“The Tomb” by Stephanie Landsem, book review

“The Tomb” by Stephanie Landsem, book review

With spring finally on the way and Easter just a couple of weeks away, this book was a timely read. The author tells a fictional account of the Bible character, Martha- sister to Mary and Lazarus. She keeps all the Biblical information correct, and adds some her take on the family dynamics. She incorporates much of the Biblical history and customs in the story, which I found quite interesting.

I would suggest this book to anyone who likes Biblical fiction.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Tomb

Howard Books (March 17, 2015)


Stephanie Landsem


A word from the author:
I write historical fiction because I love adventure in far-off times and places. I’ve traveled since I was a teenager—backpacking through Germany and Eastern Europe, studying German in Salzburg, eating gelato in Italy, and riding camels in Morocco were some of the highlights. Travel kindles my imagination, fuels my love of history, and introduces me to one-of-a-kind characters. It’s the best kind of research.

When I can’t travel, I read. I love fiction, of course, but I’m often found behind a stack of history books or searching the web for historical tidbits. How people lived together, worked, and what they ate (I love food!) is usually what catches my imagination. No matter where or when we live, people are more alike than they are different. I love to find the similarities between our lives and those of the men and women of the ancient world.

I make my home in Minnesota with my husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When I’m not writing Biblical fiction, I’m feeding the ravenous horde of kids and their friends, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about my next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.


In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Tomb, go HERE.

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“A Faith of her Own” by Kathleen Fuller, book reivew

“A Faith of Her Own” by Kathleen Fuller, book review

Anna Mae and Jeremiah, along with his brother Amos, were childhood friends. They played together and promised to always be friends, no matter what came along. But then Jeremiah left. Just left. Without so much as a good bye for anyone. Amos got a couple of letters over the years, but nothing for Anna Mae. Everyone knew he went to the city where he attended college and vet school. And then one day, he returned to Middlefield.

They had all grown up, well grown older. Amos was quite a large man now, but his mind was still that of a child. Jeremiah was a veterinarian, and had come home to help Doc, as he had broken his leg tending a sick horse. And Anna Mae had grown up too, although she was not content. He mother was pressuring her to join the Amish church and marry. But Anna Mae was unsettled.

As she and Jeremiah tend some ill horses on his cousins’ farm, they work together and get reacquainted. Anna Mae finally has the strength to inform her mother of her desire to go to college and become a nurse. This does not sit well with her mother, who tells her to leave the house.

This is the first of the Middlefield Amish novel series, although some of the characters are from previous series by the same author. I enjoyed the book. It dealt well with the sometimes touchy subject of joining the Amish church or not. I look forward to reading the next in the series.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Thomas Nelson. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Dauntless” by Dena Sleiman, book review

Born as Lady Merry, daughter to the Baron, but not just Merry, leader of the “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest”, the rag-tag group of youngsters who escaped when the kingdom fell after a failed assassination attempt by her father. Merry, as the oldest, is the leader, but still just out of childhood herself. With the band of her “men”, really teen boys, who work to guard and lead the group of children as they grow up in the forest.As the time grows longer (2 years) and the children grow older, it is harder to meet their needs and stay hidden from those who would wish them dead. Including a nobleman’s son who once fancied himself in love with Lady Merry. When he discovers the band of “ghosts” will he turn them in to promote himself and his position? Or will he save them?

This is an endearing story of family, faith, and hard work. I enjoyed the plot- with its twists and turns. This would be a great book for a young adult reader, especially if interested in the knights, lords and ladies.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Bethany House Publishers (March 3, 2015)


Dina L. Sleiman


A word from the author:

Since selling my first book, I have also become an acquisitions editor for the company. I am a member of the Inkwell Inspirations blog, HEWN Marketing, ACFW, and a contributor to Christian Review of Books. I hold publishing credits in poetry and songwriting, and I was the writer and featured teacher in a nationally distributed instructional dance video for children. I have written several songs about the plight of the Islamic people, which have been produced in association with the Christian Broadcast Network. In addition, I have taught college and high school classes in writing and literature, as well as homeschool classes in the fine arts, and now enjoy teaching at writers conferences throughout the nation.


Where Legend and History Collide,
One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent

Born a baron’s daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father’s failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village–a group that becomes known as “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest.” Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he’s forced to reexamine everything he’s known.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dauntless, go HERE.

