Saturday, March 7, 2020

Yes Sisters: Surrounding Yourself with Women Who Affirm, Encourage, and Challenge You by Angelia L. White

Genre: Christian woman, personal growth, self-help
Paperback: 224 pages

  • Publisher: Revell (February 4, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800735889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800735883
  • Synopsis: 
  • A single "no" from someone close to us can crush our dreams. You can't . . . You'll never . . . You're kidding yourself . . . In contrast, a single "yes" can sustain our dreams despite the setbacks we're sure to encounter. Yes, you can! Yes, I'm here for you!

  • With passion and contagious enthusiasm, Angelia White shows you how to surround yourself with Yes Sisters--women who will remind you that you are worthy, that God loves you completely, and that you can accomplish even your wildest dreams. Her engaging personal stories, as well as those from other prominent women, will show you how to

  • - find and cultivate Yes Sister relationships
  • - leverage their power
  • - and be a Yes Sister for someone else

  • She also helps you understand, forgive, and sometimes distance yourself from negative people who dampen your joy and strip you of your motivation.

  • You don't have to go it alone, and you don't have to drag the naysayers along behind you. Start finding your Yes Sisters today!

13887697Review: While I enjoyed reading this book, its subject is one with which I always feel something of a disconnect. I have never had really close female friends, so the whole idea of a group of Yes Sisters is totally foreign to me. I did enjoy reading the story of Angelia turning her dream into reality and also getting to read about certain events from the perspective of the "Yes Sister" who was involved in it with her. I can see this book being used in a women's ministry to encourage us to support one another in every area of life.

Rating: Five stars

About the author: Angelia L. White is the creator of Hope for Women magazine, a quarterly publication with a reach of 200,000. A Ball State University Black Alumni Award of Achievement recipient, Angelia is a mother of three and the publisher, president, and CEO of HOPE for Women, headquartered in Muncie, Indiana. Rising from a background of discouragement, she spends her life encouraging other women to step into their full potential and share their inspiring stories

Thursday, February 27, 2020

BOOK TOUR: The Ishmael Covenant (Empires of Armegeddon #1) by Terry Brennan

Genre: Christian Mystery and Suspense

  • Series: Empires of Armageddon (Book 1)

    • Paperback: 320 pages
    • Publisher: Kregel Publications (February 18, 2020)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0825445302
    • ISBN-13: 978-0825445309

    Synopsis: His marriage in tatters and his career ruined by lies, Diplomatic Security Service agent Brian Mullaney is at the end of his rope. Banished to Israel as punishment by his agency, he's assigned to guard a US ambassador and an insignificant box. Little does he know that this new job will propel him straight into a crisis of global proportions.

    Inside the box is a messianic prophecy about the fate of the world. And a dark enemy known as The Turk and the forces of evil at his command are determined to destroy the box, the prophecy, and the Middle East as we know it. When Ambassador Cleveland gets in the way, his life and his daughter's life are threatened--and Mullaney must act fast.

    Now agents of three ancient empires have launched covert operations to secure nuclear weapons, in direct defiance of the startling peace treaty Israel and its Arab neighbors have signed. And a traitor in the US State Department is leaking critical information to a foreign power. It's up to Mullaney--still struggling with his own broken future--to protect the embassy staff, thwart the clandestine conspiracies, and unmask a traitor--before the desert is turned into a radioactive wasteland.

    Fans of Joel C. Rosenberg, Steven James, and Ted Dekker will relish the deadly whirlpool of international intrigue and end-times prophecy in Ishmael Covenant--and will eagerly await the rest of this new trilogy.

    Review: This is a fascinating story with several ties to current events. It is the first book in a trilogy, and I am already looking forward to reading the next two.

    The characters are very well-written and realistic. I felt invested in all of the main characters and their circumstances. I also like that each new section is headed by date, time and place. It helps to keep things in perspective, as some circumstances are occurring at the same time.

    Be sure to read the author's notes at the end of the book. I found them to be very enlightening.

