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Mysteries, polka dots, California Rolls, TJ Maxx, cozy blankets, rainy days and getting the first spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar make me smile. Spiders, rude people, cold fingers and toes, baby leashes, people that don't wrap their packages before going to the Post Office, poison ivy and Math (pretty much all of it) make me want to scream. My perfect day would be spent with my wonderful husband and sweet girls- watching movies in our jammies! Of course, having the movie theater to ourselves would be great, too. Please pass the popcorn and M&M's.:) I am saved by the grace of God. He is my constant companion and hears my every prayer. What a blessing! I'd love to hear from you! Lori at toosillysisters@cox.net

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Alliance by Jolina Petersheim


My Thoughts:

The Alliance, written by Jolina Petersheim, is a thought provoking story of what could happen in an earth shattering, unseen future. The beginning of the book immediately grabs hold of readers when Moses Hughes' plane dramatically crashes into an Old Order Mennonite community after the instruments are destroyed, His accident was mysteriously caused by an electromagnetic pulse which wiped out technology- cars stop running, electricity fails, and telephones ceasing to work are only the beginning. Leora Ebersole, a young independent Mennonite, volunteers to care for Moses' wounds, although she's already responsible for her younger siblings and grandmother. When Moses reveals his concerns to the Mennonite community members it includes plans of guns and protection from the outside world. Chaos will be coming soon, he tells them, and they need to be prepared. What follows is something no one could have ever foreseen.

I enjoyed this unique glimpse into the future with Mennonite and "Englisch" people working together for survival. There is tension, drama and emotion and the feeling of peril is pervasive. The story does tend to drag a bit in portions of the book but overall a good read. The sequel, The Divide, will be released in spring 2017.

About the Book:

When Leora Ebersole sees the small plane crash in her Old Order Mennonite community, she has no idea it’s a foreshadowing of things to come. When the young pilot, Moses Hughes, regains consciousness, they realize his instruments were destroyed by the same power outage that killed the electricity at the community store, where Englischers are stranded with dead cell phones and cars that won’t start.

Moses offers a sobering theory, but no one can know how drastically life is about to change. With the only self-sustaining food supply in the region, the Pacifist community is forced to forge an alliance with the handful of stranded Englischers in an effort to protect not only the food but their very lives.

In the weeks that follow, Leora, Moses, and the community will be tested as never before, requiring them to make decisions they never thought possible. Whom will they help and whom will they turn away? When the community receives news of a new threat, everyone must decide how far they’re willing to go to protect their beliefs and way of life.

***Read a sample of The Alliance here!***

*I was given this book by Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*

Saturday, September 10, 2016

God Bless Us Everyone by Eva Marie Everson


My Thoughts:

God Bless Us Everyone is a contemporary story with parallels to the classic book, A Christmas Carol. Charlene Dixon was raised by her grandmother, "Sis", while keeping the whereabouts of her parents a secret. Life is good until she loses her position at an exclusive all-girls school. Charlene returns to her home town as the holidays approach and discovers that her old crush, Dusty Kennedy, is now the school drama teacher. Memories from the past assault her as she also runs into her father- whom she hasn't seen in many years. Has he changed? Can she forgive him? Charlene's grandmother and Dustin guide Charlene toward an introspective look into A Christmas Carol. Faith, grace and forgiveness play a large part in yesterday as well as today.

God Bless Us Everyone is an interesting contemporary twist on an old story. Unfortunately, I didn't connect with many of the characters, as they all seemed a bit shallow to me. I wanted to like Charlene and Sis but their relationship appeared awkward, at best. I'd categorize this book as more of a novella and that's perhaps why the characters lacked the depth that I typically prefer in a story. I wanted to hear more about Dusty's wife and son, Charlene's mom and dad, as well as Charlene's grandmother. I was left with more questions than answers after finishing this book.


God Bless Us Every One(Abingdon Press, September 2016)
Charlene Dixon—called Charlie by family and friends—is devastated at the recent loss of her job. 
For the last five years, the twenty-seven-year-old has blossomed as the activities director of an exclusive all-girls school. But when a misunderstanding with the headmistress leads to a pink slip right before the holidays, Charlie packs up her dreams and returns to her grandmother, Sis, who raised Charlie as her own in the mountains of North Carolina.
When Charlie arrives—broken and confused—Sis immediately puts her granddaughter to work behind the scenes of the local school’s Christmas play, A Christmas Carol. Charlie prickles at working with Dustin Kennedy, the drama teacher and her old crush from schooldays, but is even more put out at that the choice of the Dickens’ classic for the holiday performance. When she discovers her estranged father’s involvement her world turns on its head once more. But when Sis and Dustin encourage her to take a deeper look at the story behind A Christmas Carol, Charlie learns about trust, faith, and forgiveness and the needs of people in their own community.

