Saturday, July 13, 2019

Until The Mountains Fall By Connilyn Cossette

Until the Mountains Fall
by Connilyn Cossette
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764219887

I was so thrilled to be part of the launch team for Conni! Her Cities of Refuge series was the first I've read of hers and have fallen in love with her writing. She's one of those authors where you want to devour every book that comes out.

Summary:

Recently widowed, Rivkah refuses to submit to the Torah law compelling her to marry her husband's brother and instead flees Kedesh, hoping to use her talents as a scribe to support herself. Without the protection of her father, Kedesh's head priest, and the safety of the city of refuge, Rivkah soon discovers that the cost of recklessness is her own freedom.

Malakhi has secretly loved Rivkah for years, but he never imagined his older brother's death would mean wedding her. After her disappearance, he throws himself into the ongoing fight against the Canaanites instead of dwelling on all he has lost. But with war looming over Israel, Rivkah's father comes to Malakhi with an impossible request.

As the enemies that Rivkah and Malakhi face from within and without Israel grow more threatening each day, is it too late for the restoration their wounded souls seek?

My Review:

Wow! Just...wow! Until the Mountains Fall was incredible. Do you ever read biblical fiction and you then want to dive into scripture? I've been reading through Joshua and Judges again, and reading Until the Mountains Fall has me hungering for more of the Old Testament. How often do you hear someone say that?!

Ok, so can I be honest with you about something? I have a 16 yr old son. Malakhi is 16 yrs old. Thinking of my son taking on the responsibility of marrying his brother's wife boggles my mind. Now, before you go crazy, here are a couple of things I know. 1) Things in Biblical times were obviously different. 2) Being 16 yrs old in different cultures makes a huge difference. It was just interesting reading about a character who's the same age as my son. HA!

Moving on... oh, Rivkah. You know when people are about to make a very, very bad decision and you can see it coming, but can't do anything about it? Yep, Rivkah! And the cost of her choice has an impact on everyone who has known her and love her.

Malakhi, being the boy that he is, makes choices that Rivkah just doesn't understand. That only leads to her solidifying her decision not to marry him. The ripple effect hits both of their families. I have to tell you, watching their lives fall apart is terribly difficult, which is due to the wonderful writing of the author.

With Connilyn's writing, you literally feel as though you've been transported to Biblical time Kedesh. Also, reading about this time in the Bible really brings it to life. You see in a fictional setting of what life might've been like with the Israelites disregarding God's Word. Not following the Law, marrying Canaanite women, and living willfully sinful lives causes those who are following the Law to struggle. The tribes who left the bondage of Egypt have given way to idols and are in a new bondage.

Until the Mountains Fall is also a reminder of the prodigal son. When we turn back to the Father, He rushes to us as though we never left Him. This is incredibly clear as you read the story. What a story that compels you to dive into the Word and to seeing how devastating the impact can be when we disobey God's covenant as well as legal agreements we've made with others.

I'm already sad having read through this book so quickly! I catch myself thinking of the characters and all that they went through. Thankfully there's another book in the series. I'm pretty sure I will never tire of Connilyn's gift with words. Run, don't walk to get your hands on a copy!

About the Author:

When she is not homeschooling her two sweet kids (with a full pot of coffee at hand), bestselling author Connilyn Cossette is scribbling notes on spare paper, mumbling about her imaginary friends, and reading obscure, out-of-print history books. There is nothing she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible and uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus. Her novel Counted With the Starswon the 2013 Frasier Contest and was a semifinalist in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest. Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives in North Carolina. Connect with her at www.connilyncossette.com.

Monday, July 8, 2019

27th Annual Giant National Barbecue Battle

This was our second year attending The Giant National Barbecue Battle in Washington D.C. thanks to Liquified Creative who gave us Media passes to attend the event. I have to tell you, this is one of the best events that we've attended in the area. We went 2 yrs ago and had a great time.


When we first got there we talked to a couple of the people running the Famous Dave's restaurant. Holy smokes there was so much good food there! We were so bummed we hadn't been there the day before because Dave had been on-site. And can I just say, it was awesome seeing a woman at one of the bigger grills! She looked like she was having a blast.


