Friday, February 24, 2012

Creative Slow-Cooker Meals by Cheryl Moeller

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers; Spi edition (February 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Cheryl Moeller is a seasoned mother and a standup comic. She is also a syndicated columnist with her own blog ( and contributes monthly to several online parent websites. Cheryl has coauthored two books on marriage with her husband and has written for and Marriage Partnership. Cheryl does comedy for parenting classes, MOPS groups, wedding or baby showers, church retreats, women’s conferences, and those in line at the grocery store.

Visit the author's website.


From the celebrated coauthor of The Marriage Miracle comes a new kind of cookbook and a new attitude toward planning meals. With an eye toward the whole menu, not just part of it, columnist Cheryl Moeller teaches cooks to use two crockpots to easily create healthy, homemade dinners.

Don’t worry about your dinner being reduced to a mushy stew. Each of the more than 200 recipes has been taste-tested at Cheryl’s table. Join the Moeller family as you dig into:

  • Harvest-time Halibut Chowder
  • Salmon and Gingered Carrots
  • Mediterranean Rice Pilaf
  • Indian Chicken Curry
  • Apricot-Pistachio Bread
  • Shrimp Creole
  • Rhubarb Crisp

... and many more! Perfect for the frazzled mom who never has enough time in the day, Creative Slow-Cooker Meals gives readers more time around the table with delicious, healthy, frugal, and easy meals!

Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Spiral-bound: 272 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Spi edition (February 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736944915
ISBN-13: 978-0736944915

AND NOW...THE FIFTH CHAPTER (click on pages to enlarge):

My Review:
I’m always on the lookout for good, simple recipes. I love finding recipes that after having tried them, they become family favorites. Having wanted to get my own slow cooker when I moved out, I thought this might be a great way to start. Well, since I’m still at home, my mom and I tried some recipes in her slow cooker, which is around 30 years old. Her’s is a 3 1/2 quart crock pot, so it’s not the standard large crock pot that is found in the stores now. This makes the list of instructions in the beginning of the cookbook very important. The first one on the list is: “Son’t fill your slow cooker more than two-thirds full.” Not only does this affect the cooking of the foods, it also explains why we had a problem cooking the Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Casserole on page 29. Mom started it before going to bed. However, when she woke up in the morning, there was a mess. She had filled the crock pot full, and some of the egg mixture had found its way out of the crock pot and onto the floor.
My mom and I picked our a few recipes and tried the following ones:
Sausage, Egg & Cheese Casserole (page 29)
Herbed Cauliflower (page 97)
Sloppy Joes (page 117)
After trying each of the recipes, I found things I wanted to tweak. The casserole had too much mustard (or maybe we just needed plain mustard, but we only have spicy mustard in the house). I would have loved to mashed the cauliflower so the garlic and pepper mixed with it better (we didn’t use parsley and chives, since we don’t have it in the house). Finally, the sloppy joes were just sweet. I don’t know if that’s more of a regional thing, but that’s not how I grew up eating sloppy joes, so we didn’t care for it like that.
If you haven’t figured out the theme, it was that there were ingredients in each of the recipes that we changed or just don’t have in our house, and aren’t going to buy for just one recipe. This isn’t to say that I won’t try some more recipes in the future, but these aren’t recipes that I will constantly go back to and make.
The purpose of this cookbook is to use two slow cookers to make a nice dinner. But how many households have two slow cookers (unless they have a large one and a small one). Needless to say, I can’t give this cookbook high marks. So I’ll give it 3 stars. For the right person, it could be a great cookbook. But for me, who likes simple meat and potato meals, this wasn’t the right cookbook.

I received this cookbook from First Wild Card blog tours for the purpose of this review.

Words Spoken True by Ann H. Gabhart

Set in 1855 in Louisville, Adriane Darcy has been raised in a newsroom, helping her father with their paper, the Tribune. Yet, Blake Garrett, a young editor from the north, has taken over a competing paper, the Herald. When Adriane and Blake meet at a benefit, the mutual attraction is hard to ignore. However, Blake is still the enemy and Adriane is engaged to Stanely who is the son of a powerful business man and holds the keys to the future of the Tribune.
This book started out slow, but got better towards the end. With two newspapers waring with each other, the river slasher murdering young Irish girls, and an unusual engagement, the book had lots of twists and turns. At the same time, the book was pretty predictable. I give it 4 stars.

