A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter


About the Book:

Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, a duke–with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she’s heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marcus, her brother’s new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned.

My Review:

I enjoyed this book, even though the tale seemed familiar.
I found the beginning was excellent, the middle lagged and the ending was good! Regency tends to move a little slower, with prim and proper ladies. This book had the less than proper lady that was always getting entangled into some sort of trouble.

The touches on seriousness, rejection and finding contentment without what you think you really want were all very good!

If you like regency fiction, this is a light, easy read you will enjoy.

This book was given to me for review by Bethany House. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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Streams of Mercy by Lauraine Snelling


About the Book:

Anji Baard Moen, a recent widow, returns from Norway with her children. She quickly settles back into life in Blessing, teaching Norwegian history in the high school and writing articles for the Blessing Gazette. When tragedy strikes, Anji steps in to run the newspaper and soon finds a kindred spirit in the widower who owns the printing press. As they spend time together, Anji wonders if there’s something more than friendship growing between them.

But Anji has also caught the eye of a recent arrival to Blessing. He has put his carpentry skills to good use on the town’s building projects, including Anji’s house. But Anji is torn between her feelings of loyalty to someone who needs her and the chance to build a new life with this intriguing newcomer.

Where will her choice take her?

My Review:

Book three in Streams of Blessing series, even though I have read all the previous books, I found myself a little confused by all the different story lines going on at once in here.

I did enjoy many things about this novel! One thing that was very educational was the history of diphtheria as well as the treatment they only had begun to have at that time.

The story felt like it ended on a note to make you want to read the next book, which is a good and bad thing, since the next book will not be coming out for awhile. The town of Blessing is growing and shrinking in this book, with small minor mysteries left throughout.

Bethany House provided this book for review. The opinions are my own.

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Trim and Healthy Mama Cookbook

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


Book Description:

In their debut cookbook, the Trim Healthy Mama’s share hundreds of delicious, healthy recipes to help readers successfully slim down while eating well. This companion cookbook to the bestselling Trim Healthy Mama Plan is just what readers have been waiting for. It features simple, mouthwatering, recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner—including slow cooker and one-pot meals, hearty soups and salads, omelets and waffles, pizzas, breads and more. No Trim Healthy Mama should be deprived, so there are also favorite snacks, delectable desserts, and the smoothies, sippers and teas fans love. With pantry-stocking advice, time-saving tips, and information on how to cook for the entire family, the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook offers a delicious and nutritious way to make trim and healthy meals with less stress—so you have more time with your loved ones.

My Review:

This cookbook is a spin off of the popular Trim and Healthy Mama book which a lifestyle plan. Unlike many diet plans, it is one that many people can stick to without feeling like they lost their life a long with the weight.

However, this cookbook is not good just for those following the plan. This book would be good for anyone on an alternative diet plan as many of the recipes meet some of the strict food guidelines that are commonly recommended today.

I read one complaint that the book was filled with “mixes” and “fake sugars”. Stevia is highly recommended, but in the beginning, all the ingredients are broken down, explained and alternatives are given. I don’t use stevia, but found that it would be simple to use most of the recipes with my own alternatives. If you visit their FB groups or websites, there are also alternative recipes for making your own baking blends etc. It is not hard to figure out. But make sure you read the entire first part of the book.

If you are not used to eating low sugar foods, some of the desserts will not taste very good to you. However, if you are, they are fairly good. I have had several of the recipes and was pleased with how they tasted. Roasted radishes are really good, they taste like a cross between a potato and a Brussel sprout when roasted.

Mostly, this book gives you great alternative recipes for alternative diets, simplified. It is not for everyone, but for those that need it, this is a great resource. The full color pictures and the authors sense of humor make it a fun read as well.

This book was provided to me by Blogging for Books. The opinions contained herein are my own.

You can purchase a copy here on Amazon Trim and Healthy Mama Cookbook 

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The Heaviness of False Guilt

“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” Matthew 23:4, KJV.

This verse came to mind today as  when after waking up, checking emails, book sale postings, moderation duties, teaching school, feeding children, organizing paperwork for property management, reading to my children among other things, and I happened upon the umpteenth guilt laden post about mothers that spend too much time on the computer, taking pictures, or some other activity that was something we should feel guilty about.

My first reaction was anger to be honest.

I had to look deep within to see where it was coming from and realized that this was a righteous anger.

Do I think and know that there are mothers that should spend more time with their children? Yes.

Do I know which mothers need to hear that? No.

If I am spending time judging the mother in the park for checking her phone, I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing. I have no idea if that mother brought her child to the park to play after spending all morning reading books to him and just needed to listen and answer her voice mails and text messages  on her phone at that moment.

The photo went around judging the young women for taking selfies with their food. Another condemning post was passed by about people taking photos of the Pope passing by, while one woman sat with a blissful expression on her face, enjoying the moment. The comments on the post were that we need to enjoy the moment more, rather than focusing on seeing it through a camera phone. In that post, there was a blanket judgement passed that all those seeing the moment through their phone camera, were not possibly enjoying it as the other woman was.

I will ask, “Who are we to judge?”  Are you passing judgement on others and binding a heavy burden on them?

I encourage you, before you post something about spending less time on the computer, enjoying the moment, spending time in “real life”, stop.

It may be a good word, but remember to hold a balance. Many of those people that you think “spend all day sitting on their computers and phones”, often have good reasons to do so. It may be their job, or it could just be an appearance.

Think before you speak, especially online. Don’t weigh down others with guilt they don’t need.

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My Father’s World ECC, AHL etc. Weeks 4-7

I have been very busy and not on the computer for any longer periods of time lately. For that reason, this post is delayed.

I had planned to take a week off, which happened, but the boys had writing and science classes that started that week.


Our days end up beginning with reading out assigned work from ECC, checking on the high school level students and making sure their assigned work is being done.


Generally we try to stay in the sunshine.

IMG_0353 IMG_0352IMG_0355

This afternoon, we went on a nature walk to collect leaves, chestnuts etc.

IMG_0349 We had more than 3200 pounds of potatoes deposited in our yard, so we did some practical math with sorting, boxing and selling them. We were able to find homes for all the potatoes. Each box weighed over 40 lbs. and we sold them for $5 a box. It was a great learning exercise in both patience and math.

IMG_0356One of our first “Mexican” meals while studying Mexico!

IMG_0358The leaf condensation project…

IMG_0359 Upside down silly boy while we were discussing the Theater club production for the year.

IMG_0347 IMG_0346 IMG_0345 My sister was being funny, but pictures of our Mexican Fiesta feast!

IMG_0348 Group games at the fiesta

We have some more pictures, but I didn’t have them all on the computer! We have been enjoying Canada and learning lots. The boys enjoyed Cameron Townsend and have kept up a commentary on the story. My 7th grader is doing The Golden Goblet for his Literature study with his language arts group at the co-op classes. Basketball practice also began this past week, so life never is dull.

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A Diary of a Jackwagon by Tim Hawkins

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


Book Description:

Popular Christian comedian Tim Hawkins shares his hilarious perspective on life in the 21st century.

In this wide-ranging, long-awaited book, comedian Tim Hawkins holds forth on everything from family, culture, and music to church, parenting, and education. Readers will enjoy laughing their way through the book, always feeling good about the clean and sometimes inspiring material they are laughing at. Chapters include riffs on marital communication (“marriage needs a challenge flag, like in pro football”) aging (“the diabolical orifice witch hunt”), worship music (“pick the right key, because I’m not Barry White and I’m not a Bee Gee”), and fatherhood (“There are no manuals for parenting. Color-coded warning labels or open-ended prescriptions would be just as helpful.”)

For fans of Jim Gaffigan’s Dad Is Fat and Food: A Love Story, Tim Hawkins’ hilarious first book reveals that for life’s many difficulties, laughter is the best medicine-when there aren’t any pills left.

My Review:

Tim Hawkins has been a family favorite here for quite some time. If you are having a bad day, there is nothing like a Tim Hawkins video or clip to cheer you up. Now there is a book! This was one that my family enjoyed hearing pieces of around the dinner table for a good laugh. Spiced with Hawkins unique senses of humor, you may even learn something about parenting, marriage or even just everyday life!

The book is a fun change from much of our heavy self-help Christian books, and will lighten your day.

This book was provided for me for review by BookLook bloggers.

The opinions contained herein are my own.


I review for BookLook Bloggers

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Menu for the Week


Oatmeal with cherries

PB Toast


Scrambled Eggs/toast

Oatmeal with apples

Coffee Cake

Pancakes with Maple syrup


Bean Burritos

Nachos with beans and cheese

Ham and cheese grilled sandwiches and Tomato soup

Leftover potato soup

Lunchables- cut up cheese, crackers, lunchmeat, hummus, baby carrots, sliced fruit

PB sandwiches and baby carrots

Grilled open face pizza sandwiches


Canadian Meat Pie

Enchiladas, Spanish rice, salad

Burmese Curry, rice

Potato soup, bread


Pizza with Canadian bacon

French fries, Chef Salad

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Another Way Home by Deborah Raney


Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Book Description:

Grant and Audrey are adding grandchildren to their family left and right, but middle daughter, Danae, and her husband, Dallas Brooks, have been trying for years with no baby in sight.