Part of the plan when we go down to this Battle is to go with an empty stomach. There's SO much to sample throughout the entire event. Giant has several tents (extremely long tents) that you can get in line for. Now, you have to be prepared. The Giant tents have long lines, but always worth it!


Fred was in barbecue heaven. He loves barbecued food more than most people. While I'm not a sauce fan, I am a rub fan. I'm always searching for a new rub for Fred to put on our ribs. This is a great place to try some out. This is also the perfect way to try foods that you typically wouldn't.


For example, while I like hummus, I've never seen Fred try it. We were able to sample the Sabra flatbread and he literally said to me, "I want to try this recipe at home." Jaw. Drop! I couldn't believe those words came out of his mouth. We grabbed the recipe card and I'm looking forward to him trying it out.


Also, if you're anything like me, don't you want to try a sample of something before you spend money on it? I mean, there are some products out there you might buy outright. Like trail mix. All you have to do is look at what's in it to know if you'd be interested. Then there are other foods and drinks that I'm not going to spend $5 on just to take a sip or a bite and realize it's going in the trash. lol Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels this way.


While I was in line for one of the Giant tents, he ditched me for a barbecue station. The first one he went to was out of most of their food. he went to the next station, which was Dyvine BBQ and he loved their food so much he couldn't stop talking about it. Meanwhile, through one tent, I probably sampled 20 different brands. SERIOUSLY, I love going to the Battle!


Not everything is food related at The Giant National Barbecue Battle. They also had people there from the health industry. You could talk to people about nutrition, dental health, as well as day to day living. They also have 3 band stages with different artists playing throughout the day. It was so great to sit back and listen to the bands.

We also made sure to take pictures with the Planters vehicle and the Oscar Meyer one. Those are classics to check out. There's also a food booth that can't be overlooked. They have deep fried Oreos, Twinkie, Cookie Dough, and Reese's! Fred went with the singular Twinkie and I had 3 Reese's. Just...wow! I saved 2 for the boys to enjoy when we got home.


On a side note, Sundays are a great day to go, especially being there in the afternoon because they companies are trying to offload all of the samples they brought with them. They'd literally grab handfuls of their products and dump them into our bags. Thank you very much!

The next time we go I'll be taking a small, soft cooler with us. It was sweltering down there and we grabbed quite a few samples that weren't going to be good by the time we made it home: yogurt, mayo sample, and a few other drinks/food samples.

Speaking of "next time" we'll be heading down again next year. They've already set the dates of June 27th & 28th.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Number Of Love By Roseanna M. White

The Number of Love
by Roseanna M. White
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764231810

This past year I've really loved having the opportunity to read books by Roseanna M. White. Her writing is EXACTLY what I love to read. When I saw The Number of Love come across my email as an option for review, I didn't even think twice about it and probably submitted to review it within 10 seconds. HA! Yes, I love this author that much! I'm really excited to share my review with you.

Summary:

The Toughest Puzzle She'll Have to Solve
Might Be the Wishes of Her Own Heart

Three years into the Great War, England's greatest asset is their intelligence network--field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack German telegrams for hints of the enemy's plans. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, she discovers for the first time in her life that numbers aren't enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won't give up. He's smitten quickly by the quick and brainy Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer. Margot and Drake will have to team up to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.

My Review:

WHAT a great book! I'm incredibly excited for this new series. The Codebreakers piggybacks off of the Shadows Over England series. I couldn't wait to get my hands on The Number of Love!

This story was compelling from start to finish. I'm absolutely fascinated by Margot's character. She reminds me of a combination of Spock from Star Trek and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. lol Margot is such a fascinating character. Clearly Drake thinks so too! One of the things I forget about her is her age. Her mind is so "old", it's hard to remember she's still a teenager.

In this book we also meet Drake and Dot. Siblings who come into Margot's life at a pivotal time. Drake is undercover and his family doesn't even realize it! The espionage he has to do is pretty harrowing! I would imagine anyone who works in that field has to keep all kinds of crazy secrets, even back in a time where there was no technology like we have today.

