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?

www.biblegateway.com


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Promise Me This Book Review


SUMMARY:  One man's promise.  Another man's sacrifice.  Both would change her life forever.
     Michael Dunnagan was never suppose to sail on Titanic, nor would he have survived if not for the courage of Owen Allen.  Determined to carry out his promise to care for Owen's relative in American and his younger sister, Annie, in England, Michael works hard to strengthen the family's New Jersey garden and landscaping business.
     Annie Allen doesn't care what Michael promised Owen.  She only knows that her brother is gone - like their mother and father - and the grief is enough to swallow her whole.  As Annie struggles to navigate life without Owen, Michael reaches out to her through letters.  In time, as Annie begins to lay aside her anger that Michael lived when Owen did not, a tentative friendship takes root and blossoms into something neither expected.
     Just as Michael saves enough money to bring Annie to America, the First World War erupts in Europe  When Annie's letters mysteriously stop, Michael risks everything to fulfill his promise - and find the woman he's grown to love - before she's lost forever.

REVIEW:  Promise Me This was sent to me by Tyndale House for being the eighteenth comment on the eighteenth day on a Facebook post asking what book we were currently reading.  I was not asked to review it but, because I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to let everyone know my thoughts.
     This book is set in the early part of the twentieth century around the sinking of the Titanic and during the First World War. Annie is left behind as her brother seeks a better life for them both with family in New Jersey.  Unfortunately, he dies in the ship's sinking.  Michael, a young man Owen befriends, makes a promise to help Annie and his family.  Michael struggles with the sacrifices Owen makes for him during the short time they are together.  Annie struggles with being left behind after the deaths of her parents first, then Owen's.  After her very controlling aunt suffers a stroke, Annie moves in with her aunt's lawyer and his family, the Spragues, who continually show her what being part of a real family is like.  Michael and Annie find comfort in each others letters at first then slowly develop deeper feelings.  When Annie is forced to cut off all contact with her "foster" family and her family in America, including Michael, and send to the worst area of fighting in France after her aunt regains most of her health back, Annie sacrifices herself to protect those she loves.
     Time and time again you see sacrifices being made.  Owen sacrifices for Annie, Michael, and his aunt and uncle.  Michael sacrifices for Maggie, Daniel, and Annie.  Annie sacrifices for Michael, Maggie and Daniel, and the Spragues.  You even see it in the brief mentioning of Annie and Owen's father.   Again and again, these characters show us and each other the Ultimate Sacrifice: the sacrifice Christ made on the cross for us.

     You can also see unconditional love all over this book.  Owen shows it to Michael.  Maggie and Daniel show it to Michael and him to them.  Owen and Michael both show it to Annie, as do the Spragues.  Annie shows it to Michael, Maggie and Daniel and the Spragues.   Of course, the Ultimate display of unconditional love referenced throughout this story is the love Christ has towards us.
     This is a great book which I highly recommend.

This Advanced Reader Copy was provided by Tyndale House Publishers as a prize in a contest.  I was not required to write a review for it.

Cathy Gohlke is the two-time Christy Award-winning author of William Henry Is A Fine Name and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, which was also chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2008.  Cathy and her husband live on the banks of the Laurel Run in Elkton, Maryland.  Visit her website at www.cathygohlke.com.

Friday, December 9, 2011

More Information on the book The Christmas Singing


 The Christmas Singing makes the perfect gift for Christmas...Click on the links below for more information about this book.

Check out this video:
Read the first chapter.

You can also get 30% off and free shipping on The Christmas Singing (and any other title) when you use promo code CHRISTMAS11 at checkout on WaterBrookMultnomah.com. The coupon code expires on December 20th, 2011.

Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Journey to Christmas Video Series Review


SUMMARY:  Follow the journey of five diverse people as they experience the Holy Land for the first time. Their goal? To discover . .
THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS.

     Guided by local Bible scholar Nizar Shaheen, you will see Jesus' birth unfold through the eyes of each member on this real-life pilgrimage as they search for answers to their questions about the Nativity account.  Through solid Bible teaching, stunning scenery, and a reality show format, you'll witness the spiritual transformation of the travelers - and maybe experience it yourself - as they travel the perilous paths that Mary and Joseph would have taken.
     Featuring commentary from Bible experts Hugh Ross, Paul Maier, Craig Evans, Claire Pfann, and Stephen Pfann.
     Includes a four-session study with discussion material and tools (in PDF format) for promoting your event.  Perfect for Advent, small groups and church events.

REVIEW:   This video series was interesting.  It is not for children.  They would become bored very quickly and would not be interested in the historical, biblical, and geographic information that help these five people in their journey.  There are four sessions, each one approximately 45 minutes long.
     Five strangers from varied backgrounds and for different reasons spend a few weeks in the Holy Land at Christmas time trying to find the true meaning of Christmas while experiencing the sights where Jesus was born, lived and died.  They experience living in a Bedouin tent during a brutal sandstorm like the Wise Men did; participate in daily activities Mary and Joseph would have done as they explored Nazareth; and traveled part of the difficult route Jesus' parents would have taken on their way to Bethlehem.
     The stories of the participants were not neatly tied up with a bow at the end of the series.  Some did not find everything they were looking for; other had their faiths strengthened and their lives were changed because of this journey.  Most felt that Christmas has become everything Jesus taught against and that everyone was caught up in all the hoopla.  We have lost our focus on the true reason for the season.
     I loved seeing the different places and hearing about individuals involved in the Christmas story.  I think it would be perfect for a Sunday school class, a bible study group, or someone wanting more from Christmas.