Though Danae is ready to consider adoption, Dallas will not even discuss it. Despairing of ever having a family of her own, Danae decides to pour her passion and energies into volunteer work with a newly opened women’s shelter in town. Looking for a good cause to fill her lonely days, she never expects to give her heart to the hurting women she meets there. She’s finally learning to live her life with gratitude, but then heart-wrenching events on Thanksgiving weekend threaten to pull the entire Whitman clan into turmoil—and leave them all forever changed.

My Review:

Infertility is a tough issue that faces many more families than we realize. While it has been touched on in Christian fiction, I have enjoyed these novels that address the hard, nitty gritty emotional issues that these families face. I felt like this book really addressed a topic that often Christians tend to minimize. The emotional pain that adoption can hold on all fronts, for all those involved. Ms. Raney, once again, does an amazing job of endearing you to this family. I will miss this series as I have enjoyed every one of them. I hope, even though Abingdon might not be printing fiction anymore, that another publisher will snatch Ms. Raney up quickly. We need more books like this one!

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Hiding Places by Erin Healy

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


About the Book:

Eleven-year-old Kate Whitby leads an invisible life, the youngest member of her odd family. They live in their historic small-town hotel, where she is an expert at keeping everyone’s secrets: her sister’s a thief, her great-grandmother isn’t as crazy as people think, her mother lives in the past, and her beloved grandfather might have killed his best friend.

Devoted to the people she loves—more than they have ever been to her—Kate vows to protect each one.

Charlie Fuse has lived on the streets since his alcoholic father threw him out. When Charlie’s powerful street family tests his loyalty by demanding that he kill the son of a rival gang leader, he refuses. They frame him for the murder, forcing Charlie to run.

When Kate finds Charlie injured and penniless, she hides him from his enemies and her uncharitable relatives, unaware that he has a connection to her family as old as the hotel itself.

My Review:

As most of Erin’s books are, this one has a flavor of the supernatural, without really having it in it. Homeless children, gangs, and a crazy bunch of people running a hotel didn’t seem to have much in common until near the end.

Kate was cute. She was unique and I loved her perspective on things. The rest of the characters, I had a harder time relating to, especially in the way they were written out. But the clear word pictures drew me in. I loved the secret passageways, the grandmother among others that were woven throughout.

Overall, this story is about how sometimes parents can neglect their children while taking care of them. They don’t realize how much they are neglecting them at times, in the busy part of life. That is what I took away from it. I need to spend time actually listening to my children as well.

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Center of Gravity by Laura McNeil



Book Description

Ava’s life in the coastal South appears nearly perfect after her recent marriage to the powerful and handsome Mitchell Carson. She loves her husband and the family they have created. Even Mitchell’s young son from a previous marriage, Jack, with his superhero ambitions, can’t imagine life without Ava. Outwardly, Mitchell appears to be a caring husband and doting father, but as Ava soon discovers, there is a dark side to Mitchell Carson that she never imagined.

When Graham Thomas, a lawyer with a secret past, stumbles into Ava’s life, everything changes. Mitchell’s jealous streak emerges after an innocent encounter between Graham and Ava, and Mitchell soon convinces himself that Ava is unfaithful. When Mitchell starts divorce proceedings and a custody war, Jack is caught in the middle, which soon makes him question Ava’s pure intentions. As Ava searches for a way to save her family she begins to uncover her husband’s secret past and capacity for unhinged jealousy and rage.

My Review:

I have been a faithful wholesale customer of Thomas Nelson for many, many years. We are not a huge store, but enjoy purchasing christian books and bibles from a publisher we can trust. I recently was very dismayed to read Center of Gravity. It is printed and published as a Christian fiction novel. While it is very well written and the story is one that needs to be told, there was not even a hint of inspiring or Christian messages that the characters or readers could take away with them. There are multiple swear words, and not just mild ones throughout the novel.

I love to see novels addressing hard topics like spousal abuse. However, I want to see the hope that Christian fiction can give throughout, even if it is not in the form of bible verses and the like.

As I said, it is well written and for that, if this was a secular novel, I would give it above 4 stars. It addressed a needed topic in a very moving way. As a Christian novel, it would get two stars. It was not what it appeared to be, which was disappointing.


I received  this book for review from BookLook Bloggers. The opinions contained herein are my own.


I review for BookLook Bloggers

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