Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Category Archives: Books

I’m taking a break from certification studying to review a couple of books. I graduated from Nurse Practitioner school two weeks ago. Since graduating, I’ve traveled every week and was able to get some reading done. Yaay! I also took some time off studying since one of the trips was to attend an intensive review for certification. I figured no reason focusing all my time studying until after that class. So, now, here I am studying since about 9 am this morning (its now almost 3PM) and I’m going get started on this review before leaving in to pick the kids up from school.

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The Chapel Car Bride by Judith Miller

Miller tells the story of Hope and her father as they live out of a train car and ministering to a mining town. He is a preacher and she assists with the music and children’s ministries. Miller also tells the story of a coal miner, Luke, and the mine owner’s son, Kirby. Hope and her father settle into life in Finch, West Virginia. Hope uses many opportunities to spread God’s word throughout the West Virginia countryside. Her trusting disposition has her trusting Kirby despite Luke’s cautions.

This story is a great Christian read. It was an easy and quick read. I think it took me only a little over a day to read. I felt several of the characters were fleshed out well. The character Kirby was nicely done. I felt I had him pegged pretty quickly and my opinion didn’t change much. Hope was the typical preacher’s daughter in the sense she was kind, naive and loved children. Luke seemed to have swaying emotions and also seemed pretty realistic. I’ll address him below.  I enjoyed reading about life on a rail car and life during prohibition. I also quite enjoyed reading about the inner conflict Luke had regarding his thoughts and anger toward the mining company and Kirby. These feelings are ones many Christians deal with daily and I like when authors address them in their writing. Finally, I really love the history the author adds into her books. In this case the chapel car, mining history, and prohibition.

Downfalls to the book, the first is a bit into the characters. I feel like it would’ve been nice to learn more about the preacher. He played a pivotal role in the story, yet there was little fleshing out of his character. Luke’s sister plays a relatively large role in the frustrating ending, but very little fleshing out occurred with her as well. I think adding just a bit to those characters could’ve really added to the story. This, however, didn’t ruin the story for me. Its just worth noting there more depth could’ve been added to the story.

A second down fall is the ending. I was a bit frustrated with the ending. The conflict was picking-up nicely and I was envisioning a BIG ending. And then, it was wrapped up nicely with a little bow and then the ending romance drug out for another couple of chapters. It wasn’t bad, but such a big change in where the story was going and how the characters were acting. It was a bit of a distraction and I would’ve appreciated a more direct route to happily ever after.

Over all, this was a good read! It was quick and enjoyable. It had Christian components in the story with the Christian premise. Very little scripture was quoted through out the story, but it had very obvious Christian themes.

I would recommend this story to any adult or young adult who enjoys historical novels, Christian reading, or just looking for a quick and light read.

I would give this book a 4 out of 5 bookends.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Good evening! I’m very excited to have finished my NP degree and that I can begin focusing on other things beyond medical knowledge! It feels great and I’ll post a blog entry after awhile regarding this journey. Right now, though, I’m focusing on studying for boards and getting back into some of my hobbies.

One of those hobbies of course is reading! I love a good book and I love cookbooks. As I was reviewing my book reviews, I realized I had this cook book sitting here waiting on a review. So I figured I’d better start with that.

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook by Pearl Barrett & Serene Allison

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This cookbook is written by two sisters who enjoys healthy eating. The book has over 400 pages of recipes and tips. The book has options for one-pot meals to deserts. It has great color pictures of the completed food and easy to follow instructions. The recipes I tried turned out good. I also love that this cookbook provides ways to make things dairy free.

The downfalls to the cookbook. There are several ingredients I don’t typically keep in my kitchen. As long as you meal plan and know what you’re making ahead of time, that’s not a huge deal. Some of the ingredients, quite honestly, I didn’t want to take the time to find as I’ve not seen them in my local grocery store. Some examples of this is Brigg liquid aminos, nutritional yeast, and mineral salt. I’m sure one could find them but I’ve just not put in the effort. A second downfall is there are no approximate total preperation/cooking times. Now this isn’t a huge deal, but as a busy mom, its nice to quickly look at recipe and know how long it will take. This is especially helpful when I menu plan so I don’t try to make a complicated dinner on a week night.

