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Monday, November 4, 2013

Music Monday: {Oceans} by Hillsong United

Hello, dear friends!  I hope this post finds you doing well, and enjoying the beginning of a brand-new week!

I first heard this song about a week ago, and the beautiful voice and sound pulled me out of a daydream, as I sat at a red light.  I thought, "Wow, who is this!?  She has an amazing voice!"  I pushed the info button, to find that this song is by Hillsong United.  As you may know, the Hillsong United team "has become an evolving collaboration of pastors, worship leaders, musicians and songwriters, all bound by the common goal of giving voice to a generation who is passionate about God," so not all of their songs are sung by the same person.  This particular song features the beautiful voice of Taya Smith.  As always, I pray that you'll be blessed.  Enjoy your week!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding; 

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths."  Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

". . . above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one."  Ephesians 6:16 NKJV

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep, my faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed, and You won't start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior x 4

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours, and You are mine
I am Yours, and You are mine
I am Yours, and You are mine
I am Yours, and You are mine

Monday, October 28, 2013

Music Monday: {In the End} by Natalie Grant

Natalie Grant's new album, Hurricane, is FANTASTIC!  I love all of the songs, but the song that I'm showcasing today is definitely one of my favorites!  In the End has an awesome country, folk, bluegrass sound, and I think it's fair to say that it's one of my all-time favorite songs!  I absolutely LOVE IT -- toe-tapping, hand-clapping, and praising the Lord that we win in the end!  I hope that you love it just as much. Be sure to scroll to the bottom for the lyrics.  :-)

Enjoy and BE BLESSED!

Can’t catch a break
You’ve had your fill of old clichés
Like “Life is hard, but God is Good”
And even though it’s true
It won’t stop what you’re going through
I wish that I could say it would
But He’s outside of what you feel
It might not make sense but one day it will
There’s coming a day, the sun will always shine
He’s gonna wipe away every tear from your eyes
hold on my Brother, things are gonna get better
You’re gonna smile again
Cause we win in the end

Oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh

You’re standing still
Life has handed you a bitter pill
Once again you’re on your face
You got questions
Plenty of secret confessions
Wondering if you’ve run out of grace
But He’s outside of what you feel
This life is just a moment but our forever is seal, oh yeah
There’s coming a day, the sun will always shine
He’s gonna wipe away every tear from your eyes
hold on my Brother, things are gonna get better
You’re gonna smile again
Cause we win in the end
it won’t be about the streets of gold, pearly gates
Arms and wings, diamond Lace
All in all is that He’s gonna hold you hold me
Heartache will disappear
Questions will be come clear
Life will all make sense in the end

Oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh
We win in the end
Oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh

There’s coming a day, the sun will always shine
He’s gonna wipe away every tear from your eyes
hold on my Brother, things are gonna get better
You’re gonna smile again
Cause we win in the end

Oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh
We win in the end
Oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh

Glory Glory Hallelujah
Glory Glory Hallelujah
Glory Glory Hallelujah
We win in the end
Glory Glory Hallelujah
Glory Glory Hallelujah
Glory Glory Hallelujah
We win in the end

Monday, October 21, 2013

Music Monday: {Overcomer} by Mandisa

Need encouragement today?  No matter what you're facing, God is always with you!  Hang onto His promises!  This song will lift you up, encourage you, and remind you that as long as you have Christ . . . you have HOPE!  Keep pressing on, He's there to help you . . .

For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you.
Isaiah 41:13 NIV

Enjoy, and be blessed! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Book Review: Revell Blog Tour {Love's Awakening} by Laura Frantz

About the Book:
Ellie Ballantyne, youngest child of Silas and Eden, has left finishing school. But back at her family home in Pittsburgh, Ellie finds that her parents are away on a long trip and her siblings don't seem to want her to stay. When she opens a day school for young ladies, she begins tutoring the incorrigible daughter of the enemy Turlock clan. The Turlocks are slaveholders and whiskey magnates, envious of the powerful Ballantynes and suspicious of their abolitionist leanings. As Ellie becomes increasingly tangled with the Turlocks, she finds herself falling in love with an impossible future--and Jack Turlock, a young man striving to free himself from his family's violent legacy. How can she betray her family and side with the enemy? And will Jack ever allow her into his world?

Masterful storyteller Laura Frantz continues to unfold the stirring saga of the Ballantyne family in this majestic tale of love, loyalty, and the makings of a legacy. With rich descriptions of the people who settled and civilized a wild landscape, Frantz weaves a tapestry of characters and places that stick with the reader long after they turn the last page.

My Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Review:
Masterful storyteller, Laura Frantz, has done it again! In this second installment of The Ballantyne Legacy, we witness the continuing journey of the Ballantyne family as they endure life's trials and joys.  Set among the backdrop of 1822 Pennsylvania, the story comes to life with vivid descriptions, and melodic and expressive prose that leaves me captivated at every page. 

With its rich, historical detail, and a fine cast of characters, I was drawn into another place and time.  There's so much to love about this story, it's difficult to know where to begin.  I'd have to say that while the story does start out at a relaxed pace, things certainly do pick up pace, and heat up.  With the Ballantyne and Turlock families both having a wide array of personalities amongst them, it makes for a good amount of tension and drama.  There are the characters that charm and endear you, and then others that make you cringe at their less than desirable ways.  It ends up being the perfect balance, and lends itself to a very interesting story.