The act of getting their hands on the codebooks from the Germans and having people interpret them was fascinating to read, even from a fictional viewpoint. Oh to have been a fly on the wall of Room 40 with the way Roseanna M. White described it.

There are a couple different storylines going on in The Number of Love. The first being with the main characters of Drake and Margot, and a smaller one with Dot. Margot and Dot's relationship was a very interesting one. They understood each other in a way only people who deal with life differently could understand. I really enjoyed their relationship.

The writing was spot on and was gripping enough to make me want to keep turning the page and staying up until the wee hours of the morning. I was surprised at one spot in the book that was completely unexpected and I thought it was and interesting "twist." Another aspect I liked was how the author wrote an explanation of saying bad words through Margot's mind. I think some authors push the envelope too much or come too close to using foul language. The way she wrote it was one in which other authors could learn from.

I'm already looking forward to book 2 in this series. I'm digging the character whom it will center around. Roseanna certainly piqued my interest when she introduced him in book 1. You'll have just as much anticipation once you finish reading this one!

About the Author:

(www.roseannamwhite.com) is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two kids, designing book covers, editing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books . . . to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

First Day Of Summer At Hersheypark

One of our favorite places to go is Hersheypark. It's such a great, family friendly place to spend a day, especially a 20th birthday. My oldest son turned 20 and we spent his birthday at Hersheypark thanks to tickets we were given by the Park!


It had been raining so much lately I was incredibly thankful that Saturday was a sun shiny day! Whew. We headed up to Hershey, PA which is a 3 hour drive. Listen, if you live more than an hour away, my suggestion is to get a hotel room and stay either at the Park or near the Park the night before. Unfortunately, because we're not morning people, we didn't get up to Hersheypark until 12:45! The guys were finally in their first ride line by 2:00. See why I say to get a hotel the night before?


While the boys headed off to the Sidewinder, I told Fred I wanted to grab a King Size Milkshake. And I didn't mean just any kind, but it was National Cookie Dough Day at the park so that's the one we ordered. Oh my word, it was incredible! It was so stinking hot, it started melting right away. hahaha We just had to down it and eat it as fast as possible, but it was a delicious choice.


This was the first time the guys made it to the Wildcat. That was a pretty decent line that they got through. I think it was probably the fastest line they went through. In this section of the Park they have benches under the trees so it's perfect for those of us waiting for the riders.


Turns out the first full day of summer combined with it being a Saturday means half of the United States is at Hersheypark! lol This was our first time going where the lines were an hour and a half to two hours long. This was also our first time making it back to the Laff Track section of the Park. I sat down to waited for the guys to ride it, and while I waited a family sat down next to me and I ended up talking to them for the next hour and a half.


I actually got on a roller coaster this time. My rides are typically the carnival type rides. I went on the Trailblazer and my amusing husband thought he'd record me screaming, but it was such an easy coaster I didn't do anything but smile. lol He was very disappointed. Another ride that was my speed was the Dry Gulch Railroad. Just a fun little train ride that lasted about 5 minutes.


Now, the ride I did close my eyes on was the Tidal Force. Not only did I close my eyes, I hid my face. As if THAT was going to help anything. hahahaha This bad boy ride will SOAK you. There will not be an inch of you that remains dry. My suggestion for The Boardwalk at Hersheypark is visit early in the day or afternoon so that you can be dry by the time the sun starts to set. We rode Tidal Force around 6:30pm and we were pretty chilly afterwards. Of course we brought a change of clothes so the rest of the evening we were dry.


We were looking for an affordable place to eat so while we were still between Midway America and The Boardwalk 2 of us grabbed sandwiches at Subway and 2 of us ate at Dispatch Pizzeria. Before we left we also grabbed ice cream treats again at Simply Chocolate. I mean, how could we not?



