Friday, November 27, 2015

NIV Understand The Faith Study Bible

  • Hardcover: 1504 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (September 22, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310422469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310422464

The NIV Understand the Faith Study Bible, with content from Christianity Today, provides a deep grounding in Scripture. You will appreciate the way this Bible keeps the joyful, astounding nature of the gospel always in view when addressing doctrine and the pressing questions about faith. Its content will help you understand what you believe and why while inspiring you to live for God.

My take on this Bible:
 Understand The Faith Study Bible is a clean, fresh approach to what I consider a study Bible. I am used to my study Bibles having notes on each page but with this one we get plenty of articles and devotions that will allow us to grow in our faith. First of all the bright dust cover is eye catching, I will say though I was a bit disappointed  that there wasn't a presentation page with this one. With that said though that's really my only complaint because this one is loaded with several great features. First of all there are short introductions to each book of the Bible. The feature titled Everyday Faith is a series of devotions linked to specific Bible passages. Another interesting learning tool was Doctrine 101 which are theology articles peppered through out the text that really get to the heart of the many doctrines that are the part of Christian belief. These articles are thought provoking and will also allow the user to grow and share the knowledge of the doctrines that are the backbone of Christian belief. There is also a glossary of theological terms, a subject index and a nice sized concordance. A great Bible for a new believer but with enough useful information that more seasoned believers will enjoy using it as well. 

A complimentary copy of this Bible was provided for review.

An Amish Christmas Gift ~ Review

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 6, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718039653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718039653

Naomi’s Gift by Amy Clipston
Naomi has begun to believe that she isn’t meant to find love, but she might receive more than she has ever hoped for this Christmas.
Twenty-four-year-old Naomi King has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches, Naomi is certain that her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family’s quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down.
An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid
Abigail has driven other suitors away, but can Micah find a way to show her he cares?
Being a caregiver for Micah Zook’s grandmother is the answer to Abigail’s prayers. In fact, the elderly lady keeps finding ways to set Abigail up with her grandson. Despite Abigail’s constant chatter, Micah realizes he’s beginning to care for her—until he makes a decision that leaves her feeling betrayed. With Christmas in their midst, can Micah find a way to reconcile with Abigail and to reveal the true feelings of his heart?
A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin
Frannie Mast returns to Bee County for Christmas, but her heart stays back in Missouri with an Englisch farm boy.
Frannie knows her parents have the best of intentions when they send her back to Bee County, Texas, to live with her aunt and her aunt’s new husband Mordecai. After all, Frannie knows nothing can come of a relationship with Rocky, the handsome Englisch farm boy back in Missouri. But all bets are off when Rocky follows Frannie to Texas to plead his case. Could he be the Christmas gift to end all gifts?

My take on this book;
I love Amish Christmas stories and with An Amish Christmas Gift there are three novellas packed into one book! I always enjoy reading novellas because they are short enough that you can read them in a sitting, but satisfying and detailed enough that you feel like you weren't cheated. With each of the stories in this book I felt like the details were rich, the characters easy to relate too, and more than that we get the distinct flavor of three different writers, all great in their own right, and each one has a unique way of telling a story!  I started reading this book thinking that Kelly Irvin's would be my favorite short story but was actually drawn most to An Unexpected Joy written by Ruth Reid, this one just grabbed my attention because one of the characters was an elderly lady who was trying to set her grandson up with
her caregiver I couldn't help but wonder how it might turn out! Amy Clipston's story about 24 year old Naomi King wondering whether she would ever find love was OK, I enjoyed how the story paced itself. Fans of Amish fiction that takes place during the holiday season should enjoy this collection, if you have never read anything by these authors then this book is a great way to get a feel for their writing style. 

