Friday, December 08, 2017

Little Bunny’s Own Storybook by Margaret Welwood & Illustrated by Nataly Vits – Will Spark Young Readers Creative Imagination

I was contacted by author Margaret Welwood inquiring if I would read her book for children, Little Bunny’s Own Storybook.  I read a lot of books, but not children’s books.  But I thought it might be a nice change of pace.  Indeed, it was.

I think young readers imaginations will be sparked when they read Little Bunny’s Own Storybook, which tells the story of a bunny that loves to read.  Everyday he goes to the library to find a new book to read.  But one day, to his dismay, the library is closed.  As he goes home nothing else sound good to do.  He wants to read.  But then, he has an idea.  Perhaps, he could make up his own story.

The illustrations by Nataly Vits are precious and will touch a child’s heart.  After reading this story, young readers may be inspired to write their story and draw pictures. 

I recommend Little Bunny’s Own Storybook by Margaret Welwood.  Parents, be forewarned, you may want to have paper and pencils and crayons on hand in case your little one wants to try their hand at writing the very own story.


I would like to thank Margaret Welwood for the opportunity to read Little Bunny’s Own Storybook.  This book is recommended for ages 3-8.

Marie and Mr. Bee by Margaret Welwood & Illustrated by Coralie Rycroft – A Sweet Story with Good Lessons for Young Readers

I was surprised when I was contacted by author Margaret Welwood inquiring if I would read her children’s book, Marie and Mr. Bee.  I read a lot of books, but not children’s books, at least not for many years.  I thought it might be a nice change of pace.  Indeed, it was.

Marie and Mr. Bee, tells the tale of a young girl who listens to some bad advice from a visiting very lazy bee.  Before listening to Mr. Bee, Marie is a responsible hard working young lady.  Afterwards, taking it easy sounds kind of good.  Soon she finds out like the Bible says, “Hard work brings reward.”

Marie and Mr. Bee, is a simple and sweet story, with some good examples and lessons for young readers.  I liked how her friends, Brother and Sister Squirrel, Fox and Little Bear were obedient and did their chores.  One of my favorite lessons in the book is when Marie forgives of Mr. Bee and is his faithful friend. 

The illustrations by Coralie Rycroft are precious and help tell the story perfectly.  This book will capture the imagination of young readers and show good examples about work, obedience, friendship and forgiveness. 

I would recommend the story of Marie and Mr. Bee, for young readers.  I think I would have liked it when I was a little girl.  I would like to thank Margaret Welwood for the opportunity to read this book.   This book is recommended for ages 4-8.  


Sunday, December 03, 2017

Unintended Consequences


















How could I have known
Of the unintended consequences
From a decision I made, an action I took

At that moment
It felt like the right thing to do

But now, I see a ripple effect
Which seems like a tsunami
Washing away what I hold dear

Though all around me, everything is slipping away
You alone O Lord will never leave, nor forsake me

Oh Lord, I cry out to You
As the waves crash in, help me hold on to the Anchor of my soul
Help me to trust You Lord Jesus, in the darkest night

Though my words fail, the Holy Spirit intercedes for me
My compassionate Savior prays for me and the merciful Father hears


Susan Bunts Wachtel
December 3, 2017


Sometimes its easier to see things in the lives of others, only to look back and see similar seasons in my own life.  When I look back and see the trials the Lord has brought me through, I stand amazed.  Thank You Jesus for not wasting one trial, or temptation or difficult season.  Thank You for the growth that can take place in the most difficult circumstances.  Though I can’t see the unintended circumstances that may come from something I do or say today, You can.  Help me to look to You, listen and obey You as you guide and direct me. 


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey – Confusing, Too Many Characters and Too Many Plots

I was exciting at the opportunity to read Dani Pettrey’s newest book Blind Spot which is the third book in the Chesapeake Valor Series

Previously, I had read her book Submerged and found she did a really good job in writing about relationships.  The plotline was interesting and intriguing and the characters were well developed.  