My goal for our next trip to Hersheypark is to visit ZooAmerica. In all of the times we've been there I haven't been able to get to that part of the Park. Shocking isn't it with how much I love wild animals? I'm hoping we can get back there in August. There's construction happening so when you first get to the Park it won't look at all how you remember it. Hershey Chocolatetown will be opening in a year so the front of the Park is a construction zone, but they have it set up so that you enter seamlessly once you get there. Looking forward to our next trip!


Friday, June 14, 2019

The Logic Of God By Ravi Zacharias & Giveaway

The Logic of God
by Ravi Zacharias
Publisher: Zondervan
ISBN: 978-0310454038

I read Ravi Zacharias' biography last winter and it was wonderful. I'm not big on biographies, but Ravi is incredible and I was so thankful when a friend offered to loan me her book. When FrontGate asked me to review his newest book The Logic of God there was no way I was saying, "No," to them.

Summary:

We all have doubts that challenge our faith. We wonder whether the Bible still matters, or whether God is truly as loving and personal as we hope. In his first ever devotional, The Logic of God, apologist Ravi Zacharias offers 52 readings that explain how and why Christianity, the Bible, and God are still relevant, vital, and life-changing for us today. To all our dilemmas Ravi says, "I am convinced that Jesus Christ alone uniquely answers the deepest questions of our hearts and minds."

With a remarkable grasp of biblical facts and a deep understanding of the questions that trouble our hearts, Ravi tackles the most difficult topics with ease and understanding. But The Logic of God is more than intellectual; it is also personal, offering thoughtful wisdom on:

  • when Jesus draws especially near you.
  • the deep ray of hope found in God's Word.
  • how God transforms disappointments.
  • why prayer matters.
  • how genuine peace is possible.
  • making sense of suffering.

​Ravi makes profound biblical truth easy to understand. And if your life is busy, this book is designed for you! It addresses 52 topics that you can read over the course of one year or slowly digest at your own pace. Each entry includes a Scripture, questions for reflection, and some practical application steps.


When you're struggling with questions and doubts, confused, curious, or just want a clearer way to express your faith The Logic of God has answers that satisfy the heart and the mind.


My Review:

What an incredible book for Christians to have on hand. Ravi Zacharias is an incredible apologetic. He applies this gift in his book The Logic of God to help us grow deeper in our own faith as well as being able to share it with others.

He wrote this in a way that we read one chapter a week for 52 weeks. Ravi has us covered for an entire year. He broke it down into weekly readings because he doesn't want us to skim the topic for the day. He wants us to read it and mull it over throughout the week. He starts each chapter with a scripture and ends with 2 questions for reflection and 2 questions for application.

When I first started going through the book, I "ended" up in a conversation with an unbeliever. God knew exactly the timing of this book being in my life and this discussion starting! I knew Ravi would have answers for me because he's so incredible at apologetics. For myself it was important for me to read Chapter 11"Crossing Bridges" so I knew how to approach people who have a different worldview than I do. Chapter 3 "Point of Exclusion" was a significant one to share in the conversation with the unbeliever.

Taking Ravi's request to heart, I haven't made it through the entire book since I've only had it for a few weeks. For the review I skimmed the rest of the book and I'm looking forward to a full read of it. So far, the weeks have been poignant to reflect on throughout the week. The questions are certainly challenging ones for me because I'm not very cerebral. They have caused me to think deeply about my answers and my beliefs. I can answer some questions on an emotional level, but often times answering them with clear and concise answer.

I'm hoping that when I finish with 52 weeks I'll be channeling a bit of Ravi Zacharias through my brain! I think this would be a fantastic book to work through either individually or with a group of people. Having a discussion over each topic would be a wonderful way to build upon what we learn by hearing what God has shown others.

Now you have the opportunity to win The Logic of God as well! Ends 6/15/19.



About the Author:

RAVI ZACHARIAS is a speaker and an author of over 25 books. He is founder and president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (www.rzim.org), headquartered in Atlanta with over a dozen offices worldwide. He has received many honors in recognition of his writings and global impact. He and his wife, Margie, have been married for almost 50 years and have three grown children. They reside in Atlanta.

 
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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.