30 September 2012



Of all Psalms, this one is my favourite...

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures He gives me repose.
Beside restful waters He leads me;
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths for His name's sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil;
for You are at my side with Your rod and Sour staff
that give me courage.
You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.

(Psalm 23)

Have a beautiful Sunday!

29 September 2012

The Provence Cookbook by Patricia Wells, Book review

Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN-10: 0060507829


No matter where you live, or how gloomy it may be outside, Patricia Wells will brighten your kitchen with the sunny flavors of France's bountiful south with The Provence Cookbook. A French-food expert and longtime Provence resident, Patricia offers readers an intimate guide to the culinary treasures of this sun-drenched landscape and dishes that will transport you and your guests with every flavorful bite. 

The Provence Cookbook's 175 enticing recipes reflect Patricia's long and close ties with the farmers and purveyors who provide her and her neighbors in Provence with a kaleidoscope of high-quality foods. Their year-round bounty is the inspiration for these exciting, healthful Mediterranean-French dishes,which Patricia shares with home cooks everywhere. 

Over the past twenty years, it is Patricia who has often been the student, learning Provencal ways and regional recipes directly from the locals. With The Provence Cookbook, her readers benefit from this rich inheritance, as she passes along such recipes as My Vegetable Man's Asparagus Flan, or Maussane Potter's Spaghetti. 

Along side authentic and flavorful dishes for every course from hors d'oeuvre to dessert, as well as pantry staples, The Provence Cookbook features eighty-eight of Patricia's artful black-and-white photographs of Provence's farmers, shopkeepers, and delightful products. More than a cookbook, this is also a complete guide and handbook to Provencal dining, with vendor profiles, restaurant and food shop recommendations and contact information, and twelve tempting menus -- delight in An August Dinner at Sunset or perhaps A Winter Truffle Feast. 

Whether you are a home cook, a traveler, or an armchair adventurer, enjoy Provence as the locals do, with Patricia Wells and The Provence Cookbook as your guides.

My thoughts:

There are few things in life my family and I enjoy more than cooking, reading and of course traveling! Wherever the wind takes us, I have continued the tradition of having a little spot in the garden with table and chairs to enjoy a well earned repast after a hard day's work! 
The simple joy of placing a tablecloth on the table, a few cut flowers in a small vase and a plate of dates, marinated olives, a loaf of crusty french bread and an assortment of cheeses makes us happy!

I have to credit however Mr. Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe and their (endearing) rendition in 'A Good Year' for bringing to mind the unique French Provencal smells of regional cuisine, the strolls around Aix en Provence, Arles, Avignon, St Remy de Provence and so on...
It has been a few years since my last stay but I can still feel the tremendous heat reflecting off the yellow stones, hear the cicadas and remember the richness of market days right after the glorious atmosphere of the Vendange or sitting on a bench under a canopy of Mimosas!

There is little I can say about Patricia Wells' 'The Provence cookbook' that would do it full justice! Even readers who have not had the opportunity to visit that part of the world will recognize the quality of her carefully selected recipes, tried and true. 

Betwixt these pages Patricia brings a part of the world renowned for its culinary delicacies and (whilst I sometime deplore the quality of ingredients or their availability here on the Pacific NW coast)  I never tire of trying to duplicate these wonderful recipes! 
Substitutions for certain items might of course be necessary but I would think an ingenious cook will delight in finding these alternatives whilst letting his/her family sample such items as Carpentras Multiseed bread, Fougasse or Sweet Tomato, Fennel and Orange sauce to name some of our favourites!

May I suggest you start with getting rid of that little plastic jar labelled 'Grated Parmesan' and instead purchase a good wedge of Real Parmesan and use a wand grater?
Fresh herbs and spices are readily available as well as good olive oil and let's not forget there are wonderful selections of wines even here in the West!

It will be noticed right from the beginning Patricia Wells does not stop at sharing well developed recipes but gives a select guide to markets, shoppes and eatery places in the region. Whilst this might meet with some skepticism on the part of some readers, let's remember that thanks to Internet browsing with many of these places now having their own websites, it might prove to be an excellent source of information. Then there's also the possibility that you might convince your family to schedule your next holiday in these very parts!

(Photo by PBH)

 At the very least you will enjoy reading about the many flavours of the Region whilst gaining an understanding for some of the incomparable appeal of life in the slow lane...An almost forgotten art these days!

Pastis anyone?

Bon appetit!