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Stolen Years ~ Stories of the Wrongfully Imprisoned ~ Reuven Fenton

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Tantor Media Inc (November 10, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1630150010
  • ISBN-13: 978-1630150013

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There is a grisly murder in your neighborhood. You stand outside with your neighbors and watch, or maybe you peek out your curtains. Hours pass, then days, maybe years. Then one day there is a knock at your door and the police take you in for questioning. Do you remember what happened? Do you have an alibi? Can you take countless hours of interrogation without breaking? 

This can happen to you. And it happens to more people than you think. 

Stories from The Fixer to The Shawshank Redemption have for decades catered to audiences' grim fascination with wrongful imprisonment -- one's worst nightmare come to life. In Stolen Years, the stories are true. The ten former inmates profiled here fended off the blackest despair so they could keep fighting for freedom. Once out, they faced a new struggle: getting back to living after losing so many years behind bars. 

Intense, startling, and utterly compelling, Stolen Years will take readers into the lives of the jailed innocent.

My take on this book:
Wrongfully imprisoned, that's something that could never happen right? Well Stolen Years by Reuven Fenton is a thought provoking book filled with just this type of stories that will open the eyes and made me realize that yes it can and does happen. That's a scary thought and whats even more scary is that whenever someone is wrongly accused and incarcerated well the police figure the case is closed and that means the real criminal is still on the loose.  With this book the author focuses on ten stories about people who basically fell through the cracks and wound up wrongly incarcerated, some for years before their sentences were overturned. Fortunately for the stories in this book there were happy endings, if you could call them that, in that each person finally gained freedom. Truthfully though it had me wondering about the mental and emotional distress that might follow these people for years. Another thought I couldn't get out of my mind was that for the ten stories in this book that finally got justice, just how many others are sitting behind bars who are innocent?  This book really resonated with me because several years ago there was a case like this in the area that I lived in, a man was accused of being a serial rapist went to jail, and after several years, many appeals, and getting someone to really look at the evidence he was found innocent and released from prison. It's a scary thought, and the impact is really something that is unimaginable. Stolen Years by Rueven Fenton is thought provoking, as well as eye opening. 

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

REUVEN FENTONAbout Reuven Fenton:

Reuven Fenton has been covering murder and scandal for the New York Post since 2007. He has earned national recognition for his exclusive reporting on national stories, such as the resignations of political powerhouses Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner; Hurricane Sandy and the devastation
it brought on New York and New Jersey; the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School; and
the Boston Marathon bombing. Mr. Fenton was inspired to write Stolen Years after covering an unforgettable court hearing in 2013 in which a Brooklyn judge freed David Ranta, a man who’d been wrongfully convicted twenty-two years earlier of murdering a rabbi. The sensational story sparked an investigation into misconduct by both the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and the lead detective in the case. Mr. Fenton is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and lives in New York City with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at reuvenfen.

Reuven Fenton’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, November 2nd: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, November 3rd: Dwell in Possibility
Wednesday, November 4th: Dreaming Big
Thursday, November 5th: Bookchickdi
Monday, November 9th: Wildmoo Books
Tuesday, November 10th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, November 11th: Julz Reads
Thursday, November 12th: Raven Haired Girl
Monday, November 16th: A Book A Week
Thursday, November 19th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Thursday, November 19th: WV Stitcher
Monday, November 23rd: Run Wright
Tuesday, November 24th: Broken Teepee – author guest post
Tuesday, November 24th: Life is Story

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Stitching Hour ~ review and guest post by author Amanda Lee

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I would love to welcome Amanda Lee to WV Stitcher she is guest posting today !

Embroidery – Good Enough to Appreciate Real Talent
I love to embroider. The little porcupine there on the left was done from a pattern I ordered from Follow The White Bunny (she has an Etsy shop). I transferred the design to a canvas tote and carefully stitched the little guy rowing downstream in his teacup. Once I finished the tote, I refused to carry it because I didn’t want to get it dirty or risk tearing out any of the stitches. The tote sits on a bookshelf.

