Dr. Michelle Bengtson’s: HOPE Prevails, Insights from a Doctor’s Journey Through Depression


This is a really good book on the topic of depression. This doctor found, through her own struggle with depression, that the cures she had been offering to her own psychology patients did not work!

She opens up painful chapters from her own life, and in so doing, lays out a different way to deal with depression. Her chapter on the underlying causes of depression really opened my layman’s eyes.

Bengtson covers deep topics such as worth, joy, peace, eternal destiny, and pain. She gives a helpful appendix on helping a depressed loved one. Each section offers bible verses to read, learn, and meditate upon. She gives the names of uplifting song recordings at the end of each chapter, too.

I recommend this as an excellent resource for laymen, professionals, and anyone suffering from depression.

I Wish He Had Come With Instructions, by Mike Bechtle


I went into reading this expecting some same-old stuff…ha ha, aren’t men and women different and it’s so funny. But this was far above that. It’s not written from a woman’s perspective, it’s not about male-female relationships, not full of advice, not opinion-based.

Rather, the author’s stated goal is to provide a glimpse into the mind of men so we ladies can strengthen our relationships with them. Bechtle really brings some fresh insight to the table. Even though the author falls into some cliches, such as: all men are messy/unclean, and all men want to go out and hang out with “the guys”, most of his thoughts are clearly understandable and many are helpful to contemplate.

The book is divided into 5 parts: The care and feeling of a man, How he thinks, How he acts, How he communicates, and How he grows.

One example of an interesting concept brought out by the author is that he differentiates between maleness and “stuff” (history/baggage). He also delves into what drives anger.

I recommend this as an interesting book, with much food for thought.

A Soldier Finds His Way, by Renie Onorato

What delight I had when reading this fine novel. Not only was it riveting and well-crafted, but I had given some early critiques to the author and that made it even more special.

When I saw what she had done with it to polish and refine it, I was blown away. It had been very good, but is now excellent and it is with great confidence that I recommend this romance (with good dollops of action/adventure) to all my reading friends.


A lady teacher, a car crash, a rescue, a little girl, a soldier with a wounded spirit. All these ingredients together are woven into a story that won’t let you go till the final page.

You will not be disappointed with the romance, the depth, the insights, the faith touches, all done with great sensitivity and realism. Very special.



The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders

This was a book that I liked so much that I quick went to see if she’d written others with this fascinating set of characters. No, this is a debut of a series. Boo-hoo. I will have to wait for more from this author.


So, so, so, so good. All my reading friends, rush out and get this enjoyable, super, well-written mystery. Set in 1850, this is the sort of book you can’t for more of and the author will be on your favorites list from here on out.

I won’t tell you the plot, because I don’t want to take away any of your fun. I will tell you that the story is somewhat Dickensian, but thoroughly up-to-date in polish and readability. A hint of Alcott..but those likenesses aren’t what make it so special. It’s excellent on its own terms.

The first book in a series – A Laetitia Rodd Mystery – Secrets of Wishtide has it all. Family drama, people who aren’t who you think they are, action, adventure, deceit, an excellent moral compass,  and a 52 year-old heroine.

This delightful, yet strong treasure of a book — go get it. A charming mystery with heroes and villains.


Grape Juice Recipe – for canning


To make the juice:

In clean, sterile hot jars, place

1 Cup cleaned, de-stemmed grapes

1/2 – 1 Cup sugar

Hot-boiling water to within 1/2 inch of top

Put on lids and rings, and process for 10 minutes.


To use, strain, into a pitcher. It’s been a while since I made this, but I recall diluting it to taste.

Not to hard to find grapes, if you ask around. Many farmers/friends have a well-producing vine.

A Heart Most Certain, by Melissa Jagears

Susan here, with another book review for all you Christian fiction fans. I found this one to be quite enjoyable, with a unique story line.

Set in 1905 Kansas, this one has an authentic historic feel to it.  As I read along, I could sense the distinctive era seeping off the page in a delightful, light-handed fashion. The social justice and charity aspect of the plot were extremely hard-hitting and worthwhile as well.

Jagears is a writer that I will “look into” reading more from.


The Christmas Angel Project, by Melody Carlson


One of my favorite authors in Inspirational Fiction, Melody Carlson once again delivers a strong novel for our enjoyment. An ensemble piece, she brings together four women, each an interesting character in her own right.

The women have in common that they were in the same book club. The leader has died, and now they have to forge their own bonds. The leader left each of them a gift, and a bible passage/verse. Hence the title– the women are inspired to do something for others.

The tales of their efforts are charming, fascinating, and not a little motivating! You will enjoy this, and it would also make a lovely gift.