{MORE ABOUT EVA MARIE EVERSON}

Eva Marie Everson is an award-winning speaker and author of “The Road to Testament,” “Things Left Unspoken,” “This Fine Life,” “Chasing Sunsets,” “Waiting for Sunrise,” “Slow Moon Rising,” and The Potluck Club series (with Linda Evans Shepherd). She is the president of Word Weavers International, Inc., a member of AWSA, ACFW, RWA, the director of Florida Christian Writer’s Conference, and the contest director for Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. She and her husband make their home in Casselberry, Florida.
Find out more about Eva Marie at http://www.evamarieeversonauthor.com.
*I was given a copy of this book by Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Things We Knew by Catherine West


My Thoughts:

The Things We Knew, by Catherine West, is a compelling family drama/mystery with intriguing flashbacks from the past scattered throughout. The Carlisle siblings- Lynette, Gray, Liz, David and Ryan grew up on the island of Nantucket in rambling Wyldewood Manor. Summers were filled with sailing, beach time and family until the night that their mother died. Questions remain unanswered as to the events of that evening. The tragedy spurred the scattering of the siblings and all but Lynette and her father, Drake, leave Nantucket in search of a new path. As the book beings we discover that Lynette is desperately trying to keep Wyldewood and is financially struggling while at the same time her father is losing his health. She demands a family gathering of all her siblings and upon there reunion finds that she's not the only one with problems. 

I really enjoyed the setting of this book- charming Nantucket and the glorious old Wyldewood mansion. It's badly in need of repair, but I'd love to be able to have a look inside this fictional home! The characters were richly described and I particularly liked the relationship between Lynette and the handsome next door neighbor, Nick. The mystery added the perfect amount of suspense while the flashbacks drew me deeper into the story. Very enjoyable!

About the book: 

The Things We Knew (Thomas Nelson, July 2016)

A tragedy from the past resurfaces in this tale of family secrets and reignited love.

After her mother's death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother's death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can't remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother's best friend and Lynette's first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can't.

But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn't want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

As their father's failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface---secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question all they ever believed in.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/29vkFGh
About the author:



Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she's not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border collie for long walks on the beach or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children.

*I was given a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*

Monday, August 1, 2016

If My Husband Would Change, I'd Be Happy (& Other Myths Wives Believe)


My Thoughts:

This book is a life changer. The author, Rhonda Stoppe, addresses topics that every married, engaged, and yes, single woman should ponder. It's an easy to read, heartfelt, and entertaining "instruction book" for how to treat your husband, deal with hard times, think about sex, and basically how to be happy when marriage gets difficult- aka "when the honeymoon is over." ;) As I read her words I could feel God changing my heart and it was a beautiful, long overdue transition! (Her husband also writes his viewpoint at the end of each chapter which added an eye opening perspective.) Perhaps your marriage could use some fine tuning, too? :) I really enjoyed how the author told her personally humbling and "aha" moments. She's been there as a wife/mother/lover and understands how women think. I believe most of us are wired to think that our husbands are here to bring us happiness but truly we must find our joy in the Lord. "The key to...experiencing fulfillment in your marriage does not lie in how well your husband measures up to your expectations, but in how well you love God." Wow.  If My Husband Would Change, I'd Be Happy is just what you need to fall in love with your husband all over again. <3 amp="" and="" begin="" blessed="" book="" can="" family.="" has="" how="" i="" it="" me="" much="" my="" needed="" p="" read="" rhonda="" stoppe="" t="" tell="" thank="" this="" to="" very="" whole="" you="">

About the book: 

If My Husband Would Change, I'd Be Happy: And Other Myths Wives Believe (Harvest House, August 2015)

Like most brides on their wedding day, you no doubt were filled with love for your husband and the hope of a happy life together.

But perhaps today, as the realities of life together have settled in, those happy expectations are going unfulfilled. And it's tempting to think, "If only my husband would change, I'd be happy."