Another project I’m particularly proud of is my angel tree-topper. I can’t remember where I got the kit for her, but I bought her because the angel we’d used for years had begun falling apart the Christmas before and I couldn’t find a suitable replacement. So I found this one and worked on it on the weekends as I watched The Bionic Woman on Netflix. (I was doing that in the bedroom as my husband and son watched football games in the living room.) And, together, Jaime Sommers and I got the job done. JThere was a lot of metallic thread used in the pattern, so I sometimes had to use my “bionic” strength to pull it through!

I also enjoyed making this redwork pillowcase. The thing about redwork is that you don’t have to constantly change thread colors. For me, that’s nice because I can concentrate solely on the pattern rather than trying to figure out how many spaces I need to leave for the next color, as I do with cross-stitch. I finally learned—thanks to researching one of the embroidery mystery books—that most cross-stitchers work with several colors of thread at the same time. That’s a really neat idea, and I intend to give it a try the next time I’m working on a more complicated project.
With all that said, I can honestly say I embroider well enough to truly appreciate those who do a fantastic job. I once began the ambitious task of making a cross-stitch picture of a herd of horses racing out of the ocean toward the shore. I planned to give it to my husband as a gift. Not terribly far into the project, I realized I needed to get him something else. The unfinished project is, I believe, in a tote in my closet. L
In studying various forms of embroidery for the Marcy Singer books, I’ve been so impressed with the stunning projects I’ve seen. For instance, Japanese embroidery involves forty-six techniques, and I believe the pattern is the same on the back as it is on the front. I’ve discovered embroidered projects that look like oil paintings. And, I’ve become a student. Through Craftsy, I’m taking ribbon embroidery and crewel classes.
I’ve also seen wonderful projects from readers. One reader from the Netherlands sent me this photo of the Irish Wolfhound her husband cross-stitched using the pattern from my site. Isn’t that terrific? I have to say that after I made that pattern, I looked at it and immediately knew I didn’t have the skill to complete it. I’m glad Louis did!
And I couldn’t end this article without sharing the Stitchy Witch my friend Donna sent to congratulate me on the release of Wicked Stitch. Not only is it adorable, but Donna really showed me the importance of adding your own flair to finishing a piece. Look at how beautifully the ribbon hanger and bow accent the piece.
So when readers ask me if I do embroidery, I guess my best answer is, “I dabble.” And, as I pointed out in the title of this post, I’m good enough to really appreciate the experts.


cover stitching hour
The Stitching Hour:
An Embroidery Mystery

Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Publisher: NAL (November 3, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451473844

In the latest mystery from the bestselling author of Wicked Stitch, the future of Marcy Singer’s embroidery shop is dangling by a thread…
Marcy’s shop, the Seven-Year Stitch, is one year old this October so it’s time to party in little Tallulah Falls, Oregon. Aside from the Halloween decorations and festive stitching kits and patterns, Marcy’s got all sorts of celebratory swag, including Seven-Year Stitch key rings and goodie bags.
Unfortunately, her new neighbors might spoil the revelry. An eccentric couple has opened a haunted house next door, and all that screaming will certainly scare off customers. But there’s even more to be frightened of after a local waitress is found dead on the sidewalk with mysterious markings on her neck—and one of Marcy’s key rings beneath her. With no time to hem and haw, Marcy must act fast if she hopes to restore the peace to Tallulah Falls…