In addition to tension and drama among the characters, I loved those scenes that brought a sense of danger, fear, heartache, and needless to say, . . . those moments that take your breath away and leave tears in your eyes.  There were a couple chapters where I literally found it hard to breathe -- oh, the emotion!  I was left with a pounding heart, and a feeling that I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see how things were going to be resolved.  Laura Frantz has a true talent for making the reader truly feel the entire gamut of emotions.  From heart-pounding tension, to sigh-worthy romance, this novel has it all . . . a literary banquet, to be sure!

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys well written, historical fiction with rich detail, well drawn characters, and a sweet love story to win your heart.

**Thank you to Revell for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.**
**Available September 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.**

About the Author: 

From Laura's Website: "I was born and raised in Kentucky, living first in Ashland, Mammoth Cave, Bowling Green, and then Lexington. But my heart has always been in Berea, Madison County, the place my family has resided since the 18th-century. I came to know Christ there at the age of 12, was baptized, and spent my childhood roaming through the woods and swimming in the rivers of my books.
My earliest memories are of the public library, standing in front of shelves filled with those little biographies of famous historical figures like Daniel Boone and George Washington and Sacajawea. I began scribbling stories at age 7 and thankfully never stopped. My passion then and now is history and all the wonders of past centuries.
I attended college at Denison University in Ohio and also in England, living in a manor/castle and studying the American Revolution from the British perspective. Shakespeare and 18th-century literature form the backbone of my English degree. Strangely enough, I only took one creative writing class.
It was never a desire of mine to be published. I simply love to write for the sheer joy of writing – and that was enough. But as Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
I hope my books bless you."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Music Monday: {Good to Me} by Audrey Assad

Even though Audrey Assad's new album, Fortunate Fall, came out back in August, I just picked it up a couple weeks ago. For some reason the release date escaped me. Needless to say, I'm thrilled that I've added this one to my iTunes collection. It is stunningly beautiful, and truly a feast for the ears! I highly recommend it, and I'm so happy to share one of the tracks with you here today.  I pray that it blesses you. Enjoy! (Be sure to scroll to the bottom to see the lyrics)

As I listen to this song, I can't help but think of Psalm 23 . . .

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
  He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, 
     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake. 
 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.  
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

He is so good to us . . . amen?

I put all my hope in the truth of Your promise,
and I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I'm bowed down with sorrow, I will lift up Your name,
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me

And I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
And Your voice fills the night, raise my head up to hear the sound
And though fires burn all around me, I will praise You, my God,
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me
Blessed are - You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me all my life
I trust in Your promise
Yeah, Your goodness and mercy shall follow me all my life
I trust in Your promise
Your goodness and mercy shall follow me all my life
I will trust in Your promise 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Music Monday: {Shine} by Christa Wells

With the August 2013 release of Christa Wells new album, Feed Your Soul, comes a new video for the song Shine.  The entire album is beautiful and captivating, and I highly recommend it!  It's truly one of my favorites, as are all of her albums.

You can read a thoughtful review of the album here at HighWire Daze.  In addition, there are currently seven of her songs available to listen to at her website, just follow this link to Christa Wells Music.

I pray you have a beautiful week.  Enjoy and be blessed!

Yes, it’s hard to believe
When you’re well aware that you’re not what you mean to be
And your house is full of unfinished rooms
’Cause you’re fond of starts, but you find it hard to follow through
You think you’re recognized by your faults
 But the mirror that you hold is false
’Cause you shine
He shines His light through a prism
We give back what we’re given
To color this, to color this
To color this world, color this world
 Be the friend you never had
 Be the one to take a stand
Say it your way, say it your way
Say it your own way
And it’s hard to believe
That I count as much as those on either side of me
’Cause I don’t have it, whatever it takes
 To be like them, they are gifted in so many ways
Yes, we could lay our talents in the earth
We could pile on the doubt like dirt
Or we can shine
He shines His light through a prism
We give back what we’re given
To color this, to color this
To color this world, color this world
 Be the friend you never had
 Be the one to take a stand
Say it your way, say it your way
Say it your own way
Shine, we shine, His light refracted
Shine, we shine His light refracted

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Music Monday: {Your Grace Finds Me} by Matt Redman

Good Morning, and Happy Tuesday!  My Music Monday post is a day late . . . well, actually, it just might be a month late.  :::wink, wink:::  Please forgive me for being MIA.  I've been doing a lot of subbing since school started, and on the list goes.  Always so much to do, as I know you can relate.  I pray you all are doing well.  :)

I couldn't wait to bring this song to you, so here you have it . . . on a Tuesday, and it's actually the release day for this album, so you'll be able to pick it up on iTunes!  :)

If you haven't heard You're Grace Finds Me, by Matt Redman, prepare to be WOWED!  This is powerful worship here folks, and it's one of those songs that just washes over you and you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.  And if you're inclined to tears, this ought to do it.

God's grace is completely AMAZING, and this song is a celebration of that grace.  Praising the Lord today for His grace . . . it never ceases to leave me in awe.  Praying you enjoy the song.  Be blessed! ~Michelle

Romans 3:20-24 NKJV
Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Book Review -- Blog Tour: {Bleeding Heart} by Amber Stokes + A GIVEAWAY

About the Book: 

Five bleeding hearts. One profound journey. 

Summer 1886

Sally Clay’s livelihood has been snatched away, but in its place arises an opportunity to escape from her sordid past and an unrelenting, unwanted suitor. Boarding a train with a heartsick rancher and an enigmatic miner, she leaves Virginia City behind and heads to Northern California, waiting for the chance to make right what went wrong three long years before.
But the road to revenge is far from smooth. Sally soon learns that the jagged pieces of a broken heart can far too easily wound the hearts of others – and hers isn’t the only heart that’s broken.
Tragedy and fear dog her steps as she flees from the redwood forests to the high desert and back again. Will her bleeding heart ever find a way and a place to heal?

