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Saturday, January 16, 2016


Get ready for an adventure on a snowtrack with children and their families as they visit an exciting place tucked away by the snow. The book is very well written with an easy to understand storyline. I could feel the excitement as the children began their adventure. The  children were each ready to explore in the snow on a big machine that plowed through the snow. I loved the little questions at the end of the chapters. It helps you to get the children involved in the story and encourages  them to share their  answers . The illustrations were so beautiful and makes the story come alive. It is easy to feel right there with them on the monster snow track  as the author does a great job of describing the adventure. It has a great message about trusting God and praying. I loved how the author  used GPS to describe something very important for children and adults to remember. You need to read the book to find out what it is, because I'm not spoiling the story for you. I highly recommend this book to share with children and others who might enjoy a great story about trusting God.

I received this book from The BookClub Network for an honest review.

Friday, January 15, 2016

About the Book

He becomes the love of her life. She becomes his biggest challenge.

It's 1908, a year in the Edwardian Age, the year J.M. Barrie’s play What Every Woman Knows, premiered in Atlantic City and the first Model T rolled off the assembly line in Detroit. It is a year when the world faced one of its worst disasters in history, when the New Year would heal the wounds of loss. Louisa Borden lives a privileged life in Chevy Chase, Maryland, a new and thriving community on the outskirts of Washington, DC for the well-to-do. Against the wishes of her domineering grandmother, she retreats from the prospects of a loveless marriage and instead searches for what she hopes is her calling in life.

When her horse is spooked along Rock Creek, she is thrown from the saddle—an embarrassing situation for any affluent young lady. Soaking wet, bruised and humiliated, she is carried up the muddy bank to safety by Jackson O’Neil, a stranger to the city, who changes the course of everything, including the lives of all those around her.
Available to purchase on

About the Author

Rita Gerlach is a best-selling author of inspirational fiction with a romantic bent, including The Rebel’s Pledge, Thorns in Eden and The Everlasting Mountains, Surrender the Wind, and The Daughters of the Potomac Series. She lives in Maryland near the Catoctin Mountains with her husband Paul.

Upcoming Book Club Event

Join Celebrate Lit and Rita Gerlach for our book club meeting on January 28 and February 7. This will be like a traditional book club but online.  We will fellowship, discuss After the Rain, grow closer to the Lord and have fun together! The Fun starts at 4 pm PST/ 5pm MST/ 6 pm CST/ 7 pm EST at


Louisa Borden is a very pretty young woman. She has had her share of heartache and now lives in a mansion in Chevy  Chase. Her grandmother is very stuffy and stern. She rules the mansion and  is quite rude at times to people. Beatrice, the grandmother has decided that Louisa is to marry Rupert Eastcott. He is a very wealthy man who will provide well for Louisa. There is of course one problem with that decision. Louisa does  not love   Rupert at all and refuses  to live in England with him.

One day while Louisa is out riding she is thrown from the horse and a man  happens upon her. Jackson O'Neil helps her get back up the slippery bank that she fell into. Poor Louisa is embarrassed but doesn't miss the fact that her rescuer is quite handsome. They become attracted to each other, much to her grandmother's very vocal disapproval.

The story is so well written and the author has a great knack for letting a story flow across the pages with emotion and mystery that it is hard to put the book down.  Louisa will endure heartache, deceit and a feeling of loneliness that she can't escape. Rupert will stop at nothing to win Louisa's hand in marriage. Will Louisa believe the lies Rupert tells her about Jackson? What secret will her grandmother tell her that will have her heart break into pieces like shattered glass?

When her father goes  away on a business trip , a devastating natural disaster happens that could claim his life. Will Louisa be strong enough to carry on and honor her father's wishes if he doesn't survive? It has been awhile since I have read a book of this caliber. The history in the story is real and described in great detail. The story is filled with so many raw emotions that I found myself crying at times, and gasping at the surprises throughout the book. I got so involved in the book, that I blocked out the world around me and traveled back in time with Louisa and watched her beautiful story unfold. There are a few funny moments in the story that will make you chuckle as you get to know Louisa's aunts. This story is one that will stay with me forever. It's a  breathtaking story that goes through an aray of emotions which will grab at your heart and keep you engrossed in a magnificent story of love, hope and family and forgiveness.

I received a copy of this book from  Celebrate Lit and the publisher for an honest review.


This giveaway begins January 10 at ends February 8 at 12:00 am PST.

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Carrying the Black Bag: A Neurologist’s Bedside Tales
Author: Tom Hutton MD

Genre: memoir
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
Date of Publication: December 7, 2015
# of pages: 240

In his thirty-plus years of practicing medicine, physician and neurologist Tom Hutton discovered that a doctor’s best teachers are often his patients. From these extraordinary individuals, Hutton gained a whole-hearted respect for the resourcefulness, courage, and resilience of the human spirit. Hutton’s patients—and the valuable lessons they taught—served as the inspiration for Carrying the Black Bag.