Blind Spot couldn’t be any more different.  It was plot, plot, plot, lots of action and filled with many characters.  This is the third book in her current series, but there was no recap to bring the readers up to speed on the characters who carried over from the first two books.  I would have found it helpful to have a page at the beginning of the book with the names of the characters and a brief description about them and their history.  A number of times, I came across a name, and I had to search back to see if that person’s name had previously been mentioned because I didn’t recall anything about them.

As a side note, a number of the characters have names that are not immediately identifiable as male or female names.  Names like Tanner Shaw, Declan Grey, Avery, Finley, Griffin and Parker.  That made the confusion of too many characters even more confusing.  I found myself very grateful for two characters name Kate and Luke. 

There are two main plots going on and subplot in the background.  There’s storyline of embezzlement, murder and suicide and a second storyline of terrorism, smuggling of arms and people and human trafficking.  The storylines didn’t merge in the end.  The plots seemed to compete against each other.  As I was reading the book, I was trying to figure out how they would relate, but they never did come together. 

Some of the scenes were rather implausible.  The reasoning and deduction of the FBI agents to explain what had happened or what was going on seemed to be missing some in between steps or information.

Overall, I found the book confusing because of so many characters that the reader knew nothing about unless they had read the earlier books in the series.  Going back and forth between plotlines that had nothing to do with one another was not a good way to tell a story.  I think it would have been better to focus on one plot and develop a fewer characters. 

The Christian faith was mention somewhat.  It wasn’t a big part of the storyline.  There a few prayers.  But overall it was lacking depth and meaning. 

When I read a fiction book, I want to care about the characters.  Even if they are not likeable, I want to know them and what makes them tick.  I didn’t care about these characters.

I really wanted to like Blind Spot because of Dani Pettrey’s earlier books.  But I didn’t much care for it.  If you like her writing, I would suggest starting with book one in this series, that way you will be better able to track with characters and storylines, some of which carryover from earlier books. 

I would like to thank Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey for free.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Russia Rising by Mark Hitchcock – A helpful guide to better understand Bible prophesy

I was excited to read pastor and teacher Mark Hitchcock’s newest book Russia Rising – Tracking the Bear in Bible Prophecy

Pastor Mark Hitchcock is a solid Bible and prophesy teacher.  He is well balanced and does not get off track like some Bible prophesy teachers.  He doesn’t try to manipulate current events into fulfillment of Biblical end time events.  He’s not a date setter and has good understanding of Scripture and a healthy respect for God’s timetable which He alone knows. 

Russia Rising starts with a history of Russia and goes into recent incidents that give evidence that Russia, under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, is exercising more and more power and is actively expanding their reach into other countries, like Syria and Iran.  Russia is a formidable foe on the world stage. 

One area I disagreed with Mark was his take on 2016 US presidential election.  He spoke of the Russian fake news strategy and the DNC “hacking” as the work of Russian spies.  That narrative is one that is suspect at best and may have actually been internal leaks from someone within the DNC. 

Mark went into great detail to explain why the king of the north, from Ezekiel 38-39 and Daniel 11 is modern-day Russian.  He also discussed the various interpretations on when the War of Gog and Magog may take place.  He not only covers his own opinion on when this event may take place, but he also addresses other views and explains if they line up with Scripture, history, current events and Bible prophesy. 

I especially appreciated Mark bringing the discussion of Bible prophesy and end times back to Christ.  He reminded the reader that anticipating the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ should impact us to live holy lives and eagerly share the Gospel message with unbelievers around us.

If you want to have a better understand biblical end time events and know what in the world is going with Russia and how it all fits into Bible prophesy, pick up a copy of Russia Rising by Mark Hitchcock

I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers and Tyndale Blog Network for the opportunity to read Russia Rising for free.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Picture a Day - Conservatory In Black & White


On our recent road trip, Chris and I went to Minnesota to have my mother's ashes laid to rest with her parents.  Something long overdue since she had passed away back in 2008.  

