Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Counting Our Blessings - Linkup!


I hope you had a very blessed week! Mine was in so many ways and I'm excited to share it with you.

I received these beautiful flowers from my son and his girlfriend.


Aren't these amazing? I am so impressed with this bouquet as it has so many lovely things that are so beautiful. I love getting flowers and these are so beautiful. I have them on my table where I do my daily Bible reading, study, and also my planner decorating. They are such a beautiful reminder of the fact that I'm loved. 💗

Muffy is doing well.  In fact, I would say she has made a huge recovery since we've been feeding her the canned food. She is much more active and it's so good to see her acting more like her old self.  I am still feeding her by hand because she has problems eating out of a bowl now. I'm so glad that it's helped her! Here she is with her most favorite person - her boy, my oldest son.


My husband and I went to my son's apartment for dinner and look what was there!


His new roommate has this kitty and I fell in love with this little guy. He's so sweet and talks all the time. He loves to be held and petted and I was smitten.  Unfortunately, I am still allergic to cats and made the mistake of rubbing my eye after holding him. Oh boy...that was a bad thing. My allergies aren't as bad as they used to be but, obviously, I'm still allergic. It was worth it though! I just love kitties and this little guy is truly a sweetheart.

For dessert, my son's girlfriend had her brownies that she makes for us. She makes several kinds and this is her Turtle Brownie.


Oh. My. Goodness! It is so delicious and so decadent! It's a rich, yummy brownie packed full of nuts, chocolate and more! I really shouldn't have eaten the whole thing but I just couldn't help myself. I have never had a brownie that was so yummy!

Did you see the eclipse of the moon and the blood moon the other night? It was so amazing! I didn't get a very good picture of it but I tried. Here it is as it's starting to eclipse.


It's hard to tell much from this picture but I'm so glad I got to see it. It amazes me how God gives us so much beauty for us to enjoy and admire. I am always awestruck when I see things like this.

What were your blessings this week? Share them on the linky below.



Blessings Julie

Monday, January 21, 2019

Book Review & Giveaway - Who I Am With You by Robin Lee Hatcher


ABOUT THE BOOK:

For these two broken hearts, the first step toward love will be a huge leap of faith.

Jessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.

Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination.

When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have broken their hearts, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again.

Who I Am with You weaves together a modern-day romance with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s story from the 1930s, reminding us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever.

Who I Am with You is the first book in Robin’s new “A Legacy of Faith” series.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of over 75 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Robin is an ACFW Carol Award winner and an eight-time finalist and has won two RITA Awards and been a finalist eleven times. Her numerous other awards include the Christy Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award. She is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon dog and a persnickety tuxedo cat.

For more information, visit www.robinleehatcher.com, Facebook: robinleehatcher, Twitter: @robinleehatcher and Instagram @robinleehatcher.

MY REVIEW:

I am so happy to have read another great book by Robin Lee Hatcher. She never disappoints and, in this new series, she has given me characters to love and care about.

This book is set in two time periods, and while some authors have trouble pulling this off, it's done very well here and never confusing. She uses a family Bible to pull the two generations together and it's done so beautifully.  I came to care about the people in both generations an enjoyed going back to the 1920's and 30's throughout the book.

Jessica and Ridley are the characters in the here and now. They are both broken people because of circumstances in their lives and coming to terms with the fact that life hasn't turned out the way they had hoped. I especially felt Jessica's brokenness as she learns to navigate life as a widow after losing her husband and child.

Ridley has been accused of doing something less than honorable and he is hiding out in Hope Springs in hopes of avoiding the media and gossip. He is broken in so many ways, as well, because he's not sure how to get his good name back or if he even can.

I really loved seeing the relationship blossom between Jessica and Ridley. It was a friendship first and I like that Robin Lee took this slow and we saw them grow as individuals, as well.  I loved how faith was a central theme to this story and that we saw some struggle in this area. We all go through this and it was well written yet lovely when we see these two people grow in this area.

This was a book I read in a very short time as I just couldn't bear to put it down. I wanted to see what happened to all these people in different generations. I loved everything about this book and highly recommend it! I give it 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Audra Jennings PR. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.


GIVEAWAY:



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Blessings - Julie

Friday, January 18, 2019

Book Review - Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Lady Selene is heir to the House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person's dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. Soon after the gifting, however, Selene discovers that the Ravenwood women have been secretly using their gift to gather information or to assassinate those responsible for the fall of House Ravenwood to the Dominia Empire hundreds of years ago.

As she becomes more entrenched in Ravenwood's dark past, Selene longs to find out the true reason behind her family's gift, believing that its original intent could not have been for such evil purposes, but she is torn about upholding her family's legacy--a legacy that supports her people. Selene's dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations--but who is also prophesied to bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and likely death. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Morgan L. Busse (www.morganlbusse.com) is the author of the Follower of the Word series and the steampunk series, The Soul Chronicles, the second book of which, Awakened, won the 2018 Carol Award for Speculative fiction. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel. She and her family live in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Visit her online at www.morganlbusse.com.

MY REVIEW:

This is a fantasy book about good versus evil - light versus darkness. It's a book that kept me wondering for a long time and the mystery of it all, drew me in. I love books like this!

Lady Selena has the mark of the raven on her back, and like her mother, and the women in the family before her, she has the gift of dream-walking. I really like Selena as you can tell she has a kind heart and wants to do the right thing.

There are seven houses in this kingdom, each with it's own gift. For the House of Ravenwood, they have their dream-walking but those in the kingdom believe their gift has diminished. This is an important part of this story as they are able to use their gift without others realizing it.

When Selena finds out that she is to use her gift, not for good, but for the benefit of those who would do evil, she is appalled. Her mother is not one to trifle with, however. In fact, her mother is quite frightening and no one really crosses her.

The book starts out setting up the information we need to understand the dream-walking and the people of the kingdom. About half-way through, we start seeing some action and it's all very intriguing!  I really enjoy a good fantasy story and this book definitely is that.  Since this is the first book of the series, it does end on a cliff-hanger.  I know some don't care for this, however, the book was so well done, it didn't bother me and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series!

I really enjoyed this story and loved how Serena's heart was trying to do the right thing. I can highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Bethany House. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.


Blessings - Julie

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Counting Our Blessings Linkup


It's a rainy, gloomy day here. We need the moisture, though, so I'm thankful that we are getting some. It will help our trees and flowers in the coming year.

It's been a busy week so I'm going to just share a linky so you can linkup your blessings.



Blessings - Julie

Monday, January 14, 2019

Book Review - Wait for Me by Susan May Warren


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Pete Brooks can't believe he's waited an entire year for EMT Jess Tagg to return to Montana, only to have her break his heart. Worse, a series of mistakes on the job has cost lives, and Pete isn't sure he wants to continue to work in search and rescue. Maybe if he can just get over Jess, he can figure out how to move forward.

When a terrible fight between Jess and Pete sparks an impulsive decision, Jess finds herself crashed on the side of a highway along with two others. Just when Jess thinks things couldn't get any worse, they are taken captive and dragged into the untamed Montana wilderness--with murderous intent.

Now Pete will have to call on everything he's learned to find them--and pray that his past mistakes don't cost him the life of the woman he can't stop loving.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than 1 million books sold, including Wild Montana Skies, Rescue Me, A Matter of Trust, Troubled Waters, and Storm Front. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers' Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She makes her home in Minnesota. Find her online at www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at Susan May Warren Fiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren

MY REVIEW:

I have always really enjoyed Susan May Warren's books and was excited to read this book but it was a struggle for me to get through this one.

Pete Brooks is totally in love with Jess Tagg but after a lot of promises on her part that haven't panned out, he's starting to realize that she doesn't feel the same way about him. She is back in town for the marriage celebration of mutual friends and, after an argument with Pete, she takes off with friends to get away from him.  This starts a series of frightening things that have everyone trying to find her.

There is a current fiance and a past fiance in this story and a lot of really bad decisions that had me rolling my eyes. I was actually surprised by this story as the author's stories have not been this way in the past.  I almost felt like she was rushing this story to finish up the series. I got so aggravated by some of the dialogue as well.

I really wanted to like this book more but it just didn't resonate with me. I will definitely read future books by this author but this one fell flat for me.  I give it 2 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Revell Reads.  I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.


Blessings - Julie