Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Beneath the Night Tree Blog Tour

Julia DeSmit knew she would face the question eventually, but she didn't expect it now that she is finally content with the way her life has unfolded.  A single mother to her son and younger brother, she cherishes living with her beloved grandmother and is hoping to be engaged to Michael Vermeer - the man of her dreams - by year's end.

Then a cryptic e-mail from her son's father spins her world off axis.  She hasn't heard from Parker since he left her in a college parking lot without a backward glance.  But one look at her son - the spitting image of his father - is enough to convince her that, for better or worse, Parker is a part of their story.

Faced with this new reality and the potential unraveling of her unorthodox family, Julia begins a tightrope walk between what was, what is, and what she hopes will be.

I like Julia.  She does not expect a hand-out because she is a single mom.  She does not want a pity party because she had a rough childhood with a dead-beat mom and a dad who did his best but died when she was young.  Julia is raising her younger brother Simon and her son Daniel, taking care of her aging grandmother, working a full-time job and taking classes at the local community college.  Michael, her boyfriend of five years, is studying to be a doctor in Iowa City, six hours away, so she only gets to see him occasionally.  Julia also struggles with Parker, Daniel's dad, and how to respond to his request to get to know his son.  The last time Julia saw Parker was when he told her to get rid of the child she was carrying then drove off.

This is the third book in a series.  Not having read the first two, I was a little lost when it came to some of the back story.  This book can stand on it's own;  I would have preferred more information about Parker than what was given in the book.  You aren't given a reason as to why Parker is suddenly interested in finding out if he has a child then wanting to get to know him.  Late in the book, Parker mentions to Julia that he has a sister and two nieces so I wonder if that is why but the author never says.

This is a good book and was really enjoyable.

Tyndale House provided me with a complimentary copy of this Advanced Reader Copy.

NICOLE BAART was born and raised in a small town in Iowa.  She wrote and published her first complete novel, After the Leaves Fall, while taking a break from teaching to be a full-time mom.  Summer Snow and Beneath the Night Tree complete the series.  Nicole is also the author of The Moment Between.

She has three sons and is the wife of a pastor.  One of her sons was adopted from Ethiopian so she is passionate about global issues and is a founding member of One Body One Hope, a non-profit organization that works with an orphanage in Monrovia, Liberia.  Nicole and her family live in Iowa.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mercy Blog Tour

MERCY, set in the small Mississippi town of the same name, weaves a tale of past and present and reveals what can happen to three generations of family when money and secrets collide.

Davis Sanford, contemptuously dismissed by his family almost a decade ago, is a recovering alcoholic and the grandchild of local timber baron and pillar of the community, Frank Sanford.  An early-morning phone call from his old haunt of Mercy draws Davis home one more time for the impending death of the family patriarch.  Jennifer Martin returns to the scene as Davis's girlfriend, and the two embark on a weekend journey through his past.

As the prodigal son copes with his grandfather's mortality, he must also face his disapproving father and a wealth of personal history he has tried for years to leave behind.  Together with Jennifer, Davis uncovers one family secret after another, at last discovering the sin that has shaped, conflicted, and ultimately driven them all to the tragic existences they lead.

Mercy is Susan Sims Moody's second novel.  It is different from her other two novels in that it includes little vignettes of the past and that it is darker towards the end of the story.  In the vignettes, you see the secrets that affected the three generations come about.  You also see what can happen to person when keeping a secret becomes unbearable.  Davis faces his family members and his past as he works to figure out what happened to a letter his grandfather wrote to his wife, Cora.  He also shows how a tragic past does not have to be your future.

Mercy is a good story with a lot of twists and turns.  The ending is dark and caught me a little by surprise.  I kind of thought it might happened but was astonished that it actually did occur in the story.

The author provided a free copy of this book for review.  I was not compensated in any way.

Susan Sims Moody is a native Mississippian and graduate of Mississippi State University.  She is married to Tom and has two children.  They currently live in Wisconsin.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Flatlands Blog Tour

Jennifer Martin hated the idea of returning to Mississippi.  She hated the heat, the boredom, and the flat land that sprawled for miles and miles.  Jennifer never imagined that Bedford had anything exciting or worthwhle to offer her.  But within a day of returning to her hometown, she finds a job, a friend, and a mystery that could cost her life.

Flatlands is the first book written by Mississippi native Susan Sims Moody.  Her story revolves around Jennifer Martin, a young college graduate who returns home reluctantly.  Longing for a job as a reporter at a big city newspaper, she instead gets a job at the three-person weekly paper in her hometown, located in the Mississippi Delta.  As she gets settled into her small rental house, Jennifer finds a small film canister in the wall while helping her friend Davis do some small maintenance work.  Little does she know, the house contains items that its former occupant wants back desperately, no matter the cost.  Susan weaves her story together in a seamless fashion, leaving her reader turning the pages wanting more.  It is a fairly quick read.  I finished all 135 pages in just a few hours.  It was a great book and very enjoyable.  I would suggest it to anyone looking for a great read.

Susan Sims Moody is a native Mississippian and graduate of Mississippi State University.  She is married to Tom and has two children.  They currently live in Wisconsin.

The author provided a free copy of this book for review.  I was not compensated in any way.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Everything Christmas Blog Tour

Everything Christmas brings all the best ideas for the holiday season together in one volume.  In this book, you'll find your favorite classic Christmas stories and a few new ones destined to join them.  You'll discover the most delectable holiday recipes, enjoy the words to treasured hymns and carols, and be encouraged by inspirational Christmas poems and the joy of the Nativity.

Organized by the days of Advent, Everything Christmas includes everything you need to make the holiday bright.  From decoration ideas to Christmas trivia and humor - it's all here!

