Starving Hearts by Janine Mendenhall Review/Giveaway

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Starving Hearts

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Since her assault, Miss Annette Chetwynd has been plagued by nightmares and worries about an arranged marriage.

She yearns to find her anonymous rescuer. Unfortunately, her health and intellect prevent it. Both repel suitors and cause Annette to doubt God’s existence, at least until He answers her prayers in an unusual way. . . .

Mr. Peter Adsley is joining the clergy, and he desires a godly wife by his side. After a failed attempt to obtain one, he engages in a clandestine meeting with the bewitching young woman who keeps crossing his path. But she is so unsettling.

Destined for disappointments, Peter and Annette both endure disgraceful situations. Will Peter’s faith sustain him through overwhelming setbacks? Can Annette overcome her doubts? Or will their starving hearts yield to the machinations of a mad man?

Will Annette’s search for love and acceptance replace the loss and hurt in her heart? Find out in Janine Mendenhall’s book one, Starving Hearts, of the Triangular Trade Trilogy. Since her assault, Miss Annette Chetwynd has been plagued by nightmares and worries about an arranged marriage. But she yearns to find her anonymous rescuer. Unfortunately, her health and intellect prevent it. Both repel suitors and cause Annette to doubt God’s existence, at least until He answers her prayers in an unusual way. . . .

MY THOUGHTS:

So much to love about this story – It is *not* an everything-is-perfect, boy-meets-girl, they-fall-in-love-and-live-happily-ever-after story.  It is how your faith and strength is tested in the hardest of circumstances, when all seems to be lost, and you don’t know how anything will be okay again story – which means that redemption is a theme I picked up on in this book as well as trust.

In many books, there are at least some characters or something in the story itself that is a bit unrealistic or something that kind of sticks out to you as not being right, and usually the story is otherwise written well enough that you overlook it.  However, I really didn’t think that about any of the story – the dialogue, the characters, the plots throughout…all seemed very much believable and they all flowed together seamlessly.  There also wasn’t any confusion on my part as I read it, going back and forth between characters (admittedly, that’s something I frequently struggle with in books…keeping things/characters straight).

While there are several characters who are quite unlikeable, the two main characters are both very likeable.  Annette has her health, her mother, and her potential arranged marriage to concern her, while Peter has to search his soul and come to terms with many things going on in his family and the business he didn’t want to play a part in.  They both experience very deep losses that make you wonder how a person could manage to keep on going. I especially loved the strong character  Janine gave Peter- no weakness or sit back and let whatever happen happen.  He is a very godly man who has a strength of character that is so refreshing.  Without giving away any of the ending, this story has a lot of everything and you don’t really know what’s going to happen until the end (you have your guesses, but keep reading!).

Join in the search for love and acceptance with Janine and Starving Hearts by entering to win the Delightful Heart Gift Pack Giveaway.

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One grand prize winner will receive:

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Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on September 12. The winner will be announced September 13 on Janine’s blog.

starving hearts - enterbanner*As a LitFuse Publicity blogger, I was provided a copy to facilitate this review.

Summer Loving

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What happened to spring?  I am not sure, but did it fly by faster than usual or is it just me?  And now we’re already into the final third of June?!

Bring on the sunshine!

sunshine (Loving my new Plexus super lightweight hoodie for chilly days this spring/summer)

 

A little while ago, I had to get some new glasses, and Firmoo reached out to me offering me a pair to review.  So that was super fun!  I decided to go the trendy route and try out a pair of these larger glasses – they are so not me, but it was fun to try something new.  I LOVE that there are so many online options these days for eyewear, and provided you get the correct measurements and have your prescription, it’s really not that difficult to get glasses that are just right for you!  I have a low-to-mid strength prescription (-1 and -1.5 or something like that, I forget off the top of my head), but I have a super strong astigmatism (-3 or -4 or something like that in each eye).  But the glasses came in a reasonable timeframe and the prescription is spot on.  Super clear and crisp.  I have never had a pair of glasses that didn’t have the nose pieces, so that is something I had to get used to with these – they are acetate, which I also never had.  These won’t be my everyday glasses just because I’m not super crazy about this trendy look on me, but they are a nice backup pair.  If I could suggest one thing to Firmoo it would be to increase the selection of non-acetate smaller framed glasses, maybe even more feminine detailed options.

Firmoo glasses

But I have been overall very pleased with Firmoo, and will definitely consider them for my next pair of eye glasses!

Q: Are you enjoying the start of summer?  Anything fun coming up?

A: I have an annual family reunion coming up that I’m excited about – great to see relatives you haven’t seen in a little while (and thankful I have a family reunion that I don’t dread going to – I know a lot of people could care less or don’t go to family reunions because family is divided and can’t find a commonality, which is sad but the case for many.)

Elli Quark, Micro Nail, and more

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Creative title, right?  Oh well.

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Have you guys heard of Elli Quark?  Yes, it sounds strange, quark, but it’s very similar in taste to Greek yogurt, but with less tang.  A little while ago, Elli Quark sent me a pack to try out their flavors – – – I love that they have a good variety of flavors, and I really love that they use stevia and erythritol to sweeten instead of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners.  Here is the description from their site:

Elli Quark is a spoonable FRESH CHEESE with a creamy texture similar to Greek yogurt, but with a richer, LESS SOUR taste. It also has a better protein-to-carb ratio than Greek yogurt, with HIGH PROTEIN and NO ADDED SUGARS or artificial sweeteners.

