Sunday, February 9, 2020

Operation Blessing Recipes From Around The World Recipe Book

I'm so glad to be sharing about Operation Blessing. The first time I heard about them was when I joined FrontGate Media to promote the recipe book. Operation Blessing provides relief in 39 countries around the world. They help in a variety of ways: disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, orphan care, and much more!

In the recipe book, each of the countries represented have stories where Operation Blessing has been a help. Like for Asia, they helped a family's village by building a well for them. Before the well the family had to walk to another village for fresh water! That's just one example.

After looking through the recipes some of the first ones I want to try are the Imam Bayildi which is a recipe from Israel, Coconut Mahamri from Kenya, and Ahi de Gallina from Peru. Thankfully the ingredients are ones we can get at nearly any grocery store.

There are a couple of offers I wanted to share:

The cookbook is offered as a gift for any dollar amount donation. It has a soft cover with a total of 34 international recipes ranging from breakfast, side & main dishes, breads & desserts and drinks. The recipes originated from 15 countries namely Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Kenya, Israel, Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, Japan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, China, and United States.

We are pleased to offer four (4) recipe cards inspired by international recipes from Operation Blessing’s latest cookbook, “Recipes From Around the World.” Anyone can sign up to receive this free gift after which, requests will be processed and delivered straight to their mailbox.

You can even enter to win a copy of Recipes From Around the World!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Isaiah's Legacy By Mesu Andrews

Isaiah's Legacy
by Mesu Andrews
Publisher: WaterbrookMultnomah
ISBN: 9780735291881

Having started following Mesu Andrews on Instagram last year and also starting a new bookstagram account, I heard a lot of book people talking about her books. When I had the opportunity to read Isaiah's Legacy for review, thanks to WaterbrookMultnomah, I jumped at it


The drama of the Old Testament comes to life as Judah's most notorious king ascends to the throne in this gripping novel from the award-winning author of Isaiah's Daughter

At eight years old, Shulle has known only life in a small village with her loving but peculiar father. When Uncle Shebna offers shelter in Jerusalem in exchange for Shulle's help tutoring King Manasseh, Judah's five-year-old co-regent who displays the same peculiarities as her father, she's eager to experience the royal court. But Shulle soon realizes the limits of her father's strict adherence to Yahweh's Law when Uncle Shebna teaches her of the starry hosts and their power. 

Convinced Judah must be freed from Yahweh's chains, she begins the subtle swaying of young Manasseh, using her charm and skills on the boy no one else understands. When King Hezekiah dies, twelve-year-old Manasseh is thrust onto Judah's throne, bitter at Yahweh and eager to marry the girl he adores. Assyria's crown prince favors Manasseh and twists his brilliant mind toward cruelty, beginning Shulle's long and harrowing journey to discover the Yahweh she'd never known, guided with loving wisdom by Manasseh's mother: Isaiah's daughter, the heartbroken Hephzibah. Amid Judah's dark days, a desperate remnant emerges, claiming the Lord's promise, "Though we're helpless now, we're never hopeless--because we serve El Shaddai." Shulle is among them, a girl who becomes a queen through Isaiah's legacy.

My Review:

As this was my first introduction to Mesu Andrews as an author I'm wondering if this is where my starting point should've been.

Isaiah's Legacy is an extremely intense story. I've heard of King Hezzekiah as well as Manasseh, but didn't realize how terribly things went from the king to his son. As we all know, if we've read the Bible, there are stories in there that are intense and ofttimes overwhelming. We can't quite wrap our minds around how dark times were.

The introduction to Shulle sets off a very dark story. I have to admit, when I first started reading the book, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to complete it. The depravity that Shulle experienced at the start was really hard for me to digest.  Evil existed then and it exists now. While Shulle had good intentions at the beginning, it's clear to the reader how quickly a person's thoughts can be manipulated and turned.

I will warn you, if you dive into this story, there are topics that could be hard to swallow. Yes, these are events that took place in Biblical times, but that doesn't make it any easier to read. There is also the topic of witchcraft that's throughout the entire story. You see how evil it truly is.

As we're introduced to Manasseh, I can picture children who have autism being like him. I appreciated the author's handling of this condition. She never made it more than it needed to be and I felt like she portrayed it in a very believable way. His life is also brought to life in such a detailed way.

