in our lives by happenstance is to grossly underestimate the sovereignty of God. He wants to use them to speak into our lives and he wants use us to speak into theirs.”

Learning to hear from God is something many people has questions about. You can get your answers in this book. I dare not give another quote from this book because I want you to read for yourself how to His voice. You will not be disappointed.

There is a downloadable accompanying Whisper Discussion and Reflection Guide to use with Whisper. I recommend you download to further experience the Whisper.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review according to the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines.

Gifts from Heaven, True Stories of Miraculous Answers to Prayer, Compilation by James Stuart Bell, Bethany House Publishers

James Stuart Bell has compiled over 30 stories of answers to prayer from individuals who experienced life-changing events in their lives. Their stories are told with conviction and how God kept His promises.

I am listing a few of the short stories quotes that touched my heart without giving any spoilers so you may read for yourself how God works.

He Opened My Eyes
“Moreover, it wasn’t what I believed but who I trusted that made the difference.”

The Mysterious Comforter
“Ask the guy who was there when you came.” “Honey, I was the first one there, “ she said…..”you were sitting on the side of the road by yourself…”

Father Knows Best
“God listens past the words of our mouths and hears the words of our hearts. In His infinite wisdom, he answers the prayers of our hearts in way we could not fathom with our finite minds. I am so very grateful that our Father knows best.”

Leaving the God of Money
“Our wealth is not in our bank account, but in the treasury of our strong marriage and our walk with the Lord.”

I encourage all believers and non-believers to read this compilation to learn how people experienced the good works of God in their lives.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review according to the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Glory Days by Max Lucado, Thomas Nelson Publisher

"Personalize that promise. Put your name in the blanks."
Max Lucado 
Chapter 1 - Glory Days, page 11

I opened this book and began reading Chapter 1 entitled Glory Days. Something inside of me started rise as my eyes filled with tears until the last word of this chapter. I compared my life with the bondage in Egypt, the wandering in the wilderness, and reaching the Promised Land Life in Canaan.

As it is said many times, “the struggle is real,” the struggle is different for every person yet similar in some instances. I came to realize before going on to Chapter 2, Inherit Your Inheritance, I have arrived in Canaan without knowing I had finally came out of the wilderness.

What did it for me? The end of Chapter 1 and the short exercise to place your name in the blanks: And the Lord gave unto Edythe all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers: and Edythe possessed it, and dwelt therein.
And the Lord gave Edythe rest round about, according to all the sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of her enemies before her; the Lord delivered all her enemies into her hand.There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house Edythe; all came to pass.(Joshua 21:43-45)

I noticed that at the end of each chapter there was sentence that relayed a message. I began writing down the last sentence of every chapter and re-read them.

1) Ready to march? 2) Get ready to cross Jordan
3) Whenever I wander too far from my Master’s voice, my life is ruff, ruff, ruff, 4) We will all know “Amazing Grace” by heart, 5) Yours will too,
6) Then, and only then, will you be ready to face Jericho, 7)  Let Him be your strength,
8) It’s just a matter of time before your Jericho comes down, 9) He will catch you every single time,
10) You may have missed a goal, but you’re still part of God’s team, 11) It was built for people like us, 12) And bring extra sunscreen, because the day of victory will last long into the night,
13) You be you, 14) You are a Promised Land person,
15) And I choose faith, 16) These days are Glory Days

Is just me? Or do you see a message too?

I recommend this book to all for enlightenment to the glory days and help with crossing your Jordan. There are excellent Bible references used as guidelines for this inspirational book. I truly enjoyed reading and performing the exercise.

I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through the Litfuse Reviewer Program, in exchange for an honest opinion in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines.

MURDER ON THE MOOR Juliana Deering Bethany Publishing

Drew and Madeline Farthering are contacted by Drew’s friend with whom he attended school, to assist in solving the murder of the town’s vicar, amid other odd incident

School friend Beaky Bloodworth married a very beautiful woman, Sabrina, that Drew believes is someway involved in the eerie happenings in Buntings Nest and the Bloodworth Park Lodge, which beaky owns as part of a family inheritance. Madeline on the other hand disagrees with Drew’s suspicions of Sabrina as a suspect.

As Drew and Madeline delve deeper into the town’s weird occurrences, they reveal more information regarding the Bloodworth family. At one point, Drew becomes a main suspect in one of the murders in Buntings Nest.

Overall, the novel has a good plot but I felt was a little wordy and may have been edited to shorten the lengthiness. Good read for persons who like mystery and suspense novels in an English countryside setting.

I received this book from Bethany Publishing in exchange for an honest opinion in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

On the Road with Del & Louise, A Novel in Stories by Art Taylor, Henery Press

On the Road with Del & Louise is the story of a woman while employed at a 7-11 convenience store robbed by the man whom she eventually falls in love and alongside Del begins to lead a life of crime.  Their romance and Del’s criminal activities lead to living life on the lam from New Mexico to California, and from North Carolina to Las Vegas to North Dakota.

Del & Louise’s adventurous travels include mayhem in the world of real estate, sophisticated art galleries, wine tasting in Napa Valley to changing their identities by adopting the first names of Bonnie and Clyde. The story unfolds through the eyes of Louise (Bonnie) as she occasionally contemplates whether to stay with Del (Clyde) in continuing this lifestyle.

I recommend to readers of drama, romance, and Bonnie and Clyde fans for an adventure from state to state. I received this book from Henery Press through the Net Galley Reviewer Program in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Fatal Trauma by Richard L. Mabry, MD

“Nobody move!” starts Chapter 1, page 1 with a lone gunman holding a nurse hostage as he points a pistol against her head to force the emergency room doctor to help his brother who was shot.

Mark baker is dating Kelly Atkinson, the nurse held hostage and Anna King the surgeon whom he assisted in the emergency room on the police officer shot in a gun battle with the deceased perpetrator.

After a doctor involved with the treatment of the perpetrator’s brother dies, Mark believes he knows who is responsible and wonders if his and others involved that night are in danger.

Fatal Trauma is a good read but at times felt a little wordy. Dr. Baker’s relationships seemed awkward and unbalanced between Kelly and Anna.
Overall, I enjoyed the plot, suspense, and setting of this novel. I recommend to readers of medical, romance, and suspense novels.

I received this book from Abingdon Press through the Net Galley Book Review program in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines.

Seal Team Six: Hunt the Fox by Don Mann and Ralph Pezzullo, Mulholland Books

Another action-packed adventure for the Seal Team Six elite as Crocker goes into action in the first few pages of Chapter 1 when his partner Jared, a CIA Operative is killed.  During an operation in Istanbul, all action is transpiring at a brisk pace. I was beginning Chapter 3 within five minutes (I have never taken a speed-reading course).

Mancini, Suarez, Davis, and Akil are back to join forces with Crocker in saving the day by locating Weapons of Mass Destruction before they are used by the enemy.

This is the fifth novel in the Seal Team Six series and I cannot wait for the next installment. The great action and camaraderie of the team is what a good action-packed novel needs. I recommend to persons who like action, CIA Operative, and combat novels with a bang. 

Happy reading!

I received this book from Mulholland Books through the Net Galley Book Reviewer Program in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines.