Friday, July 29, 2011

Jefferson Burke and the secret of The Lost Scroll by Ace Collins

Book Description:  Jefferson Burke and the Secret of the Lost Scroll is a mystery as old as the Christian church wrapped in a modern-day thriller. Though an unwilling hero, Professor Jefferson Burke's intellectual curiosity pits him against the powerful Bruno Krueger in a race to find a 2000-year-old scroll that calls into question the divinity of Christ and could shake the foundation of Christian faith, upsetting the balance of power in the modern world. Their deadly quest spans the globe, involving officials from the Vatican, CIA and FBI agents, British royalty, a Hollywood actress, and modern terrorists. This classic battle of good vs. evil will hook believers and doubters alike. The uncertainties raised by the very existence of the elusive scroll will have every reader questioning the basis of their faith and wondering what would happen if certain fundamental truths suddenly were proven untrue. Artfully and thoughtfully told, this is the kind of action-packed adventure story that will keep loyal Ace Collins readers---and increasing legions of new fans---coming back for more.

My Review:  I love a good action/suspense novel!  And I was surprised by the action, adventure and pure suspense in Ace Collins book, The Secret of the Lost Scroll!  
WOW!  When a book begins with "Baltore the priest had no idea where they had come from.  Like ghosts, they seemed to appear out of thin air, but he was well aware that his plight was his own making." (p. 11)  then the reader knows this is going to be a one.of.those.fantastically.great reads! 
Dr. Jefferson Burke is approached by Anthony Columbo to help him find the lost scrolls.  Actually this first scene of the book where Columbo talks with Burke reminded me of the beginning of Indiana Jones . . . college history professor talked into helping find an ancient artifact for the "good of humanity."  But there's oh-so-much-more!  
I love National Treasure, so again there's a bit of that in Burke too!  Burke's life is turned upside.down! as he races to find the first clue!  
This is an incredible read with Cho and Burke having some serious soul searching as they think what would happen if they find that Joseph is the true father of Jesus! Because if one finds the truth then one has the obligation to tell the world the truth, right?  God has a way of bringing the truth to light for those who search for righteousness!  Of course, there's always a "bad guy", Krueger, the evil one who would love nothing more than spreading lies and untruths!
 I loved it and truthfully had a hard time putting this book down!  I'll be looking for more books by Ace Collins.
*This book was provided for review by Zondervan*
About the Author:

Ace Collins is the writer of more than sixty books, including several bestsellers: Stories behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, Stories behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, The Cathedrals, and Lassie: A Dog's Life. Based in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, He continues to publish several new titles each year, including a series of novels, the first of which is Farraday Road. Ace has appeared on scores of television shows, including CBS This Morning, NBC Nightly News, CNN, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and Entertainment Tonight.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Harvest of Grace An Ada's House Novel by Cindy Woodsmall

Book Description:  When Sylvia Fischer turned down her beau's offer of marriage, she expected him to give her the time and space she'd requested, believing they would eventually wed. Instead he married her sister. When she learns that his betrayal was her father's idea--a proposition made to save the farm--she knows she'll never trust another man. 

Despite the secrets hiding in Aaron Blank's youth, he thinks he's ready to face his future. As he sets out to make up for the wrongs he's done to his family, he meets Sylvia, the new farmhand from a nearby district. She doesn't want him around, seems to have his father's heart in the palm of her hand--and what she knows could ruin his future.

My Review:  This is the third book is in the Ada's House Series.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize this when I decided to read Harvest of Grace.  But since this read is about Sylvia Fisher, Ephraim, Aaron, Lena and Grey (and so many others), it reads like a stand-a-lone novel.  However. I would definitely recommend reading this series in order since I feel there is "history" I may have missed.
I like this Amish love story.  The tug-of-war between Sylvia and Ephraim is fun and so universal, "Jealousy crept up her spine.  It seemed that he'd spent his years as a bachelor dating every single Amish woman in Dry Lake and the surrounding communities." (p. 45).  Sounds like some "English" guys I know.  Men will be men. <smile>
Learning about an Amish dairy farm was interesting too.  But it was "the secret" that kept me turning the pages.  
This reads has quite an involved plot and is a "wonderful gut" read!  If you enjoy Amish fiction don't miss this fantastic read!  And maybe you could read books 1 & 2, too! 
*This book was provided by Waterbrook Press/Multnomah*

Buy book HERE!
About the Author: 
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured onABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.
Her first novel released in 2006 to much acclaim and became a best seller. Cindy was a 2007 ECPA award finalist, along with Karen Kingsbury, Angela Hunt, and Charles Martin.
Her second book, When the Morning Comes, hit numerous best-sellers lists across the US, including edging into the extended list of the New York Times, coming in at number thirty-four.
Her third book, When the Soul Mends, hit the New York Times best-sellers list, coming in at number thirteen, as well as making the USA Today’s best-sellers list.
Cindy continues to write and release best-selling works of fiction, and she’s also written a nonfiction work with an Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud. The book is titled Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women.
Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity.
Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and caped dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.
As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children.
Cindy, her husband, their three sons and two daughters-in-law reside in Georgia.