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Spy of Richmond by Jocelyn Green, book review

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Spy of Richmond

River North (March 1, 2015)


Jocelyn Green


Jocelyn Green is a child of God, wife and mom living in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She is also an award-winning journalist, author, editor and blogger. Though she has written nonfiction on a variety of topics, her name is most widely recognized for her ministry to military wives: Faith Deployed. Her passion for the military family was fueled by her own experience as a military wife, and by the dozens of interviews she has conducted with members of the military for her articles and books, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and its sequel, Faith Deployed…Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. She is also co-author of both Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (forthcoming, May 2012). Her Faith Deployed Web site and Facebook page continue to provide ongoing support, encouragement and resources for military wives worldwide.


Trust none. Risk all.
Richmond, Virginia, 1863. Compelled to atone for the sins of her slaveholding father, Union loyalist Sophie Kent risks everything to help end the war from within the Confederate capital and abolish slavery forever. But she can’t do it alone.
Former slave Bella Jamison sacrifices her freedom to come to Richmond, where her Union soldier husband is imprisoned, and her twin sister still lives in bondage in Sophie’s home. Though it may cost them their lives, they work with Sophie to betray Rebel authorities. Harrison Caldwell, a Northern freelance journalist who escorts Bella to Richmond, infiltrates the War Department as a clerk-but is conscripted to defend the city’s fortifications.

As Sophie’s spy network grows, she walks a tightrope of deception, using her father’s position as newspaper editor and a suitor’s position in the ordnance bureau for the advantage of the Union. One misstep could land her in prison, or worse. Suspicion hounds her until she barely even trusts herself. When her espionage endangers the people she loves, she makes a life-and-death gamble.

Will she follow her convictions even though it costs her everything-and everyone-she holds dear?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Spy of Richmond, go HERE.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Then Sings My Soul” by Amy K Sorrells, book review

“Then Sings My Soul” by Amy K Sorrells, book review

Nel Stewart returns home following the sudden death of her mother. Although not completely unexpected, as she was in her 80’s, Nel’s mother had not been ill, so the phone call from her father took her by surprise. As she sifts through the memories of returning to her childhood home, she must also deal with her father’s dementia.

This novel switches between the memories of her father in eastern Europe in the early 1900’s and the current times. Nel’s father, Jakob, lived through some very difficult times and because he was a child when he left Europe, some of the memories are shaded by youth.

Jakob’s father had been a stone cutter and jewelry maker for royalty, and he has hoped that this position would save his family. He sent Jakob to America in hopes of saving him and securing a place for the whole family in the future. Jakob passed on his love for the stones to his daughter, Nel.

This is an interesting book with lots of history woven in with more current times and issues. If you are interested in stones or European history, this is a book you will enjoy.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, David C Cook. All opinions expressed are my own.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Then Sings My Soul

David C. Cook (March 1, 2015)


Amy Sorrells


An Indianapolis native and graduate of DePauw University, Amy lives with her husband, three boys and a gaggle of golden retrievers in central Indiana. After writing and editing for her college newspaper, she combined a nursing degree with journalism and creative writing, which led to publishing and editing a wide array of medical and nursing writing and multimedia projects over the past 21 years, a position as director of communications of her church’s children’s ministry, as well as a weekly column for a local newspaper which ran from 2009-2012. She has been a two-time semi-finalist for the ACFW Genesis awards, and was the winner of the 2011 Women of Faith writing contest.

When she’s not reading or writing, Amy loves spending time with her three sons; spicy lunches and art gallery walks with her husband; digging in her garden sans gloves; walking her dogs; up-cycling old furniture and junk; photography; and friends.


When Nel Stewart returns home due to the sudden death of her mother, she realizes her beloved father, Jakob, is struggling with dementia.

With the reappearance of a high-school sweetheart, deliveries from Ukraine addressed to her, and the discovery of a mysterious, vintage aquamarine gemstone, Nel senses God is pulling her into the past to restore their faith and their futures. Told partially through Jakob’s flashbacks of fleeing genocide-ridden eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, the novel combines elements of mystery, history, faith and romance to reveal how God redeems the broken years … and our future.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Then Sings My Soul, go HERE.

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Dial Miracle Oil body wash- review and give away

Dial Miracle Oil body wash- review and give a way

This new Dial product is a body wash infused with Marula oil, to give beautiful soft skin. I have not tried any of the new trending Marula products, this is the first. It has a pleasant warm scent that is just wonderful on these very old snowy mornings. The body wash leaves my skin feeling clean, soft and smooth. I do use body wash to shave my legs and did not find it as easy for shaving as other body wash products that contain a lotion, but it was ok.