A desperate soiled dove. Three men who come to care for her. One man determined to claim her.
All on a journey that will show them what true love really involves.

About the Author:  

Amber Stokes has a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a passion for the written word – from blogging to writing poetry, short stories, and novels. After her brief time at college in Oregon, she is now back home among the redwoods of Northern California, living life one day at a time and pursuing her passion via freelance editing and self-publishing her debut novel, Bleeding Heart.

You can buy Bleeding Heart here
Visit the Bleeding Heart website here
Visit Amber's Blog here.

My Star Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

My Review:

When Amber approached me last year to read what she had written so far on her Bleeding Heart manuscript, I jumped at the chance!  It was with great pleasure that I read the beginning of this wonderful story, and it was with great pleasure that I agreed to read and review the final copy of Bleeding Heart for Amber's blog tour!  I count it an honor and a privilege to have been a part of Amber's writing journey.

The much anticipated debut of Bleeding Heart did not leave me disappointed!  From the opening pages, to the very end, I was captivated and intrigued by the characters and the individual journey's they were on.  I love how Amber tied the theme of broken hearts throughout the novel, and I enjoyed seeing how things unfolded for each of the characters.

With a detailed setting, well-drawn characters, and elements to pull on your heartstrings, Amber has penned a fine debut!  Two of the things I loved about the writing, was that in one moment I could feel the fear and tension happening on the page, and in another moment I could feel the bittersweet tenderness playing out for the characters.  The fact that I was brought to tears at one point is a very good thing -- it's a sign of VERY good writing, in my book!

I look forward to all that Amber has in store for us in the future, and I recommend Bleeding Heart without hesitation.

And now for the GIVEAWAY! a Rafflecopter giveaway

**With much thanks to Amber Stokes for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion and participation in the blog tour.**

Monday, August 19, 2013

Music Monday: {Don't Forget His Love} by Ellie Holcomb

Good morning, friends!  Today I'm slowing things down a bit with this beautiful song of praise by Ellie Holcomb.  I first heard this song over at Boo Mama's blog.  If you're not familiar with Boo Mama, her name is Sophie Hudson, and she has a huge heart for God and people.  Plus, she is SO funny!  She has a brand-new book out titled, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet, that I recently shared here on August 6th.

Okay, now back to the song!  This song's lyrics get their inspiration from Psalm 103, and it's just beautiful!  Ellie's voice is amazing, and so unique.  I've been listening to her first EP, Magnolia, for a couple weeks now, and LOVE it!  I'm really looking forward to getting her newly released EP, With You Now . . . like today!! You can listen to it here, as well as find out how to get a FREE download of the Magnolia album.  It's that great!?  I thought so, too!

Her husband also has a band called, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, and she sings with them as well.  And I just found out last week that she's featured on Christa Wells' new album, Feed Your Soul (track 2, Have Your Eyes Open).  She's one busy and talented lady!

I pray that this song blesses you today.  Enjoy!


Psalm 103

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Music Monday: {One Drop} by Plumb

I heard this catchy little tune on KLOVE last week, and loved it instantly!  It's a feel good, dance and sing, put the top down kind of song.  A perfect song to get you going on a Monday morning.  In describing this song, Plumb says, "It takes a little bit of good, to do a whole lot of great."

"You know what, whatever was happening before you listened to this, take a break from it, and just have hope for a minute.  It just takes one drop." ~Plumb

Plumb is a fairly new artist for me, so I've been listening to some of the other samples from her new album, Need You Now, and they're very good!  There seems to be a wide array of sounds and themes covered on the album, and I look forward to taking a more in depth listen.  I also read a bit about her background on her Facebook page, which can be found here, and it appears that she is quite an accomplished artist.  I look forward to discovering more about her music ministry, and I hope you do too!  Enjoy and be blessed!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Book Review: {A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet} by Sophie Hudson

About the Book:
There's nothing quite like family--and some people would say that there's nothing better. But in a world where we sometimes know more about the Kardashians than we do about the people sleeping right down the hall, it's easy to forget that walking through life with our family offers all sorts of joy wrapped up in the seemingly mundane. There's even a little bit of sacred sitting smack-dab in the middle of the ordinary. And since time's-a-wastin', we need to be careful that we don't take our people--and their stories--for granted. 

Whether it's a marathon bacon-frying session, a road trip gone hysterically wrong, or a mother-in-law who makes every trip to the grocery store an adventure, author Sophie Hudson reminds us how important it is to slow down and treasure the day-to-day encounters with the people we love the most.

Written in the same witty style as Sophie's BooMama blog, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet is a cheerful, funny, and tender account of Sophie's very Southern family. It's a look into the real lives of real people--and a real, loving God right in the middle of it all. 
My Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts and Review:
What a wonderful book, filled to the brim with amazing family stories! I laughed, I cried, and then I laughed and cried some more. Sophie Hudson's writing style is real and down to earth, and as you read you get the feeling that you're right there with her at the kitchen table; just chatting away and sipping lemonade. Did I mention that she's funny!? I wish I could be Sophie's real-life friend. She. Is. A. Hoot. And the best part is, she loves Jesus, and she shares her faith beautifully in this book.

As a bonus, there are Southern, family recipes at the back of the book that I can't wait to try. They all sound so good!

