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Showing posts from 2012

Book Review: Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden

Okay. I just loved this book. As soon as Camden introduced the characters, I felt instantly attached to them. First, Lydia is a strong, smart woman--she holds a job in a naval yard and is well-versed in many languages. She is an easy heroine to respect. Alexander Banebridge (our other hero...) is witty and charming, to say the least. The secondary characters even have their own quirks, and I was never bored with them or found them hard to believe.

Camden's deep knowledge of historical events (she holds a MA in history and library science) makes this book not only interesting but chock full of historical relevance. The intrigue is substantiated and the history adds to the flavour of this novel. This isn't a cookie cutter romance--it has depth and a real story besides the romance aspect.

I was into the book from the very beginning, but it was even more difficult to put down the more I read. You feel for Lydia through the story and cheer for her to the very end. Camden is a very …

Return to Sunday Dinner by Russell Cronkhite

I liked this cookbook. I think it would be useful in any kitchen.
Split into 24 menus/themed Sunday dinners, there is definitely something for everyone.
Some of my favourite sections include the following: From Hearth and HomeIn the NeighborhoodAutumn in New EnglandAn Ancient HeritageA Sabbath Day SupperAnd a sampling of recipes to highlight: Ginger-peach chutneyMustard-glazed corned beef with cabbage and braised root vegetablesDouble-skillet cornbreadChicken and sausage gumboWarm pear strudel with vanilla sauce Each chapter begins with a short description of the theme of the menu, and then dives straight into the recipes; main course, sides, and dessert, along with a handy time-saving and do-ahead checklist at the close of each chapter.
This isn't my favourite cookbook, for a few reasons, but I think that has to do with my style of cooking. 
First, the recipes in this book were outstanding, but difficult. My style of cooking is simple and cheap (and maybe not always tasty...:) ), a…

Booksneeze Review: Fully Alive; Ken Davis

I don't often read self-help books. But I'm not sure if this qualifies as one. This is more like a to-do list on how to truly engage with life and stop walloping along.

This book will challenge and change your life, one bit at a time. Davis writes about everything from the importance of a close group of friends to the necessity of exercise to finding your spot in the world. Some of the more touching chapters dealt with how to keep God #1 and how important it is to truly love, despite how difficult.

Even though I haven't quite had a life-shaping moment like Ken Davis and I'm too young to have had most of his life experiences that have shaped him, I can still relate to all the chapters in this book.

This book is everything from challenging to funny, and it gave me a good jolt to start living "Fully Alive." Read it if you want to enrich your journey.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http:…

The Open Bible--My Review

First off; study Bibles are awesome. You not only get your basic Biblical text, but also a concordance, maps,  loads of notes, and outlines. It's nice to be able to really dig deeply into your Bible reading (or not) with a Bible like this. 

This Bible is deep. It has everything I could possibly want when it comes to detailed historical information. I especially like the colour maps--it makes it so neat to be able to see where exactly Jesus and the disciples walked on the earth and where these stories took place (the book outlines are also helpful for this). It's also cool to be able to look up a single word I have on my mind and see every Bible verse with it (like old school CTRL+F)! I got the hardcover version of this Bible, which makes it a bit more heavy-duty and easy to read (you can lay it out and pages won't flip back on you). 

One thing I wasn't overly fond of was the version. I am a twenty-something, and KJV doesn't really hit me the same as the NLV or even N…

Booksneeze Review: You Be Sweet

Cookbooks. Sometimes, there's no greater pleasure than sitting down with one and fingering through scrumptious recipes to fine the perfect one to bake or cook. 

You Be Sweet, by Patsy Caldwell and Amy Lyles Wilson, is no exception. Chocked full of  dessert recipes, you're bound to find something for your next baby shower, family reunion, or church potluck. 

Each section in this cookbook begins with a short story (for instance, the down-home tradition of a "sip and see the baby" event) explaining where the recipes could be applied. While not necessary for a cookbook, this was a nice, personal touch and allowed me to really peruse the book instead of simply using it as a reference. 

