Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: Infuse

Infuse: Oil, Spirit, Water is a fantastic recipe book to capture the tastes of summer and freshness. Prum and Williams created a book that can be used as a great summer activity, but also a way to keep fresh foods enjoyable all year long. They share recipes that infuse oil, alcohol, and water. Some recipes are to be enjoyed immediately, while others beg you to take your time.

Miss Pippi Reads reviews Infuse by Eric Prum & Josh WilliamsThe infuse recipes are divided into three sections: oil, spirit, and water. The delicious liquids are accompanied by other recipes as well. The food recipes range from apps to drinks to main courses. The focus is on the infusions, so most of the recipes are liquid, but the additional recipes are an added bonus.

The design of the book is beautiful. The colors are muted and natural. The photographs give a wonderful feel and look to the book. The ingredients are minimal and precisely laid out on a wooden surface. It feels natural and homey with the use of canning jars, wood, metal, glass, and fresh ingredients. They created a book that makes a newbie (like myself) want to jump and in and muddle, infuse, taste, and savor.

Infuse: Oil, Spirit, WaterI cannot wait to capture the tastes of summer this year. I look forward to sharing this book with others or bringing a new concoction to gathering. Thank you, gentlemen!

For more information about Eric Prum & Josh Willams, visit their website: The Mason Shaker. You can purchase their books as well as their mason jar products and find recipes.

Thank you, Blogging for Books for this review copy! I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Title: Infuse: Oil, Spirit, Water
Author: Eric Prum & Josh Williams
ISBN: 9780804186766

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Author: Hearts Made Whole

Hearts Made Whole is book two in the series Beacons of Hope by Jody Hedlund. Hearts Made Whole was released on June 2, 2015. Today, Jody shared the cover of book three in the series Beacons of Hope: Undaunted Hope. Stop by her Facebook book page to check it out! Undaunted Hope is set to release in January 2016!

Facebook Party with Jody Hedlund about her book Hearts Made WholeIn celebration of book three's reveal, here's a little Q & A with Jody about book two, Hearts Made Whole. Enjoy!

1. How did you come up with the idea for Hearts Made Whole? 

Historical textbooks are full of stories about men like George Washington, Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, and so many more. And while such men are truly remarkable, all too often their stories overshadow equally courageous and remarkable women. One of my goals as an author is to help bring forgotten women of the past to life.

In the Beacons of Hope series, I'm focusing on historical women light keepers who have often been kept in the dark by the more prominent stories of their male counterparts.

As I researched for writing a lighthouse series, I came across a fantastic book called, Ladies of the Lights: Michigan Women in the U.S. Lighthouse Service. The book is a tribute to the approximately 50 or so women who served either as primary or assistant keepers in Michigan Lighthouses.

I based the heroine in Hearts Made Whole on one of those women light keepers. It's my hope to bring her and the other women keepers out of the historical shadows and into the spotlight.

2. Each of your lighthouse books is set at a real lighthouse that once existed in Michigan or still does exist. Tell us a little about the lighthouse in this second book.

In my first lighthouse book (Love Unexpected), the lighthouse was set at Presque Isle which is on Lake Huron on the north eastern side of the state. For the second book, I picked a lighthouse in a completely new location with the intention of giving readers a different flavor of climate, geography, and the population.

Windmill Point Lighthouse once existed on Lake St. Clair near Detroit, a much more urban and highly trafficked area than the remote wilderness of Presque Isle. Windmill Point Lighthouse was a strategic beacon that helped ships cross from Lake Huron over into Lake Erie as those ships transported raw goods from the Northwest states to eastern cities and seaports.

The lighthouse is named after the old ruins of a windmill where early frontiersmen brought their grain for grinding. Also, legends attribute the area to being an old battle field of a savage encounter between the early French settlers and Indians. As many as 1000 Fox Indians were slaughtered on the banks of Lake St. Clair. Later settlers to the area uncovered bones, arrowheads, tomahawks, and other gruesome mementos of the battle.

Today, all traces of the original windmill, lighthouse, and burial grounds are long gone. If you visit Grosse Pointe in the Detroit area, all that remains is a small conical structure with a white flashing light.

3. Many of the heroines in your books are inspired by real women. Is that true of the heroine in Hearts Made Whole? If so, what women provided inspiration?

The woman light keeper in Hearts Made Whole is inspired by Caroline Antaya. Caroline lived at the
Mamajuda Lighthouse on the Detroit River a short distance away from Windmill Point Lighthouse.

Caroline's husband served with honor in the Union army during the Civil War, losing several fingers on his hand at Gettysburg. Eventually after returning from the war, her husband was named as keeper of the Mamajuda Lighthouse, but he passed away of tuberculosis.

Part of what really impressed me about Caroline Antaya's situation was that she had been doing a
fantastic job as a light keeper. But the district lighthouse inspector trumped up charges against her
saying that she was in ill-health and incompetent. He took away her position simply because she was a woman and gave it to a man instead. Fortunately, her community rose to her defense and enlisted the help of a Michigan Senator to help her get her position back and she went on to serve as a light keeper for another three years.

