Chateau of Secrets

Title: Chateau of Secrets
Author: Melanie Dobson
Publisher: Howard Books
ISBN: 978-1-4767-4611-1

“Should she stand for all that was good and refuse them, even if it cost her her life? Or should she continue to compromise her morals to save her life – and the lives of those in her care?” Gisele questions in Melanie Dobson’s novel, Chateau of Secrets.

At four hundred pages, this paperback targets those who enjoy Christian fiction in the historical setting of World War Two in France from a Catholic viewpoint. With two minor cuss words, topics about war crimes, and physical abuse, the story would be apropos for mature readers. The ending includes the author’s notes, acknowledgements, discussion questions with book club suggestions, and a conversation with the writer.

In this romantic tome covering several decades, twenty-two year old Gisele Duchant lives at her parents’ medieval Chateau d’Epines in Normandy, France, when German soldiers invade the area. With her brother in the French resistance hiding in tunnels under their home, her father dead, and her best friend – a Jewish wife and mother– missing, she is torn emotionally, spiritually, and patriotically trying to protect those she loves.

Over seventy years later and written in first person, twenty-eight year old Chloe Sauver, granddaughter to Gisele, has reservations about her engagement to Virginian Austin Vale as she sees Gisele’s memory fading away, often murmuring about her secretive past.

When Chloe’s father asks her to visit the family castle in France to do a documentary about Nazis using the home as a military headquarter, the young girl agrees to go, not only to solidify her feelings about Austin, she wants to uncover the cause of her grandmother’s torment and anguish.

As ghosts of the past during Gisele’s lifetime are brought to the attention of Chloe and the film maker who has ancestral history in the area as well, the two seek the reason behind the many family secrets, especially the whereabouts of a young baby girl who was in Gisele’s care.

Loosely based on a true story of Jews serving in Hitler’s army, Dobson’s writing captures the emotional angst, heart-breaking sacrifice, and shattering love lost as individuals fight for their loves, loyalties and morals. With lovingly expressing the beautiful visual landscape of war-torn France, she incorporates the portrait of souls who are committed to one another as they seek God’s purpose.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on DeeperShopping, Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under Fiction, Christian, ***** Great Read - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!

Blood Moons Rising: Bible Prophecy, Israel, and the Four Blood Moons

Title: Blood Moons Rising: Bible Prophecy, Israel, and the Four Blood Moons
Author: Mark Hitchcock
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-9708-5

“The central question is this: Is the blood moons prophecy different from all the apocalypse forecasts we have seen before? Is this another prophecy miscalculation, or could this celestial event be the most incredible sign of the times the world has ever witnessed?” Mark Hitchcock asks in his book, Blood Moons Rising: Bible Prophecy, Israel, and the Four Blood Moons.

This two hundred and seventeen page paperback targets those questioning the concept that the 2014-2015 blood moons involving four lunar eclipses correlate with Biblical prophecy. Using mainly the New American Standard Bible, there are ten chapters, three appendixes, and ending notes regarding the subject.

After the author’s preface kindly explaining his stance on John Hagee and Mark Biltz’s interpretations and conclusions that the four current-day lunar eclipses are not related to Biblical end-times, the first chapter discusses current interest in prophecy and how the Bible is a source for answers.

Believing Christians should not approach future events with skepticism or sensationalism, he feels we should consider stage-setting without specific dates. Using Biblical application, he discusses ten coming attractions such as the gathering again of the Jews, the pre-Tribulation Rapture, the Roman Empire reuniting, Israel’s temple rebuilt, the Mark of the Beast defying God, Revelations’ judgments, Armageddon, and Jesus returning and reigning.

The next six chapters dissect the blood moons prophecy theory in regard to eclipses with partial views, the significances of Jewish feasts, the star of Bethlehem, and Scriptures in Joel, Matthew, Luke, Acts, and Revelations related to the moon turning to blood.

There are chapters about the three prior blood-moon tetrads where exact dates did not always coincide with monumental Jewish events. Also discussed are other doomsday date setters, Shemettah, and the parable of the fig tree.

The final chapter reiterates how God is in control and only He knows the day and time of His reappearing so we should focus on a personal relationship with Him rather than speculate the imminent Rapture or a seven year Tribulation.