So, if you're a Southerner, or a Southerner at heart, like me, you'll want to read this one as soon as possible! Well go on, whaddya y'all waitin' for?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Music Monday: {Coming to the Light} by More Than Rubies

More Than Rubies is made up of singer-songwriters Christa Wells and Nicole Witt.  The music is beautifully spiritual, anointed, and such a blessing to the soul.  I previously posted a song by Christa Wells that you can find here as a Music Monday selection.  I love her music, and now she's joined forces with the talented Nicole Witt, and the result is an album that is Christ centered, and glorifies God, as well as being a feast for the ears.  I highly recommend the album!  The duo gets their name from Proverbs 3:15 . . .

For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.  

You can listen to a few of their songs here, as well as watch videos, and find show dates. 

Today, I'm posting two videos . . . in the first one, Nicole and Christa share how they met, and how they came to collaborate together.  The second is their brand-new music video for Coming to the Light.  It's AWESOME, and I'll let the song speak for itself.  I really think you're going to love it!  Let me know what you think, and sweet blessings to you as you begin a new week.  Hugs, Michelle

Monday, July 29, 2013

Music Monday: {Wanted} by Dara Maclean

If you haven't heard the brand new Dara Maclean song, you're in for a treat!  It's a fantastic song about how each and every one of us is wanted by God.  We were created for a relationship with Him, and like the song says, He made us, He knows our name, and He doesn't make mistakes. Perhaps this is a message that you really need to hear today.

YOU are wanted and loved by the Creator of the universe . . . I'd say that calls for some praise!  Amen?

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14

Dara is scheduled to release her sophomore album, Wanted, on September 24.  Wanted is the eagerly-awaited follow-up to Dara’s debut album, You Got My Attention, which entered the iTunes Christian & Gospel Albums chart at No. 1 in 2011 and garnered her a spot as one of their “New Artists to Watch.

Enjoy and be blessed!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Music Monday: {He is With Us} by Love & The Outcome

It's been awhile, but here I am with a new Music Monday post!  I first heard this one on the radio a few weeks ago, and I LOVE IT!  The lyrics, the vocals, and the sound come together perfectly for a song that's positive and uplifting!  If you ever feel like God is far away, it's a beautiful reminder that He is always with us.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 NIV

Love & The Outcome is a new duo, who's brand new album releases on August 27th.  Here's a little bit more about them . . .

Love & The Outcome's self-titled debut album recalls the highs and lows of the journey vocalist Jodi King and bass player/vocalist Chris Rademaker have braved since departing their homeland of Canada, risking it all to pursue their musical dreams. The album includes the husband and wife team’s debut single, "He is With Us," which skyrocketed to the Top 25 on Billboard’s Christian Songs chart. 

Praying that you enjoy the song, and have a blessed week!  Hugs, Michelle

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Book Review: {To Whisper Her Name} by Tamera Alexander

About the Book:
Set at Nashville's historic Belle Meade Plantation, the most influential thoroughbred stud farm in America's history, To Whisper Her Name weaves the struggles of real people of the post-war South with the journeys of a man and a woman scarred by betrayal.

Olivia Aberdeen, destitute widow of a man shot as a traitor to the South, is shunned by proper society and gratefully accepts an invitation from "Aunt" Elizabeth Harding, mistress of Belle Meade Plantation. Expecting to be the Harding's head housekeeper, Olivia is disillusioned when she learns the real reason Elizabeth's husband, Confederate General William Giles Harding, agreed to her coming. Not finding the safe haven she expects, Olivia is caught off guard by her feelings for Ridley Adam Cooper, a Southern man who seems anything but a Southern gentleman.
Branded a traitor by some, Ridley Cooper, a Southern son who chose to fight for the Union, is a man desperate to end the war still raging inside him. Determined to learn "the gift" that Belle Meade's head horse trainer and former slave, Bob Green, possesses, Ridley harbors secrets that threaten both their lives. 
As Ridley seeks to make peace within himself for "betraying" the South he loved, Olivia is determined to never be betrayed again.

My Star Rating: 5 Stars 

My Review:
Oh my!  Where to start?  As with all of Tamera's books that I've read, I loved To Whisper Her Name!  I truly can't say enough good things about it.  Every single aspect of the book just simply SHINES!  From the very first line, to the close of the book, I was captivated by the beautifully woven story.  

The blending of history and fiction come together perfectly, for a story that drew me in and kept my attention.  With vivid descriptions, colorful characters, and a setting that transported me back in time -- this has become one of my favorites for the keeper shelf!  And needless to say, it's left me longing for a visit to the Belle Meade Plantation; if only Tennessee weren't so far away.

We can't travel back in time physically, but through the well-written pages of To Whisper Her Name, we can certainly take a stroll and sit a spell . . . as if we were right there walking the grounds of the Belle Meade Plantation.  If you're a fan of historical fiction, you won't want to miss this one!  Like a fine dessert, it's rich and decadent . . . a literary indulgence, indeed!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Music Monday: {Hello, My Name Is} by Matthew West

Hello friends, and Happy Monday to you!  It's officially Summer, and I hope that you're enjoying yours!  Things are well here, and Summer is in full swing with Bible study, swimming lessons, sleepovers, baseball games, reading, relaxing, and movie watching.  Oh, and I almost forget, I joined the gym two weeks ago!  I've been watching calories, eating healthier, and exercising more than I ever have.  It feels great to be making healthy choices!

