Monday, May 25, 2015

A Love Like Ours

A Love Like Ours follows Becky Wade's Meant to Be Mine as the third book in the Porter family series. Lyndie James and Jake Porter were childhood best friends, but family circumstances led to Lyndie moving away for many years. In the meantime, Jake served in Iraq in the Marines, and he now suffers from the scars of PTSD, living a solitary life and keeping relationships at arms length.

Lyndie is an interesting character--she is fiercely independent and spunky--and not intimidated by Jake. Family is of utmost importance to Lindy. Her sister has special needs, and Lindy's love and loyalty define her.

Determined to prove that she can handle a job at Jake's ranch, Lyndie begins to get through to Jake as her optimism rubs off on him a little bit.

Jake was a background character in Meant to Be Mine, and I wanted to read more about him then, so I enjoyed following his story in A Love Like Ours. Becky Wade does an excellent job of portraying Jake's PTSD. His struggle to regain a sense of normalcy is handled realistically without turning him into a one-dimensional character. 

Becky Wade is one of my favorite Christian authors, and the way she incorporates the characters' faith throughout her books is spot-on. She avoids stereotyping them, but instead shows that they are flawed and still have a lot to learn. God's presence is evident throughout A Love Like Ours

Recommended for summer reading!

The publisher provided a review copy of A Love Like Ours.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Grandma's Guest Review: Finding Me

Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman is a contemporary novel from Bethany House about a woman who discovers that the life she thought was hers has actually been a lie. As she uncovers the truth about her life, her life is forever changed.

Grandma's Review

This novel begins when Kelli Huddleson loses her job for being an honest person who tries to help someone. She uses this time to try to reconstruct her past, because her parents had been killed in an accident and left her with many debts to handle. 

While cleaning out the homeplace, she finds clues and begins a journey to discover who she really is. There are many twists and turns as Kelli uncovers her past and plans for her future.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its many twists and turns. I especially enjoyed the way family love is stressed and how faith plays such an important role in life. I would recommend this to anyone wishing a good Christian novel with a little suspense.

The publisher provided a review copy of Finding Me.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Grandma's Guest Review: A Harvest of Hope

Grandma just finished the second Loraine Snelling book from the Song of Blessing series, and it sounds like she loved it. Read on for more:

This book is a wonderful follow up to the book To Everything a Season. Miriam returns to Blessing Hospital to complete her training after her Mother's death. While she was away, she thought often about Trygve Knutson and kept him in her mind.

When returning to Blessing, she realized he kept her in his thoughts also. What will develop? Is there a chance for them and what will become of her siblings? I couldn't wait to dig in and discover more!

The themes in this book show the many ways of caring for others and how with God's help this is what is important.

A Harvest of Hope is one of the most caring books I have read recently. The way the community helps look after each other is a lesson we all should pay attention to. I enjoyed the suspense that was present regarding day to day happenings. I found A Harvest of Hope to be a hard to put down book and would highly recommend it to others

(The publisher provided a review copy of A Harvest of Hope.)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Mastering Pasta

Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto by Marc Vetri is for the serious cook who wishes to master the art of scratch-made pasta dishes. It is a compendium of all things pasta, from the flour to the dough to the meal. Highly recommended by chefs like Jamie Oliver and Mario Batali, Mastering Pasta teaches the techniques for pasta making and shows you how to make more than 30 types of dough. In addition, he includes recipes for sauces, baked pasta dishes, and more.

While I don't consider myself to be anywhere near an expert cook, there are many things about this cookbook that I like. At first glance, I was intimidated by Mastering Pasta, because I didn't know if I could understand how to even begin. However, I find it to be a wonderful, inspiring primer that has already taught me a lot and given me confidence to try some of the techniques.

Vetri explains things in an engaging way that makes this book just as enjoyable to read as it is to cook from. He gets into the basics of wheat and flour, detailing the actual anatomy of wheat so you understand how to begin by choosing the proper flour for different types of pasta dough. He also explains things like the correct pasta-to-filling ratio and how to properly cook fillings so they turn out right.

This gorgeous collection of recipes is lavishly photographed, and I feel immersed in Italian culture as I read through it. The photographs help clarify the techniques and give cooks an idea of the finished dishes.

I like how Vetri describes the importance of recognizing the variables involved in cooking:

" ...the difference between a recipe and a gorgeous plate of food is you. Think of it this way: cooking from a recipe is sort of like driving from a GPS. Follow the directions and you get to your destination. But you still have to drive the car. You still have to cook the dish. And cooking means responding to your environment, tasting the ingredients to see how much seasoning the need, observing the texture of pasta dough to see if it needs more flour or water, and feeling the thickness of the noodles to decide whether it's right for the dish you are making" (p. 6).
This section alone inspired me not to be afraid to experiment and have fun with the experience of cooking. Though I might not try to tackle Pappardelle with Rabbit Ragu and Peaches, there are many recipes in Mastering Pasta that will become staples in my house.

The publisher provided a review copy of Mastering Pasta.

Devotions from the Garden

Finding Peace and Rest from Your Hurried Life

Nature's miracles and their impact on our lives are celebrated in the ninety devotions in Devotions from the Garden: Finding Peace and Rest from Your Hurried Life. Spending time outdoors, whether in the garden or simply just enjoying natural surroundings, is restorative and transforming. 

Some of the topics include:
  • Living Among Weeds
  • When Roots Go Haywire
  • Untapped Harvest
  • Container Gardening
  • Pallet Gardening

When you slow down and listen to the voice of God as you're getting dirt under your finger nails, the stresses of life lessen and a feeling of peace settles in. There's more to gardening than planting and picking, as anyone who cultivates a crop will tell you. Devotions from the Garden is written especially for those who understand this truth:

"Bottom Line, we need the Lord. Every morning of our life--no matter the season--we are wise to commit the day to Him. When this becomes a life giving habit, we may find ourselves better weather in the winter storms and summer time droughts. We may also find it easier to believe that although our cooler dormant seasons may not look as vibrant as our springs and summers, the spiritual harvest will still come" (p. 203).

Each reflection in this book is short enough to read in a few minutes, but they are written in a way that stay with you. They include Scripture verses, along with prayers at the end of each devotion. The book is gorgeously presented, with color photographs of garden scenes, a ribbon bookmark, and a presentation page.

About the Author
Miriam Drennan is the author of Devotions for the Beach and the Days You Wish You Were There and Soar Above the Madness: Surviving Office Politics Without Losing Your Mind, Your Job, or Your Lunch. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she enjoys gardening and playing with words. Drop her a line at
The publisher has provided an advanced reading copy through BookLook Bloggers.