Are you ready to try it? Dial has given my 3 free product coupons to give away to my readers. Entering is simple, just leave a comment that you are entering the give away and you are entered. You may enter one time daily until the contest is over 3/15/15.

Posted in Give-a-way, Home life | Tagged , , , | 27 Comments

HCSB Ultrathin Reference Bible- book review

HCSB Ultrathin Reference Bible- book review

Holman Christian Standard Bible was written by a team of over 100 scholars from over 17 denominations to maintain the original Biblical language, but also reflect contemporary English language. This Bible has a beautiful leather touch cover in blue with brown trim. One of the great features is a magnetic flap that keeps the Bible pages safe while in traveling to church. The format of this Bible is 2 columns with 9 point type. There are sub titles and 8 full color maps, as well as Jesus words’ are in red.

Holman Christian Standard Bible is used in children’s Bible drill programs in my church and my own children have used it for many years. The translation is very readable and great for memorizing. The language is understandable. I especially like the Psalms and how poetic this translation is.

This Bible is a good for everyday reading and studying- at any level from children to adults, including seminary. If you are looking for something new to brighten up your personal Bible study, try the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, B&H Publishers. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden” by Karen Newcomb, book review

“Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden” by Karen Newcomb, book review

Originally published over 40 years ago, then is the fully updated vegetable gardening book. The postage stamp idea is that with just a small plot of land (4’x4′) the gardener can produce vegetables for their family’s consumption. This book is written with the organic gardener in mind with many suggestions to grow vegetables without the use of commercial products. The chapters include soil mix and prep, planning garden, how and when to plant, watering, harvesting, dealing with diseases and pests.

There are many suggestions on variations of companion planting and rotation plantings to maximize harvest with the small plot. This book has a lot of info for the beginner to more advanced gardener. While not all ideas will appeal to every gardener, but all should be able to find ideas that will work with your small plot.

There are no color pictures. The only illustrations are some line drawings and a couple of tri-color garden plot plans. I would have really enjoyed seeing photos of gardens and the ideas explained in the text.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Ten Speed Press. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Seek and Hide” by Amanda Stevens, book review

“Seek and Hide” by Amanda Stevens, book review

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Six years ago the government outlawed the Bible and Christianity. The church has gone underground. When people are turned in to the Constabulary, the newly formed agency to hunt down, capture, punish and re-educate Christians. The process is secretive, but everyone knows that nothing good comes from being taken in the by the Constabulary.

Marcus is a new Christian, but understands all that is at stake! He is part of a small home church he considers his family. And he protects those folks and those known to them. Even when his own life is put in danger.

Aubrey recanted her faith to save the life of her son. But that decision has haunted her ever since. And when faced with it again, she stands firm. And her son is taken from her. She runs away before the Constabulary could capture her. She runs into Marcus while evades the agents. He helps her escape and takes her into her home to protect her. During their time together, both learn about trust and forgiveness.

This book is a look into what the future could look like if the government takes to many freedoms away from the people. I was pleased to see that some people were able to stand up in the face of oppression and hold strong to their faith, even if they were to lose their lives.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Seek and Hide

David C. Cook (September 15, 2014)


Amanda Stevens


As a child, Amanda G. Stevens disparaged Mary Poppins and Stuart Little because they could never happen. Now, she writes speculative fiction. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English and has taught literature and composition to home-school students. She lives in Michigan and loves books, film, music, and white cheddar popcorn. Amanda’s first novel, Seek and Hide, will be available September 15, 2014 from David C Cook.


Six years ago, the government took control of the church. Only re-translated Bibles are legal, and a specialized agency called the Constabulary enforces this and other regulations. Marcus Brenner, a new Christian, will do anything to protect his church family from imprisonment–including risk his own freedom to gain the trust of a government agent.

Aubrey Weston recanted her faith when the Constabulary threatened her baby. Now released, she just wants to provide for her son and avoid government notice. But she’s targeted again, and this time, her baby is taken into custody. If only she’d never denied Him, maybe God would hear her pleas for help.

When Aubrey and Marcus’s lives collide, they are forced to confront the lies they believe about themselves. And God is about to grab hold of Marcus’s life in a way he’d never expect, turning a loner into a leader.

If you’d like to read the first chapter of Seek and Hide, go HERE.