Using Scriptures, Hitchcock lays out a valid, logical explanation that readers will understand the blood moons theory is improbable and applied incorrectly to Bible prophecy.

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.

This review will be posted on Tyndale, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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** CONTEST ** BREAD COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY!

Bread Art: Bralding, Decorating, and Painting Edible Bread for BeginnersWIN “BREAD ART”

** GIVING AWAY 1 FREE BOOK!

MAKE GORGEOUS ARTISTIC BREAD!
ENTER TO WIN A FREE BOOK!


One person will be randomly selected to win FREE from Cedar Fort this bread cookbook!

REVIEW  TEASER: “Even the most beautiful of my loaves is designed to be consumed in culinary bliss. Thus the addition and development of edible decorative dough has come to pass,” Stephanie Petersen writes in her cookbook, Bread Art – Braiding, Decorating, and Painting Edible Bread for Beginners.

SIMPLE steps to enter this 3-day contest

1.  Follow my blog if you do not do so already.
2. Post in the “LEAVE A REPLY” section below why you want to read this exciting book (could be funny, clever, serious, or the words “I want” since the winner is randomly chosen).
3. Like either one of these Cedar Fort sites on Facebook or Twitter:

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Twitter@Cedarfortbooks or @Cedarfortcookbooks

 

This is a FAST CONTEST ending THURSDAY, APRIL 24th @ 6 PM PST so follow the 3 requirements above and try for a chance to win one of two books that is mailed from CEDAR FORT directly to you!

I read & reviewed this book – it’s a 5 STAR!

Here is my review:  http://connywithay.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/bread-art-braiding-decorating-and-painting-edible-bread/

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Bread Art – Braiding, Decorating, and Painting Edible Bread

Bread Art: Bralding, Decorating, and Painting Edible Bread for BeginnersTitle: Bread Art – Braiding, Decorating, and Painting Edible Bread for Beginners
Author: Stephanie Petersen
Publisher: Front Table Books
ISBN: 978-1-4621-1295-1

“Even the most beautiful of my loaves is designed to be consumed in culinary bliss. Thus the addition and development of edible decorative dough has come to pass,” Stephanie Petersen writes in her cookbook, Bread Art – Braiding, Decorating, and Painting Edible Bread for Beginners.

This one hundred and eight-five page hardbound targets readers looking for artistic ways to create and present breads and rolls. After a two page introduction, the book is divided into seventeen chapters, followed by an index, measurement conversation charts, the author’s biography, and other authored books written.

This is not a boring bread book, it is a piece of artwork, not only by its visual photographs of amazing, creative inspirations of bread making, it is a step-by-step instructional cookbook how to design breads that look enticing to eat.

The first four chapters covering almost fifty pages discuss the basics of good dough formation, general bread tips, yeast adjustment scheduling, and simple bread recipes. Thirteen standard base recipes range from no-knead four-ingredient bread, or sweet, white, whole wheat, Irish soda, oat, whole grain, and rye bread to a unique yeast-raised orange gingerbread.

The next twelve chapters incorporate the basic recipes into tutorials, instructions, and tips on making decorative embellishments, loaf formations, braids, fancy rolls, wreath and crown loaves, edible flowers, bread painting, loaf-seeding, themed breads and buns, and fancy baguettes, ending with places to buy specialty products.

Some of the samples from the chapters range from savory herb decorative dough, bread slashing, thirty-two-strand star loaf, bear claws o’ glory, sunflower bread, and making roses, daisies, and carnations, to painting with espresso powder, berries, turmeric and annatto, stenciling and stamping, attaching rolled grains, designing five animal breads, making wedding loaf flower or lilac clusters, and adding fresh herbs to baguettes.

Each recipe lists ingredients, directions, baking instructions, and sometimes chef’s notes to perfect the loaf or rolls. The decorating sections have numbered techniques to follow with tips on how to best create the desired outcome.

Need something artsy for a special dinner? Try the leaves or vine designs. A quick gift could be the old-fashioned pheasant’s rye bread. Delight children with a fish, rabbit, calico cat, bear, and bird loaf and enjoy Petersen’s funny instructional technique on the bear: “Ask the next person you see, ‘Do you want butter or jam on your bear buns?’”