So first off, a note about shipping/packaging – everything arrived neatly packaged and nice and cold.  Now onto the flavors and my actual opinions about the quark:  I did not dislike any of them!  I had a few I thought weren’t really my particular cup of tea carton of yogurt, but there were also some definite favorites.  My 3 favorites were Strawberry, Peach, and Pineapple, with Lemon coming in 4th.  I love chocolate and desserty flavors, but I guess I prefer fruity flavors for yogurt-type things.  But the dessert ones were still good.  I used the Plain to make a recipe (below), but ate what was on my spoon.  I dislike plain Greek yogurt (I always buy plain but then sweeten with NuNaturals stevia), but this plain Elli Quark was not bad at all and I could def. get used to, and enjoy, eating this plain.

The website is also fresh and easy to navigate.  Customer service was awesome.  What’s not to love?  Oh, yeah, and if you want to try a cup of Quark for yourself, you can – a voucher for a complimentary one of your choice!

I apologize in advance for these measurements being approximate…I’ve always been an approximate measurement kind of cook and forget that that doesn’t always translate so well for others, but I’m sure however you measure or if you put your own spin on this, it will be equally as good!

Elli Quark Alfredo Sauce

1 container of plain Elli Quark

1/2 C of cottage cheese

1/4 C or so of milk (I used almond)

garlic, sea salt, black pepper to taste

a few drops of stevia to taste

1 T butter (optional)

1/4-1/2 tsp of gluccomanon powder (or 1 T all-purpose flour) to thicken

Mix everything up in a blender until smooth and then heat over medium.  Add to a package of pasta and you’ve got a really great, simple, and healthier option than most alfredo.  (I’ve made this before and after with plain Greek yogurt and it tastes just as good, however often it does curdle a bit, but still tastes good, but with the Elli Quark it doesn’t curdle.

I added Dreamfields rotini pasta and apple chicken sausage to the Elli Quark alfredo and served green beans on the side:

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If you make this, I’d love to hear what you think!  🙂

While you’re cooking your pasta or waiting on the sauce, why not give yourself an easy manicure?  No polish or stinky fumes and no mess.  The Emjoi Micro-Nail was something else that’s been on my “to review” list.  So the claim is – well here – watch for yourself:

So, what do I think?  Here are my results:

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It was easy and fun to use, so fast, and I like how it looks.  They say it lasts 2 weeks, and I would say the smoothness lasts at least that long, but I found the shine to fade before then, but when it’s so easy to do, I just use the white roller to touch up the shine a bit when needed.

*Products above were sent to me for consideration.  Like always, that fact does not impact my opinion/review whatsoever – if it’s something I love and think you will too, I will share.

Next post:  Updated beauty routine

Beyond the Silence

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Beyond-the-SilenceThe shadows over this olive grove hide more than just the truth.

Lillian Porter has always wanted to fulfill her mother’s dream of going west, so when she hears about a nanny position in Angels Camp, California, she defies her grandfather and takes a chance on a new future. But she quickly wonders if she made the right choice. Murky rumors swirl around Woodward Colton, her new employer, but the gossip doesn’t match the man Lillian comes to know.

Still, something dark did happen in the family’s past. Lillian’s seven-year-old charge hasn’t spoken in over a year. Gently, Lillian tries to coax him out of his shell, hoping he’ll one day feel safe enough to share what scared him. But the Colton olive farm is no longer a safe place. Lillian encounters suspicious characters on their land and mysterious damage done to the farm. When the housekeeper is brutally attacked, the town once again suspects the worst. Will discovering the truth help Lillian clear the name of the man she has come to love–or will it endanger her even more?

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this read!  It had mystery, clean romance, some humor, and some tear-jerking moments.  There were a splattering of scripture throughout, but it never felt forced to me or “preachy”.  There were various story lines/characters happening at the same time (Lillian with her grandfather, Lillian with Woody, Woody’s son, Harry a simple-minded brother, a murderous “good-for-nothing” brother…), which propelled me to keep reading.  Tracie Paterson is an author I’ve read a lot through the years, and I love her and the collaboration with Kimberley Woodhouse on this book.

To learn more and purchase a copy.

*as a Litfuse blogger, I was sent a copy of this book to facilitate this review.

A Son’s Vow

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A-Sons-ViewThree months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family.

Darla’s father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm’s lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn’t looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger—with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.

Now her brother’s anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn’t change soon, Darla fears it will cost her—and her family—even more.

Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father’s lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he’s feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone—especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can’t simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.

As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla’s love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?

Shelley Shepard Gray’s first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy.

 

My thoughts:  Amish fiction seems to be a “hot ticket” subcategory in Christian fiction these days.  I don’t know if it’s because the Amish intrigue us or because we long for a simpler way of life, but I appreciate that Gray shows that no matter what group you are a part of, trouble can, and does, find you.  I immediately felt for Darla, who lost her father to the fire that claimed 5 men of her community  Besides the grief of losing her father, she has to help provide for her family, plus deal with the scorn of members of the community who basically ostracize her and openly blame her family for the tragedy.  Not only that, but she also becomes the target for her brother’s anger.  I also felt for Lukas, who lost his father as well, and is trying to mend his and Darla’s relationship.  While I thought this was a good read, I wasn’t hooked and it wasn’t a book I will likely re-read.  But I still recommend it because there were themes throughout that are meaningful.

Click to learn more and purchase a copy.

*as a Litfuse blogger, a copy  of this book was provided to me to facilitate this review.