Streams of Mercy By Lauraine Snelling

The Song of Blessing series is fast becoming one of my favorites! This is the third sequel and I have read all of them! Each book centers around the town of Blessing, North Dakota in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s and its inhabitants.
The town is struck with disaster when a circus train stops in Blessing, seeking medical aid for many performers that are sick. The big-hearted people of Blessing seek to help them, especially since other towns along the track have refused to assist them. It isn’t long before the townspeople find out that they have brought a Diphtheria epidemic into the midst of them! Not only does almost every circus performer take ill but the infection begins to spread throughout the town! The death toll begins to rise and fear spreads along with it. Who will die? How many will be dead when it is done? An antitoxin, medical personnel, and supplies are coming from Chicago, but that will be days. How will the carry on?
Many towns’ people risk their lives and show great courage in not only caring for the ill but helping those in quarantine, which is most of the town! It was fascinating to read an accurate account of how early medicine fought treat and contain such a deadly disease! Though their weapons were few and suffering was great, they used what little they had and relied on God for healing. The author takes into the lives of different families and their struggles, not only with the epidemic but also other challenges they are facing. As always, Ms. Snelling brings you into the story where you experience it firsthand. I was inspired by each character’s faith and taught so much about real life in this time. Looking forward to the next book!
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I stated are my own.

Wicked Women of the Bible By Ann Spangler

This is another great book by Ann Spangler! Her books are always great for Bible study and reading. Those people mentioned in the Bible are for us to learn from in both their positive and negative choices. Of the 20 “wicked” women Ms. Spangler covers, you might be surprised at first. Some of the women studied are “wicked” as in naughty girls and others are “wicked” in the slang term of awesome! In her talented style the author shares each lady’s story in such a way it brings them to life. I appreciate that she does not turn it into fiction, nor does she detract from God’s Word with a great deal of “imaginary” information. Her sense of humor is sprinkled throughout and makes the reading even more enjoyable. Although I have known about all these women through my Bible reading, this book helped me learn even more about them and see them in a different perspective. They became flesh and blood people with failures and struggles just like women of today.
The mini biographies include very interesting historical backgrounds concerning the women. Questions at the end of the chapters provoke thought into how you might apply what you have learned to your life, and deeper understanding of the woman in a scriptural context.
As always with Ann Spangler’s books, it stays in my personal library. It is great devotional or study book for groups, women, and teens.
I received this book free from http://www.BookLookBloggers.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Devotional by Marilyn Starzer

A dear friend of mine Marilyn Starzer shared this devotional with me, and I wanted to share it with others. I know you will be blessed as I was. Marilyn is the author of the newly published book, Sometimes We Have No Choice. Please watch for it on my blog, I will be reviewing it in the future. Thank you Marilyn for sharing this!

I have relied on certain scriptures for years, especially the following one. It has allowed me to tackle some projects I really wasn’t qualified for. Philippians 4:13 states ” I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” James 1:22 states “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”I John 5:14 & 15 “If we ask according to His will, He hears us and if He hears us we know that we have what we asked”. I would like to share with you about once when I had to rely all of them..
The church we attended in Anchorage, Alaska asked for volunteers to start a craft class at the local nursing home teaching knitting and crocheting. While I was no teacher or expert in either, I knew how to do both and thought I could be a helper. I had no idea the challenge a nursing home presents but there were 5 volunteers that Sunday so I would not be alone. When the day arrived only 4 of us attended with 2 leaving right away due to the atmosphere. However, 5 women patients had shown up hoping for a class. The following week I arrived with materials to find I was the only one who had returned. The expectant looks on the ladies faces convinced me I had to do the best I could. I several times asked God to please get me out of this but I guess the answer was no. The challenges were numerous; a lady who had gone blind and wanted to learn how to knit by feel, several who loved to try to put something over on me from hiding supplies to tales of stolen false teeth to a gentleman who played the accordion and continually disrupted the class wanting the ladies to dance with him, even me. Many times I told God, “You got me into this so please give me the help you promised.” Several projects were completed when a young man from Kodiak informed me he was an artist and would like to paint. I contacted my art guild and they supplied easels, canvases and paint. Then I had an art class, also with several more joining who wanted to learn. Again, I was not a teacher and a novice myself but we muddled through and they did some nice work so I requested a flat for them at our next art show. A couple of the better ones sold and the Guild bought the rest.. Since they had all sold, the following week I had a class of ‘Rembrandts’ being led by an amateur. One amputee due to diabetes, wanted to do a still life of flowers for her daughter. I had never done either but again muddled through all the time petitioning God to guide me as He knew I couldn’t do it alone. We finished it then she wanted to do another for her son. Hoping she only had 2 children, I helped her get it sketched and about a third finished when the next week she was not in class. I inquired and was informed she had passed away. I had to cancel class that day and go home but I showed up the following week and continued for 5 years.
I tell you all this to tell you they taught ME some very valuable lessons: the accordion player taught me to enjoy life no matter what your circumstances, the two mischievous ladies taught me to laugh and make your own fun, the blind lady taught me not to stop trying and do the best with what I had and the diabetic lady taught me to give whatever I could and not feel sorry for myself. I was able to show them God’s faith and love. I DID come to love them all and I believe what I learned there enabled me to deal with the events coming in my own family. I am so glad I didn’t let my lack of confidence or faith cheat me out of the lessons and friendships.
2Chronicles 16:9 states:”For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
I believe this and Hebrews 10:23 states:” Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful.”

GG’s Journey: From Lost to Loved By Cheryl Phillips

My heart breaks day after day at the stories on the news and internet about incredible cruelty to animals. Horrific accounts of God’s creatures being treated in unbelievably coldhearted, brutal ways when they have done no harm. Unfortunately pets, especially dogs and cats, have become just another “disposable” in today’s society. They deserve to be loved and cared for just as anything that breathes and has life. In addition to our cultures lack of compassion and responsibility, certain breeds are singled out, judged, and killed simply because of scattered incidents of other dogs with serious issues.
This book is written with love and understanding of these deserted victims. It is a true story about one special one named GG. Found frightened, starving, and sick on a street in Detroit, most passed her by and ignored her. One woman saw much more, an animal worth saving and loving. Thus began GG’s journey from stray to shelter, to finding a forever home and all that went in between.
It is a moving and tender story. We all see countless accounts of rescued dogs and their happy ending adoptions but we never know of the time, hardship, and suffering they experience before they find a loving family.
Ms. Phillips writes the book in a unique way, through the eyes of GG. This helped me really relate to what these animals go through. Rescue is great, but it is only the beginning step of a long, hard journey to reach a happy ending. It opened my eyes to the fear and insecurity these poor dogs face. Food and a warm bed don’t take away the fright of new surroundings, cages, people, medical procedures, and other dogs expressing their anxiety and panic. It is a pandemonium of negative emotions.
Another very important point Ms. Phillips brings out is how misunderstood these poor dogs behavior is. Would we not snap, growl and act aggressive if we were thrown into such a circumstance? Few people recognize this as normal responses in some dogs to a traumatic situation. I have a friend that rescues dogs and she is able to “read” them. I admire how she always knows just how to approach and respond. Due to this misconception numerous dogs that have so much to give and would make a wonderful family pet, are put down as “dangerous”.
If you love dogs, I hope you will take the time to read this book. You will never look at another stray or rescue the same. This is also a great book for children to read. Not only will you be touched, but 15 % of all book sales are donated to animal rescue! Please visit their website at http://www.ggsjourney.com
I received this book free from the author. I was not required to give a positive review and the opinions I shared are my own.

Twenty-Eight Snow Angels: A Widow’s Story of Love, Loss and Renewal By Diane Dettmann

I learned about this book through an online widow’s support group. The title drew me in, and then I saw it. A picture of her and her husband, I could see their deep love for each other and it reminded me of me and my husband. I had to read it. Of all the books I have read by widows since my husband died, Ms. Dettmann’s is the most honest. I appreciate her sharing her experiences with no sugar coating.
Other books I read shared the emotional trauma in generality, but not the details as this author did. Most didn’t share the physical aspects of deep grief and loss, but Diane did. There was a point in my grief journey I thought there must be something terribly wrong with me. My emotional state was much rawer and intense than what others shared. None talked in detail about the physical and mental toll the loss takes. I honestly thought was had some horrible disease or was mentally losing it. I couldn’t find anything in writing that matched my symptoms and mental condition. This frightened me even more. I had never had an anxiety attack before my husband’s death, and not to the point I thought I was dying. Page after page I found myself nodding my head and even saying, “Yes, yes,” as I related to her personal account.
Not that I want anyone to suffer through the loss of a spouse, but reading about her experiences as a widow, was comforting and I knew I was not alone. I wish this was the first book I had read. The book is skillfully written not only in its presentation but also in clearly expressing such a raw, vulnerable, intensely personal time. A standing ovation for Diane Dettmann and her courage, for not only being so transparent, but have the courage to revisit such a painful time by writing this book. It was a comfort and encouragement. Thank you!
I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All the opinions I expressed were my own.

 

Mason Jar Salads By Julia Mirabella

I have looked at many books on Mason Jar Salads and I have to rate this one as the best. The author’s information about the how’s and why’s of jar salads is concise and to the point. I loved the step by step pictorial of how to assemble one. She also shares some special tips I had not seen or thought of.
As a widow I struggle with not only eating, but eating healthy. The publisher’s book Muffin Tin Chef was a big help in cooking for me. But I have found myself as time goes on wanting something FAST and EASY; the latter meaning little effort. Let’s face it, 99% of the time, fast does not equal healthy. This book fits both of those needs and throws in HEALTHY too!
The pictures are wonderful! The visuals really help me in picking a recipe, and every recipe has one. They are all very practical and down to earth, yet creative and tasty. Any ingredient I might not like or don’t have are easily substituted. Tips are dispersed throughout the book to make your jar salads even better.
The book includes recipes for breakfast, salads (of course), lunches, meals you can heat in the jar, snacks and dips, and dressings. With 50 recipes you are promised lots of variety to choose from!
Since motivation is an issue, I like having something premade and ready to eat for several meals. Not only will I get the nutrition I need, but also feel good about having eaten period! I wonderful book everyone should own!
I received a copy of this book free from Ulysses Press . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Thousand Shall Fall By Andrea Boeshaar

Instead of “good to the last drop” like some coffees, this book was good to the last word! This is incredible historical romance! The author did such an astonishing job of incorporating Civil War history into her novel that you didn’t even realize you were being entertained and getting a history lesson too! I have learned many things I did not know in Civil War novels I have read and this one added a whole boatload more!
Merely 19 years old, Carrie Ann Bell found herself in the middle of the war, with her father gone, working at a horrid job to help support her mother (who for some reason despises her), and a two sisters, yet never forgetting her dream of becoming a journalist. When her younger sister runs off with a peddler, it is up to her to try to find her and bring her home. Her confederate friends have told her about the wicked Yankees. This does not deter her in the least. She comes up with a plan to disguise herself as a Union soldier, walk through the enemy territory where there is active battle ensuing and into the area she thinks her sister has gone. Carrie Ann has no doubt it will go off without a hitch, but it doesn’t. She is captured by the Union army and taken to their camp.
There she meets the handsome, military hero, Colonel Peyton Collier. He becomes her friend and protector. She finds that the Yankees are not the demons she has heard about, but good, brave men. She begins to help at their make shift hospital caring for the many wounded. To protect her and enable her to continue to search for her sister, he moves her to live with his widowed aunt as a companion. She learns those she thought were enemies were her friends and that friends from her past may very well be her enemies.
I love Carrie’s courage and tenacity in dealing with whatever was thrown at her. I attributed to the strength of youth but also her outstanding character. The story is filled with faith, humor, romance, suspense, and surprises. The practice of Civil War medicine was an exhausting gruesome job. Not only with the sheer numbers of severely injured men but also the lack of supplies and proper conditions in which to care for them. The author brings this to life vividly. It was a war not where the soldiers went off and fought, but it was staged right where people lived. Who could you trust? What would happen next in your city or home? Would you or someone you loved become a fatality of the war? These questions and more haunted every American during this time. Through this novel I experienced the tension, hardship, insecurity, and uncertainty of this horrendous time. I applaud you Ms. Boeshaar a job well done and anxiously await your next book!
I received a copy of this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.