Overall, this is a solid cookbook. Especially if you plan to jump in and purchase all the specialized ingredients. Unfortunately for me, a busy mom, I need something with approximate times and ingredients already in my kitchen for a cookbook to be my go-to book.

I give this cookbook a 3 out 5 bookends.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publishers for an honest review


Book Review: Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman

Merry has become an enemy of the throne due to her father’s failed assassination attempt. Merry is skilled and bold and has taken on the task of caring for the village orphans. As with the classic Robin Hood tale, the group have been given a name: “the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest”.

Personally I love the Robin Hood story and was excited and nervous all at once to read a female version of my beloved story. I must say I was not disappointed!This was my first book from Sleiman. I found this one to be well-written and a quick read. The main character was a delightful woman who is capable and intelligent. I enjoyed reading a strong female character who was equally compassionate.

I truly enjoyed this novel. I recommend this book to any young adult who enjoy historical novels.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookends.

I did receive this book from Bethany House Publishers as part of the blogging for books.


Book Review: Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan

This is the second book in the Canadian West book series by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan. Beth Thatcher has returned home from teaching in the Canadian West. Although she is ready to rest and relax her family has planned a lengthy trip. While on her trip, Beth discovers one of her family members trusted the wrong person.

As with the first book in the series, I truly enjoyed this book. This book is a wonderful follow-up story. This book did not take place in coal valley. I enjoyed reading about the different ports and the experience of cruising. I also enjoyed the love story between Beth and Jarrick.

This was a great read. I truly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical novels.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.

I did receive this book for an honest review from Baker Publishing Group for the blogging for books program.


I love salads. On an average I eat 4 salads weekly. I typically just grab some lettuce either Ice Burg or Romaine. Throw some veggies in it and pour on some store-bought dressing. When I’m feeling a bit crazy, I’ll throw in some spinach when I’m feeling a bit wild and crazy. So, when this book came up as an option for review, I knew I’d need it.

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Salad Love by David Bez

Salad love provides a salad a day for a year. It breaks down the salad down into layers: the base, Vegetable & fruit, protein, toppings, herbs, etc. It goes on to divide the salads by seasons. The salad pictures are beautiful. The ingredients are varied so you are certain to find some that you enjoy. I like how this book encourages its readers to step outside of what you think of as traditional salad.

On a scale of 1-5 bookends, I give this 5 of 5 bookends

I received a copy of this book for an honest review from the blogging for books program.


Wow! It’s been a whirl wind around here! Spring time tends to pick-up for us. We’ve got kids activities and my training for a half-marathon. That paired with increased sunlight, we start spending a lot more time outside and less time sitting at home.With all of this extra activity, I get less time to read and less time to blog.

Tonight, I plan to get caught up on a few blog entrees, please excuse the multiple posts.

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Blessings for the morning by Susie Larson

Susan Larson is a popular radio show host whose Biblical teaching helps strengthen people faith. I was very excited to get this book as I love listening to her radio show. This book is filled with quick blessings/devotions paired with a Bible verse. I found this book up lifting and points the day in the right direction. The words are soothing. Its good to keep in these are short passages that help focuses your day but it’s not a full devotional.

I found this book uplifting and enjoyable.

On a scale of 1-5 bookends, I give this book a 5.

I received this book from the Baker Publishing Group for an honest review


I’m chipping away on my backlog of books! My life will get a bit more complicated in a couple of months, so I must finish my reading list soon! But, how does one finish a reading list when it keeps getting longer! I seriously think I have a problem. 😉

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Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

Anna O’brien is one of the few female librarians working at the Library of Congress. she leads a quiet life and has no desire to change. She grew-up an orphan and was raised by her aunt. Due to a childhood injury her voice is unique. Luke is a congressman with career intertwined with scandal. The two begin working together to solve the mystery of the Culpepper.

I really enjoyed the book. The characters are beautifully flawed which gives them depth and makes them more realistic. Luke’s love for his family despite their flaws is refreshing. Anna’s determination to solve the mystery of her father’s ship is commendable. The main underlining themes in this book are the following: forgiveness, friendship, and determination. Christian themes of God’s love and forgiveness is also an ongoing theme.

This historical novel was quite enjoyable filled with lovable characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian or historical novels. The book would be appropriate for anyone in highschool up.

On a scale of 1-5 bookends, I give this book a 4.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishing for an honest review.