I had to keep reminding myself how young he was and everything he went through. It's easy in this day and age to forget that kings (as well as others) married as adolescents. Imagining even my 16yr old as a ruler, married, or in battle boggles my mind, yet here was a young boy reigning initially as co-regent and then as a king. I can see how his mind was able to navigate it all if he had something such as autism, especially in this story. It certainly makes sense. It was incredible to me how Mesu brought his mind to life and helps the reader understand how it worked in his decisions.

It also helped that there was a thread of humanity in him when it came to Shulle. It aways came back to her. While he had darkness in his mind and heart, Shulle in a way kept him human. Through all of the deception that occurred in the early part of his reign (in this story), I wasn't surprised at how winding a path his life took. Amazing to me how God can use a life that had been spent in so much darkness, and for His glory!

I'm definitely going to have to try a different book by the author. This one certainly left a heaviness with me, even as I finished it. Once again it was a learning experience getting to know people of the Bible better, even through a fictional setting.

About the Author:

MESU ANDREWS is the Christy Award-winning author of Isaiah’s Daughter and numerous other novels, including The Pharaoh's DaughterMiriam, Of Fire and Lions and Love Amid the Ashes. Her deep understanding of and love for God's Word brings the biblical world alive for readers. Mesu lives in North Carolina with her husband, Roy, and enjoys spending time with her growing tribe of grandchildren.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Hidden Current By Sharon Hinck

Hidden Current
by Sharon Hinck
Publisher: Enclave Publishing

The best book that wasn't released in 2019, but 2020, that I read was Sharon Hinck's new novel Hidden Current. Now, I don't tend to shoot myself in the foot, but I can guarantee you right now that I'm not going to do this book justice with my review. I've been trying to process it in my mind since I read it in December, and it just floored me! Thanks to Enclave Publishing for my review copy.


The dancers of the Order direct their floating world of Meriel with their movement… but are they steering it toward destruction?
Calara spent her life learning dance patterns and seeking to become the perfect servant to her people. When she discovers the work of the Order is built on lies, she flees with a rough-edged herder, Brantley of Windswell. Pursued by soldiers, her journey through the suffering villages of the rim leads her to encounter a truth that sends ripples through her world—and through her soul.
As she seeks clues to her forgotten family, Calara discovers newfound courage in the face of danger, while her quest awakens a growing but forbidden affection for Brantley. Yet even his support can’t fully be trusted, since he’d rather destroy the Order than bring reform.
She is a lone woman facing opposition from rim villages and treachery from the all-powerful Order. Can she restore the dance to its true purpose and bring freedom and hope to her people?

My Review:

Hidden Current was beyond what I was expecting. Sharon Hinck has outdone herself with the beauty of this story. The story telling is exceptional. I mentioned to her that I felt her sharing images of her ballet days inadvertently prepared me for her book. I mean, I'm sure that was part of it, but it lent to preparing my mind for what was to come without me realizing it. I'm so thankful she put so much of her own experience into the story because it absolutely came through for me.

Ok, so let's get on with it, right?

Calara is such a compelling character. She's practiced and given 100% to becoming a dancer who will help spin her world. That all comes crashing down around her as she's come to the cusp of making the transition. You can feel how gut wrenching and life changing it is for her as well as those around her. There's such vivid detail put into the story you almost feel like a spectator.

Brantley is the hero you can get behind! Maybe because he's an inadvertent one. When we as readers learn why he's at the Order, we learn how dire things truly are! Isn't it amazing how things can fall apart AND come together at the same time? It's incredible to see how grace and mercy are able to be found even when evil is happening! It's such a reflection of God.

When I read speculative fiction, I oftentimes have a difficult time imagining the world about which I'm reading or what the civilization is like. Not with Hidden Current. With Hinck's writing I was able to imagine Meriel and it's inhabitants. Whether it was the people in the rim villages or those with the Order, the writing brought it all to life.

I'm SO glad this will be a series because it's an absolutely beautiful story! I can't recommend it enough.

About the Author:

Sharon writes "stories for the hero in all of us" - uplifting and entertaining novels about ordinary people called to extraordinary challenges.

She's won several Carol awards for both contemporary Christian fiction and fantasy, and was a Christy finalist for The Restorer - a genre-blending adventure of a soccer-mom in an alternate world.

She holds an M.A. in communication, and worked for many years in arts ministry. In her various roles over the years as wife, mom, grandmother, church worker, choreographer, and writer, and adjunct professor, she has loved learning how God's grace pours into our lives in the midst of our weakness.

When she isn’t wrestling with words, Sharon enjoys speaking to conferences, retreats, and church groups. She and her husband make their home in the mid-western United States.

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