The main problem with this book is the fear of the edible artwork quickly disappearing once completed, with its mouth-watering appearance and aroma taunting the beholder.

Thanks to Cedar Fort, Inc. for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will  be posted on Bookpleasures and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

 

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under ***** Great Read - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Arts & Crafts, Home / Garden / Food

Iscariot – A Novel of Judas

Title: Iscariot: A Novel of Judas
Author: Rebecca Kanner
Publisher: Howard Books
ISBN: 978-1-4516-9525-0

“I wanted to comfort her, but there was nothing left to say. I had chosen my master over them already. Whatever his fate, whatever he was – madman or Messiah – I would live or die with him,” Judas ponders about Jesus in Tosca Lee’s story, Iscariot: A Novel of Judas.

At three hundred and fifty-four pages, this paperback targets readers that like Biblical stories about Judas Iscariot’s betrayal, depicted as broad liberal fiction which may concern those who know the Scriptures. With no profanity but scenes of crucifixion, violence, and lewdness, it would not be apropos for immature readers. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence. With five pages of review in the beginning, the ending includes interesting author’s notes, acknowledgements, a reading guide with sixteen questions and four book club discussions, a conversation with the writer, and further thoughts on the topic, along with a preview of a new book.

Starting with an epilogue, this tome is written in first person by a broken, tormented man who, as a child, witnesses Jews being massacred, sees his father crucified on a cross, watches his mother sell her body, and views Romans taking over Jerusalem. At thirty-eight years old, married, and expecting his first child, he hears about an ordinary-looking Nazarene who many claim to be the coming Messiah.

Devoted to his Jewish upbringings, the guilt-ridden man who feels insignificant and unworthy is baptized by John the Baptist. Debating within his soul, he reports to the Sons of the Teacher, a subversive group of Pharisees looking for their king, while he becomes captivated by Jesus’s teachings and miracles.

Weaving conversations of Jesus with His disciples, the story blends fiction with Biblical situations as the sick are healed, the lame walk, and the gospel is given. As the main character, Judas protects his Master from harmful situations, keeping Him safe while the Sons question His beliefs and motives.

As Iscariot believes he saves his Master by purposely setting up His arrest to protect Him, he thinks he is not a betrayer, but a faithful follower who has been well-played by the Sons. With no reference to the verse in the Bible where Satan entered Iscariot, the author’s detailed notes at the end of the book offers her explanation.

While the story is told fictionally, Lee does a good job relating that we are like Judas in that we are unworthy, sinful, and depraved yet God has profound love for us. However, it seems her vision of this historical traitor dying of a broken heart does not focus enough on the seriousness of eternal damnation.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on DeeperShopping, Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

 CLICK ON THIS LINK FOR  TOSCA LEE’S BOOK PROMO!

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

 

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Filed under *** OK Read - Don't Hate It, Don't Love It, Christian, Fiction

Tuck-Me-In Talks with Your Little Ones

Title: Tuck-Me-In-Talks with Your Little Ones
Author: Grace Fox
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7369-5640-6

“We develop strong relationships with our youngsters by spending time with them. Both the quantity and the quality of these interactions are important. This calls for intentionality and creativity,” Grace Fox writes in the introduction of her book, Tuck-Me-In Talks with Your Little Ones – Creating Happy Bedtime Memories.

This one hundred and twenty page index-sized paperback targets parents looking for a new way to communicate with their young children after they are tucked in bed. Geared toward calm and peaceful conversations, children ages three to eight years old would benefit, although any aged reader may find it interesting and creative.

With no pictures, faint gray stars are on the background with one to four sentences on each page. Having no table of contents or organization, topics are randomly placed in a simplistic but thoughtful way. The font is sophomoric, with specific bold words for emphasis.

Ideally for the adult to read out loud one or several pages at bedtime to a young child, discussing the topic, it would be an excellent socialization tool at the dinner table, camping, long-distance traveling, or during a time that promotes talking.