    Rating: Five stars

    About the author

    Terry Brennan is the award-winning author of The Sacred CipherThe Brotherhood Conspiracy, and The Aleppo Code, the three books in The Jerusalem Prophecies series. His latest release, Ishmael Covenant is the first in his new series, Empires of Armageddon.

    A Pulitzer Prize is one of the many awards Brennan accumulated during his 22-year newspaper career.
    The Pottstown (PA) Mercury
    won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a two-year series published while he led the team as the newspaper’s Editor.

    Starting out as a sportswriter in Philadelphia, Brennan became an editor and publisher for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York and later moved to the corporate staff of Ingersoll Publications (400 newspapers in the U.S., Ireland and England) as Executive Editor of all U.S. newspaper titles.

    In 1996, Brennan transitioned into the nonprofit sector, spending 12 years as VP Operations for The Bowery Mission and six years as Chief Administrative Officer for Care for the Homeless, both in New York City.

    Terry and his wife, Andrea, now live in Danbury, CT.

    More on Brennan can be found at He is also on Facebook (Terry Brennan) and Twitter (@terrbrennan1)

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    Monday, February 3, 2020

    BOOK TOUR: The Great Witches Baking Show by Nancy Warren

    The Great Witches Baking Show by Nancy Warren Banner



    The Great Witches Baking Show

    by Nancy Warren

    on Tour February 1-29, 2019


    The Great Witches Baking Contest by Nancy Warren
    A baker with secrets
    Witches in trouble
    The cameras are rolling
    Ready, set, die.

    Poppy Wilkinson is thrilled to be chosen as a contestant on The Great British Baking Contest. As an American with English roots, winning the crown as Britain’s Best Baker would open doors she’s dreamed of. In more ways than one. Appearing on the reality show is her chance to get into Broomewode Hall and uncover the secrets of her past.

    But strange things are happening on the show’s set: accusations of sabotage, a black cat that shadows Poppy, suspiciously unsociable residents at Broomewode Hall—and the judges can be real witches.

    There are murmurs that Broomewode is an energy vortex. It certainly makes Poppy see and do things that aren’t exactly normal, and seems to draw interesting characters to the neighborhood.

    When a fellow contestant dies in mysterious circumstances, Poppy has more to worry about than burned pies and cakes that won’t rise. There’s a murderer on the loose and it’s up to Poppy and her new friends to solve the crime before it becomes a real show-stopper.

    From USA Today Bestselling Author Nancy Warren, this delicious series of cozy paranormal mysteries will have you guessing until the end. Includes recipes.

    Book Details:

    Genre: Culinary Cozy
    Published by: Ambleside Publishing
    Publication Date: January 15th 2020
    Number of Pages: 250
    ASIN: B07ZL472PK
    Series: Culinary Cozy #1
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

    Read an excerpt:


    As life-changing moments go, getting the call that I’d been chosen to compete in The Great British Baking Contest was right up there. I’d practiced, auditioned and practiced some more. I was a decent home baker, but was I really the best in Britain? Probably not. But I didn’t have to be.
    The contest was my way of getting into Broomewode Hall, where the show was filmed. I had my own reasons for going there that had nothing to do with baking.
    Still, it hadn’t been easy to be chosen. There were thousands of applicants every year and then an excruciating selection process, where the show’s producers chose twelve from the shortlist and made us bake on camera. Some people went to pieces; some were just really boring. They randomly selected bakers off the shortlist and tried out different combinations of personalities, a bit like baking, really, seeing which ingredients created the most interesting results. I quickly learned that the trick was to be a good character, try to be funny, be a good sport, pretend you didn’t notice that cameras were on you and a clock was ticking down the minutes, and still turn out a decent jam tart.
    Easy peasy! Not.
    One of the reasons they chose me for the show, I think, was that while I was British, I’d grown up in the States, which was kind of fun, as the show had become a huge hit in America. I’d also started life in a bakery. Or, more accurately, in a cardboard box outside a bakery in Norton St. Philip, a charming village near Bath in Somerset.
    I like to think my mother, whoever she was, chose the bakery so she knew I’d be warm and, since bakers start work so early, I’d be found. And I was. When Gareth Philpott came to work that morning, he said he looked into the box and found me wide-awake, staring up at him. Not crying, not fussing, just staring as though I’d expected him. They named me Poppy. The Philpotts would have kept me if they could have. They’re a nice family, but they already had three children, and the authorities don’t just give a family a baby because they happened to stumble across one. First, they tried to find my mother or any information at all about my origins. When that proved impossible, I was adopted by Agatha and Leland Wilson, and they became my parents.
    They were both teachers. They’d tried for years to have their own children, and their delight in getting me was reflected in the way they pretty much turned their lives around to give me the best upbringing they could. They were loving parents, kind and patient. Strict when they had to be. We lived in Bath for the first eight years of my life, and then my dad was offered a teaching job in Seattle.
    I grew up there, mostly, lost the British accent, became a typical American teenager, and then when I finished high school, my folks retired and moved back to the UK. I could have stayed in Seattle. I had friends, and I could’ve gone to college there, but I chose to come back to England. I think, deep down, it’s always felt like home. Besides, like a lot of adopted kids, the mystery of my beginnings haunts me.
    Soon after returning to England, my folks moved to the south of France to bask in warmer weather, grow lavender and cook gourmet meals. My dad, who taught history, was writing a book. My mom was learning French.
    They’d saved up a nice chunk of change for me to go to college but, in spite of having teachers as parents, I never felt the urge. I was always more artistic than intellectual, so I went to an art and design college for two years, and they let me use the rest of the money toward buying a tiny cottage in Norton St. Philip. It’s probably crazy, and nobody even thinks my mother was from there, but I started my life in that village and so it pulled me back. The Philpotts still ran the bakery and were my second family. I guess you’ll always have a bond with the person who picked you up off the street as a newborn. Besides, growing up as an only child, I was fascinated by their sprawling, noisy family.
    I became a freelance graphic designer, which allowed me to work from home.
    Gina Philpott was my age and my best friend. She was also the only one who knew why I really wanted to get on that show.
    It went all the way back to when I was just a baby in that cardboard box. I’d been wrapped in a curious blanket.

    I saw my baby blanket one day when I was watching The Great British Baking Contest. They always filmed at Broomewode Hall, a Georgian manor house that wasn’t open to the public. Broomewode Hall was the seat of the Earl of Frome, Robert Champney, and his family. During one of the behind-the-scenes segments on the show, Lady Frome showed them around her home.
    As the camera panned around the great dining hall I was instantly transfixed by a woman in an oil painting who seemed to be wearing my baby blanket! I saw now that, in fact, it was a shawl. But the pattern was the same. I was certain of it.
    And from that very moment, I began my quest to find out more about Broomewode Hall. Lord and Lady Frome guarded their privacy tenaciously, and it was impossible to get access to them and their family home. Besides, what would I say? “I think one of your ancestors once wore my baby blanket? The best way I could think of to spend time there was to qualify as a baker on The Great British Baking Contest.
    I’d done it. Against incredible odds, I’d been chosen as one of twelve bakers. It was one step toward finding how who I really was. All I had to do now was figure out how to get the rest of the way.
    Excerpt from The Great Witches Baking Show by Nancy Warren. Copyright 2019 by Nancy Warren. Reproduced with permission from Nancy Warren. All rights reserved.

     Review: I was intrigued by the title of this book, and could hardly wait to read it. Once I started, I spent the entire afternoon reading it from cover to cover.  Most of the characters who are sure to be regulars are very likable. The main character, Poppy, is an amateur baker (who gets baking advice from a ghost who lives in her cottage), who discovers in the course of this story that she is also a witch. I look forward to seeing both of these talents improve as the series continues.
    As if those two things weren't enough stress for one person, Poppy discovers one of her fellow baking contestants has been murdered, and she gets involved in the middle of the investigation. Will she discover the killer before he or she strikes again, or will she be the next victim?

    There are secrets, intrigue, and just the right amount of humor in the telling of this story. I highly recommend it for all cozy mystery lovers.