Also, the recipes are good. I appreciate the use of normal, staple items and traditional recipes (that are proven and earned a spot as a favourite)! A few recipes I'm excited to try include "Minted Pineapple Freeze", "Southern Bruschetta", and "Blackberry Crumb Pie…

Faithful to Laura by Kathleen Fuller: A Booksneeze Review

Yup, I am a sucker for romantic, Christian fiction, and, well, if it's Amish? Even better. 

Faithful to Laura by Kathleen Fuller tells the story of Laura Stutzman, a young Amish maedel, and her journey to forgiveness. Previously hurt (in physical and emotional ways) by Mark King, Laura is only looking for revenge. But after meeting gentle Sawyer Thompson--and getting a good glimpse of his story--they work together to overcome their rocky pasts. 

I did like this book. The characters are loveable, and there is enough added to the main plotline to keep readers`interest piqued. At the beginning of the book, I did feel a bit lost. I think this is just because this is the second book in the Middlefield Family series, and I hadn't read the first. I almost felt like I had to write down the character names to keep track of who was who, since you dive right into the thick of the story at the beginning. 

Overall, this was a good read; it had likeable characters and an interesting plot. If y…

Through Rushing Water: Booksneeze Review

Catherine Richmond's Through Rushing Water was a wonderful book. I struggled to stop reading before going to sleep and, when it was done, I wanted to start it all over again!

The story centers on Sophia Makinoff, a teacher at a prim New York school for girls, who gets rejected by the man of her dreams and, on a whim, decides to start her life as a missionary. She has no idea that God's plan for her involves the Ponca Indian tribe in Dakota Territory.

Sophia is such a raucus, lovable heroine, and the secondary characters all have such painted personalities, it's hard not to feel like a part of their world. I loved travelling back to the 1870s.

This book was not all fun and games, though. Richmond included some serious subjects of Ponca abuse, and I this was important. The book challenged me as a Christian and linked modern-day issues of poverty with that of the Ponca Indians.

I really appreciated the real-life story, the fun romance element, and the setting. Highly recommend…

Stress Point by Sarah Martin: Booksneeze Review

Sarah Francis Martin's Stress Point was just what I needed to read after my recent graduation and "entry into adulthood." (Yikes!)

Stress Point is separated into 10 chapters—each relating to a specific stress point; for instance, family, money, dating, employment, and more. In each chapter, the stress point is discussed in three case studies, and then each situation is discussed in-depth with journal entries, which include questions, prayer starters, and lots of room to write. 

This book was perfect for me. As a twenty-something, every single stress point was relevant (and there was a wide range). 
I loved how the book offered not only personal advice, but Bible-based, solid suggestions to overcome these stress points. The journal entries' space and questions allow readers to apply what they learned, and encourages spending personal time with God. It would be great as a personal read or for a young women's Bible study.
I recommend this book for any woman in her twent…

Heaven In Her Arms: Why God Chose Mary to Raise His Son

A book about parenting from a Biblical perspective? Awesome. I love the idea of learning from Mary's mothering experience. The book addresses 17 key lessons from Mary's story, from the importance of a solid female friend (for Mary, Elizabeth) to trusting God as the master designer. Each chapter talks a little bit about Mary's story and offers an application to modern-day mothers (often sharing a short life-lesson learned by Catherine Hickem herself). 

While Hickem's writing style was often a little formulaic and her chapters were sometimes almost structured like essays, I really liked the content of her material. Investigating Mary's role as a mother and applying it to modern mothers was not only interesting, but insightful. 

As well, Hickem didn't just leave the book at her observations; she includes an in-depth study guide at the end of the book, complete with space to jot notes, and she offers an invitation to join "The Ponder Movement". I think that…

Love Does by Bob Goff: Booksneeze Review

Bob Goff really is the world's best-kept secret; his resume is filled with huge accomplishments, from being a successful lawyer to founding Restore International, a non-profit organization that fights against injustices committed against children in Uganda and India. But that doesn't even begin to describe Bob's character. Bob doesn't just preach--he lives his faith and love in action and remains a humble man. It's shocking that he isn't more well-known.

Love Does is packed with fun anecdotes and life lessons from Bob's life. When reading it, I felt more like I was having a chat with a good friend rather than reading a text. His style of writing is entertaining and easy-to read, and he grasps an unassuming style with poignant phrases that deserve highlighting. I enjoyed the outlandish, inspiring stories and the natural inclusion of scripture and life lessons with each.