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday} Veggie Pizza! SO GOOD!

Since we're eating WAY more veggies lately 
I love this recipe from


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup halved and thinly-sliced radishes
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).                                       Spray a jellyroll pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Pat crescent roll dough into a jellyroll pan.                                                        Let stand 5 minutes. Pierce with fork.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, let cool.
  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine sour cream,                                    cream cheese, dill weed, garlic salt and ranch dip mix.                                          Spread this mixture on top of the cooled crust.                                                  Arrange the onion, carrot, celery, broccoli, radish,                                       bell pepper and broccoli on top of the creamed mixture.                             Cover and let chill.                                                                                           Once chilled, cut it into squares and serve.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

(Kregel Blog Tour} Glastonbury Tor by LeAnne Hardy

Book Description:  His mother wanted him to be a monk... His father wanted him to be a man... A priest tempts him to pursue power... But Colin must find his own way.
After his mother’s tragic death, seventeen-year-old Colin Hay is so consumed with anger that he tries to kill his cruel father. Running from these tormenting desires and his home, he seeks the protection and cleansing of the Glastonbury monastery, at a time when King Henry VIII is closing monasteries all over England.
But Colin’s past has followed him to Glastonbury. As he now pursues forgiveness and salvation, Colin is conflicted by the doctrines he learns at the monastery and the grace he receives from a local family with a forbidden English Bible. And then there is a quick-tempered priest whose lust for power threatens to compromise Glastonbury Abbey, and to destroy the astonishing treasure it holds—the Holy Grail.
My Review:  LeAnne Hardy writes a wonderful, historical novel in Glastonbury Tor.  Before beginning this novel I confess that I had to look up Glastonbury Tor.    I wasn't familiar with what Glastonbury Tor meant but I found out that this is no ordinary place; in fact, it is considered to be a holy place where people go and after climbing up the hill they are different people as they come down the hill chanting and singing....maybe not changed people but definitely "enlightened" and seemingly happier.
As I began reading Glastonbury Tor my heart ached for Colin and his mom.  Colin's father is a wicked, selfish man who only wants to satisfy his own desires.  
Colin never really knew his father and then a tragedy strikes.  Colin runs away seeking something that he's never known.
The language and descriptions of the book took me back to Medieval times.  Times when people had to seek the Good and that is exactly what Colin does. 
He has a "coming of age transformation."  He seeks the truth trying to rid himself of the the terrible anger he has against his own father. An anger  he feels may consume him.
Colin is counseled by Father David to make his way to Glastonbury. Father David tells Colin that he has the gift of learning and the monks at Glastonbury can teach him more than ,he, Father David knows.
So, Colin begins his life's journey.  However, upon reaching Glastonbury, Colin is told by the Abbot that he may stay as long as he needs for a spiritual retreat.
The story continues and the "simplicity" of the unlearned mind is also revealed in this story.  As "the great library was sold, piece by piece. Few outside of the abbey valued reading, and one day I saw customers leaving the fishmonger's with purchases wrapped in illuminated missal that had been laboriously copied before their great-gradsires were born." (p. 174) Even though people were quite uneducated it was the "voice" of the educated who saved and carried on the work so that others could learn.
Of course, there is a bit of romance in this lovely read.  God and the Holy Word are incorporated into this truly great story allowing the reader to see how God works all things for our good!
This 5 star read flows allowing the reader to "cross over" into another time and another place.
If you're a history buff and love to read of days gone by then don't miss this great read!
*This book was provided for review by Kregel Publications*
About the Author:
LeAnne Hardy has traveled the world responding to God's call to be a missionary, a call that has taken her to Africa, South America, and Eastern Europe. The diverse settings and plots in her books have been inspired by her real-life encounters there. Many of the stories and scenes from her books come from her family's experiences on the mission field or are based on true stories of others.

Monday, July 25, 2011

COTT: Clash Of The Titles....

