Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Mindy’s Top 11 Calendars for Book Lovers

Part of the fun of every new year is…getting a new calendar! If you don’t have one yet for 2018, here are some I thought you might like to see, chosen especially for readers like you!  

1. Book Lover’s Page-a-Day

2. Calendar of Book Covers

3. Literary Calligraphy

4. Wit and Wisdom from Famous Authors

5. Shakespearean Insults

6. Forgotten English

7. Bookworm Trivia

8. I’d Rather Be Reading

9. Literary Cats

10. Expand Your Vocabulary

11. Little Golden Books Calendar

Personally, I think I like the last one best, it just brings back so many fond reading memories!  

Which one is your favorite?

Please note that these are affiliate links; by clicking on the photos and making purchases, you will be generating affiliate commissions for the author.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

January 2018 Christian Fiction Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Her Handyman Hero by Lorraine Beatty -- Reid Blackthorn arrives in Dover on a personal mission—to make sure his terminally ill brother gets a chance to meet his daughter. Deceiving little Lily’s guardian isn’t his intention. Yet once Tori Montgomery mistakes Reid for her new handyman, he knows it’s the only way to be close to his niece. Tori is honoring her friend’s last wish by keeping Lily away from her father’s family. And once she learns who Reid truly is, she realizes there’s too much at stake—including custody of Lily—for her to fall for the former DEA agent. But in keeping a promise, is she losing out on her chance for a happily-ever-after? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Beneath the Summer Sun by Kelly Irvin -- It’s been four years since Jennie’s husband died in a farming accident. Long enough that the elders in her Amish community think it’s time to marry again for the sake of her seven children. What they don’t know is that grief isn’t holding her back from a new relationship. Fear is. A terrible secret in her past keeps her from moving forward. Meanwhile, Leo Graber nurtures a decades-long love for Jennie, but guilt plagues him—guilt for letting Jennie marry someone else and guilt for his father’s death on a hunting trip many years ago. How could anyone love him again—and how could he ever take a chance to love in return? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Ain’t Misbehaving by Marji Laine -- True, Annalee’s crime amounted to very little, but not in terms of community service hours. Her probation officer encouraged her with a promise of an easy job in an air-conditioned downtown environment. She didn’t expect her role to be little better than a janitor at an after-school daycare in the worst area of town. Carlton Whelen hides behind the nickname of CJ so people won’t treat him like the wealthy son of the Whelen Foundation director. Working at the foundation’s after-school program delights him and annoys his business-oriented father. When a gorgeous prima donna is assigned to his team, he not only cringes at her mistakes but also has to avoid the attraction that builds from the first time he sees her. (Contemporary Romance from Write Integrity Press)

Finding Grace by Melanie D. Snitker -- Single dad Tyler Martin can't be more grateful to the woman who finds his missing daughter. Even though he feels a spark between them, falling in love is a risk he shouldn't take. Too bad chance encounters and his stubborn heart keep trying to convince him otherwise. After escaping a nightmarish relationship, Beth Davenport is content with her safe and blessedly normal life. Yet something about Tyler and his adorable daughter makes her wish for more. With the walls around her heart finally starting to crumble, she's afraid of a future she can't predict. Can they let go of their fear and trust God to lead them to the love they desperately need? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Marrying Mandy by Melanie D. Snitker -- Mandy Hudson swore she'd never marry. Abandoned by her parents and raised by her grandparents, she has a hard time trusting that real love will last. When her grandmother dies, Mandy's shocked to discover a stipulation in the will. Considering marriage to her best friend may be the only way to keep her family's beloved bed-and-breakfast. The loss of his job threatens Preston Yarrow's shaky financial stability. Besides, he can't watch his best friend give up the only real home she's ever known. Frustrated by Mandy's stubborn refusal to let him help, he's certain they are stronger together than they are apart. A marriage of convenience might be crazy... or an answer to both their prayers. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)