Carrying the Black Bag invites readers to experience what it’s like to be a doctor’s hands, eyes, and heart. Imagine the joy of witnessing a critically ill five-year-old who, against all odds, claws her way back from a coma and near certain death. Meet a lonely Texas widower with Parkinson’s disease who hosts elaborate pinochle parties for a pack of imaginary canines. Step into the surgical booties of the author when he attempts to deliver his own child amid heart-stopping obstetrical complications—during a paralyzing Minnesota blizzard.  

Through real-life patient narratives, Hutton shines light on ordinary people facing extraordinary challenges. Moreover, this captivating tale captures the drama of medicine—its mystery, pathos, heroism, sacrifice, and humor.



        Each story slipped into The Black Bag is a shining jewel, polished to perfection and written with empathy, sensitivity and humor. Hutton brings to life a doctor's unflagging dedication to the human condition as a healer with utmost respect for each patient fortunate enough to be graced by his compassion and commitment. Every tale once begun, entrances.
        -Antoinette van Heughten, author of USA Bestseller Saving Max, and The Tulip Eaters

        Being a physician is a privilege, in no small part because of the powerful insight it provides into the human condition. Tom Hutton addresses themes of interest to all readers--love, loyalty, family, and mortality, and shows how he could affect a positive outcome, and how he, in turn, was changed by those for whom he cared.
        -William L. Henrich, MD, President, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

        How many doctors have you come across who can write this well, especially for the lay reader? He's a natural, that's for sure! Carrying The Black Bag is a must-read for anyone interested in following a wonderful doctor on his rounds.
        -Bartee Haile, newspaper columnist and author of Texas Depression-Era Desperadoes, and Murders Most Texan

        A wonderful journey through the training, practice, triumphs, and travails of a dedicated physician.
        -D. P. Lyle, MD, author of Dub Walker and Samantha Cody thriller series.

Chapter 9
Heavy double doors banged behind me. I located the unidentified woman responsible for my stat page. A glance revealed a small body eclipsed by monitors, a wheezing ventilator, and a virtual spaghetti bowl of wires and catheters.
Somewhere across the intensive care unit, a ventilator alarm shrieked, a telephone jingled, and infusion pumps thrummed. Nurses with intent facial expressions scurried about the unit on rubber-soled shoes, providing care for these, the very sickest of the hospital’s sick.
​(Her husband arrives and provides a surprisingly poignant description, transforming his wife in my eyes)
“Doc, do everything you can.” His voice cracked and faltered before struggling on. He finally blurted out, “I…I love that old gal.”
After his description I no longer could think of Maggie Croft as a shriveled old woman with failing physiology. She had become an energetic harvester who had struggled through desperate decades tightly bonded to her husband. She had evoked the strongest display of public emotion of which I felt Ned Croft capable.
And struggle to save her life we did. We addressed her brain swelling to eke out precious millimeters of space within her skull to buy time for the blood clot to recede. We tried every management strategy to salvage the life of Maggie Croft—but in the end our efforts came to naught.
I recall Ned’s slow pace as he departed the intensive care unit. He pushed at the swinging doors, opening them a crack. Ned glanced back at his deceased wife’s body, his eyes vacant. Ned Croft with his tattered appearance and pained emotions was abruptly lost from view as the doors slammed shut behind him. The complexity of love has baffled the wisest sages. But for me, Ned’s simple utterance said it best. “Doc, I love that old gal.”

​Excerpt from Carrying the Black Bag: A Neurologist’s Bedside Tales (Texas Tech University Press) by Tom Hutton, MD

Tom Hutton, M. D., is an internationally-recognized clinical and research neurologist and educator. The past president of the Texas Neurological Society, Dr. Hutton served as professor and vice chairman of the Department of Medical and Surgical Neurology at the Texas Tech School of Medicine. He now lives on his cattle ranch near Fredericksburg, Texas.


This book is a very well written and detailed account of a doctors life. I was engrossed with the many patients the author  encountered. His compassion and bedside manners put patients at ease and helped family members deal with the crisis at hand. I enjoyed the story of the little girl named Sophie. The emotions that the parents were going through were overwhelming and the desperation on their faces were seen by all. The diagnosis was hard to track down  and I loved how the author gave us details of his  work in finding what was wrong with Sophie. His  tireless efforts along with other staff members would bring hope to the family and a chance for a healthy young girl.