5 Stars!!

About the Author:

Patricia Wells is a teacher, a writer and a journalist with wonderful books to her credit! For more on her versatile culinary skills including workshop, blog reviews, shoppe etc...visit her website (here)

Note to readers: I was not asked to review this book and all opinions reflected are entirely my own!

26 September 2012

There Is Always A King...And A Joker...

The last of our warm Summer days...(One stem and all those sunflowers!)

New arrival on the island (as you can see, he loves apple peels)

Truly a King! He is absolutely magnificent!
(Hunter beware: we bar hunters from this island!!)

Such a peaceful scene...everyday life on this little corner of God's Earth...

Alex? Is that you?

Camouflage anyone?
Alex - short for Alexandre (for those of you who have not met him yet) - is just a little joker!
Have a lovely day,

25 September 2012

The Black Dog by Reverend John R. Dolan, Book review

Publisher: Signalman Publishing 
ISBN-13: 978-1935991588


This book describes one man's life experiences as he struggled with anxiety and depression. The book describes the mental, physical but most importantly the power of the Holy Spirit that eventually enabled John to develop resilience, and thus led him into the sunlight of a full and meaningful life. 

Anxiety and depression have always been taboo in society. Frequently, the subjects cannot be touched with a "ten-foot pole", let alone be a subject for family discussion. Depression is seen as neither worthy of compassion nor understanding. For the author of this book, a familiar record plays. "Young man, depressed? Nonsense; you have everything you need; just buck up and face the world the way we all have to." 

The message in this book is one of hope and of love, but most of all it demonstrates what is possible when you place your life, unconditionally, in the hands of Jesus Christ.

My thoughts:

For many Christians and non Christians alike, being victorious is typically overcoming  an addiction such as alcohol, drugs or even pornography for i.e.
In his latest book 'The Black DogRev. John R. Dolan bares his soul as he personally recount his own battle with depression and most important his ultimate victory over this mental illness. It is important to know that just as insidious as any other disease, such illness permeates family life, career, self image and even faith.

Describing his own bouts with depression or the Black Dog, British born author John R. Dolan graphically describes his lifelong battle with this problem which too many still consider taboo. Compassion or understanding is often non existing for those who struggle sometime all their lives, with this debilitating condition. But it is a real threat and as the author tells us, even loved ones are often affected by these issues. 

Through his own experience Reverend John R. Dolan provides readers with tremendous insight into the mind of the depressed, identifying how and why their reasoning is so affected by mere events and circumstances.
Readers will feel the author's faith throughout his ordeal, his unmistakable love for Jesus and his love for a wonderful family who stood by him. He credits their loving support as well as those of friends and his family pastor for this victory!

Well written, easily understood and abundantly illustrated, you will discover one man's journey through a very real world of depression and like him, experience hope and love when you place your life in the hands of your Saviour! It bespoke of courage from someone who has gone through it before you!

Absolutely a must read for anyone who is suffering from depression and their loved ones. The message is clearly there: It is okay to feel such, you are not alone and there is help out there!

A great discussion opener and an excellent addition to any personal or social (church) library! If you feel in any way uncomfortable with this issue or have experienced this real threat, please read this book!

5 Stars!

About the Author:

'The Reverend John Dolan was born in Oxford, England, and was raised close to the ancient Cathedral in Llandaff, Wales. John has lived and worked in the United States for 40 years. 
John is a British Chartered Accountant (CPA) and is an ordained Deacon in the Episcopal Church,USA. This unlikely combination and his having lived in two very distinct cultures has given John the opportunity to discern his spiritual journey from differing perspectives'.

John has written two books: 'The Mushroom Farm, also illustrated by Paul J. Engel and 'The Black Dog'.

For more information please visit website (here)

I received this book free from BOOKCRASH courtesy of the Author as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

24 September 2012

Sunny Morning, Dry Dock And All Is Quiet...

A beautiful Autumn morning...
Dry Dock is officially on...
Neither Maira the Cat or Mac the Corgi are phased by the sudden quietness...
It is all so peaceful...
Today's menu includes homemade sausage rolls (Puff pastry made from scratch...No shoppe will stock it near us for some reason, drat!)
Laundry already hanging on the line...
And now to read a good book and enjoy a cuppa!
Are you having a lovely day?