Son of Promise by Caryl McAdoo -- Can a wife find the grace to forgive when her husband’s withheld the truth? Travis Buckmeyer has a secret son, and the morning’s come to tell his sweet wife. He hates breaking Emma Lee’s heart. She promised him one ten years ago, but hasn’t been blessed to carry a baby to term. Every miscarriage made the telling harder, but now his clock’s run out. He’s going for his son, praying he won’t lose her. Cody knows who his mother claims his father is, but he’s only interested in getting sprung from reform school then boosting enough from the do-gooder to bust out on his own. Can Travis find redemption, Emma Lee forgiveness, or Cody the love he’s been longing for? (Historical, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:

Hearts Entwined by Mary Connealy, Melissa Jagears, Regina Jennings, and Karen Witemeyer -- Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer's "The Love Knot," Claire Nevin gets the surprise of her life awaiting her sister's arrival by train. Mary Connealy's "The Tangled Ties That Bind" offers the story of two former best friends who are reunited while escaping a stampede. Regina Jennings offers "Bound and Determined," where a most unusual trip across barren Oklahoma plains is filled with adventure, romance, and . . . camels? And Melissa Jagears' "Tied and True" entertains with a tale of two hearts from different social classes who become entwined at a cotton thread factory. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Mary Davis, Kathleen E. Kovach, Paula Moldenhauer, Suzanne Norquist, Donita Kathleen Paul, Donna Schlachter, and Pegg Thomas -- For seven bachelors, this bouquet of brides means a happily ever after. Meet seven American women who were named for various flowers but struggle to bloom where God planted them. Can love help them grow to their full potential? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Mother For His Family by Susanne Dietze -- Lady Helena Stanhope’s reputation is in tatters…and she’s lost any hope for a “respectable” ton marriage. An arranged union is the only solution. But once Helena weds formidable Scottish widower John Gordon, Lord Ardoch, and encounters his four mischievous children, she’s determined to help her new, ever-surprising family. Even if she’s sure love is too much to ask for. All John needs is someone to mother his admittedly unruly brood. He never imagined that beautiful Lady Helena would be a woman of irresistible spirit, caring and warmth. Or that facing down their pasts would give them so much in common. Now, as danger threatens, John will do whatever it takes to convince Helena their future together—and his love—are for always. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

His Forgotten Fiancee by Evelyn M. Hill -- Liza Fitzpatrick is stunned when her fiancé finally arrives in Oregon City — with amnesia. Matthew Dean refuses to honor a marriage proposal he doesn’t recall making, but Liza needs his help now to bring in the harvest, and maybe she can help him remember… Matthew is attracted to the spirited Liza, and as she tries to help him regain his old memories, the new ones they’re creating together start to make him feel whole. Even as he falls for her again, though, someone’s determined to keep them apart. Will his memory return in time to save their future? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White -- Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a critical task at the outset of World War I--to secure a crucial cypher key from a famous violinist currently in Wales. Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he's won--until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father's work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only distraction he finds from his worry is in meeting the intriguing and talented Willa Forsythe. But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn't--that she must betray him and find that key, or her own family could pay the same price his surely has. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])


Surgeon's Choice by Richard L. Mabry, MD -- Dr. Ben Merrick thought his biggest problem was getting his fiancé's divorced parents into the same room for the wedding--and then, people started dying. (Mystery, Independently Published through White Glove)

Romantic Suspense:

Innocent Lies by Robin Patchen -- Desperate to be safe from the man who held her captive and ruined her life, Kelsey must ensure her child is protected before she can take her enemy on. But a string of bad luck gets her arrested and lands her face-to-face with the only man she’s ever loved—the only man who can destroy all her plans. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Cold Truth by Susan Sleeman -- When research chemist Kiera Underwood receives the cryptic phone call about her twin brother, she tries to contact him to no avail. Her twin sense tingles, warning her that something is wrong. Kiera’s not prepared when an attempt is made on her life and Blackwell Tactical operative Cooper Ashcroft delivers her second shock of the day. Someone killed the supervisor at the research lab where her brother works and stole a deadly biotoxin. The main suspect? Her brother, and Blackwell Tactical has been hired to bring him in. If that wasn’t shocking enough, she’s suspected of colluding with him. Setting out to prove herself and her brother is innocent, she is almost abducted before Ashcroft rescues her. He’s faced with the reality that she’s telling the truth and someone has likely abducted her brother—perhaps killed him—and now Kiera’s very life is in danger, too. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

More Fun with Pie

As you may recall, last week's blog post featured my annual "year in pie", where I shared pics of the various events from 2017 that we depicted via crust.
Who's the lucky winner? Here's a clue.
Today we conclude all this pie talk with the winner of last week's contest. Also included here is my most-requested pie recipe and some shopping links for some of my favorite pie-making tools.

First, the Winner

At the end of last week's post, I asked readers what event from their lives in the past year deserved a pie. Then I said I'd pick a winner from among the responses and create a pie in honor of that event. (They wouldn't actually get to eat the pie, but I would make it and post a photo.)

Between the responses on this blog and on my Facebook page, it sounds like a lot of good things have been happening! Yay!  With such a nice variety of events to commemorate, it was hard to pick my favorite, so in the end I gave up trying to choose one by myself. Instead, I compiled all of the responses into a single list and showed it to my family members. I asked them to weigh in, and overwhelmingly their top choice was...drum roll please...the birth of a new baby in the family! Thus, the honor goes to:

 Melissa Henderson 
Janet Gaylor Filley

both of whom welcomed new grandsons into the world in 2017. So ladies, for what it's worth, here is your pie, which we made (and enjoyed) on New Year's Day:

The winning pie, which celebrates the birth of a new grandson.
(For what it's worth, that's a teddy bear, a rattle, and a baby bottle around the periphery.)

Sorry you couldn't have a slice of your own, but it was a tasty one, and we definitely thought of you as we were eating it! :)  Congratulations to you both and to all who shared their big events of 2017!

Our Favorite Pie Recipe

Whenever I see a recipe for apple pie, I'm astounded at the amount of sugar or sweetener that it calls for.  We don't eat refined sugar, and we try to avoid sweeteners where we can (ignore the Diet Dr. Pepper in my hand as I write these words!), so our pies are made with none of either—yet most of the time they come out truly sweet regardless, thanks to our secret ingredient.

What is that secret ingredient, you ask?  We simply add about a cup of some second, supplementary fruit that happens to be nice and sweet at that time of year. Most often we use blueberries or strawberries, but when they're not sweet enough we've also had success with blackberries, pears, cherries, peaches, and even plums.

Here's the recipe we've honed over the years, in case you'd like to give it a try. (Note that we don't bother making our own crust; we think that the boxed Pillsbury pie crusts that come in the refrigerated section–next to biscuits, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, etc.–are as good as any we could make from scratch.)

My Best Pie-Making Tools

Just for fun, here are some nifty tools that I highly recommend...

1. A great set of mixing bowls

2. My favorite-ever measuring cup

3. A silicone crust protector

4. An apple peeler/corer/slicer 

5. Cutters to cut out little shapes from your pie crust

6. A hand mixer for making whipped cream to go on your pie

Also, here are some cool pie pans, (though I don't own any of these myself so I can't personally vouch for them). These are for when you can't make up your mind, when you want a really pretty pie, when you'd rather make a bunch of small pies, or when you want to impress people with how smart your pi(e)s are... 

Hope you enjoyed all this pie talk! That's it for now. Be sure to come back next week for our monthly list of new Christian Fiction releases–and congrats again to our two new grandmothers, Melissa Henderson and Janet Gaylor Filley!

Please note that this post includes affiliate links, which means that clicking on the photos and making purchases will generate affiliate commissions for the author.