Review Time: Learnin’ the Ropes by Shanna Hatfield


learnin-the-ropes-by-shanna-hatfieldThis is the first opportunity that I have had to read a Shanna Hatfield book and this was a good choice! At first I wasn’t sure if a contemporary western romance was going to be a story that entertained me, but as the book progressed, I started enjoying the characters, events, and mishaps that transform Ty from a homeless mechanic into a hardworking, respected cowboy. There is plenty of good humor, especially with cattleman, Swede, and a big dog named, Baby, around. Ty and Lexi Jo’s romance starts off a bit moony, but turns sweeter and sweeter as time passes and the kisses will curl your toes Buck-A-Roo! So, yes, I liked this western romance and the tasty little recipe as the end of the story. When you want a dose of spirited humor and romance, I recommend trying Shanna Hatfield!

Review Time: The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof


the-lady-and-the-lionheart-by-joanne-bischofThe Lady and the Lionheart is a poignant tale of circus performer, Charlie Lionheart, who in a desperate quest to find medical care for his sick niece, meets nurse Ella Beckley, a compassionate woman who bears wounds that have shattered her faith. Charlie has his own wounds, but his faith and love for his niece, Holland, gives him strength to sacrifice his own life to the “dark bondage of a sideshow.” The setting of the circus is as enchanting as it is mysterious and frightening. There is a magnetism between Charlie and Ella that deepens into friendship and much more, but just like the circus, there are endearing traits and darker secrets that keep these two from recognizing the redemption that God has for both of them as well as for a baby girl who has no understanding of the pain and heartache into which she was born. Charlie and Ella both suffer a type of bondage, but where Charlie’s is a physical one, Ella’s is a spiritual one, and this is where the story is hinged – to continue to live in bondage or to risk everything for freedom. Charlie may seem mysterious, and Ella timid, but their characters both please with their compassion, selflessness, and restraint. The story is satisfying on many levels.  For my local followers, I picked up this book because the story opens in Roanoke, Virginia, a place where I worked for many years and have actually traveled to watch the circus from time to time when it comes to town. Local readers will recognize some of the historical tidbits that the author includes in the story.  Enjoy!

Recipe Time: Pumpkin Dip!


So, you may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging as often.  My family takes priority and sometimes I need a vacation from the blog to recharge my creative batteries.  One good thing about the break is that I’ve had time to try a few recipes.  With autumn finally settling in to the Blue Ridge Mountains it is the perfect time for some pumpkin recipes.  I can’t remember where I found this pumpkin dip recipe, but there are several versions online and all are easy to make and offer a quick solution to a party or snack dish…or in my house, a indoor tailgate party while watching our favorite college or NFL football team:  Go Hokies!  Go Cavaliers!  Go Redskins!  Go 49er’s!  Yes, there is quite a bit of rivalry in our house, but all in good fun!


Here is the Pumpkin Dip recipe!  Again, it is easy, quick, and delicious.  Plus, its flexible for folks who may have dietary concerns.  Enjoy!


1      12 ounce can of pumpkin

1 to 2  tsp. of pumpkin pie spice (to taste).  Note:  I have also used ¼ tsp Allspice, ¼ tsp Cinnamon, ¼ tsp. Nutmeg when I don’t have pumpkin spice.

1      small vanilla instant pudding mix  (leave as a dry mix-do not prepare pudding)

1         8 oz. Cool Whip or favorite whipped topping.

Pick a favorite dipper:  Graham Crackers, Apple Slices, Ginger Snaps, Vanilla Wafers, Ritz Crackers


Mix ingredients together well, and serve with Graham Crackers, Apple Slices, Ginger Snaps Ritz Crackers or Vanilla Wafers.

Can also use sugar free vanilla pudding and whipped topping for a lower calorie, lower sugar dip.

This recipe is fun to serve in a small scraped out pumpkin for Halloween or Thanksgiving.


(This photo was pulled from website.)