The author has a way of talking about his patients with deep concern and a willingness  to go the extra mile to help each one. There are many patients he has seen over the years that hold a special place in his thoughts and ones that have forever touched his life. Being a neurosurgeon is stressful and can sometimes be discouraging. He has had to make hard decisions and given heartbreaking news to family members. He has seen so many different things as a doctor and has always put them before his personal life. The book is mesmerizing as he shares his experiences in  vivid detail. Thank you for sharing an inside look into a profession that can be heartbreaking, exciting and rewarding. I loved the part at the end of the book about the history of the black bag. I  could picture the doctor carrying his black bag ready to comfort the patient as he opens the bag that held the tools of the trade. If the 'Black Bag' could talk I'm sure it would tell us that a doctor "first do no harm"

I  received a copy of this book from Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours for an honest review.

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This book is definitely a eye opening experience to read. I love the various illustrations the author gives about kingdoms . One thing I thought very interesting was about the "fall." He asks us what did we really lose in the "fall." I never really thought about that as bring significant to the kingdom. What didAdam and Eve  fall from? They did the one thing they were told not to do. They fell from dominion and therefore Adam was no longer getting direction from God.  I wonder how many of us have stopped listening to God? Who are we getting our direction from?

It is interesting to read in the book that the author said "it is a tragedy that we have produced a religion called Christianity . Jesus  did not invent such a thing."' What Jesus did do though was to come to earth "to establish an outpost of the Kingdom of Heaven." I understand more clearly when God said, " let them have dominion." He assigned us to manage what He had created . As we look around we can see that we are very much lacking in the area of taking care of what He created.

The book is very thought provoking and takes you into a deeper place in His word. The illustrations the author gives us helps to visualize what the Kingdom is and how we can take back what has been assigned to us. He is very direct and doesn't sugar coat anything. I like to read a book that gives me things to think about and take me deeper into the Word. When he said, "Some need to sell their loyalty to the pastor they love so much but who isn't preaching about the Kingdom", I stopped and re read that sentence. What he is saying is we need to be careful who we are listening to and making sure we are being taught what the bible says.

There is a great story in the book about an elderly couple who won a cruise. They were not wealthy and didn't understand what they had won. They packed their small belongings and headed to their cabin. It was a beautiful and luxurious room. They sat there day after day, eating crackers and juice but never leaving the room. On the ninth day, the captain became concerned . He had not seen them leave their room, they never came to dine or go to the shows. When he went to the room, he asked them why they had not partaken in any if the  things the ship offered . They said they couldn't afford it. What the captain explained must have astounded them. The tickets they had were to enjoy everything the ship had to offer free of charge. The story was very vivid in what it meant. We lack knowledge, so we don't get the full benefits of the Kingdom.

Thank you for a book that will be a benefit  to me as well as others in explaining the meaning of Kingdom Citizenship. The book is well written and has very good examples by using stories from the bible and scriptures to clearly relay his message. I encourage readers to take their time reading this powerful book and looking at the Kingdom as part of our inheritance that we need to take care of.

I received a copy of this book from The BookClub Network for an honest review.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Friends and Enemies

Friends and Enemies is a 425 page novel in the Christian historical fiction genre.  It is published by Hope Spring Books and was released on Jan 5, 2015.  To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

Friends and Enemies cover

Widowed seamstress Heidi Wetzel finds new meaning in life by caring for evacuated children on a farm in war-torn western Germany. Never a supporter of National Socialism, she takes pleasure in passive resistance, but must exercise caution around neighbors who delight in reporting to the Gestapo. Having lived in the United States, she wonders about her friend Rachel.
Flying cadet Paul Braedel’s wife dies while he trains for the U.S. Army Air Corps. Following bereavement leave, he joins a navigation class. He’s lost his zest for life and heads to England, not caring if he lives or dies.
When he and his crew are shot down over Germany, he evades capture and, for the first time since Rachel’s death, hears the voice of God whisper guidance. “Find Heidi.”
Heidi meets a man she recognizes from her high school days in America. Aiding a downed airman is punishable by execution, but she agrees to help. Then they’re betrayed.

Heidi Wetzel has suffered a great loss when she is told her husband Erich, was killed in the war. She is filled with despair and travels to a place to help children who have sent to a farm to escape the terrible war going on. Her heart is filled with compassion for these innocent children and finds ways to make clothes for them. Material is hard to find, so Heidi will use whatever she finds, even if it happens to be a flag that is suppose to displayed at all times.

Cadet Paul Braedel is happiest when he is piloting a plane. Everything is going well for him until a tragedy strikes and the love of his life, Rachel falls ill and dies. He is devasted and upon returning from her funeral, he discovers his flight school has left. He now finds himself in navigation school. While out on a mission, he gets shot down in Germany. His crew is left behind  in enemy territory and he is desperate to find a way not to be captured. The thoughts running through his mind must have been frantic with survival instincts. As he prays for God  to guide him, he hears Gid whisper " find Heidi." What a strange thing to hear while trying to avoid capture.

