One of my fairly recent hobbies that I have come to enjoy is bird watching and photography. It all began with one little bird feeder that was an impulse purchase. A year and a half later we are feeding a very large amount of black sunflower seed and several suet blocks per month. We buy the sunflower seed in forty pound bags at a local Tractor Supply.
It has been fun to see the variety of birds that show up in our yard – many that we have never noticed before. Some have been just passing through on their way north for the summer and others native to the area have been tempted into the open by the free food. Whatever the reason, everyone in the family has enjoyed watching them and looking for new arrivals.
Most recently our birdbath has seen increased activity due to the hot weather. It is such fun watching their antics as the birds splash around. Today I will share a few of my favorite photos of our bathing birds.
Bluejay in Birdbath
Robin & Bluebird in Birdbath
Robin and Cardinal at Birdbath
This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingPaige TornThink (May 1, 2013)byErynn MangumABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A few things about her:
So, if we were having this conversation in person, we would probably be hanging out at Starbucks or one of the cute coffeehouses in town. I’m nuts about all things coffee, I’m crazy about all things pink and girly, and I love, love, love the Food Network! I’m married to my best friend and the most amazing guy ever, Jon. He is amiable toward coffee, does not like anything pink or girly and tolerates the Food Network. So, we make a good match! In July 2010, we became parents to one of the funniest, cutest, sweetest little guys in the whole world (and nope, we aren’t biased at all!), our Nater-Tot, who is legally known as Nathan. Most days, I’m cleaning up messes, making goofy faces, trying to fit some writing in, and just LOVING the life that God has given me!
Learn more about Paige and her books on her Website.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Everyone knows they can count on Paige Alder. But between volunteering at church, putting in overtime at work, and helping her best friend plan an anniversary party, she’s lucky to grab a cheese stick for dinner. Paige can’t even remember the last time she had a few minutes to relax or dig into God’s Word. Then she meets laid-back Tyler, an attractive, Jesus-loving guy. Will he be able to help Paige get her priorities on track?
If you would like to read the first chapter of Paige Torn, go HERE.
Paige Alder is a young woman who cannot seem to say no – to the point that she often finds that she has absolutely no time to go to the grocery or even to eat a healthy meal. What’s up with that? After all her busyness is her way to serve God and the people she loves. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? But what red-blooded, American girl doesn’t have time for romance, especially with a guy as perfect as Tyler?
Paige Torn is an entertaining and humorous contemporary romance that gets a major point across very well. You can get so busy doing things for God that you have no time for a relationship with Him. I for one have been there and done that and still tend to lose my focus even after all these years. After all, someone has to do these things and there seems to be no one else who is willing. I am hoping to remember the lessons learned in Paige Torn next time I find myself in over my head. Thanks Erynn for the great story.
This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingPieces of the HeartAbingdon Press (June 1, 2013)byBonnie S. CalhounABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bonnie S. Calhoun is Owner/Director of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), the ACFW ‘2011 Mentor of the Year,” President of (CAN) Christian Authors Network, and Appointment Coordinator for both the Colorado Christian Writers Conference (CCWC) and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference(GPCWC).
For the last six years she has taught workshops in Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, and creating Social Media promotions at both CCWC, and GPCWC, and in 2011 at the Montrose, Pa Christian Writers Conference. She also taught a Facebook workshop at the 2012 ACFW conference.
Bonnie and her husband live in a log cabin in upstate area of New York with a dog and cat who think she’s wait-staff.
Her sites are:
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Cordelia Grace watched Bernard Howard, the love of her young life, go off to fight for our country in WWII. And she has spent the last three years creating the Pine Cone quilt that will grace their marriage bed when he comes home. Each row of triangles signifies a layer in her life, sets of memories, hopes, dreams, and prayers for her future, enough spoken words to cover them forever. Her image of their “happy-ever-after” grows proportionally as the quilt expands.
But is the man that returns from the war, the same man that she remembered? Are the dark shades of color that she had to use for the outside edges of the beloved quilt prophetic of her life to come? Can love and faith overcome all?
If you would like to read the first chapter of Pieces of the Heart, go HERE.
As a CFBA blogger, I have had the pleasure of reading most of the Quilts of Love series. As the daughter, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter of quilters, I have enjoyed the series thus far and am quite amazed at the diversity of the books. Subject matter ranges from contemporary to historical to mystery/suspense and each novel has been unique. Yet each plot revolves around a quilt.
Bonnie Calhoun’s Pieces of the Heart features a Pine Cone quilt, a traditional quilt popular with African-American women. I loved the fact that each quilt was stitched for a specific recipient and that the stitcher prayed over each piece of fabric as she put together a “prayer covering” for her loved one.
Despite the fervent prayers of her grandmother, Cordelia Grace remains resistant to God. After all, Cordelia’s father is a pastor and her parents have displayed a mixed message about their faith most of her life. There is one person Cordelia knows she can count on other than her grandmother and that is Bernard Howard. She has loved Bernard since he rescued her from a group of bullies when she was much younger and they plan to marry as soon as she graduates high school. Alas, nothing ever stays the same. Cordelia is faced with one tragedy after another and even Bernard has deserted her to go off to war. Has God turned His back on her completely?
Bonnie has bravely included several hot topics in her novel. Racial prejudice is something Americans still deal with daily but I learned a few things about the prejudice during that era that I was not aware of, especially the poor treatment of African Americans by the military. Add to that other subjects like parental abuse and tragic deaths, and it is easy to understand why Cordelia’s faith was challenged. But one of her grandmother’s statements resonated in Cordelia’s mind over and over until Cordelia began to understand how many people are motivated by their pain.