Anyway, let's get back to Music Monday.  I don't know where you're at right now, but if you're like me, perhaps the enemy has been whispering (or shouting) lies into your ears.  As a matter of fact, just this morning I found myself actually believing those lies.  I was beginning to feel like my old self again, and I asked myself, "Who am I?"  Well, I'm certainly not the lies that I was listening to, and I wasn't about to listen to it for one more minute.  That's when I stopped dead in my tracks, and said out loud . . . NO, I'm not listening to this anymore!  I am a child of God!

The words of Matthew West's song popped into my head, and it felt amazing to get the devil off of my back!  He was weighing me down, and I have no time for that, because I am . . .

SAVED.  CHANGED.  SET FREE.  A CHILD OF THE ONE TRUE KING.  Can I get an amen?   No more living in defeat.  We have victory through His perfect sacrifice and His amazing grace.  Remember His word, and speak it out loud to the enemy.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12 NKJV

I pray that this song would speak mightily into your heart if you're living in a place of defeat and believing the lies.  If you'd like a list of verses that tells each and every one of us who we are in Christ, I've found a great list on Joyce Meyer's website.  Be sure to click here for this fantastic resource. 

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.  1 John 4:4 NKJV

Monday, June 10, 2013

Music Monday: {Hurricane} by Natalie Grant

Hello, and Happy Music Monday!  Today's selection is the brand-new single, Hurricane, by Natalie Grant.  If you like a fun, fresh, pop sound with a great message, then I think you'll really enjoy this song!  Natalie seems to be up to big things these days with her music ministry, and with this new single, I'm hoping that the complete album isn't too far off.  I pray you enjoy this song, and that you have a blessed week!

Monday, June 3, 2013

{Bleeding Heart by Amber Stokes: COVER REVEAL + A GIVEAWAY!}

It's with great enthusiasm that I present the cover of Bleeding Heart by Amber Stokes!  I met Amber years ago in the blogging world at her blog Seasons of Humility.  Perhaps you've met her there as well!  I've always enjoyed her sweet, kind-hearted spirit, as well as her awesome book reviews and devotionals.  Last summer, she gave me the opportunity to be an early reader of the beginning of her upcoming novel, Bleeding Heart, and I jumped at the chance!  Let me say, it was amazing, and I was left wanting to read the entire novel.  Thankfully, I won't have to wait much longer . . . and neither will you!  Bleeding Heart is tentatively scheduled to be published in August 2013!  Please take a moment to find out more about the book, the author, and the book's cover designer.  And be sure not to miss the beautiful, themed giveaway!
About the Book:
Five bleeding hearts. One profound journey. Summer 1886

Sally Clay’s livelihood has been snatched away, but in its place arises an opportunity to escape from her sordid past and an unrelenting, unwanted suitor. Boarding a train with a heartsick rancher and an enigmatic miner, she leaves Virginia City behind and heads to Northern California, waiting for the chance to make right what went wrong three long years before.

But the road to revenge is far from smooth. Sally soon learns that the jagged pieces of a broken heart can far too easily wound the hearts of others – and hers isn’t the only heart that’s broken. Tragedy and fear dog her steps as she flees from the redwood forests to the high desert and back again. Will her bleeding heart ever find a way and a place to heal?

A desperate soiled dove. Three men who come to care for her. One man determined to claim her.

All on a journey that will show them what true love really involves.

Inspirational Historical Romance

The Book’s Blog:
In conjunction with the cover reveal, Amber’s doing a “blog reveal,” as well! You can find all the latest news about Bleeding Heart, along with book extras, at the Bleeding Heart blog.

About the Author:
Amber Stokes has a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a passion for the written word - from blogging to writing poetry, short stories, and novels. After her brief time at college in Oregon, she is now back home among the redwoods of Northern California, living life one day at a time and pursuing her passion via freelance editing and self-publishing her debut novel, Bleeding Heart. You can connect with Amber on her blog, Seasons of Humility.

About the Cover Designer:
Lena Goldfinch lives in a scenic small town in Massachusetts with her husband, two kids, and a very spoiled Black Lab. She writes fiction for young adults, mostly light fantasy with a healthy dose of "sigh-worthy" romance. You can visit her online at

Teaser from Bleeding Heart:


Breaking hearts should be considered a crime. That would make Elizabeth Lawson an outlaw and Joe Clifton the victim. And that wasn’t a far stretch in Joe’s mind. She had rounded up his heart, branded her name across it when it should never have belonged to her, and then left him high and dry. Still, he was getting sick of hanging around the scene of the crime. He just didn’t know where else to go.
Lake Tahoe had once been his favorite get-away destination, a place where he could go to just sit back and enjoy the view of water as clear as a shined-up mirror. Now those crystal depths and the unmoving boulders along the water’s edge taunted him, bringing back memories of a happy proposal and a less-than-happy scene where his heart was handed back to him on a silver platter – bruised, broken, and bleeding.
He didn’t want to make any more memories like that. So he made a promise to himself: He would never let anyone break his heart again.

In addition to this amazing cover reveal and book preview, Amber is including a great giveaway!  Check out the beautiful prizes purchased from Cindy Lindgrin and Belle on a BudgetBe sure to enter using the Rafflecopter form below!

Noted Cards designed by Cindy Lindgren
Teardrop Earrings designed by Belle on a Budget

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 24, 2013

Revell Blog Tour: {When a Secret Kills} by Lynette Eason

About the Book:

Investigative reporter Jillian Carter knows it's time to put the past to rest. She's tired of looking over her shoulder, letting a killer go free. She's no longer the scared kid who changed her name and disappeared. Now, no matter what the cost, Jillian must do what she is trained to do--ferret out the truth and expose it. Senator Frank Hoffman committed murder ten years ago--and Jillian watched it happen.