That myth is but one of many that Rhonda Stoppe dispels in her easy-to-read exploration of what it takes to experience a truly happy marriage. In the process, she addresses such important topics as

-understanding your husband's need for your unconditional respect
-rekindling the love that drew you to your husband in the first place
-refusing to believe the lie that you'd be happier married to someone else
-learning to be content in the midst of financial struggles
-thinking about sex from a biblical worldview
If you desire to rekindle the love and hope you felt on your wedding day, this book will go a long way toward making that dream come true.
Contains discussion questions and personal reflections at the end of each chapter.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2a9Izc6
About the author:


Rhonda Stoppe is the No Regrets Woman. She is an author and speaker dedicated to helping women live life with no regrets. With more than 20 years' experience as a mom, mentor, and pastor's wife, Rhonda's wisdom and experience helps women discover significance in God and His specific purpose for their lives, connect biblical principles to everyday decisions, develop a loving marriage that others dream about, and influence the next generation by raising children with integrity.


*I was given this  amazing book by Lituse in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*

Friday, July 1, 2016

Don't Go to Bed Angry Stay Up and Fight- How to Fight (Together) for your Marriage!



Conflict in marriage is not the problem. It’s how we deal with it that makes it a problem. Learn how to deal with the conflict in Deb and Ron DeArmond’s new book, Don’t Go to Bed Angry. This is a book of tools, concepts, and worksheets designed to help each couple achieve the vision that God had when He placed Adam and Eve in the garden. Unity. Agreement. Power—found in marriage only when we authentically become one flesh. Deb and Ron demonstrate how communication through conflict can safeguard—and even strengthen—your relationship.

My Thoughts:

Marriage. Honeymoon. It all seems so easy in the beginning. Love will get us through, right? Yep, we've all been there. Until that first disagreement, the first squabble. Wait a second. Should you cry, yell, use the silent treatment?? Pick your poison, but none of these will help you win. You know why?

The enemy is not your spouse.

The devil wants you to argue.
He wants you to hate.
He wants to rip apart your marriage.

I was never taught how to verbally fight- let alone fight for my marriage. Were you? It's a skill that most of us thought we'd never need. Whether you're single, dating or married, there's a pretty good chance that you will. Don't go to Bed Angry- Stay Up and Fight, by Deb & Rob DeArmond is a wonderful tool for dealing with conflict and coming to a resolution. The authors skillfully guide you through their techniques by using marriage stories. It's almost like sitting in couples therapy- very insightful!

This book has rules. Simple, but very helpful rules that guide you along. As couples we need a PLAN. Having a plan in life is better than just "winging it", don't you agree? I've been winging it for so long you'd think that I had sprouted wings! This book will help you to prepare for your next argument, cause you know it's out there!

BEFORE an issue arises, keep these guidelines in mind...

-The word of God is the blueprint for life as believers
-Not in front of the kids
-Don't use the "D" word
-Exclude violence

As you ENTER the discussion:

-Pray
-Timing is everything (When you're tired, hungry, etc. it's best to wait)
-You must both actively work toward peace.
-If it's not a big deal, don't make it a big deal.
-Touch

Don't go to Bed Angry- Stay Up and Fight offers more helpful guidelines in the book. They make sense and are simple to utilize. I felt relieved and hopeful reading this book as I now view my husband as my teammate and not the opposite team! I also felt guilty as I realize that my silent treatment is quite childish and destructive. Yes, that's my go to method of fighting. I don't know how to verbalize my needs/wants so I sulk. That is going to change now that I'm more knowledgeable and empowered. I don't desire to fight with my husband but now I view conflict as a means to potential (and welcome) change and healthy discussion. A must read!

{MORE ABOUT DON’T GO TO BED ANGRY}

Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight (Abingdon Press, June 2016)
A practical handbook on how to fight better—together—for your marriage.
In every marriage, there is conflict. And with every conflict, there is a choice for resolution. Will you ignore the issue until it seemingly goes away? Or will you work together to find peace?
In Don’t Go to Bed Angry, Deb and Ron DeArmond give you permission to fight. Conflict isn’t the problem, after all; the real issue is how we deal with the conflict. Deb and Ron demonstrate how communication through conflict can safeguard—and even strengthen—your relationship. Immensely practical features including worksheets and discussion questions make this a definitive go-to resource to help you start fighting—together—for your marriage.
Deb DeArmond

{MORE ABOUT DEB DEARMOND}

Deb DeArmond is an author, speaker, and coach with a focus on communication, relationships, and conflict resolution. Her writing explores marriage, parenting, in-law and extended family relationships. She is the author of “Related By Chance, Family By Choice” and “I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last.” Deb is the founder of Living-Write, where she coaches aspiring authors. She’s monthly columnist and feature writer for Lifeway’s “Mature Living” Magazine, and has published more than 120 articles online and in print publications. ||**|| Ron DeArmond has a hungry heart for the Word, and has studied the Bible for 45+ years. Ron’s call to serve men is evident in his previous ministry positions with Christian Men’s Network under Dr. Edwin Lewis Cole and Faithful Men Ministry. Ron is currently the Associate Pastor of men’s ministry at Catch the Fire/ DFW and has ministered around the world. The DeArmonds live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Find out more about Deb at http://debdearmond.com.