I received this book from Revell/Baker for the purpose of this review.
Ann is doing her own giveaway which ends on 2/29/12

Now it’s time for another giveaway.
I will be giving away Words Spoken True.
Here are the rules:
The giveaway runs from Feb 24th to Sunday March 4th.
The giveaway is only for those in the USA.
One entry will be given for those leaving a comment AND their email address.
A second entry will be given for those who follow this blog.
The winner will be emailed and I will announce it here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tomorrow’s Sun by Becky Melby

Emily Foster won’t allow herself to move on until she earns enough money to make restitution for the accident that stole a young girl’s dreams. Flipping houses sounds like the fast track to her goal, but when her first project turns out to be a stop on the Underground Railroad, Emily finds herself drawn to, but at odds with, the contractor she hires. Jake Braden needs to focus on gaining guardianship of his late sister’s twins, but the story of lost love uncovered in Emily’s house sets the stage for what might become his own lost love.
My Review:
I loved how this was a modern book that had ties to the underground railroad and life in the 1850’s and 1860’s. More of the story took place in the present day, and the snippets of history came from the characters learning more about the house, the underground railroad, and the letters that Emily found in her house. All of the characters are interesting and well rounded. My favorite character is Lexi, one of the twins, as her antics are things I could easily imagine a kid doing.
This book is definitely a favorite! I give it 5 stars!
I received this book free from the author for the purpose of this review.

Promise Me This By Cathy Gohlke

From the back cover:
Annie Allen never imagined the day she watched her brother, Owen, sail on Titanic would be the last time she’d see him. Nor could she guess how the tragedy would forever knit her life to Michael Dunnagan, who survived through Owen’s sacrifice.
As Annie struggles to navigate a challenging life in England, Michael labors in New Jersey to create the gardening business Owen once dreamed of and to heal Annie’s grief through letters. In time, as Annie begins to lay aside her anger that Michael lived when her brother did not, a tentative friendship takes root and blossoms into something neither expected.
Bound by a promise yet battling circumstances beyond their control, Michael and Annie dreamed of the day she can join him in America. Just when Michael saves enough money for her passage, WWI erupts in Europe. Then Annie’s letters mysteriously stop, forcing Michael to risk everything to find the woman he’s grown to love before she’s lost forever.
My Review:
Promise Me This takes place just before the Titanic sets sail and goes through the end of Word War I and is set in Ireland, England, and America. From the very first page, this book grabbed me and I didn’t want to put it down. I loved the story line as well as the historical period it was set in. Annie’s story captured me, from her being an orphan watching her brother set sail on the Titanic, then loosing her brother when the ship sinks, to dealing with her aunt. But the other characters around her were not overshadowed by her. They each had their own story and history that was unique. But I felt like I was reading about real people.
This was an amazing book. I look forward to sharing it with my friends and family and reading.
I received this book free from Tyndale for the purpose of this review.

Friday, February 17, 2012

When The Smoke Clears By Lynette Eason

From the back cover:
After a brush with death due to equipment failure, smokejumper Alexia Allen is ordered to take time off while the incident is under investigation. She makes a last-minute decision to recuperate at her mother’s home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems to be following her, and within hours of arriving home she is confronted with murder, arson--and a handsome detective.
But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of her past. As she struggles to accept and forgive her family’s past, she must also decide if the secret she’s been guarding for the last ten years must finally come to light.
Chock-full of the suspense and romantic tension you’ve come to expect from Lynette Eason, When the Smoke Clears is the explosive first book in the Deadly Reunions series.
My review:
This was a great suspense book. Alexia returns home after 10 years to walk into a murder, then danger seems to follow her or even going a step ahead of her! I knew who didn’t commit the crime, but I wasn’t sure who actually did it. Eason kept me guessing I had several suspicions, but even the end was still a cliffhanger. The ending answered some of the questions, but left you wanting to start reading the next book immediately.
I think there is a fine line with suspense books between what I like, and what I don’t. This book surprised me and keep wanting more. The crimes weren’t explained in gory details that would have turned me off. The writing was faced paced and kept the story moving. I give this book 5 stars.
I received this book free from Revell for the purpose of this review.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Accidental Husband by Denise Hunter