Didn't she?

Not even the enigmatic and attractive Colton Brady, her ex-boyfriend and nephew of the killer, will be able to make her leave this alone. Get ready for the spine-tingling, nail-biting conclusion to an explosive series.

My Star Rating: 5 

 My Review:

When you visit Lynette Eason's website, you're met with the tagline, Infinite Suspense: Welcome . . . to the edge of your seat!  And that's exactly what you get with the Deadly Reunions series!  If you haven't read books one and two in the series, you'll definitely want to pick up When the Smoke Clears and When a Heart Stops.  Each book flows into the next, and each book is connected so they should be read in order to fully appreciate the storyline.  Each book is extremely well written, and full of action, suspense, and intrigue!  The Deadly Reunions series definitely kept me on the edge of MY seat!  Oh yes, and don't forget the romance!

If you're looking for a fast-paced ride, then you've come to the right place.  Lynette Eason's writing is fantastic, and truly keeps me guessing with all of the twists, turns, and surprises.  With the completion of each book in this series, I've been left with the same thought . . . WOW!!  That was really awesome!

Not to sound cliche, but this one was a hard one to put down.  And just like the other two books in the series, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough!  I could go on, but I don't want to give anything away -- my lips are sealed!  If you haven't already, add this one to your list of MUST READS!  And be sure to have all three books on hand . . . you'll want to read them all!

"Available May 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

Monday, May 20, 2013

Music Monday: {Don't Try So Hard} by Amy Grant (featuring James Taylor)

Hello! Long time no see! It's been busy around here, but I'm so glad to have some time to bring you a Music Monday post! This is a beautiful new song by Amy Grant from her brand new studio album, How Mercy Looks From Here.

Don't Try So Hard is currently airing on KLOVE and XM The Message, and I think it shares a message that so many of us need to hear.  Praising the Lord for His grace, and the gift of His Son.

I'll let the song speak for itself.  Enjoy and be blessed, my friends.  Happy Monday!

Don't try so hard
God gives you grace and you can't earn it
Don't think that you're not worth it
Because you are
He gave you His love and He's not leaving
He gave you His Son so you'd believe it
You're lovely even with your scars
Don't try so hard

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Revell Blog Tour: {Love at Any Cost} by Julie Lessman

About the Book:
Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him. Hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache, Cassidy travels west. But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie MacKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart. When Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than he is, Cassidy finds herself bucked by love a second time. Will Jamie discover that money can't buy love after all? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man?

With delectable descriptions and a romantic sensibility, bestselling author Julie Lessman brings the Gilded Age to life in this sumptuous new series. Readers will faithfully follow Lessman to the West Coast for more romance, passion, and surprising revelations found in Love at Any Cost.

My Star Rating: 5

My Review:
We have another winner!  I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- Julie Lessman never fails to impress!  Love at Any Cost is Book 1 in The Heart of San Francisco series, and it truly does take the reader into the heart of San Francisco at the beginning of the 20th century.  All of the elements that I've come to love from a Julie Lessman novel are here, with a new cast of characters!  The McClare family comes to life atop the affluent Nob Hill, while we also get a taste of the seedy, dark side of the Barbary Coast.

As with all of Julie's novels, there's always the historical element that I love so much.  As a native Californian, who's been to San Francisco many times, I appreciate that I was able to see the city come to life in 1902, through these beautifully penned pages.  In the beginning of the book, I found myself stopping to do a bit of research, and I discovered some rich San Francisco history that I was unfamiliar with.  I'm always in awe of how well Julie weaves the historical elements into her stories, and makes you feel like you've stepped back in time.  It's always a fun history lesson!

This novel has everything I've come to love from Julie's novels -- passion, romance, witty dialogue, laugh-out-loud interactions between the characters, eye-popping twists, and the ever present thread of faith.  It's always the perfect mix, and I love how Julie effortlessly weaves key spiritual elements into the lives of her characters.  So not only are we entertained by the spunky Cassidy McClare, and the handsome Jamie MacKenna, but we see the power of what God can do in a human life.  How He can change a heart, mend relationships, and give us the desires of our heart.

With top notch writing that will keep you turning pages, you don't want to miss Love at Any Cost!  It's one for the keeper shelf, and I highly recommend picking up a copy today!

"Available April 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

Monday, April 29, 2013

Music Monday: {My Delight is in You} by Christy Nockels

Christy Nockels is one of my favorite Christian artists.  Her album, Into the Glorious, is one of my all-time favorites, and if you haven't added it to your worship collection, I highly recommend it!  Her voice is amazingly beautiful, and she has such a powerful anointing.  I can't say enough good things about it!

Today's video showcases the song, My Delight is in You, from the Passion 2013 album, Let the Future Begin.

It's amazing, powerful worship,  and I pray that it blesses you!  Hope you each have a blessed week ahead.  Hugs, Michelle

***Even though the video says Here I am (Draw me Close), the song is actually called, My Delight is in You.  It's track 12 on the CD pictured below.***

My delight is in You, Lord
On Your word I set my heart 
You are peace, You are calm for my restless soul 
You light my way through the dark 

I want to know you even more
Holiness is my desire
Purify, burn in me, come and make me clean
Refine me in Your fire.