*I was given this helpful book by Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale- 2016 summer favorite!



It all begins with a mystery man, a secret and a friendship shared by three Southern women in a small town in Louisiana. The Secret to Hummingbird Cake is absolutely delicious and meant to be savored, like a frozen margarita on a hot summer night. Sweet and salty but every sip is delightful. You never want it to end! I was laughing out loud one second and crying the next. After the first chapter I was already looking to see what other books Celeste Fletcher McHale had written (The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories comes out next year!). The friendship shared by Carrigan, Ella Rae and Laine is outrageous and rich and all together beautiful. They met in grade school, cruising through the years with crushes and adventures all the while growing as sisters. The journey you share with them as you learn their story will stay with you long after you turn the last page. The most memorable character is Carrigan. Oh, how I wish I were more like her! Brave, outspoken and all heart, she is the driving force in the sisterhood. The way she meets her future husband is sizzling! And the way he comes to her rescue is swoon worthy!! My favorite character is Laine, though. She lives her life in such an unassuming manner. Looking out for those who are forgotten and often overlooked. She is the champion of the underdog. Brave and strong in her own quiet way. Celeste Fletcher McHale's writing style is an engaging combination of familiarly warm and cleverly humorous. I adored the main characters, flaws and all. They aren't even close to perfect and THAT is where the magic lies. They are friends I wish I knew and I was charmed by the way the author wove their pasts into the present. I'd love to read more about this trio! Perhaps a prequel? I highly recommend this book to ladies who are looking for a magnificent story of friendship, love and gracefully letting go. Prepare to laugh until you cry one minute and then bawl your eyes the next. You'll love every second. Will you learn the secret to hummingbird cake? I guess there's only one way to find out...

*I was given this incredible book by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Dawn at Emberwilde- Secrets, Smugglers and an Intriguing Love Triangle


My Thoughts:

Dawn at Emberwilde, written by Sarah Ladd, is a compelling combination of mystery, myth and romance. I adore Sarah Ladd's writing and I believe this is my favorite book of hers to date! Isabel Creston is a fledgling teacher, on the brink of beginning her career, when an invitation to come live with family arrives. Isabel's parents have passed away and she believes her younger sister, Lizzie, to be her only living family so the letter is quite a surprise. She and Lizzie embark on a journey to live at Emberwilde, an elegant estate that also contains a mysterious forest. Rumors of this dark wood come to light along with talk of the past, which includes conflicting information about Isabel's mother and father. Isabel begins to question what she believes to be true. To add to the confusion, there are two handsome men who are vying for her affections. I really enjoyed the love triangle in this story and the forest of Emberwilde is chillingly intriguing! Beauty, mystery and romance keep the story rolling at a delightfully rapid pace. There truly isn't a dull moment! Highly recommend for those who enjoy period mysteries and romance. Wonderful book! 

{MORE ABOUT DAWN AT EMBERWILDE}

Dawn at Emberwilde(Thomas Nelson, May 2016)
Isabel Creston never dared to dream that love could be hers. Now, at the edge of a forest filled with dark secrets, she faces a fateful choice between love and duty.
For as long as she can remember, beautiful and free-spirited Isabel has strained against the rules and rigidity of the Fellsworth School in the rolling English countryside. No longer a student, Isabel set her sights on a steady role as a teacher at the school, a safe yet stifling establishment that would enable her to care for her younger sister Lizzie, who was left in her care after her father’s death.
The unexpected arrival of a stranger with news of unknown relatives turns Isabel’s small, predictable world upside down, sweeping her and her young charge into a labyrinth of intrigue and hidden motives.
At her new family’s invitation, Isabel and Lizzie relocate to Emberwilde, a sprawling estate adjacent to a vast, mysterious wood rife with rumors and ominous folklore—along with whispers of something far more sinister. Perhaps even more startling, two handsome men begin pursuing Isabel, forcing her to learn the delicate dance between attraction, the intricate rules of courtship, and the hopes of her heart.
At Emberwilde Isabel will discover that the key to unlocking the mystery of her past may also open the door to her future and security. But first she must find it—in the depths of Emberwilde Forest.
Sarah Ladd

{MORE ABOUT SARAH LADD}

Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for “The Heiress of Winterwood.” She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing family and spunky Golden Retriever.
Find out more about Sarah at http://www.sarahladd.com.







*I was given a copy of this book by Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*