The day before the ceremony at Fort Snelling, we had a few hours and went to the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory.  It was a beautiful day and we had some time to relax.

As we walked around the gardens and zoo, I wondered did my mother or grandparent come here.  It was not too far from the home they lived in in St Paul, MN.  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017


This video is to honor our parents, grandparents, cousin, aunt and uncles who have served in the military for our great nation.  We are so very grateful for their service and sacrifice and for the freedoms we have.  

Monday, October 09, 2017

Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer – A Thought Provoking Interesting Read

I love a good mystery, and that’s what drew me in and want to read, Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  This is the first book I’ve read by this author so I didn’t know what to expect.

The story starts out in 1943, when young Hazel is watching her 3- year-old sister Maggie.  She only turned her back for a few seconds, but that’s all it took and little Maggie was gone.  What happened?  Would they ever know?  Hazel and her family were devastated by the loss.  Its impact would ripple down and impact future generations.  Fast forward to present day, Hazel’s granddaughter Meghan is coming for a visit only to be surprised and find her mom Diane there too.  When the long-held secret comes out about Maggie, Meghan has hope, that as a cold case investigator, she may be able to finally bring some closure for her grandmother that she loves so dearly. 

Bringing Maggie Home turned out to be a little different than I anticipated.  It focused mostly on the people and their relationships.  Through this story, you can see how one horrible event can impact people far beyond the initial tragedy.  There were times, I felt like the story dragged a bit, because I was wanting to get on to solving the mystery.  When in fact that’s secondary to understanding people. 

I struggled with the character, Diane.  She was just downright unpleasant and I wanted to slap her.  She was rude and I didn’t like her.  But as the story went along I came to understand her more.  I really liked the characters Hazel and Meghan and their loving and caring relationship.  Another likeable character was Sean.  I liked how he lived out his Christian faith.  I greatly appreciate it when the Gospel message is woven in to a book by a Christian author. 

For those of you who love solving mysteries, don’t worry, you’ll get to the bottom of what happened to Maggie in due time.  That part of the book was interesting too.  I wish it had been a bigger part of the story. 

But all in all, I recommend Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  There were times reading it was painful because of the bitterness, hurt and anger the characters were dealing with.  But it caused me to reflect on my own life and relationships.  I went through a range of emotions as I read this book.  I found it hopeful in that characters grew and changed overtime and you saw the Lord at work in their lives. 

I love finding an author whose work is new to me.  Not only did I get to enjoy Kim Vogel Sawyer’s newest book Bringing Maggie Home, but now I can go back and read her earlier books.

I would like to thank Blogging for Books and WaterBrook Publishers for the opportunity to read Bringing Maggie Home for free.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Healing at the Gate Called Beautiful


Like the lame man
At the gate called Beautiful
I too, have been raised up by Christ Jesus the Nazarene

Unlike the lame man
My healing was not physical
Instead it was far greater, a healing of my soul

I went from being spiritually dead, dead to God
Dead in my trespasses and sins
Unable to even look upon or respond to Him of my own accord

He raised me up and forgave my sins
Now I am alive to God
May I praise and glorify God for His marvelous work

With feet and ankles made strong by the LORD
May I walk just as I was raised
By the power of Christ

May those who recognize me
As the woman dead in her sins at the gate called Beautiful
Be amazement at what Christ can do


By Susan Wachtel
September 28, 2017

For those of us who have family and friends who don’t yet know the LORD, persevere in prayer for their salvation.


Monday, September 25, 2017

Rule of Law by Randy Singer – A Fast-Paced Thriller Filled with Intrigue – Be Forewarned This Book Make Keep You Up at Night

Reading the description of the storyline is what drew me in and want to read Rule of Law by Randy Singer.  Intrigue, suspense, politics and the news media sounds like a story ripped from today’s headlines. 

