Hope Unfolding

 

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I GET IT, MOMMA. I TOTALLY GET IT.

 

Hope Unfolding is exactly what it says “hope unfolding”! Becky Thompson has a masterful way of making life as a Momma freeing. She takes you on a journey of “Real” life and the grace that is provided through our relationship with Christ.  “Sometimes we have to be willing to trust God to lead us down the roads that don’t make any sense if we want to continue to walk in His perfect plan. You might not be able to see it from where you are standing now, but there is a path that will take you to your purpose.”

Becky calls all of us women to let go of the shaming, comparing, and guilty thoughts that occupy our minds. We need let go of the lies we tell ourselves that we need to be perfect all of the time and rest in the peace that God provides. “Wouldn’t life be just so much easier if we were a little more honest with ourselves and other?” We need to stop hiding life from each other and pretending we have it all together! No one has it all together!  This book is a must read for all Mommas!

“He is our source. He is our strength. He is the life and the love that we pour out on those around us. He is the peace that fills our homes. He is the joy that unites our families. He is the love that binds us together. And when we allow Him to be this source, we never run out.”

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

 

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Ties That Bind

Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?

”Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.

Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.

Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever. “    
Ties That Bind

I have not read many Amish based books. They have always been hit or miss for me. Often I have found that the story line is too slow or just not intriguing enough to keep my attention. Ties That Bind was completely different. This book was captivating, intriguing and fast paced from the very start. Cindy Woodsmall developed the characters in a way that they were relatable and real. I was able to put myself in the scenes and experience the pain, love, anticipation, grief and comfort with the characters. Throughout the book there are little pieces of the puzzle and nuggets of information that start to paint an intriguing picture without giving away the plot. I love that kind of suspense; it makes you never want to put the book down.

Ariana and her family have a bond that is steadfast and true. The Brenneman family is the picture of a love that includes sacrifice and protection for each and every member. This picture is in stark contrast to the family Skylar Nash has grown up in. Her parents love her but whether or not she shares a bond is questionable. The way these two girl’s lives intertwine is an amazing journey of love, betrayal and suspense.

Ties That Bind is the first novel in the Amish of Summer Grove series.  Cindy Woodsmall did an excellent job of wrapping up this first book in a way that did not leave you feeling disappointed but left enough suspense and intrigue to keep you on the edge of your seat in anticipation for the next installment. I highly recommend this book and am so excited for the next installment!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

 

Einkorn

 
Einkorn

 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Einkorn and found it extremely informative. The scientific approach to explaining why Einkorn is a good option is brilliant yet not so detailed that you cannot understand the theory. Einkorn illustrates the differences between ancient grains and the genetically modified food sources we have today. The changes from original Einkorn grain to the soft wheat grain we eat today are astounding and scary. It makes you truly question everything we eat now. We have become a society so wrapped up in more stuff, faster and cheaper that we are compromising our health in the process. I want to start cooking like the pioneers had to, back to the basics with food. Of course this takes time, money and patience (none of which I have an abundance of!)

I struggle with Infertility/PCOS and food intolerance/sensitivities. Many attribute food intolerance/sensitivities to causing Infertility/PCOS. I am on a quest for a healthy body and am hoping that dealing with the food intolerances my body will correct the other issues. Living gluten free and dairy free is not for the faint of heart and I struggle more often than not. It is so nice to have another grain option beyond the traditional gluten free flours that pack a pretty high glycemic punch.

Einkorn is filled with sound science, beautiful pictures and illustrations that are enticing and easy to follow instructions with great little tips and tricks for each recipe. I cannot wait to try some of the recipes! I look forward to making the pancakes, pizza, bread, cookies and so on. I am saving up to buy the flours as they are pretty pricey.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

The Gathering

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“When you’ve seen what I have seen, when you’ve lived what I have lived, there is little choice.”