Here are some quick quips listed per page that include the concept of God during the readings:

“Show me a sad face. Name three things that make you sad. Now show me a happy face. Name three things that make you happy.

Why are fire engines red? Name five other objects that are the same color.

If you could have any pet you wanted, what would you have? What would it look like? What name would you give it?

What does it mean to be kind? Let’s list three kind things we can do for our neighbors. Which one of those things would you like to do first?

Did you know that dolphins sleep with one eye open and one eye closed? Giraffes sleep standing up. They keep both eyes open, and they wiggle their ears. Why do you think God made them to sleep this way? Show me how you sleep.

How strong is God? Show me with your muscles. What problems do you think God can help you solve?”

By stimulating thoughts and concepts with young ones, this is an exceptional book to start the process of not only thinking about our bodies, creation, animals, and understanding emotions, it promotes learning and knowing about God.

Thanks to Harvest House Publishers for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Harvest House Publishers, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

 

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under ***** Great Read - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Childrens, Christian

The Blue Baboon in the Big Balloon

Title: The Blue Baboon in the Big Balloon
Authors: Sarah and Stephen Mostyn
Publisher: Sarah and Stephen Mostyn
ISBN: 9780991490011

“Into the balloon went the baboons, the orange mite and the troll named Dwight, along with Matt the fluffy green cat and the family of mice that like flying kites and eating fried rice,” Sarah and Steven Mostyn write in their book, The Blue Baboon in the Big Balloon.

First in the Canadian authors’ self-published children’s series, this unnumbered thirty-two page paperback is targeted toward preschool to early elementary school children and readers who enjoy rhyming stories about animals. With no profanity, scary scenes, or violence, the book would best be read to beginner readers based on some of the more complicated wording. The colored illustrations with very dark backgrounds cover the pages with white words over-lapping them.

In this silly tome about animals that rhymes without consistency, Harold the blue baboon and his brother Gerald always have tea at three thirty in the afternoon by the sea. Having a cat named Matt that chases a family of mice along with an orange mite and a troll called Dwight, they all enjoy riding in a big balloon.

One day the group takes a trip to the moon where they meet two female raccoons and their friend, a panda named Miranda. Invited to the girls’ cocoon, they watch some cartoons involving a giraffe taking a bath.

When Harold hears a mooing cow that jumps over the moon, he realizes they must return to earth in time for tea. They say their good-byes and mention how they enjoyed their adventure meeting new friends far from home.

With the authors’ three children inspiring creative story ideas, these two writers have more engaging tales to tell in future yarns. However, hopefully future books will have lighter backgrounds in the illustrations, making them more attractive and easier to decipher for younger aged children, with rhyming that can be read aloud in an iambic pentameter format or similar.

Thanks to the author for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on Pinterest and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under *** OK Read - Don't Hate It, Don't Love It, Animals / Pets, Childrens

Minding Molly

Title: Minding Molly
Author: Leslie Gould
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1033-4

“I had to get Mervin interested in Hannah again. That was the only thing that would change Mamm’s mind. Then she’d surely be fine with Leon. And if not … What was I willing to do? Run off with him? All the way to Montana? Of course not,” Molly considers in Leslie Gould’s novel, Minding Molly.

Third book in “The Courtships of Lancaster County” series, this paperback of three hundred and fifty-three pages targets those interested in contemporary, romantic Amish fiction. With no profanity, sexual innuendos, or violence, the book would be ideally enjoyed by young naive teenage girls or those that enjoy the angst of clean romance. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

Written in first person, twenty-two year old Molly Zook tries to keep every facet of her life efficient, predictable, and organized. With her Dat recently dying, her Mamm dealing with health issues, and their family farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on the brink of financial collapse, her plate is full.

Seeking avenues of keeping the homestead from being sold, her ailing mother suggests Molly marry Mervin Mosier, one of the twin neighbors living nearby who is more than willing to help keep their flower and plant business profitable. Mervin happens to have romantic feelings for the young lady, yet she does not care for him in the same way.

When Leon Fisher arrives from Montana to train horses at her best friend, Hannah’s farm, Molly schemes and plans to cross paths to meet the young man. Organizing a camping trip with the Youngie of their community, she pines for Leon as Mervin begs for her attention.