The story opens with Navy SEAL Team Six ready to deploy on a mission in Yemen, led by Patrick Quillen.  Before the reader finds out if the mission will succeed, we are taken back two months earlier and meet Paige Chambers, a young attorney, who is about to come up against famed and unconventional attorney Wyatt Jackson.  Little does she know how their futures will converge. 

As the story continues the President, Vice President and their staff, military personnel and families, Supreme Court Justices, the news media and Islamic clerics all come into play to make this story, which is full of twists and turns, come alive.

Randy Singer is a writer whose work is new to me.  I love it when I find a good author.  Not only do I get to enjoy their current work, but now I can go back and read their earlier novels. 

What makes an author a great writer verses one that’s so, so?  I’m not sure I know the answer to that.  But I can tell you from the opening pages of this book, I was hooked.  I was interested in the story, I cared about the people, even the bad guys.  I wanted to know what would happen next and I wanted to understand what made these people tick and why they did what they did.  The pace didn’t let up and it kept me guessing until the end.  Be forewarned, Rule of Law may keep you up late at night to find out what happens next. 

As I read Rule of Law, I was forced to examine my thoughts on what rights the President of the United States should have to executive privilege and what lengths they can go to, to protect our nation.  Should they be allowed the bend or even break the law?  It’s one thing when it’s an administration that I trust and respect, but another when it’s one I don’t support.

Rule of Law by Randy Singer is a fast-paced novel filled with intrigue and surprises.  It’s thought provoking and a great read.  I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading Randy Singer’s other novels.

I would like to thank Litfuse Group and Tyndale House Publishers for the opportunity to read Rule of Law by Randy Singer.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore – If you like mysteries and police novels, give it a try.

I had previously read a novel by Janice Cantore and was looking forward to her new book Crisis Shot.

The story starts out with Long Beach Police Commander, Tess O’Rourke answering an emergency call where a fellow officer is imminent danger.  How Tess responds, right or wrong, will affect her future.  The story could be taken out today’s headline news, where every action a police officer takes is scrutinized and condemned, even when there is little merit to critic’s narrative.

When the fallout from Tess’ action doesn’t seem to be winding down, she decides to make a move to a small town in Oregon, with the hope of being able to resume the career she loves in law enforcement.  It a huge change in her life.  As Chief of Police in the small town of Rogue’s Hallow, she will be answering to the mayor and city council.  It might be a small town but even there, evil is at work. 

I sort of liked the main character Tess, but didn’t feel like I got to know her well or really care about her like I wanted to.  There was a bit of a disconnect.  At first, I struggled with how Tess continually compared police work and what people were like in the small town compared where she had spent most of her life, in Long Beach, CA.  Then I realized if I had made such a drastic change in my life, I would likely be reflecting back on where I came from and what it was like back then.  The reader will get an understanding of how police work in a big city differs from a small town.  I liked how the relationships with fellow police officers changed as they worked with their new Police Chief. 

The overall pace of the novel seemed to drag.  Tess encountered many obstacles and people seemed to be tight lipped and withheld important information.  I didn’t guess who the bad guy was, there weren’t a lot of clues along the way, just lots of suspicious behavior on the part of several towns people.  I didn’t really connect with the characters.  I didn’t come away from reading the book saying, “I can’t wait to find out what happens with Tess next.”  Something was missing, but I’m not sure what it was.

The Christian faith is a small part of the story.  Tess is not a believer, but there are several Christians she encounters along the way.  If there is a sequel I hope that Christian faith is a bigger part of the story. 

Crisis Shot is okay.  I would definitely read Janice Cantore’s future books because of my good experience with her earlier novels.  If you like mysteries and police novels, give Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore a try and be sure to read some of her earlier books. 

I would like to thank Tyndale House and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Janice Cantore’s newest book Crisis Shot.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 



Little Bunny’s Own Storybook by Margaret Welwood & Illustrated by Nataly Vits – Will Spark Young Readers Creative Imagination

I was contacted by author Margaret Welwood inquiring if I would read her book for children, Little Bunny’s Own Storybook .  I read a lo...