Pieces of the Heart is a great book with many life lessons that should be taken to heart. You’ve done it again my friend!
I have not read the first book in the Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy but the author included enough background in “Pennsylvania Patchwork” that it could easily stand alone. The title of this novel is quite appropriate because there are so many different things going on in it and so many characters from varied backgrounds.
First there is Holly Fisher, who was raised in Seattle by her single mother because her father never came home from the Vietnam war. After some of her mother’s secrets were revealed, Holly and Esther had moved to Pennsylvania to live with Esther’s mother Anna, an Amish widow who have never ceased to pray that her daughter would return home. When “Pennsylvania Patchwork” begins, Holly is engaged to a Mennonite veterinarian Zach and her mother is planning to be baptized in the Amish church and marry an Amish man. Grandmother Anna is thrilled to have them with her but her health and memory are quickly deteriorating.
That is where everything gets a little crazy. Holly and Zach’s relationship becomes strained when a woman from his past shows up with some strong accusations against him. An Amish man and a friend of Holly’s from Seattle also show an interest in marriage to Holly and the three men seem to find a reason to bicker quite often. Holly finds each of the men attractive in his own way and is thoroughly confused as to what she should do. Meanwhile an unexpected package shows up that complicates Esther’s life and her fiance must leave town to investigate some unanswered questions that could cancel the wedding.
On one hand, “Pennsylvania Patchwork” has lots of action and interaction between characters which kept the story moving right along. On the other hand, there was so much going on that I was not fully able to relate to the characters in the way I usually enjoy. I understood that Holly had very strong feelings for Zach but there was so little communication between them that I never grasped why they felt the way they did. This novel was definitely entertaining and easy to read but it left me with too many unanswered questions at the end. Hopefully the third installment will wrap everything up nicely.
This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Seattle native Holly Fisher is smitten by Lancaster County, its simplicity and her long lost relatives. In the sequel to bestselling Leaving Lancaster, Holly embraces the Amish culture, learning to slow down to see what – and who – really matters.
Meeting the family that her mother had kept hidden from her, Holly comes face to face with her real life and blood legacy. She also falls for the charming Zach, a handsome Mennonite veterinarian who is everything she’s ever wanted in a husband: confident, kind, successful, and authentic. And Zach proposes marriage. Is this too soon? Is this the right choice? Mother and Amish grandmother think she’s rushing into too much of a lifestyle change. Holly is in love with Zach and that precludes everything. Until she meets an attractive Amish man. And an old suitor shows up.
Pennyslvania Patchwork is the moving, richly told story of one woman’s heart, her faith and trust, and the choices she makes. Never easy, but one choice can change your destiny.
Purchase a copy here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Author Kate Lloyd is a passionate observer of human relationships. A native of Baltimore, Kate spends time with family and friends in Lancaster County, PA, the inspiration for her novels. She is a member of the Lancaster County Mennonite Historical Society. Kate and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest. Kate studied painting and sculpture in college. She’s worked a variety of jobs, including car salesman and restaurateur.
“Slow Moon Rising” is the final book in Everson’s Cedar Keys series. Those who have read the previous two novels in the series may experience a bit of deja vu as they read because some of the details were also included in the other novels. “Slow Moon Rising” begins several months after the death of Ross Claybourne’s wife Joan. The narrative moves from the point of view of one Claybourne woman to another as each one relates events in the family’s life through her own observations and the story spans several years. The conclusion wraps everything up with long held secrets revealed and problems resolved.
This conclusion to the Cedar Keys series tackles several difficult topics including infidelity, alcoholism, and grief. I felt that it was an excellent illustration of the damage that can be caused by hiding the truth when total transparency can quickly open the door to forgiveness and moving on with one’s life. Each one of the Claybourne daughters had been affected in one way or another because of the atmosphere of coverup and denial in which they grew up.
“Slow Moon Rising” has a very serious theme and is not exactly what I would describe as entertaining. It is probably not what one would choose for a light and happy beach read. However the nuggets of truth and the valuable lessons in life laid out in this novel made it a very worthwhile investment of a few hours of my time. A story of family, forgiveness, reconciliation, and relationships, “Slow Moon Rising” is a book to remember, especially when your own life seems difficult.
This book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
One Family. One Secret. One Chance to Make It Right.
Cedar Key has long been a place of rest, healing, and release in the Claybourne family. But it might also be the birthplace of a lie that is poisoning the family from within. Join the strong Claybourne women—Anise, Kimberly, Jayme-Leigh, Heather, and Ami—as they each confront the truth. Their unique paths will lead them through heartbreak, misunderstandings, and pain. But their journeys will also bring reconciliation with each other and renewed love in their own lives.
In her lyrical, evocative fashion, Eva Marie Everson weaves a tapestry of complicated relationships that, when complete, reveals the most beautiful work of art there is—family.
• Author received 2012 Inspirational Readers Choice Award from the Faith, Hope, and Love Chapter of the RWA
• Luxurious novel of enduring love and long-buried family secrets
• “Everson doesn’t whitewash the difficult parts of the story, which makes it all the more endearing and meaningful.”
—4½ star TOP Pick RT Book Review for Waiting for Sunrise
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eva Marie Everson is a successful speaker and the awardwinning author of Things Left Unspoken, This Fine Life, Chasing Sunsets, and Waiting for Sunrise. She is coauthor of the Potluck Club books and the Potluck Catering Club series. She lives in Florida.
Find out more at www.evamarieeversonauthor.com.