In those days, when women were regularly discriminated against because of gender, Caroline's story is inspirational and an encouragement to persevere in the face of injustice. I admired Caroline's will to stand up for herself and to pave the way for women coming after her to use their God-given talents and abilities in roles and jobs that had previously been closed to women.

4. Why lighthouses? What fascinates you about these shining beacons? 

I'm fascinated with lighthouses for a number of reasons. First, my state of Michigan is home to the greatest concentration of lights in the United States. In fact, Michigan is noted as the state where the most lighthouses were erected. And now today, more than 120 remain compared to 500 total for the rest of the nation.

Not only are lighthouse beautiful and picturesque, but they bring back a sense of nostalgia, poignancy, and romance that few other historical markers do. They're rich in historical details and stories. They're wrought with danger and death. And they're just plain fun to explore. Climbing the winding staircase, reaching the top, and peering out the tower windows (or in some cases going out onto the gallery) is breathtaking.


Thank you, Jody! It was great to hear about lighthouses as well as more insight about your story Hearts Made Whole. I'm looking forward to reading your next installment in Beacons of Hope: Undaunted Hope.

If you'd like to connect with Jody Hedlund, here's a few places you can connect with her:

Facebook : Author Jody Hedlund
Twitter : @JodyHedlund
Website :
Pinterest :

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Review: The Wood's Edge

Welcome to the American frontier - New York in the middle of the 1700's!

Previous to The Wood's Edge, Lori Benton shared the stories of Burning Sky and Tamsen Littlejohn. Her earlier books took place place in the 1780's. The Wood's Edge opens the world of Early America in the 1750's to the 1770's. The setting was well within Benton's wheelhouse of history, but this new series was very different from her previous novels.

The Wood's Edge (The Pathfinders, #1)The Wood's Edge shares multiple view points within a wide stretch of time. At times, this novel felt like the opening chapter to the rest of the story. The story wraps up some ends, but another book is needed. (Which is coming out next year - 2016!)

It took me some time to become invested in the story and the characters. The book is divided into three major sections and it wasn't until the second section that I wanted to finish the book. I appreciated Benton's additional notes at the end of the story that explains how she came upon the history of the Haudenosaunee (the Six Nations of the Iroquios Confederacy). She also included acknowledgements, her research books, a readers guide, a glossary, and the Oneida 13 Moon Calendar.

Book extras, as well as a preview, are available on Lori Benton's blog!

Time Period: 1750's-1770's
Location: British Colonies (Early America)

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Title: The Wood's Edge
Author: Lori Benton
Series: Book 01, The Pathfinders
ISBN: 9781601427328

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Review: Hearts Made Whole

Hearts Made Whole is the second book in the series Beacons of Hope by Jody Hedlund. The first book, Love Unexpected, was published in December of 2014. Five months later, the next installment arrives! Huzzah!

Hearts Made Whole (Beacons of Hope, #2)Hearts Made Whole (as well as Love Unexpected) are standalone novels. They are tied together with the themes of lighthouses, love, and Michigan. I will admit it took me halfway through the book to realize that the characters were also connected too. (That's what you get for reading too many books between book one and book two in a series.) Book one features Emma Chambers and her brother, Ryan. Emma is the main character in Love Unexpected while Ryan is a main character in Hearts Made Whole.

The Civil War happened between book one and book two, so the Ryan readers knew before has changed. War has changed him. With little to no lighthouse knowledge, he gets a job as a lighthouse keeper only to discover that his new job will remove Caroline Taylor and her siblings from their only home. Ryan longs to be a better man, so he asks the family to stay. Caroline needs the lighthouse job and a home for her siblings. She is grateful for being allowed to stay, but is still uncertain of her future. Ryan and Caroline need a firm rock to stand. The future can be frightful, people can fail, and jobs can change, but the Lord remains. You can turn to Him in your hour of need and He will be there for you.

I greatly enjoy a story that can standalone. Hedlund's Beacons of Hope series is so much fun! She highlights a job (lighthouse keeper) that is quickly being handed over to machines. She also shares a setting close to my heart - the Great Lakes. Being from the Midwest, I am near Michigan and the beloved lakes that offer so much to our Midwestern lives.

Hedlund builds a minor character from her first book to a major character in her second Beacons book. It was good to hear more about Ryan. I wonder if she will do the same in her future books? I also enjoyed theme of lifted burdens. Family building you up, friends helping, and the Lord taking the stress of life and turning it into peace. It was a story I wanted to finish in one sitting. It was difficult to put it aside when other duties arose. I'm looking forward to Jody Hedlund's next book!

Time Period: Post Civil War, 1865
Location: Lake St. Clair, Michigan, USA

Reviewed from a complimentary copy. Thank you, Jody Hedlund and Bethany House!

Title: Hearts Made Whole
Author: Jody Hedlund
ISBN: 9780764212383
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