    Rating: Five stars

    Author Bio:

    Nancy Warren
    Nancy Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of more than seventy novels, including the best selling Vampire Knitting Club series and the Toni Diamond mysteries. She's from Vancouver, though she tends to wander. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, appeared on the front page of the New York Times when her book Speed Dating launched the Harlequin/Nascar series. She was also the answer to a clue in a crossword puzzle in Canada's National Post newspaper.

    Catch Up With Our Author On:, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

    Tour Participants:

    Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


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    Tuesday, January 7, 2020

    Raising The Challenging Child: How to Minimize Meltdowns, Reduce Conflict, and Increase Cooperation by Karen Doyle Buckwalter, Debbie Reed, Wendy Lyons Sunshine

    GENRE: Parenting; Christian Family and Relationships
    Hardcover: 272 pages
    • Publisher: Revell (January 7, 2020)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0800735242
    • ISBN-13: 978-0800735241


    SYNOPSIS: What's the worst you've ever faced as a parent? An all-out tantrum at the mall? A son who won't take out his earbuds to listen to you? A daughter who's failing at school and won't do her homework? A teen who constantly breaks curfew? A call from the police? Whatever you're dealing with, Raising the Challenging Child will help.

    Building on their work at Chaddock, a nonprofit organization that has worked with some of the most challenging kids in the nation for more than 150 years, the authors empower frustrated parents with practical tips and real-life examples on how to

    - minimize behavioral meltdowns
    - reduce conflict
    - increase cooperation
    - promote healthy attachment
    - improve family relationships

    The strategies they share work both for the child who is going through a difficult phase brought on by life disruption or trauma, and for the child who faces chronic struggles. Parents, teachers, and those who work with children and youth will find positive, practical steps they can start taking today in order to understand and address the baffling behavior of the child under their care.


    REVIEW: This is one of the best parenting books I have ever read. The scenarios presented are very realistic, as are the tips and techniques suggested (most of which are explained in detail for those who may never have used them before). I love that natural consequences are encouraged, as I have used those with all of my children and grandchildren for over 30 years now.
    Not only did I find the book useful for myself, but I also passed it onto my oldest grandson's other grandmother, and she has been using the techniques with him on a daily basis (she lives with his family).
    This is a wonderful book for all parents, even those who may not be avid readers. It is a quick easy read, without much technical writing, simple to follow and understand.
    *I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher prior to its release. The opinions and review are mine.*

    RATING: Five stars


    Karen Doyle Buckwalter, MSW, LCSW, is director of program strategy at Chaddock in Quincy, Illinois. She serves on the board of directors' advisory board of the Theraplay® Institute in Chicago and has trained and consulted at family behavioral health organizations and youth foster care centers in the US, the UK, Australia, Denmark, and beyond. In addition to her degrees, Karen completed a two-year marriage and family therapy training program and 500-plus hours in diverse modalities including Theraplay®, Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI), and other attachment, trauma, and developmental approaches.

    Debbie Reed is president and CEO of Chaddock. Currently engaged in doctoral studies, she has also played a leadership role in child- and family-serving organizations at the state and national levels, including the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services' Child Welfare Advisory Committee, the CEO council of the internationally recognized Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, and the national board of the United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries. In addition, she trains and consults with organizations on topics related to nonprofit leadership.

    Wendy Lyons Sunshine
     is an award-winning writer and coauthor of The Connected Child, with over a quarter million copies sold. She is an editorial consultant for leading nonprofits and has written for media outlets including HealthAARP magazine, Scientific AmericanAmerican Way, and the New York Times.

    Sunday, December 8, 2019

    DVD REVIEW: Christmas Jars


    Based on the New York Times best- selling novel by Jason F. Wright
    Hope is an aspiring reporter who has had her fair share of tragedy in life.
    Abandoned at birth, she is grieving the recent death of her adopted mother
    when her apartment is burglarized of all her possessions. While reporting
    the burglary to the police, Hope discovers a jar full of money labeled
    "Christmas Jar." Shocked and grateful for this act of kindness, Hope
    discovers that people all over her hometown of Columbus, Ohio have
    been receiving Christmas jars for years during times of need. The jars
    are always anonymous and always contain different amounts.
    In this heartwarming Christmas classic, Hope goes undercover to discover
    the secret behind the Christmas jars, putting into motion a series of events
    that will change her life, and her community, forever.