Shay Brandenberger is an independent woman. She had a rough childhood. Her first fiance walked out on her on their wedding day, then her husband left her to be a single parent. But she has been taking care of herself a little too long. When Shay is cast as the bride in town’s Founder’s Day wedding reenactment, she finds her self face to face with her first love, Travis McCoy, who walked out on her on their wedding day. Travis has come back to make things right with Shay
When the reenactment wedding is “accidentally” made official, Travis wants to do everything he can to make Shay fall in love with him again. Will Shay allow Travis to help her or will she be too independent to find room in her heart and her life for her first love?
My thoughts: It took until the scene with the founder’s day wedding for me to really get into the book. Then I really enjoyed reading it. It was a quick read and I look forward to reading other books by Denise Hunter.
I received this book from Net Galley for the purpose of this review.

Bittersweet Surrender by Diann Hunt

Carly Westlake seems to have fallen into the perfect life after having a few rough years. Her chocolate spa is doing great, everyone loves the chocolate facials! She’s been emailing her teenage crush, and he’s about to come back to town with hopes of winning her heart. However, things are not what they seem. When the secrets from the past come to light, Carly finds out her “perfect life” isn’t so perfect. God’s plan for her life, requires something she wasn’t quite expecting... a bittersweet surrender.
My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. It was fast paced and fun. The twists and turns kept me guessing and I didn’t expect things to turn out as they did. Sure some things weren’t too much of a surprise, but the twists and turns they took to get there left me satisfied. I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5. Don’t be surprised if this book pops up at the end of the year as part of one of my favorite books/new authors lists.
I received this book from Booksneeze (Thomas Nelson Publishers) for the purpose of this review.

A Jane Austen Devotional and A Charles Dickens Devotional

First of all, let me say I am very sorry for my delay! Congrats to our winner, Anne Payne! The devotionals will go out in the mail soon.
Growing up, I didn’t read Jane Austen, and very little of Charles Dickens, other than A Christmas Carol. I got my understand of both authors from the PBS show Wishbone. So needless to say, other than watching a few Jane Austen movies in college, I haven’t had much exposure to either author. 
Both of the devotionals have a small section from one of the author’s writings, and then a short devotional relating the excerpt to Scripture. Each book contains 100 devotionals. 
I am amazed at how much of Austen and Dicken’s writing deals with a person’s character or attitude. Both of these devotionals cover a host of topics. I love that they aren’t dated or numbered, so it is easy to read the book from cover to cover, or to just jump around reading a devotional that applies to you that day.
I received these devotionals from PR By The Book for the purpose of this review.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh

Bridget Pickwick-Buchanan is a widow. Her husband has been dead for 4 years, and she is only 33. Yet she refuses to move forward with her life. In the meantime, she is trying to find a buyer for her family’s Biltmore inspired mansion. Being very eco-friendly, she is trying to find a buyer that wants to keep the estate eco-friendly as well. While she has one person in mind, J.C. Dirk, a green property developer from Atlanta, he isn’t returning her calls. Dirk isn’t interested in buying the property, until Bridget tells him her family name. But when Dirk finally reveals the skeletons in his closet, will Bridget want to sell the estate to him? Or will his revelation stop the deal and break her heart in the process?
My thoughts on the book:
The cover of this intrigued me, but when I started reading it, it was one I could easily put down. Then life got in the way, and it took me several weeks before I picked it back up. When I did finish it, I found it to be a good book, but not one that I want to read over and over again.
I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of this review.
I am going to give away my copy of Restless In Carolina. (I have covered the book in contact paper to protect it. Sorry if that turns you off...I used to work in a couple libraries. Covering books became a habit)
This giveaway is only for those in the USA.
The giveaway ends on Monday, February 13th at midnight EST.
Question: Do you explore historical homes? If so, where have you visited? Where would you like to visit. (Please also leave your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner.)