It has been hard to write this review without giving anything away but I tried to do my best! In The Gifting and The Awakening we watch as Tess and Luka discover themselves, each other and a world of others like them. They now know they aren’t crazy but what they have discovered sure seems unbelievable at times. The Gathering introduces us to so many new characters, locations, emotions, battles, and conspiracy. The story line of this final book is captivating and intriguing with intense love, sacrifice, deception, betrayal, second chances and adventure.

Luka is trapped and Claire has defected. The hub is no longer secure and it looks like they will have to leave. The world above ground is not safe for their kind and being on the run again was never part of the plan. Their journey to safety leads to suspension, forgiveness, betrayal and wild new discoveries.  The puzzle pieces are coming together and the prophecy is unfolding before their eyes. It is time to figure out what it means and what to do about it. The path of discovery and triumph is wrought with internal conflicts. Discovering true feelings and what love really means while battling the war within to fulfill what we are meant to do or follow our selfish tendencies to avoid painful sacrifice. Tess has to decide what she is going to do with the tremendous power bestowed on her. There is hope that good will prevail in the battle between good and evil, light and dark as long as fear does not guide their actions.

K.E. Ganshert has a way with words, descriptions and story building that captivates, illustrates and makes the scene real. The emotions evoked are penetrating, real and powerful. When Tess gets goose bumps, so do I. This series has painted a frighteningly realistic picture of a future that seems all too possible. What the world would look like if guns were illegal, if women were required to abort not perfect babies, if the “weak” were eliminated. We could use this series as a society to prevent rather than predict what will come. My only dislike is that the series is over! I want more! Maybe 10 years in the future, a “where are they now” kind of book? Maybe a series from Luka’s perspective? I can’t wait to see it in the movies 😉 Do not miss this thrilling journey of tragic loss and exhilarating victory.

“The only route is forward. And so we travel it, taking the things we’ve learned and the people we’ve lost along with us.”

The Awakening!

The Awakening

I am without a doubt obsessed with this series! I am an avid reader and have never been so engaged and invested in a series of books as I am with The Gifting series. I have read The Gifting and The Awakening 3 times now, and I NEVER reads books again! I cannot get enough and am excited and sad for the third book in September. I don’t want this series to ever end 🙂

K.E. Ganshert has a way of drawing the reader into such well-developed stories and character descriptions that they become your family, best friend or worst enemy. I experienced the characters emotions right along with them. The fear, the love, the anger and the jealousy are so intense throughout the book. I am amazed at Ganshert’s ability to take you back to High School and the intense feelings that come along with being a teenager. Tess and Luka are on an otherworldly journey that has twists and turns around every corner. There are fascinating new characters introduced in this book that add a whole new dimension to what Luka and Tess are learning about themselves and each other.

You will not be disappointed by this book!

The Gifting

The Gifting

“If science is right, then I am crazy. And crazy is dangerous.”

Tess Eckhart has always felt things nobody else can feel. Then the Ouija board incident happens at a high school party. Her complete freakout sends her family across the country—next to a nationally-renowned facility for the mentally ill. Worried that Tess suffers from the same illness that tormented her grandmother, her parents insist she see a psychiatrist.

But Tess is more concerned about fitting in at her new school, and hiding the fact that she’s seeing a therapist at the Edward Brooks Facility. She’s used to whispers and stares, but when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy in her class, she’s unused to a stare that intense. Then the headaches start, and the seemingly prophetic dreams that haunt her at night. As Tess tries to hide them, she becomes increasingly convinced that Luka knows something—that he might somehow be responsible.

But what if she’s wrong? What if Luka Williams is the only thing separating her from a madness too terrifying to fathom?

The Gifting is a masterful mashup of Frank Peretti, Twilight, and the TV show HEROS themes. I know it sounds crazy but believe me it is true. Although not overtly Christian this book portrays the struggle between the spiritual world and the ever increasing world view of Godlessness. The picture Katie paints of the future is spot on…governmental control, removal of religion, disposing of “burdens to society”. It is fascinating and terrifying all at the same time.  I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading. I could not put this book down, I wanted so badly to know what would happen next! There is so much suspense with twists and turns you never see coming. The only negative comment I have is that you should not read this book before bed! J I had some pretty crazy dreams while reading this book.