    This is the best new Christmas movie I've seen this year. As a baby, the heroine, Hope is abandoned in a booth at a diner, where she is found and adopted by a waitress and grows up to be an aspiring reporter. After her mother dies of cancer, and her apartment is burglarized, she discovers someone has left her a "Christmas Jar" full of money outside her door. She begins to research the Christmas Jars and discovers dozen of recipients all over her hometown. With a little more digging, she finds out who was responsible for starting the tradition and decides to write a story about them. That leads her into a complicated situation, and she comes close to losing both her career and her relationship. In the end, things work out even better than you might suspect. I enjoyed this film, both for the storyline and for the acting in it. All of the characters are very well scripted and extremely believable. I look forward to making this movie a part of our family Christmas tradition.



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    Friday, November 22, 2019

    BLOG TOUR WINTER 2020: MYSTERY/THRILLER The Last Affair by Margot Hunt

    Genre: Mystery/Thriller
    • Paperback: 336 pages
    • Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (November 26, 2019)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0778309223
    • ISBN-13: 978-0778309222



    Synopsis: Love may be blind, but obsession's a real killer. Nora Holliday is not that kind of woman. Not the kind who has an illicit affair with a married man. But Josh Landon is everything Nora's alcoholic husband isn't. And now she and Josh are so infatuated, they can't stay away from one another. Abby Landon, Josh's daughter, is home from college nursing a broken heart. She's seeking solace, not more scandal, so when she catches her dad kissing Nora, she vows to take the homewrecker down. And as for Abby's mother and Josh's wife, Gwen? To anyone on the outside looking in, the mother of two appears to be living the ideal suburban life. Until she winds up dead. The serene seaside town of Shoreham has always been the perfect place to raise a family--not somewhere housewives are brutally murdered. So who killed Gwen Landon, and how many twisted secrets will be exposed as the vindictive plot comes undone?
    Other than the woman’s blood-covered body splayed facedown in the grass, it could have been any typical upscale Floridian backyard.
    There was the ubiquitous pool with a water fountain feature, a patio furnished with both a dining set and outdoor sectional couch, and an enormous gas grill capable of cooking hamburgers by the dozen. A large pergola with a tropical vine trained over it covered part of the patio. The dining area was shaded by a black-and-white-striped awning. It was the very picture of suburban domestic bliss. It could have been the set for a commercial advertising anything from laundry detergent to allergy medicine.
    Again, except for the dead body.
    The area had already been taped off. The first officers on the scene appeared with an ambulance in response to a frantic 911 call placed by the woman’s daughter. The paramedics had assessed the situation, and quickly determined that the woman was dead. The fact that the back of her head had been bashed in with what looked like a paving stone, conveniently dropped next to her prone body, made it immediately clear that it had not been a natural death. The responding officers called the sheriff, who responded by sending in a full investigative team. The medical examiner was now doing a preliminary examination of the body, while police officers combed the area for additional evidence. Two detectives, Mike Monroe and Gavin Reddick—separated by twenty years and sixty pounds—were overseeing the operation, standing at the edge of the patio under the shade of the pergola. It was the third week in April, but this was South Florida and the temperature had already climbed into the low nineties.
    “The paving stone came from the stack out in the front yard. They were delivered last week by the company who’s installing the driveway,” Detective Reddick said. He was the younger of the two men and had a wiry frame and angular face.
    “Weapon of convenience. Suggests it wasn’t premeditated,” Detective Monroe said. He had a ruddy complexion and a full head of thick dark hair, swept back off his face. A strand never moved out of place, even in a strong wind.
    “Plus he dropped the weapon, rather than taking it with him. Probably panicked.”
    “Could be a she,” Monroe said mildly.
    Reddick shrugged. “Blunt force trauma to the back of the head? You know the stats. Overwhelming likelihood that it’s a man, and probably someone the victim was intimately involved with. Husband, maybe a boyfriend.”
    “The husband was with the daughter when she called it in.”
    “Doesn’t mean he didn’t do it, and then had her place the call.”
    “No, it doesn’t.”
    The family had been sequestered indoors, both to keep them out of the way, and so that the officers waiting in the house with them could observe anything they did or said. Other than the husband, there was a daughter in her early twenties and a teenage son. The daughter was reportedly distraught, while the husband and son had both been eerily quiet. It was possible they were in shock.
    “Do we have an ID on the victim?” Reddick asked.
    “It’s her house,” Monroe grunted.
    “Yeah, but I like doing things the official way, you know? I’s dotted, t’s crossed, all of that. Building a case, basic detective work.”
    Despite the chilling scene in front of them—the woman’s body still sprawled on the grass, the back of her head a pulpy, bloody mess—the corner of Monroe’s mouth quirked up in a half smile. “Sure, kid, tell me all about basic detective work. I’ve only been doing this for, what…thirty-two years now? The husband ID’d her. Victim is Gwen Landon, age forty-nine. Married, mother of two. Husband said she hasn’t had any recent conflict with anyone.”
    “Other than the person who caved in the back of her head with a paving stone,” Reddick pointed out.
    “Wouldn’t be the first time a husband didn’t know his wife as well as he thought he did.”
    “Possible. But there’s another possibility, too.”
    “What’s that?”
    Reddick turned to look at his partner. His eyes were small and dark, and he had a habit of squinting when he concentrated intently on something.
    “The husband is a liar,” Reddick said.