This book would be a great read for anyone looking to be challenged spiritually and for s…

Booksneeze Review: He Chose The Nails by Max Lucado

Max Lucado is a fantastic, famous author, and this book is another result of his talents. He Chose The Nails is a unique, in-depth look at Christ's sacrifice on the cross and offers a fresh view of the well-known story of Jesus' death. Each chapter is devoted to a symbol and investigates its meaning, from the soldiers' spit to the nails to the wine-soaked sponge.

What I really liked about this book was not only its content, but the study guide for each chapter. A large portion of the book includes Bible passages and study questions that relate to each chapter (that can be used for personal or group study) and really reinforces and applies the message of the book.

This book would be an excellent way to prepare for Easter, or any time you need a good reminder of God's gift to us.

For more information about this book, check out the interactive website.

I received this book for free from the publisher through the book review program. I wasn’t required to wri…

Farm Fresh Southern Cooking: Booksneeze Review

Farm Fresh Southern Cooking by Tammy Algood is definitely going to become one of my kitchen staples. This book is not only visually appealing (with pictures of recipes and the design of the book) but it is absolutely full of wholesome, fresh recipe ideas. I loved how the recipes used natural, simple ingredients that I would buy fresh or already have in the cupboard, and gave practical ideas for where to buy goods straight from the farm (family farms or local markets for those living in the South).

There are 8 primary sections of this book: appetizers, soups, salads, sides, breads, entrĂ©es, desserts, and breakfast and brunch (as well as an index). Some recipes I can't wait to try are the Perfect Timing Raspberry SoufflĂ©, Basil Biscuits, and Golden Brown Goat Cheese Medallions.

Though I'm not from the South, this book was very applicable and stuffed with 280 pages of great, easy-to-follow recipes. The only thing I would want is a version in hardcover, since it will get lots of u…

50 Simple Secrets to a Happy Life

Luci Swindoll's Simple Secrets to a Happy Life was a great, easy-to-read book. First of all, this book is aesthetically appealing--the cover and the font choice inside are very well-done and add to the book. Of course, I also enjoyed the content. Swindoll separates the 50 secrets into 5 sub-topics: from the basics like loving your father and mother to learning more about yourself and enriching your life experience. Each of the 50 secrets make up a short chapter, where Luci describes a memory from her life or a lesson she has learned. I liked this format, as it's simple to take one on every day and apply it to the day.

This book is not very in-depth about its secrets; they're often a simple three pages, but enough to still inspire the reader. If you're looking to challenge yourself or enrich your life, this book would be a great help! It would really work as a 50-day challenge to try a new Swindoll suggestion every day.
I received this book for free from the publisher thr…

Booksneeze Review: Heart of Gold

A tale set in an Idaho goldmine town in the 1860s, Heart of Gold is a wonderful story. Shannon Adair moves with her father (a Pastor) to Grand Coeur, while Matthew Dubois, a stagecoach driver, is looking for a wife to care for his nephew and dying sister. What God has in plan for these two is a bit more than they are expecting.
I really enjoyed this book. Robin Lee Hatcher demonstrates great skill in her character development; she kept some secrets from the reader and built up her characters' stories. Although treading on possibly sensitive territory, Hatcher separates the two sides of the civil war into equally loveable characters, and it encourages you to keep reading to find out what happens to them.

The setting of the story also was really interesting; I liked journeying into a historical world--Hatcher does a great job of making it exciting and easily imagined.

This book was a great read, and I`d recommend it to anyone interested in historical or romance fiction. There is mor…

Booksneeze Review: Beyond Molasses Creek

As a flight attendant, Ally Green has searched the world for a place she belongs. The story begins with her coming back home to Molasses Creek and gently unravelling her history in order to continue on.

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but it surpassed all my expectation. Seitz' attention to detail and ability to draw readers into different times and places is amazing. I felt very close to the characters and travelled along with them in their lives. It was really hard to put this book down! While much of the book is focused on Ally, two other characters' voices are heard. I found it interesting in how Seitz offers unique voices for each of her characters, and she really is an artist. It's like reading 3 different diaries and getting to know everyone extremely personally.

I really, really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for anyone looking for a good, deep story to get lost in during the winter months!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received t…