As all notice Molly’s bossiness and control issues at the farm, during camping, and in regard to her younger sister, Beatrice, the strong-willed woman slowly realizes her flaws and how God is the one in control of all things.

Written as an Amish story similar to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it additionally contains the shallowness of the protagonist with her methodical conversations as she deals with the many romantic tug-of-wars that teenagers experience as they fall in love for the first time. Readers glean that by minding what God wants, one can learn to give up always being in control.

Thanks to The Book Club Network Inc. for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on TBCNI, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under *** OK Read - Don't Hate It, Don't Love It, Christian, Fiction

** CONTEST ** THE ADVOCATE by Randy Singer ~ BOOK GIVEAWAY

WIN RANDY SINGER’S NEW NOVEL THE ADVOCATE
ENTER TO WIN A FREE BOOK!

One winner will be randomly selected to win FREE from Tyndale House this soon-to-be-released novel!

REVIEW  TEASER: “I was born to be an advocate for the truth, to fight for justice, to speak for the powerless. But in my greatest test I had failed miserably. I had lost my nerve and at a critical moment abandoned my principles,” Theophilus regrets in Randy Singer’s novel,The Advocate.

SIMPLE steps to enter this 3-day contest

1.  Follow my blog if you do not do so already.
2. Post in the “LEAVE A REPLY” section below why you want to read this exciting book (could be funny, clever, serious, or the words “I want” since the winner is randomly chosen).
3. Like either one of these Tyndale House sites on Facebook or Twitter:

Twitter– https://twitter.com/TyndaleHouse    @TyndaleHouse

Facebook–  https://www.facebook.com/TyndaleHouse

This is a FAST CONTEST ending THURSDAY, APRIL 17th @ 6 PM PST so follow the 3 requirements above and try for a chance to win a book that is mailed from the publisher directly to you!

I read & reviewed this book – it’s a 4 STAR!

Here is my review:  http://connywithay.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/the-advocate/

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The Advocate

The AdvocateTitle: The Advocate
Author: Randy Singer
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-9130-4

“I was born to be an advocate for the truth, to fight for justice, to speak for the powerless. But in my greatest test I had failed miserably. I had lost my nerve and at a critical moment abandoned my principles,” Theophilus regrets in Randy Singer’s novel, The Advocate.

At four hundred and ninety-six pages, this paperback targets those interested in Christian fiction during Jesus and the Apostle Paul’s era. With no profanity, the detailed accounts of Roman tortures, beatings, and crucifixions may not be apropos for immature readers. Caution should be noted the author takes fictional liberties with the Biblical account that may confuse those who do not know the Scriptures. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

In this lengthy tome that involves many characters over a three hundred year period during the Roman Empire, it begins with fourteen year old Theophilus writing in first person experiencing being the example of a mock crucifixion during a one of his Roman classes.

Taught to question what the truth is, he is sent to the prestigious Molon School of Rhetoric where he learns how to be an advocate, by detaching from suffering along with humiliation and favoring the Greek gods that supposedly protect him.

Six years later the young man becomes the assessore or chief legal advisor to Pontius Pilate in Judea. When Jesus is arrested and tried, he encourages Pilate to release Barabbas while condemning Jesus to death. Hypothetically writing “King of the Jews” in three languages on the titlus, he witnesses Christ’s crucifixion; the painful event seared into his memory.

As he moves up the rank of advocate back in Rome, he befriends a beautiful Temple of Vesta priestess, a strong-willed gladiator, Nicodemus, the Apostle Paul, and Doctor Luke. Taking on cases of slander, treason, and conspiracy against Caesar, Theophilus becomes the supporter for those that promote the truth or stand up to vicious rulers such as Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero.

With gory explanations of torturous Roman games, beheadings, burnings, and human abuse, he and his friends make spiritual decisions that solidify their faith and put them in danger.

As a detailed, gruesome tale that blends fiction and history of the man only mentioned in the Bible in Luke and Acts, Singer concentrates on how those that commit to their core values and beliefs rise above all obstacles and hardships by focusing on God being the ultimate Advocate.

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for furnishing a complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on DeeperShopping and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

 

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Fiction