My take on this book:
I am always drawn to an eye catching cover and The Stitching Hour provided one that I couldn't resist, and while the cover was great, it was the mystery that I found within the pages of the story that held my attention because the story involves embroidery, something that I enjoy doing. Truthfully though, I also enjoyed that the story takes place during Halloween! The plot is easy to follow with this one, but figuring out who-dun-it sure wasn't easy to figure out. I enjoyed following along with Marcy, but it was the scenes with her dog that I really enjoyed.  I am not sure how I missed the rest of this series, but thankfully the author provides enough background information that it was easy for me to jump right into the story, although I enjoyed it so much that I have plans on going back to read the entire series.  Anyone who enjoys a not so easy to solve mystery with interesting characters, and a fast moving plot will enjoy this one. The Stitching Hour is actually book 9 in the Embroidery Mystery series, but can easily be read as a stand alone, although be warned once you read this one you will want to read the rest of the series.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Amanda LeeAbout This Author
Gayle Trent (and pseudonym Amanda Lee) writes the Daphne Martin Cake Decorating series and the Embroidery Mystery series. The cake decorating series features a heroine who is starting her life over in Southwest Virginia after a nasty divorce. The Embroidery Mystery series features a heroine who recently moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop.
Author Links

Purchase Links:

Tour Participants
November 3 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review
November 4 – Laura’s Interests – Review
November 5 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review
November 6 – Tea and A Book – Review, Guest Post
November 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Guest Post
November 7 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
November 8 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Guest Post
November 9 – fuonlyknew – Review
November 11 – readalot – Review
November 12 – View from the Birdhouse – Review
November 13 – Books Are Life – Vita Libri – Review
November 13 – Bubble Bath Books – Review
November 14 – WV Stitcher – Review, Guest Post
November 15 – Book Babble – Review
November 16 – Back Porchervations – Review
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A Cup Of Dust ~ Susie Finkbeiner

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications (October 27, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0825443881
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825443886

Where you come from isn't who you are
Ten-year-old Pearl Spence is a daydreamer, playing make-believe to escape life in Oklahoma's Dust Bowl in 1935. The Spences have their share of misfortune, but as the sheriff's family, they've got more than most in this dry, desolate place. They're who the town turns to when there's a crisis or a need―and during these desperate times, there are plenty of both, even if half the town stands empty as people have packed up and moved on.
Pearl is proud of her loving, strong family, though she often wearies of tracking down her mentally impaired older sister or wrestling with her grandmother's unshakable belief in a God who Pearl just isn't sure she likes.
Then a mysterious man bent on revenge tramps into her town of Red River. Eddie is dangerous and he seems fixated on Pearl. When he reveals why he's really there and shares a shocking secret involving the whole town, dust won't be the only thing darkening Pearl's world.
While the tone is suspenseful and often poignant, the subtle humor of Pearl's voice keeps A Cup of Dust from becoming heavy-handed. Finkbeiner deftly paints a story of a family unit coming together despite fractures of distress threatening to pull them apart.

My take on this book:
If you are looking to read a story that will draw you in, touch your heart and leave you feeling like you actually stepped back in time then A Cup Of Dust is for you. This story takes readers back to the Dust Bowl introducing us to ten year old Pearl Spence and her family. This story is told with such clarity that it was easy to imagine being there. Ms. Finkbeiner creates characters that are easy to bond with, especially the main character Pearl. I couldn't wait to learn what her story was, and the author provided a few twists that were heart touching. Anyone interested in reading about the Dust Bowl should read this one, but honestly this is just a great story that allows us to witness the coming of age of a young girl during a difficult time in history.Ms Finkbeiner is a new to me author but this work left me wanting to read more from her. 

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer by Constance Corcoran Wilson~ Review and Giveaway

    Constance Corcoran Wilson
  • Series: Christmas Cats
  • Paperback: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Quad Cities' Press; first edition (August 18, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982444885
  • ISBN-13: 978-098244488