23 September 2012

Mariana by Suzanna Kearsley, Book review

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN-13: 978-1402258671


From the winner of the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize, this mesmerizing, suspenseful, and richly atmospheric tale of time travel draws us into the heart of a heroine we won't soon forget...The first time Julia Beckett saw Greywethers she was only five, but she knew at once that it was her house.

Now, twenty-five years later, by some strange chance, she has just become the new owner of the sixteenth-century Wilshire farmhouse. But Julia soon begins to suspect that more than coincidence has brought her there. As if Greywethers were a porthal between worlds, she finds herself abruptly transported back in time.

Stepping into seventeenth-century England, Julia becomes Mariana, a beautiful young woman struggling against danger and treachery, and battling a forbidden love for Richard de Mornay, handsome forebear of the present squire of Crofton Hall.

Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past, falling ever deeper in love with Richard...until one day she realizes Mariana's life threatens to eclipse her own--and that she must find a way to lay the past to rest, or risk losing a chance for love in her own time.

My thoughts:

I could not have chosen a better book to read whilst feeling (utterly) miserable with the flu! Anything  resembling  'Once upon a time..., is guaranteed to make any one of us dream!
It is not in us to deny the irresistible attraction that portents such a beginning!

This is the first time I read a novel by Suzanna Kearsley and I found her penmanship flawless but then anyone worthy of Catherine Cookson's Fiction Prize has to be discerning! Here is no amateur!

The very idea of time traveling has always plunged people in an array of skepticism but for some 'what if' is as enthralling as 'Once upon a time'.. 
I will admit  I am leery of the possibility souls might live throughout the ages, let alone knowing each other at a mere glance. Like St Thomas, I found the idea of someone slipping in and out of time frames hardly conducive in our busy world but I am first a dreamer...or so I am told...
Have we not at one time or another, some of us, admit if only to ourselves, to the sudden recognition of a place, a moment, a face which we could not explain?

In 'Mariana', Suzanna Kearsley tells a breathtaking love story spanning from the 17th Century to the present  betwixt two souls who wait for their other half. She perfects the whole idea to the point you will feel Julia's emotions as she tries to understand what is happening as times goes by.

Readers like me who love History or just plain romance are introduced to an amazing house (bad plumbing or not, I would take it!), even a ghost (or two) and set in a picture perfect postcard English village setting!
Complete with a host of merry patrons, we discover the local pub and its owner, a witty and perhaps a tad unusual Vicar, an endearing if somewhat set in his ways Scottish gardener/farmer, a handsome Lord of the manor and a gallant Cavalier!

This might have been just another of those romances penned by the dozen but this author gives us a most entertaining rendition of Julia's wanderings and just when you think you have it all figured out, a new facet is revealed! Be prepared for a surprise or two...

Most enjoyable and the perfect panacea for a rainy afternoon or gloomy evening, 'Mariana' will make anyone believe in Forever!
Only God knows for sure but what if...Once upon a  time...Two souls loved so strongly...

5 Stars!  

Note to Readers: I am always puzzled as to what Publishers believes their readers will be most attracted to in a cover! I found numerous covers for Mariana and thought you might like to see them. The first one is shown above!

This cover was by far my favourite and whilst you cannot judge a book by its cover, it would have been a 'sold' for me!

Reminiscent of the first one but too much like a 'for sale' sign!

Since the ghost is called 'The Green Lady' I cannot say it would have appealed to my taste!

How about you? Which cover do you like best?

About the Author:

An author with a sure talent for entertaining dreamers everywhere!
This is what Suzanna Kearsley tells us about herself:
 'I write modern gothic novels that blend historical adventure and modern-day suspense with romance and a touch of something spooky, so they don't fit neatly into any category, really...but they're fun to write!
I live on the north shore of Lake Ontario, east of Toronto, in Canada.'

For further information on this author, including the opportunity to read Chapter One of MARIANA please visit her website (here)!
As always, please note this review was not requested and reflects entirely my own opinion!

20 September 2012

19 September 2012

The Power of A Smile...

The World seems to thrive on conflicts instead of Peace...

We have not done too well...
Why not leave diplomacy to our children?

A smile is worth a million...

Think for one moment how beautiful it is...

East, West, North or South...

The Power of a Smile..

The world would be so much better...

So beautiful and yet so simple...

Peace NOT War...

The Power of a Gun can kill;
and the Power of Fire can Burn;
The Power of Wind can chill;
and the Power of the Mind can learn;
The Power of Anger can rage
inside until it tears us apart
But the Power of a Smile
especially yours can heal a frozen Heart.