The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

The Silent Songbird by Melanie DickersonEvangeline is the King Richard’s cousin.  Her beautiful singing voice is the jewel of the land, and she is admired by noblemen and peasants alike.  But Evangeline has a problem.  As the King’s cousin she is used to ‘reward’ Lord Shiveley through marriage.  Lord Shiveley is a faithful ally to the king, but Evangeline is forced to accept the nuptials with no regard to her feelings and without the benefit of courtship.  Lord Shiveley may seem loyal to the king, but Evangeline knows he is a cruel, brutal man who intends harm to her.  Even as she accepts the king’s will, she plans her escape.  Traveling with a band of peasants, she ends up in Glynval, home of the le Wyse family, (from The Merchant’s Daughter).  Evangeline, pretends to be mute, and struggles to serve as a peasant.  It isn’t long before Westley, Lord Ranulf’s son, discovers there is more to Evangeline than meets the eye.  An honorable man, Westley does not approve of lies and deceit, and his disappointment stings deep in Evangeline’s heart.  When Evangeline witnesses a betrayal against Westley her warnings fall on deaf ears.  As Lord Shiveley closes in on finding his “songbird”, and the truth of le Wyse’s enemy is revealed, will Westley and Evangeline forgive and learn to trust one another in time to save Gynval and King Richard?  I won’t give away all the details, but The Silent Songbird is a great YA story by Melanie Dickerson.  Plenty of action, courage, tension, and sweet romance fill the pages from beginning to end.  This story falls between The Merchant’s Daughter and The Princess Spy and is expected to release November 2016. I received this book early from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Other books by Melanie Dickerson include:

Book Review: To Have and To Hold – Multi-author book set


to-have-and-to-hold-multiauthorThis 3-in-1 novella set has just what the romance reader needs while on the go. In my case I was going to the beach for some sunshine, bike rides, tasty seafood, etc.  However, the remnants of tropical storm Julia decided to dump about 8 to 12 inches of rain in three days which basically left me in a hotel room reading to my hearts content.  Needless to say, I polished off this set in no time.  Here is my synopsis/review:

Love Takes The Cake by Betsy St. Amant features bakery owner, Charlotte, who has a crush on regular customer, Will.  But Will is buying cookies for another woman and Charlotte is not the kind of woman to compete.  When an order for a bridezilla throws Charlotte and Will together more often, the chemistry builds, but why won’t Will tell her about the ‘other woman?’  Sweet romance that had me wanting to go buy some snickerdoodles and snuggle up with my sweetheart.

The Perfect Arrangement by Katie Ganshert is about florist, Amelia, and her unexpected encounter with Nate, a groomsman at her ex-fiance’s wedding.  An insurance claim starts the conversation, but this romances is love by letter, or in this case, e-mail.  This was probably my favorite out of the series as it had anecdotes about some of my favorite classic movies and even a little Jane Austin thrown into the correspondence which I found clever and witty in relation to what was occurring in the story.  I will add more of Katie Ganshert’s books to my reading list for the future.

Love in the Details by Becky WadeLove in the Details by Becky Wade is why I picked up this book, but I was disappointed to find I had already read this story as a stand-alone earlier in the year.  Still, this is Becky Wade, who has thrilled me with her other books, so it was no problem rereading Holly and Josh’s story.  Highschool sweethearts, Holly and Josh, know they are the love of each other’s lives.  But college, and some parental prodding, forces Holly to break off her relationship with Josh.  Josh returns to Martinsburg for a wedding and runs into Holly.  He is polite, but anger and mistrust leave him guarded.  Holly longs to tell him the truth…she’s never stopped loving him and she gave him up so he could be successful.  But, what is success if your heart is empty of the love that gave it joy?  Josh loves Holly, but hurt and unforgiveness keep his emotions in check.  Can he trust God enough to realize that he and Holly have been given a second chance?  This is the story that prompted me to start binge reading all of Becky Wade’s books.  Now I’m patiently waiting…okay, not so patiently waiting for more of her stories.

So all three contemporary, faith-filled romance novellas were easy, feel good reads which I devoured while on vacation at the beach.  I enjoy sets like this as it gives me the opportunity to try new authors like Betsy St. Amant and Katie ganshert, who will find their books added to my TBR shelf.  I did receive this set from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.


Review Time: The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck


the-wedding-shop-by-rachel-hauckI enjoy well written stories where there is a past story line and a present story line that draws together toward the finale and moves into the future. Rachel Hauck’s The Wedding Shoppe captures the struggles of Cora, who inherited her aunt Jane’s wedding shop in the early 1900’s, but struggled to find love and marriage herself.  Then there is present day Haley, who as a child dreams of reopening the dilapidated old wedding shop with her best friend, Tammy.  After college and military training, Haley returns to grieve the loss of her friend, longing to start over after an atrocious relationship left her heart weary and broken. What they both find is that faith and relationships are what gives quality to life and the old wedding shop is full of stories about family, faith, and the love that can endure a lifetime…and beyond!  This is a lovely story with memorable characters; some which have appeared in past books.  However, don’t be alarmed.  This story does not require reading the previous books, but it will make you want to read The Wedding Dress and The Wedding Chapel after you finish, and if you are a bride, you’ll relive the special moments of your own special day.  I can see Ms. Hauck being an author that I will want to binge read when I have a few days to myself!