Guest post by Massaro Asst. Editor for of the Titles.
This week COTT is focusing on gut-wrenching passages, which are some of my favorites! So it got me wondering, why do we so enjoy reading those scenes that tear our hearts out and end with an empty box of tissues?&nbsp;
Most of us already know about stress hormones and how they build up in the body, causing all kinds of problems. According to one article I read, emotionally-induced tears contain protein-based hormones as well as leucine enkephalin, a natural painkiller. So "a good cry" flushes all those stress hormones out of our system.
Well, the science is all fine and dandy but I still wanted some experiental answers. Here's what some of you had to say: Prusik Tears are cathartic. There's nothing like a good cry during a touching scene . . except for a good cry followed by laughter. (Think Sally Fields' stellar graveside scene in Steel Magnolias. Poor Ouiser!) Something about reading or watching a scene like that feels emotionally cleansing. Brian Heffron agrees:Catharsis Barbara Robinson Because a book has to touch us emotionally or it's nothing to us. It must evoke reader emotions. If I don't feel anything when I read a book, the book is not any good, and I wouldn't finish it. Christine Lindsay I think we need to cry as much as we need to smile and laugh. Although when we cry, it's because we are always reaching out for hope. That this sad situation will not remain, but that the sun will shine again. It's about hope. Jessica Patch God designed us to connect with others. The bible says rejoice when others rejoice and weep when others weep. We're built to care. We want to. Real life or fiction, we're drawn to it and good writing makes us feel like it's real even when it's not.
Those are some great answers! What about you? Why do you love those gut-wrenching scenes? (Or if not, why don't you care for them?
 Connect with Michelle at her blog

Sunday, July 24, 2011

FREE Kindle Books!








Surrender the Dawn by MaryLu Tyndall

Book Description:  Cassandra Channing's determination to save her family from destitution sends her on a near impossible quest. The war of 1812 presents the unique opportunity to invest in a privateer--yet no man is willing to submit himself to a woman investor.  
     The town rake, Luke Heaton, isn't the most reputable. With only a broken sea vessel that will cost far too much to repair and no one willing to take a chance on him, he knows his luck is short. When the beautiful Miss Channing offers to invest in him, he knows he can't turn the opportunity down. Is it possible she could be the answer to his deepest desire--a new start?         As Luke and Cassandra work together, an undeniable attraction pulls them closer together. When it finally seems as though Luke may have his new start, the British blackmail him into selling to them and betraying his country, risking everything he holds dear.

My Review:  Have you ever began a book and thought, "I've read this before?" Well, after beginning Surrender the Dawn by MaryLu Tyndall this is exactly what I was thinking.  Deja vu!
As I continued reading I realized that the events were not on timeline but the story was backtracking.  Once I realized this "it all made sense."  So, this is a book that if you've read the preceding book, Surrender the Night, you may think you've read it before which you have but this is not the same story...just a few facts from the previous book. 
I loved reading about the high seas adventure and the characters in this well written story makes it very hard to put this 5 star read down!
If you enjoy historical reads mixed with courage, adventure and romance then make sure to add this book to your summer TBR pile!
*This book was provided for review by NetGalley & Barbour Publishing*


Friday, July 22, 2011

Water's Edge by Robert Whitlow

Book Description:  Sometimes small towns hold the biggest secrets.
Ambitious young attorney Tom Crane is about to become a partner in a high-profile Atlanta law firm. But first he must clear one final matter from his docket-the closing of his deceased father's law practice in his hometown of Bethel, Georgia. Killed in a mysterious boating accident, John Crane didn't appear to leave his son anything except the hassle of wrapping up loose ends.
But instead of celebrating his promotion, Tom finds himself packing up his office, having suddenly been "consolidated." To add insult to injury, that same night his girlfriend breaks up with him . . . by letter.
Returning to Bethel with no sense of his future and no faith to fall back on, Tom just wants to settle his father's final affairs and get back to Atlanta. But then he runs into an unexpected roadblock-two million dollars of unclaimed money stashed in a secret bank account. And evidence that his father's death may not have been accidental. Worse still, a trail of data suggests his father played a role in an international fraud operation.
Tom follows the money into a tangled web of lies, theft, and betrayal. Along the way, he meets a woman who is as beguiling as she is beautiful. And her interest in the outcome of the case is just as high as his. She challenges Tom's assumptions . . . and his faith. Now he has to decide who he can trust-and how far a father's love can reach.