(by T. Shakur)

The Power of a Smile...
Smiling and praying...A winning combination...

For John, Tania, Gunny, Mike, Aaron, Joshua, Limek and all their mates in conflict zones...
Be safe and God speed!

18 September 2012

Taming The Wind by Tracie Peterson, Book review & Giveaway

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
ISBN-13: 978-0764206177


 A young widow nursing the wounds of her past...
A cowboy with demons of his own...

Though grateful for the blessing of her daughter, Carissa Lowe has accepted that widowhood is her lot in life. Bound by fear and mistrust, she feels incapable of opening her heart again.

Tyler Atherton has never forgotten Carissa. When he discovers she's living with her sister on a nearby ranch, his life becomes intertwined with the lovely widow's. And Carissa's daughter, Gloria, seems determined to wrap herself around his little finger. But while Tyler longs to provide a home and future for Carissa, he is haunted by an obligation he feels unable to fulfill.

Challenged by mounting hardships, can Carissa and Tyler preserve their fledgling love in a land as unforgiving and vibrant as the people who call it home?

My thoughts:

I was more than ready to read a good western and 'Taming the Wind' was not a disappointment!
Book # 3 in the Land of the Lone Star series written by Tracie Peterson, this novel gives us a lot to reflect upon. 
Tracie Peterson is after all a prolific writer with more than 95 novels to her credit and she writes passionately about the West. Her novels are always entertaining and clearly shows good research (loved the Longfellow poem addition!) but it also reflects her longstanding faith. 
Each character has its definite personality: passionate, hopeful, tenacious, caring, angry, vengeful...
The Lone Star land is harsh, often unforgiving yet beautiful in its rawness. Homesteading was not for the faint soul!

In her latest novel Tracie describes a little of the hardships endured by Southern sympathizers following the (US) Civil war. I for one had no idea land was confiscated simply because of allegiance. 
Both sides lost much to the war and the resulting animosity was very much alive even after three years of peace as we see in Taming the Wind
Cattle drives were dangerous enterprises, with countless obstacles including Native Americans raids, rustlers, stampedes and so on. Yet it also gave an opportunity for struggling ranchers to regain losses...

Taming the Wind depicts not only the many facets of ranching but a sweet love story. Carissa and her little girl Gloria are both ready for better times and the young widow has not forgotten the young rancher who saved her life two years prior.
In turn Tyler has often thought of the young mother and child but stands to loose much if his confiscated ranch is not returned to him. He also cannot forgive the raid which took his father's life...

Of course, God has a plan and with Tracie's flair for a good adventure, we learn love and forgiveness can be found even in these most challenging times!

Just a suggestion of course: 'Chasing the Sun' and 'Touching the Sky' are pre sequels  in the series well worth reading albeit the author gives a rundown in Book #3 for those of us who have not read these titles.
A good reason for reading more of this entertaining author!

4 Stars!

About the Author:

Tracie Peterson is an award-winning, best-selling author of over 95 books. Having given her heart to Jesus at the young age of six, Tracie has always felt called to some form of ministry, and writing fulfills that mission field.
Tracie received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings' Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership's vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.
In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers.

More on this prolific author on her website (here).

And for those of you interested in Tracie's GIVEAWAY....

Celebrate with Tracie by entering to win a Kindle Fire!

 See what people are saying about Taming the Wind.

One winner will receive:
  • A Brand New Kindle Fire with Wi-Fi
  • The entire Land of the Lone Star series by Tracie Peterson
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 9/25/12. Just click one of the icons below to enter. The winner will be announced at Tracie's "Taming the Wind" Author Chat Party on 9/26Connect with Tracie, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and chat with readers just like yourself. There will also be gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Taming the Wind and join Tracie on the evening of the September 26th for a chance to connect with Tracie and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

I received this book free from LITFUSE as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

16 September 2012

How Better to Describe it?...

Three weeks and I still feel like...

Definitively not how I look everyday...usually...
Happy Sunday to all! 
See you tomorrow or the day after...

15 September 2012

With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin, Book review & Giveaway

Publisher: Revell
ISBN-13: 978-0800720810


Lt. Mellie Blake is a nurse serving in the 802nd Medical Squadron, Air Evacuation, Transport. As part of a morale building program, she reluctantly enters into an anonymous correspondence with Lt. Tom MacGilliver, an officer in the 908th Engineer Aviation Battalion in North Africa. As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, Tom and Mellie develop a unique friendship despite not knowing the other's true identity. When both are transferred to Algeria, the two are poised to meet face to face for the first time. Will they overcome their fears and reveal who they are, or will their future be held hostage to their past? And can they learn to trust God and embrace the gift of love he offers them?