The Gifting depicts life as a teenager perfectly with the added craziness of paranormal activity. The struggle to learn who you are, fit in with the popular kids, interact with the hottest guy in school and make new friends because you are constantly moving is difficult enough when you are “normal”. Now try to do all of that on top of thinking you are going insane too! The teenage romance is beautiful and powerful and Katie did a masterful job of creating the emotions while “keeping it clean”. I really appreciate this approach. There are so many teen romance books that encourage an intimacy that is not age appropriate. This is a very safe book for teens to read!

Katie has an amazing ability to paint a picture so realistic you feel like you are in the story too, maybe a fellow student at the school or a bystander on the street. The way she builds characters, places, and feelings is so encompassing you are pulled into the book and never want to leave. You can picture the people and places and feel the emotions deep within your soul as if you are going through the fear, pain, and love yourself. This is a new genre for Katie and I am astonished at how perfectly she has been able to cross into the realm of young adult romance and paranormal activity. I cannot wait until the next book in the series comes out! The Awakening will be available July 1st, 2015 so you better read The Gifting now…you do not want to be behind! Believe me, you will not be disappointed!

 

Rating: 5/5

Recommend: Yes

Audience: Young Adult/ Teen, Adult

Status: Futuristic, Paranormal, Teen Romance

K.E. Ganshert sent me her book to review here and elsewhere on the web. I was not required to post a positive review and I am not paid to do this. Other than with a copy of the book, of course.

The Art of Losing Yourself

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“You shouldn’t let something that happened in the past stop you from having something that could be great in the present!”–The Art of Losing Yourself    by Katie Ganshert

The Art of Losing Yourself resonated with me deeply. It is a powerful and real story. As with all of Katie Ganshert’s books the subjects hit close to home with real characters experiencing REAL life. Katie draws you in and makes you feel like these characters are right here with you, like you live in the Panhandle of Florida and are witnessing this whole story take place!

I have loved all of Katie’s books and highly recommend The Art of Losing Yourself. I am very serious when I say you need to read this book! You know that a book is well written when you cry beginning, middle, and end! The story is full of tension and internal struggles that spill out into the world around the characters, into their relationships and decisions.  The book is written from the perspective of 2 different characters. This is a different approach/style then Katie has used before and she accomplished it masterfully. The flow between characters was seamless and I am so glad she chose to write it this way.

I identified most with the older sister character Carmen….always perfect, has never done anything wrong, goes to church every Sunday, perfect job, perfect husband, perfect house….perfect life, at least from the outside looking in. Why then is God punishing her? She has done everything right….but has she trusted?

The scene with Carmen at Toys R Us captured so many encounters and compulsions I have had over the years in a beautifully crafted scene of intense uncontrollable emotion! I cried and laughed so hard during this part of the book. She did everything I wish I had the guts to do!  I still have a twinge of jealousy every baby shower, a moment of despair when the questions come and a feeling of rage at those stupid parking lot signs 😉

Aunt Ingrid gives us the beautiful portrait of unwavering faith even though dementia has taken hold. She provides the link between the supposed perfect Carmen and the troubled Gracie.

Gracie is the damaged teenager struggling to finally belong and feel love. Never trusting God because of what she has been through. How can you blame her really? Not all of our stories are as rough as Gracie’s but we can all relate to wondering how we trust a God that lets so many bad things happen?

I went into this book expecting romance because that is what Katie’s books usually provide. This was not the case for The Art of Losing Yourself and quite frankly I am glad. You will not get the fairy tale ending you expect but a reminder that life is not perfect or the way you plan it to be. There will be struggles and paths that we do not understand but God’s plan is glorious in the end.

Enduring faith, steadfast love, unending grace, REDEMPTION…That is our God.

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Christian, Contemporary

Audience: Adult, Teen

WaterBrook Press and Katie Ganshert sent me her book to review here and elsewhere on the web. I was not required to post a positive review and I am not paid to do this. Other than with a copy of the book, of course.