My Review:  I like the way this story begins...Tom is at his desk stunned that his boss called him and basically tells him he's in for a great life at the firm ... "Future potential always outshines faded glory."  This one sentence "tells" the story of Tom's life.  Then everything starts to go down hill~fast!
Tom begins to lose everything dear to him-his father passes away unexpectedly during a fishing trip, his employer makes cutbacks due to the economy-eliminating Tom from his job and his girlfriend, Clarice, breaks up with him and takes his cat! That's all in the first two chapters!
Then Tom decides to leave Atlanta and go back to his hometown of Bethel, a small community where Tom's dad had a law office.  Tom decides this is a good time to take care of his dad's things. To begin clearing up and cleaning out the office. When a mystery appears.  "Things" in one certain case aren't adding up. Where did "this" money come from and was his dad as honest as he should have been? Here begins the suspense and the mystery!
Robert Whitlow is a master at legal suspense.  He takes an ordinary, everyday  young lawyer like Tom and turns his whole life into a thrilling tale of action packed suspense, thrilling turn of events and christian values.  
Tom's baptism made me teary eyed... his pastor asks him if he is willing to walk the paths of the ancient ones ... just like we read in Jeremiah 6:16.  This is one read that will make one take a look at your own spiritual life.  
A most EXCELLENT read!  Don't miss this newest book by Robert Whitlow!
*This book was provided for review by BookSneeze/Thomas Nelson Publishing*
About the Author:

Robert Whitlow grew up in north Georgia. He graduated magna cum laude from Furman University with a BA in history in 1976 and received his JD with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1979. A practicing attorney, he is a partner in a Charlotte, NC law firm. He and his wife Kathy have four children and two grandchildren.

Robert began writing in 1996. His novels are set in the South and include both legal suspense and interesting characterization. It is his desire to write stories that reveal some of the ways God interacts with people in realistic scenerios.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In Between {A Katie Parker Production ACT 1} by jenny b. jones

Book Description: Unlike most kids, teenage Katie Parker never got a fair shot at a normal life. With a mother in jail and a missing-in-action dad, she's never known what it's like to truly be loved. Low on options and family members, she's soon shipped off to a foster home. Now in an unfamiliar town, Katie's rebellious attitude is at odds with her new family, school, and classmates. And after falling in with all the wrong people at school, things go from bad to really bad after she takes the blame for vandalizing the local performing arts theater. But in the midst of a dark situation, Katie finds light in the most unexpected places: through her new friendship with an eccentric senior, the commitment of her foster family, and a tragic secret that changed them forever. And as she inches closer to acceptance and forgiveness, she finds that God has been there all along.

My Review:  This book, In Between by Jenny B. Jones, begins with Katie telling the reader, "I'm what you call an orphan, I guess.  I'm officially a ward of the state of Texas.  Knowing that your greatest achievement to date is becoming a dependent of an entire state can totally blow a girl's confidence." (p.9)
Katie is at a girl's home for a total of six months before being shipped out to foster care or as she calls them "pretend-o-parents."
One can't help but love Katie.  She's funny, quirky and she's a survivor!
Ms. Smartly, the director of said girls home, tells Katie that Mr. & Mrs. Scott will be her foster parents.  Katie tries to talk Ms. Smartly out of sending her to the Scotts but Katie goes....Katie is impressed with the pink room that Mrs. Scott has prepared for her.  She can't help but like the Scott's!
Then Katie meets Maxine (aka foster grandma)!  The most outrageous senior citizen in the history of the world!  Boy! Can this woman eat!
Katie is funny so when she decides she doesn't want to go to school Millie (Mrs. Scott) asks, "What are your symptoms?"
Katie instantly thinks, "My symptoms?  Let's see, fear, embarrassment, regret, and the strong desire to morph into someone else." (p.174)  Katie goes to school.
The Scott's introduce Katie to church.  She seems to enjoy getting to know what church is all about and learning about God.  Then Katie finds out why Mrs. Scott is so sad....the mystery behind the tears.  And God is always for us not against us!
This is one of those reads that gives us a glimpse into the life and times of a foster kid~the emotion, the feelings of aloneness, and being cared for by a stranger(s)! I loved this teen fiction read!  
*This book was provided for review by NavPress*

About the Author:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday} Watermelon Salad 'cause it's TOO HOT to cook!

A friend sent me a recipe she found at


  • 3/4 cup halved, thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 quarts seeded, cubed watermelon
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olive halves
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Place the onion slices in a small bowl with the lime juice.
  2.  The acid of the lime will mellow the flavor of the raw                           onion. 
  3. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the watermelon                                                       cubes, feta cheese, black olives, onions with the                                           lime juice, and mint. Drizzle 
  5. olive oil over it all, and toss to blend. 
  6. Dig in and be prepared for a pleasant surprise!