    Review: This story grabbed my attention from the prologue and held it all the way to the last sentence. Each character has his or her story to tell, full of twists and turns, all tying together to create a magnificent tale of love, betrayal, vengeance, and murder.

    I was disappointed in the reveal of the murderer, though. Having that character do the deed just felt too convoluted to me. I was definitely expecting someone else to be responsible.

    I would still recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre.

    Rating: Four stars
    About the author
    Margot Hunt is a critically acclaimed author of psychological suspense. Her work has been praised by Publisher's Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews.

    TWITTER: @HuntAuthor

    Tuesday, November 19, 2019

    100 Words Of Affirmation Your Husband Needs To Hear by Lisa Jacobson


    Genre: Christian Marriage
    • Paperback: 144 pages
    • Publisher: Revell (October 1, 2019)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0800736605
    • ISBN-13: 978-0800736606

    Synopsis: Every one of us has tremendous power to either build others up or tear them down through the words we speak every day, and nowhere is this more evident than in our marriages. Are you being purposeful in how you use the power of your words to speak encouragement, strength, and love--breathing life into the heart of your spouse? Or are careless words having a negative impact on your marriage and on the heart of the one you love most?

    Matt and Lisa Jacobson want you and your spouse to discover the powerful ways you can build one another up in love with the words that you choose to say every day--words that every husband and wife need to hear. These books offer you 100 Things to say to your husband or wife that deeply encourage, affirm, and inspire. Start speaking these words into each other's lives and watch your spouse--and your relationship--transform before your eyes.

    Review: One of the things I like about this book is that the affirmations are written in a way that sounds like the average wife could say them, or close enough that they could just be altered slightly. They aren't long, flowery speeches that might put some women off, they are short, simple truths. I also liked that while some of them are things I already say to my husband, some of them made me realize places where I was missing opportunities to encourage him.

    This book would make an excellent gift for any wife, whether a newlywed or celebrating fifty years of marriage.

    Rating: Five stars

    About the author
    Lisa Jacobson is an author, a speaker, and the founder and host of, a powerful online community of Christian women authors who write weekly on the topics of husband, home, family, and biblical truths--a strong voice for biblical womanhood. Her combined social media platforms have a reach well over 1 million viewers/visitors per month. She is the author of the best-selling 100 Ways to Love Your Husband, as well as 100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear. She and her husband, Matt, are the co-hosts of the popular FAITHFUL LIFE podcast. Together they live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where they have raised their eight children.