Combining excellent research and attention to detail with a flair for romance, Sarah Sundin brings to life the perilous challenges of WWII aviation, nursing, and true love.

My thoughts:

'With Every Letter', Book 1 in Sarah Sundin's newest series 'Wings of the Nightingale' clinches her as one of the very best Christian authors in Historical Romance genre!

As we have learned to expect from this best selling author each of her novels surpasses the last one!
Her three previous novels in the 'Wings of Glory' included 'A distant Melody' (see review here),  'A Memory Between Us' (see review here) and 'Blue Skies Tomorrow' (see review here) were stunning in their historical details and emotional dramas.
I consider it a blessing she now presents us another great story which is sure to delight her audience everywhere.

In 'With Every Letter' Sarah clearly demonstrates you can still experience the emotional drama we remember from books and movies such as 'Best Years of our Lives', Casablanca, Mrs. Miniver and countless other WWII era reenactments! I am at a loss to explain why we feel this powerful attraction for a period which is remembered as full of danger and certainly heightened emotions but for some of us, it cannot be denied!

Tom and his Annie/Mellie reminds us that with God all is possible of course. Intended to build morale during war, a letter exchange betwixt the troops and volunteers brings these two people together with one rule: they cannot reveal their identities.
Letters become a vivid link between Tom and Annie, each letter allowing them to share their most private emotions and seek counsel from the other.

A skilled engineer Tom is a people person who never truly reveals his inner thoughts because of his past.  His leadership is challenged time and time again on the front and he must earn his men' respect or see himself sent back to the Sates. 
Annie/Mellie does not know how to deal with her fellow nurses but due to her unusual upbringing she can handle any man and situation. Her exotic physique, sort of an orchid instead of a rose, makes her an oddity in her group yet she desperately wants to fit in. In fact her job as a flying nurse demands it!

Will they ever meet and share openly their true feelings?

Their course is not the easiest one but with faith anything is possible and Sarah Sundin's excellent penmanship will make a believer from the hardest soul. With her meticulous details this author gives a carefully researched plot and we can follow our heroes throughout the war theater, feeling their distress and emotions along the way. Wait until you meet Sesame (and no, I will not tell you about this lovely little fellow just read and enjoy!)

With Every Letter will certainly speak to all of us who have written countless letters during war and peacetime to the troops bringing a little of home  to those who are still fighting for freedom.

I found this novel to be a beautiful love story with just the right amount of suspense to make any of us dream yet again (man or woman, just ask ex-RAF hubby!)! 
Sarah absolutely excells in this novel and since I cannot give up the plot, it remains for me to say this is a story certain to make you feel again the throes of love no matter your age!

How does she do it, again and again?

May we expect to hear more from Tom and Annie in the future? I certainly hope so!

5 Stars because there is no higher rating but worth much more for the warm feelings she gives us!
Thank you Sarah and please keep on writing! God speed!

About the Author:

Sarah Sundin followed an unusual career path for a novelist, receiving a bachelor's in chemistry from UCLA and a doctorate in pharmacy from UC San Francisco. She now lives in northern California with her husband, three children, an antisocial cat, and a yellow lab determined to eat her manuscripts. When not driving kids to soccer and tennis, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches women's Bible studies and fourth- and fifth-grade Sunday school. She has been writing since 2000 and belongs to American Christian Fiction Writers and Christian Authors Network. She is also the author of the Wings of Glory series.

Fore more on this author visit her website (here). Be sure to sign up for her newsletter and future giveaways!


Celebrate with Sarah by entering to win a eReader!
 (Winner's choice of Kindle Fire or Nook Color)!

See what folks are saying about With Every Letter!

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire or Nook Color (winner’s choice)
  • Handmade With Every Letter First Aid Kit
  • With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 26th. Winner will be announced at the “With Every Letter” Author Chat Facebook Party on 9/27. Connect with Sarah, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and chat with readers just like yourself. There will also be gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of With Every Letter and join Sarah on the evening of the September 27th for a chance to connect with Sarah and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
Don't miss a moment of the RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!

I received this book free from LITFUSE as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.