The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer is a Seuss-ical tale for young children  (4th in the series) which builds upon the morals of the first three Christmas Cats books (The Christmas Cats in Silly Hats, The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats and The Christmas Cats Encounter Bats).
This year, the Christmas Cats in Silly Hats, who go about helping animals in distress, are trying to help save the lives of the deer who live in Scott County Park. Hunters are routinely sent to shoot the deer, and the cats want to warn the deer away, so that they will not fall victim to the town’s plans to “thin the herd.”
The Cop Cat, Cy, thinks up a particularly ingenious plan to save all the deer in Scott County Park by introducing them to a jolly old guy in a red suit who lives at the North Pole. Perhaps the deer can also help Santa on Christmas Eve, if they are outfitted with prosthetic (fake) antlers?
Illustrated with delightful drawings and written in rhyme, there are also interactive coloring book pages and mazes from the book’s website, which the author encourages children aged 3 to 10 to fill out and mail in for display. (
My take on this book:
The deer have been eating the bark off of the trees in Scott County Park, and the plan is that the hunters will "thin" the herd by shooting at them. The Christmas Cats decide that they need to come up with a plan to save the deer! What will they do to save the deer while also appeasing the town who is upset that the deer are eating the bark on their park trees?
The Christmas Cats in Silly Hats are back again and this time they are out to save Deer. While the illustrations in this book are beautiful they convey emotion especially on the faces of the deer! Young readers will be drawn to the pictures and understand what the deer are feeling even before the words are read. The rhyming prose of this story make for an enjoyable read and the positive messages just might spark conversations with young readers about helping others and finding solutions to problems. The author also includes a coloring page and maze at the end of the story. The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer is a wonderful addition to anyone's Christmas collection. Beautiful illustrations will capture youngsters eye and imagination,and the positive messages sprinkled with humor will certainly make this a favorite Christmas read. 
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

About Constance Corcoran Wilson:Constance Corcoran Wilson

Connie has published many works representing a variety of genres. Wilson’s first book (1989), published by Performance Learning Systems, Inc. of Emerson, New Jersey, Training the Teacher As A Champion, put forth the teaching techniques and principles taught by the nation’s largest teacher training firm. Written by Wilson in collaboration with PLS founder Joseph Hasenstaab, the book gives an insight into the effective teaching practices of successful teachers, those techniques included in that organization’s Project T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Effectiveness and Classroom Handling). Connie taught at the elementary level for 20 years, taught writing at 6 IA/IL colleges, and founded the second Sylvan Learning Center in the state of Iowa in 1986.
Since then, Connie has published 30 titles in a variety of genres, with the Christmas Cats series written with and for her now-six-year-old granddaughters, Ava and Elise. (Illustrations by Gary McCluskey) now entering its fourth installment.  The Christmas Cats in Silly Hats began the four-book series and the cats help other animals in distress while wearing a delightful series of silly hats.  The second book in the series, The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats, was a plea for all to remain unprejudiced (“Do not judge others without knowing, or prejudice you will be showing”) and the third book,The Christmas Cats Encounter Bats, stressed the need to honor all life as sacred. This year’s book , The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer, encourages helping others and also strikes a blow for individuals who some might consider handicapped, but  who can succeed and excel if  simple accommodations are made for them.
Connie’s adult fare can be seen on Amazon or on her dedicated author site,
Connies Website:
Christmas Cats Website:

Follow The Christmas Cats Fear For the Deer Tour:

Teddy Rose Reviews Plus Oct  23 Review & Giveaway
Mommy Makes Time Oct 28 Review
Sincerely Stacie Oct 30 Review
Words on Words Nov 2 Review
booknerd Nov 5 Review
Lisa-Queen of Random Nov 6 Review
Cassandra M’s Place Nov 10 Review & Giveaway
VW Stitcher Nov 11 Review
Gramma Knows Best Nov 13 Review & Giveaway
Lisa’s Writopia Nov 16 Review
Deal Sharing Aunt Nov 17 Review
Pen and Muse Book Reviews Nov 18 Review & Giveaway
Rockin’ Book Reviews Nov 20 Review
Bound 4 Escape Nov  23 Review
Krazy Kat Freebies Nov 24 Review & Giveaway
JBronder Book Reviews Nov 25 Review & Interview
Infinite House of Books Nov 27 Interview
Sweet Southern Home Nov 30 Review

Constance Corcoran Wilson