Monday, April 22, 2013

{Happy Monday}

Hello, sweet friends!  I'm sorry I don't have a Music Monday post today; hopefully next week.  I pray that you're doing well, and that your Monday is off to a great start!  : )

Enjoy your week, and be blessed!  Love, Michelle

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

{Taylor's Gift}

I'm currently reading Taylor's Gift, and I must say it's an incredible story.  I won't go into too much detail now, since I'll be posting a review when I'm finished with the book.  For those that haven't heard of Taylor's story, I wanted to get the word out there, since April is National Donate Life Month.

Read on to find out more information about Taylor's Gift from

Taylor lived her life with joy and brought happiness to all who knew her. The world lost a vibrant and gifted young person on March 15, 2010, when a tragic skiing accident changed everything for the Storch family while vacationing in Colorado. After Taylor’s parents were told that Taylor would not survive, they made a choice—a prayerful choice they knew their daughter would want.
They agreed to let Taylor give the gift of life through organ donation. Although their grief is immeasurable, the Storch family has been transformed by the hope and happiness that have been restored to other families whose loved ones have been saved by Taylor’s organs.
Taylor’s organs went to a number of different people in need: her heart to a 39-year-old mother of two in Arizona; her pancreas and one kidney to a 49-year-old husband and father in Colorado; her other kidney to a 33-year-old man in Colorado; her corneas and liver changed two other lives in other parts of the country. Taylor’s Gift Foundation was created to honor Taylor’s many talents and gifts, and especially her ultimate gift: life for others.
Although her life ended too soon, her spirit lives on. Taylor’s Gift strives to increase organ donation through its mission to Regift Life, Renew Health and Restore Families.  Taylor’s life and her passing have already inspired thousands of people from around the world to become organ donors themselves. Taylor was able to give the gift of life to a few and in turn, impacting many who will need it in the future.

Find out more about the Storch Family's courageous story, and see how you can become an organ donor.  Be sure to visit

**Available April 2013 by Revell Publishers**

Monday, April 15, 2013

Music Monday: {Lord, I Need You} by Matt Maher featuring Audrey Assad

Hello, friends!  Praying this day finds you doing well, and resting in His presence.  I don't know about you, but last week was "one of those weeks."  Oh.  My.  You know the kind where you feel especially worn out.  The kind of week where you've been pulled in so many different directions, it's as if you're a piece of salt water taffy that's about to SNAP!  Yes, that kind of week.  Whether it's too many errands, too many demands from the kids, or simply too much drama -- we can all relate to that feeling of being stretched to our limit. 

I heard this song on the radio last week at just the perfect time.  I was feeling weary, worn out, and disappointed in myself for how I'd handled a few situations.  This song just seemed to break me, right in that moment.  An overwhelming feeling came upon me, as if I'd come right into His presence.  The words spoke straight to my heart, and brought my focus back to where it needed to be.  I can't do this thing called life on my own, and I'm guilty of letting myself fall away from Him.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Lord, I ask for a fresh filling of your Holy Spirit.  I pray that I would never get so distracted by the busy craziness of life, that I would fall away from a close relationship with You.  Lord, I need you, and if someone is struggling with something today, I pray that this song would minister to them wherever they are.  In Jesus' name I pray.  Amen.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Music Monday: {Finally Home} by Kerrie Roberts + New Release Tuesday Review

Kerrie Roberts brand-new album released on April 2, 2013!  Time for the Show has been playing on repeat for the past week here at my house, and to sum it up in one word . . . AMAZING!  I love it, and the following review from New Release Tuesday says it so much better than I could, so please read on, and find the lyric video down below for Kerrie's single, Finally Home.  It's an awesome song!  Enjoy and be blessed!

kevindavis's Music and Book Reviews
Kerrie Roberts [Time For The Show] | Posted March 26, 2013 Staff Reviewer

Florida native Kerrie Roberts has been listed alongside power vocalists including Kelly Clarkson and Natalie Grant: unassuming girl, huge voice. Memorable and dynamic yet intimate. Kerrie is uniquely emotive and soulful. With the release of her sophomore album, Time for the Show, Kerrie addresses themes of empowerment, strength, encouragement and joy delivered on waves of vibrant and contagious music ranging from high-energy pop to signature ballads beautifully expressed through tender, undeniable piano/vocal performances.  This album Includes the powerful single "Finally Home" plus "Masterpiece," "What Are You Afraid Of," and more.
“Time for the Show” is the best opening track of any album this year, rivaling “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele as an opener that sets the pace for an album. It has that same rollicking tempo and provides insight into Kerrie’s mindset and submission to God as a believer, especially in the hooky chorus where Kerrie emotionally cries out to God, “It’s time for the show, turn up your light, it’s time for the show, let it shine, because you know who you are and know Who your heart belongs to, they need to know, this perfect love, it comes through us, don’t wait another minute let’s go, it’s time for the show.”  She clearly loves our Lord and Savior Jesus with all of her heart and wants to celebrate that fact with every song. In her great new EDM song “Sing,” Roberts belts out, "And I sing out loud, no I won’t be quiet, I sing and shout, I can not be silent, You put the music in my heart, I’m screamin’ now, I feel like jumpin’ feel like dancin’ for You now, can’t keep this Spirit under lock and key, I need to set it free, no I won’t be quiet I won’t be silent now!" I sing that line along with Kerrie’s gorgeous and powerful voice at the top of my lungs and I find it so uplifting in this troubling time where the earth is groaning, the economy is failing and the only thing that matters is to “sing Praise our God, praise our God, let His praise be heard.” Amen to that!

