Thursday, January 18, 2018

Picture a Day - Peaceful Place



When staying at the Back Bay Inn you may find some peace and quiet.  Just looking at this picture brings me back to that peaceful place.

Picture a Day - Favorite Drive - California's Central Coast


Driving up the coast on Highway 1 in central California is one of my favorite drives.  The fresh air, colors and beauty of God's creation is awe inspiring.  

Picture a Day - Favorite Places - Back Bay Inn


When I think of favorite things...I think of some of the places we've been blessed to visit.  The Back Bay Inn, located in Los Osos CA, is at the top of my list of favorite places.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Severe Mercy


When adversity tempts me ask why
Lord, may I instead ask what
What work are You doing in and through these trials

Hard circumstances and difficulties abound
The Lord has allowed, designed and purposed each one
He is using them to accomplish His good work

You help me to see my weakness
Profound needs that only God can meet
I recognize the foolishness in what I once thought was wise

You’ve exposed lies so cleverly disguised as truth
Revealed the brokenness of my heart, mind and soul
The utter depravity of my heart and desperate need for a Savior

All these and more drive me to You, O Lord
The world may be out of my control
But it’s firmly in control in the hands the LORD God

Lord, help me to trust You
To trust Your character
Believe what You’ve revealed about Yourself in Scripture

May I not doubt You O Lord
For You alone are truth and grace
Righteous and just in administering a severe mercy


Susan Wachtel
January 12, 2018


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

If I Live by Terri Blackstock – You Won’t Want to Put It Down

I love reading Christian mysteries and suspense novels and Terri Blackstock is one of my favorite writers.  That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to read her newest book, If I Live, which is being released March 6, 2018.

This is the third book, in the If I Run series, which tells the story of Casey Cox who has been on the lamb since her friend Brent Pace was found brutally murdered.  She is the chief suspect because her DNA was found all over the crime scene.  Dylan Roberts, who was hired by Pace family to bring Casey to justice, now believes she is innocent.  So much so that he has been working with Casey to compile evidence that will break open this case wide open and allow the guilty to be exposed.

From the opening chapters of If I Live, the reader had better be strapped in because it takes off and doesn’t let up until the very end.  Each chapter in the storyline is told from a different character’s perspective.  It’s a different technique and almost makes you feel like you are in the character’s head and seeing things from their point of view. 

I really liked If I Live, it’s full of suspense and intrigue.  It’s fast paced.  I appreciate how the Christian faith has been woven in to several characters.  Casey become a Christian during the course of this book and it’s interesting to see all that happens to her from the point of view of a new believer.  I especially liked how Casey recognized that though it was tempting to be angry and unforgiving towards those who had done evil, the Holy Spirit was showing her that a Christian doesn’t respond the same way as the world does.  I liked the developing relationship between Casey and Dylan.

As a Christian, I appreciate how author Terri Blackstock tells a good story without including sexually explicit scenes, filthy language and shows the Christian faith in the lives of characters. 

After everything that Casey has been through, will it all be for naught?  Will she make it out of this alive?  Will she be free or spend the rest of her life in jail?  Just how much evil can one person get away with?  How widespread is this corruption and how many lives have been affected?  Who is clean, who is dirty and most importantly who can be trusted?   

Well to find out the answers to those questions and more, you’ll need to read Terri Blackstock’s newest book, If I Live, which I highly recommend. 

I would like to thank NetGalley and Zondervan Publishers for the opportunity to read If I Live in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 


Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid – A Treasure That Will Make You Fall in Love All Over Again

Words fail me to describe how much I loved reading Catherine Reid’s newest book, The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables.  I felt like I was opening a treasure each time I read from this book and gazed at the beautiful pictures of the breathtakingly beautiful Prince Edward Island. 

I first read Anne of Green Gables as a young adult and loved Lucy Maud Montgomery’s writing so much so that I read all her books.  What a gifted writer!  Her poetic lyrical writing captured character’s thoughts and emotions and enabled readers to imagine the beautiful landscapes of God’s creation. 

Who could not fall in love with Price Edward Island when reading Anne of Green Gables or seeing the wonderful TV mini-series by Sullivan Entertainment?  With each page you turn in this book you will be entranced by the beauty of this island.