The book is a riveting story of World War II in a sweeping story of bombings, survival and true to life adventures of two people who were once friends. How do you stay friends with someone when the war tells you they are now the enemy? The sequence of flying was breathtaking as I felt like I was in the cockpit with the pilots. The authors vivid account of the war paints a picture that is clearly seen by the words that glide across the pages. I can't image the terror , challenges and struggles men and women faced during this period of history. It is a very emotional book that  will keep you on your toes as the story surrounds you with suspense, fear , romance and faith. Can an enemy be your friend? Who can you trust,? I loved the book so much I couldn't put it down. The author has done a tremendous job of writing a story rich with action, characters that leave you breathless  and an unforgettable ending. I will be looking for more books from this amazing, gifted author who writes a story that truly is worthy of becoming a best seller.

I received this book from the Celebrate Lit Life Tour for  an honest review.

About the Author


Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.
Connect with Terri:



Enter to win a copy  of Terri’s new book Friends and Enemies or a $10 Amazon card.

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Blog Tour Stops

Visit each blog to read their review and have another entry to the giveaway!
Jan 5: Writing Between Sundays
Jan 5: Book Reviews from an Avid Reader
Jan 6: Thinking Thoughts
Jan 6: Novel pastimes
Jan 7: Simple harvest Reads
Jan 8: Artistic Nobody
Jan 9: A Greater Yes
Jan 10: Cassandra M’s Place
Jan 11: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberation
Jan 12: The Grafted Word
Jan 13: Our Perfectly Imperfect Life
Jan 14: Texas Book-aholic
Jan 15: Christian Book Aholic
Jan 16:  Bukwurmzzz
Jan 17: Through the Open Window
Jan 18: Highlighted Author
Jan 18: For the Love of Books

Monday, January 11, 2016


Many times I have read scriptures and thought they were good and much needed for the situation I was dealing with. Then I have had a few times where I have read a scripture and for the first time I really understood its meaning. I have used a journal for a long time. I use it to take notes in when I read something in a book that I thought was thought provoking and wanted to go back to it later. I also write scriptures down so I can re read them when I sense a need for that particular scripture. This book is exactly what I need to dig deeper, to truly understand what God is saying to me.

We all have such busy lives but it's important to spend time with God and listen to His voice. I loved the chapters that help you build on your relationship with God. At the end of every chapter is a place to journal your thoughts from the chapter and meditate on the daily scripture. As the author explains, "Meditation is a continuous activity." He further goes into depth about the four pillars of meditation. Each one builds on the other to reach transformation. The book is filled with helpful tips and guides you as you begin to study the bible more intensely . I enjoyed the many tools he gives you to help you get a clearer knowledge of the bible. When we take the time to really read the scriptures, God will help you visualize what He is saying through His word . I encourage readers to take their time going through this book and doing the exercise after each chapter . It is a well written book that will help you hear His voice more clearly and understand scriptures with more clarity .

I received this book from The BookClub Network for an honest review .


Sheila Davis lives with her brothers and dad on a farm. She is a hard worker, cooking and cleaning and looking after the family. She has a gift for writing and dreams one day of being a famous author. Sheila is thrilled when she gets a once in a life time chance to attend a six week  writing course at college thanks to one of her teachers. Her dad is not thrilled at all. In fact he has told her she can't go. How does  she convince her dad to let her go have this adventure ?

When she arrives on campus she runs into some very different young people. Yes she is fresh off the farm where her dad was very strict with her and she feels kinda out of her league. . But her dream is finally coming true, so she takes a deep breath and finds her dorm room. Her roommate is very funny and seems to be protective of Sheila. I loved their interaction and it made me laugh at times. Her roommate has a silly name that you will find out as you read this emotional and intriguing story.

When Sheila meets Dan Gray she thinks she has found someone who can help her with her writing and hopefully help her figure out a way to attend college in the fall. Dan is a selfish, arrogant man  who has set his eyes on Sheila. He is the kind of person who can convince someone he is doing what's best for  them, when the reality is he is using them. He has a plan to use Sheila for his own selfish future. There are warning signs that Dan is not who he says he is, but Sheila is so convinced that they are in love, she ignores the concerns of her family and friends.

The book has a great diversified of characters that you either cheer for or want to scream at. I found myself telling Sheila that  Dan was deceitful , but she wouldn't listen to me. She will have a hard lesson to learn as she has visions of publishing a book. Who is Dan? How far will he go to use Sheila for his own selfish plans? The book has a depth of mystery that I didn't expect and it was written so well I was surprised at the twists and turns. The ending is one you will need to get prepared for. The author has done an outstanding job  of writing a clean, mystery book that is much like a Hitchcock film. Just when you think you have it figured out, the twist comes and you are taken off guard . Thanks for writing a truly exceptional book that has you question who to trust and hoping your dreams come true.
I received a copy of this book from The BookClub Network for an honest review.