This book does have it all.  The stories included show the true meaning of Christmas.  Words to favorite Christmas carols, along with some carols I've never heard of, had me singing in my head (if not out loud).  There are crafts to do with kids and some you can do by yourself.  It even has gift ideas for grandparents, the love of your life, and the top ten favorites for him, her, boys and girls.  One of my favorite things is the different Christmas dinners and traditions observed in different countries.  I also liked the trivia about Christmas traditions: how they got started and how they may (or may have not) changed over the centuries and continents.  There are also all kinds of recipes to try.  Scripture is used all throughout, pointing our thoughts back to the real Meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ.

Everything Christmas is divided up into twenty-four sections so you can use it as an Advent calendar or as a supplement to what you currently use to count down the days.  It has a topical index to help you find what you are looking for.  It is an awesome book!!

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for review without compensation.

David Bordon and Tom Winters are partners in Bordon-Winters, LLC, a book concept and packaging company that produces successful books and gift products.  their previous titles include the 101 Things You Should Do series, especially the popular 101 Things You Should Do Before Going to Heaven.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Uncertain Heart Blog Tour

Sarah McCabe knows exactly what she wants...but what does God want for her?

The year is 1866, and Sarah McCabe has wanderlust.  In an effort to become independent of her family back in Missouri, she accepts a governess position in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, giving her a firsthand taste of the life she has always desired - a life of luxury, culture, and social privilege.

Richard Navis is a man determined to finish his indentureship to Captain Brian Sinclair and take over his family's farm.  But when he falls inlove with Sarah, his homesteading goals blur.  She doesn't seem interested in settling down.  What's more, Richard fears she's fallen victim to the captain's charm and persuasion.

When Sarah's reputation is questioned, Richard devises a bold plan in hopes of protecting her.  But is he too late?  Has Sarah already made her choice?

In Uncertain Heart, Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar continues the dramatic saga of the McCabe family that she began in Unwilling Warrior.

I really enjoyed this book.  Sarah struggles to be independent from her family but turns to them when situations go beyond her control.  She also struggles with her feelings towards both Richard and the Captain when both show her attention.  Richard acts like a gentleman around Sarah while Captain Sinclair is a complete rogue.  Sarah's love of the captain's children complicates matters when her reputation is questioned.  She has to choose between staying with them and risking her reputation more or going back home to her family and leaving everything and everyone behind.  Even though this is the second book in this saga, I followed the characters and story very easily.  Book Three, Unexpected Love, is due out in January 2011.  I am looking forward to reading it and hope to read the first one too.  This is a wonderful book!!!

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar is a certified Christian life coach; a popular speaker at writers' conferences, workshops, and women's groups; and the author of more than thirty published novels and novellas, including Unwilling Warrior.

This book was provided by Glass Road Public Relations for review without compensation.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Almost Heaven Blog Tour

Some people say Billy Allman has a heart of gold.  Others say he's a bit odd.  The truth is, they're all right.  He's a hillbilly genius - a collector, a radio whiz - and he can make the mandolin sing.  Though he dreams of making an impact on the world beyond the hills and hollers of Dogwood, West Virginia, things just always seem to go wrong.

But however insignificant Billy's life seems, it has not gone unnoticed.  Malachi is an angel sent to observe and protect Billy.  Though it's not his dream assignment, Malachi always follows orders.  And as Billy's story unfolds, Malachi slowly begins to see the bigger picture - that each step Billy takes is a note added to a beautiful song that will forever change the lives of those who hear it.

It took me a little bit to get into Almost Heaven once I started reading it.  The story seemed to drag in places.  But once I got about halfway through, I started enjoying it more.  The story took some twists and turns I wasn't expecting, especially when it involved Heather, Callie and Natalie but they were very interesting.   I found myself wondering how different situations would work out and Chris Fabry did not disappoint.  This was a good book.

Chris Fabry is a Christy Award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio.  He is the author of 70 books for children and adults, including Dogwood and June Bug.  Chris and his wife, Andrea, are the parents of nine children and live in Arizona.  Visit his website at

This book was provided by Glass Road Public Relations for review without compensation. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Heaven is for Real Blog Tour

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous surgery.  What they weren't expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed -- a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy's trip to heaven and back.

When I first saw the notice about this book, I was skeptical.  I thought, "Not ANOTHER book about Heaven."  Don't get me wrong.  I am excited that one day I will do go Heaven and see my Savior.  My concern was that the book would be a "feel good" book that catered to all religions and faiths.  Also, since it was written about a child's trip, I was concerned about how I would react to the circumstances that enabled him to make the trip to Heaven.

Once I got the book and started reading it, I was hooked.  The details Colton gives are amazing.  He was almost four years old when he had his surgery.  He was Andrew's age and was talking about things that four year olds don't know and aren't concerned with.  He gave detailed descriptions of Heaven that exactly matched scriptures in the bible (he didn't know how to read at the time).  He talked with people who had died before he was born. One of these was his sister that had been miscarried at two months gestation.  Another was his great-grandfather who died when Todd, Colton's dad, was a boy.  Colton was also concerned that people knew how much God loved them and that they knew Jesus as their Savior.

This book is awesome and I highly recommend it to everyone.  It is an easy read with short chapters and interesting details.

Todd Burpo is a pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan, a wrestling coach, a volunteer fireman, and he operates a garage door company with his wife, Sonja, who is also a children's minister, busy pastor's wife, and mom.  Colton, now an active 11-year old, has an older sister Cassie and a younger brother Colby.  The family lives in Imperial, Nebraska.

Lynn Vincent is the New Your Times bestselling writer of Same King of Different as Me and Going Rogue: An American Life.  The author or co-author of nine books, Vincent is a senior writer for WORLD magazine and a lecturer in writing at the King's College in New York City.  She lives in San Diego, California.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publisher for review without compensation.