Catherine Reed does a wonderful job in telling about Maud Montgomery’s wonderful, yet hard life.  She achieved success, but was not immune to tragedy.  Catherine intertwines thoughts and experiences from Maud’s life and shows how they were reflected in the lives of characters she wrote about.  The landscapes that inspired and moved Maud, where an integral part of her books and her life.  Included in the book are numerous quotes from Maud’s writing, not only her personal journals, but also her beloved fiction books.

I forewarn you, after reading The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, you may want to reread all of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s books.  This book is a treasure; I wanted to savor each page.  It will help you to see the beauty in nature in a new and fresh way.  You may even be inspired to visit Prince Edward Island and behold it for yourself.

If you know someone, young or old, who loves Anne of Green Gables, or is enchanted by gardens and nature, you may want to get them a copy of The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid.  I would like to thank NetGalley and Timber Press for the opportunity to read this book.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 

Even though I got to read this book for free, I liked it so much that I may go ahead and purchase it.  It’s a keeper that I would like to go back to again and again.

This book will be available for purchase on April 18, 2018.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christ Jesus - A to Z

 

 Advocate
 Bread of Life
 Chief Cornerstone
 David’s Son
 Everlasting Father
 Friend of sinners
 Great High Priest
 Holy One
 Immanuel…God with us
 Jesus Christ
 King of the Jews
 Lamb of God
 Messiah
 Nazarene
 Only Begotten of the Father
 Prince of Peace
 Quickening Spirit
 Redeemer
 Savior
 Truth
 Upholder of all things
 Victorious One
 Wonderful Counselor
EXact Representation of His nature
 Yahweh
 Zion’s Hope

Try as I might to find a name of Christ Jesus that begins with X in English, Hebrew or Greek…I didn’t find any.  So, I had to get creative.

This was a great way to think about Christ and who He is and what He did in His life, death and resurrection, and what He is doing seated at the right hand of the Father.  There were a number of letters that it was easy to come up with multiple names or titles. 

If you have a chance, give it a try.  Post a link to it in the comments section.  

#EverThineHome
#HisSaviorNames




Sunday, December 17, 2017

Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon – Filled with mystery, intrigue and characters you want to get to know

Author, Irene Hannon, is relatively new to me and I really like her work.  That’s why I was excited for the opportunity to read her new book Dangerous Illusions

This mystery is about Trish Bailey, a woman’s whose life has been filled with much tribulation over the last couple of years.  Two years ago, her life was turned upside down when she lost her husband and father and nearly lost her mother, Eileen.  Trish is a dutiful daughter and has been caring for her ailing mother in addition to working as an art teacher at an inner-city school.

Matt Parker seems like a nice guy, but Trish has no interest in romance.  And just who is this stranger that seemed to blow in out of nowhere and land on Matt’s doorstep one dark and stormy night?   

After all that Trish has been through, what more could go wrong?  Well, that’s where Dangerous Illusions starts. 

As I started reading this book, I was hopeful that things would turn around for Trish.  Instead, circumstances went from bad to worse. 

I don’t know if it was the author’s intention in writing the book for readers to be able to relate to Trish and feel overwhelmed as the vulnerable character might have, but that’s how I was feeling as the book started. 

At first it seemed so dark.  I felt very uncomfortable as Trish was the victim once again and this time at the hands of some very unsavory characters.  Detective Colin Flynn was like a breath of fresh air and I hoped he would be able to see the truth through some murky troubled waters that were overwhelming Trish.

Though the book seemed to start off dark and it felt like evil was prevailing, I pressed on because my experience with Irene Hannon’s writing is that she is a safe writer.  I appreciate how she doesn’t have her characters do stupid things to put themselves in danger.  She doesn’t have them making bad decisions that make no sense. 

I liked the mystery and intrigue in Dangerous Illusions and Irene does a great job in developing characters and relationships in her book.  The characters seem real and like someone you would want to know.  I really liked the characters Colin and his long-time friends Kristin and Rick and fellow officer Mac McGregor. 

I recommend Dangerous Illusions, especially if you like a good mystery. I appreciated how Irene Hannon wove the Christian faith into the storyline and characters.  I appreciate that there was no profanity or explicit sexual scenes and that the author shares and respects my Christian faith and values and doesn’t assault them.

I would like to thank Baker Publishing Group and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 


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.  


Picture a Day - Peaceful Place

When staying at the Back Bay Inn you may find some peace and quiet.  Just looking at this picture brings me back to that peaceful place...