"What Are You Afraid Of" includes the personal and confessional lyrics “You scream at the top of your lungs, when no one’s listening, being the basket case over anything, giving your whole world for love and the boy says no, so what are you afraid of, show ‘em what you’re made of, the shadows that you’re scared of, are usually your own, they’re not the great unknown, you don’t have to wonder, you’re not going under, Grace has got your covered, God is in control, go on and let it go, what are you afraid of?”Amen! I’ll admit that although I’m normally drawn to the Brit-pop, alternative rock and singer-songwriter genres, these two ultra-catchy electronic dance-pop songs have won me over to that musical style, mostly due to the personal lyrics. The mainstream music charts have been dominated by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Britney Spears and others who make the subject matter of their songs as edgy as possible to draw in listeners. Unfortunately as a father of three young daughters who love dance-pop style music, there haven’t been many edifying songs I can offer as wholesome alternatives to those artists, until now. I literally dance in my chair, my car, or while I’m walking around when I play these incredible songs. Electronic pop music has made a big mark on the music scene and Kerrie brings a vocal sincerity to these ultra-catchy pop songs which could easily be featured in mainstream music alongside those top-selling mainstream artists. I’ve been enjoying the powerful and moving ballad “Finally Home” since the single released and from the moment I first heard the song, I’ve been impressed by Kerrie’s emotive and strong vocals. I hear an even deeper yearning for God in the song and throughout this incredible album. Those opening tracks are the strongest of any album I’ve heard this year.
As if the beginning of the album isn’t impressive enough, Kerrie takes it up a notch vocally with the middle tracks, especially“Middle Of It All” and “Masterpiece.” “Middle Of It All” features Kerrie passionately praying directly to God these profound lyrics—“I’m afraid, but I’ll trust You, so I will run into the middle of it all, and I will come when my heart hears Your call, no I won’t hide behind the safety of the city walls…I will run into the middle of it all.” “Masterpiece” is a perfect pop song. I hang on every note of Kerrie’s compelling message—“You know Jesus holds your heart, He made you a work of art, You’re a masterpiece, even if you don’t believe…when I look at you I see, you’re a masterpiece.” This song challenges listeners to drop the masks we all wear to try to cover up our insecurities and lay them at the feet of Jesus and includes the encouraging lyrics “I wish you could picture you from Heaven’s view.” Kerrie clearly understands the Truth of Psalm 139:13-14“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”
I love the passionate vocals and strong messages of the songs, especially "Not Real Yet" with the piercing and confessional chorus, "Say that You love me, tell me You want me, I want to believe it, hear it, I’m listening, wish I could see You, wish I could touch You, Lord I need You hear next to me, please remind me, help me feel it, it’s not real yet." The power ballad “In Your Sight” is totally inspiring and is a great reminder as Kerrie prays, “I will rest, knowing You are holding me, I believe You will never say goodbye, I close my eyes, unafraid of what I can not see, because I am always In Your sight.” We need to have that type of faith that Jesus describes in the Bible, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Amen. “Wake Up” and“Like Jesus Loves” close out the themes of this album: Trusting God, loving Him and loving others as He loved us. All of the songs are catchy, exciting and worshipful. After listening to the album, I am stirred with compassion to love people as Jesus loves us.
Kerrie Roberts has the greatest voice wrapped around extremely hooky dub-step electronic dance musical arrangements I've heard this year. Her vocals are so strong and pure. Musically and lyrically, her album Time for the Show is brilliant. I feel like I'm eavesdropping on Kerrie's prayer time during many of these songs and as I get caught up listening to Kerrie's excellent vocals, I start praying along with her. My favorite albums all have that impact on me. This is one of my favorite albums of the year. Kerrie Roberts is my choice as "the voice" in Christian music. Time for the Show is a five star “Masterpiece” that brings me closer to God.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Music Monday: {Every Good Thing} by The Afters

Happy Music Monday!  I pray that you all had a blessed Easter, celebrating and rejoicing in the Resurrection of our Savior, and spending time with loved ones!

This new song by The Afters is uplifting, encouraging, and so UPBEAT!  Just makes you want to get up and dance!  As my daughter would say, "It's my jam!" :D

Whenever we turn on the TV or read the newspaper, tragedy and suffering seems to be at the forefront, but it's important not to focus too long on the darkness.  God has given us so many beautiful gifts, and there are so many things to be thankful for . . .  thank you, Lord, that you are the reason for every good thing! 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17 (NIV)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Sweet Treat: {The Best Chocolate Cake (Ever)} by Robyn at Add a Pinch

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever} from
Photo Credit: The Best Chocolate Cake (Ever) by Robyn @ Add a Pinch

I made this cake on Monday, and it definitely gets my vote for "the best chocolate cake ever." Yes, it truly is THAT good, and my family loved it!  If you're a fan of chocolate, I highly recommend this one! The recipe calls for espresso powder, which I couldn't find at my local grocery, so I substituted instant espresso coffee. It doesn't have a huge coffee flavor, but just a hint, and complements the cocoa very nicely. It's a fantastic cake, and very easy to make. It's a 10/10 in my book! Robyn has a lot of amazing recipes on her site, so be sure to check out her website at Add a Pinch.

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever} from
Photo Credit: Robyn @ Add a Pinch
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • 1½ cups butter (3 sticks)
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  2. For the cake:
  3. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
  4. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
  5. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Frost cake with Chocolate Frosting.
  8. For the Chocolate Frosting:
  9. Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
  10. Melt butter and pour into bowl with cocoa powder. Whisk together until well-combined.
  11. Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
  12. Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.
  13. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.