This video series was provided by Tyndale House Publishers for review without compensation.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Barcelona Calling


SUMMARY:  How far will Annie go to become famous?
     Annie Shaw's dreams are far from simple:  become a famous author and fall in love.  But she's in trouble after quitting her day job to write full-time.  While her first novel was successful, her second novel tanked; and her new editor wants her to rewrite the ending of her latest work to ensure this one is more successful.  In order to pursue love, fame, and the elusive "bestseller," Annie relocates to Chicago, acquires a rambunctious dog, and participates in antics better suited to a television reality show than real life.
     Can Annie's best friends help her achieve her dreams of fame without destroying her future?  And what about the love she gave up in Barcelona who wants her to return to him?

REVIEW:  When I selected this book, the only information I had was the title and cover.  I was unable to find a description regarding what it was about.  That said, the title is a little misleading.  Thinking the book was about a woman who traveled to Barcelona and, maybe, fell in love, I selected it.  Instead, Barcelona is mentioned in reference to Annie's previous trip and the setting of her latest book.  The story is instead about Annie, who takes her friends advice to try to get her name and her latest book just published noticed by Oprah.  She does crazy (and stalkerish) type things like adopting a dog just so she can go to a dog salon once frequented by the talk show host; setting up sandwich boards and her car emblazoned with the mocked cover of her current book in progress outside of Oprah's gated estate; and getting a seat (with her dog) on a show staring Oprah's favorite chef.  Every time it turns out extremely bad for Annie: lawsuits for damages to the dog salon, tickets from the Chicago Police Department for violation of all kinds of laws; getting her face on television for setting herself on fire during the chef's show.
     It took a LONG time for me to get into this book.  At one point, I considered just skipping to the end because I felt like the author put in WAY too many details into the story.  Plus, I was bored stiff.  Well over halfway through the book (around the time she flies to Denver to talk to her publisher about her current book), it started to get a little more interesting.  The story seemed to move along better.  As for a recommendation, all I can honestly say is you may want to read this book yourself to see what you think about it.  It was not one of my favorites.  Sorry.

This book was provided by Zondervan for review without compensation.

Jane Kirkpatrick is the author of twenty books and is a two-time winner of the WILLA Literary Award. Her first novel, A Sweetness to the Soul, won the Western Heritage Wrangler Award, an honor given to writers such as Barbara Kingsolver and Larry McMurtry.  For twenty-six years she "homesteaded" with her husband Jerry, on a remote ranch in Eastern Oregon.  She now lives with Jerry and her two dogs and one cat on small acreage in Central Oregon, while she savors the value of friendships over fame.

For Men Only Book Review

 A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women

SUMMARY:  Finally, you CAN understand her!
     Women:  complicated and impossible to understand?  Have you given up trying to "get" the woman in your life?  If so, you are in for a pleasant eye-opener:  She can be understood.  Even better - you can make her happy.  Which will make you happy.
     The bestselling author of For Women Only teams with her husband to offer men the key to unlocking the mysterious ways of women.  Through Shanti and Jeff Feldhahn's national scientific survey and hundred of interviews, For Men Only reveals what you can do today to improve your relationship.  And believe it or not, as Jeff assures men, "It's not splitting the atom."
     What makes her tick?  What is she really asking (but not actually saying)?  Take the guesswork out of trying to please your wife or girlfriend and begin loving her in the way she needs.  Easily, For Men Only is a straightforward map that will lead you straight into her heart.

REVIEW:  Having previously read Shanti's book For Women Only about men, I was interested in what she and her husband had to say about women.  Women, you NEED to get your husbands/boyfriends to read this book.  I would even go as far to suggest you read it too.  It is awesome and funny!!  Jeff tells it like it is and lays everything out in an easy-to-read manner.  Their research is extensive and their surveys were done by a professional team of analysts.  Even though it is written primarily for men, I learned a lot on why I think the way to do and that I'm not alone.  I would suggest everyone engaged to be married read this book during their pre-marital counseling.  It could save a lot of marriages and couples a lot of grief.

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

Shaunti Feldhahn is a naturally syndicated newspaper columnist, speaker, and the bestselling author of For Women OnlyJeff Feldhahn is the cofounder and CEO of tech company World2one and also an attorney specializing in corporate and nonprofit law.  Jeff and Shaunti are active leaders in their Atlanta-area church, and as parents of young children, enjoy every minute of living life at warp speed.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Names of God Bible Book Review


SUMMARY:  Open the door to a more intimate relationship with God.
     One of the best ways to get to know God on a deeper level is to know His names and titles as revealed in Scripture.  Now the bestselling author of Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus uncovers the richness of God's character and love found in His names right within the Bible text.
    The Names of God Bible restores more than 10,000 occurrences of specific names of God - like Yahweh, El Shadday, El Elyon, and Adonay - to help readers connect with the Hebrew roots of their Christian faith and experience a deeper understanding of God's character. Perfect for personal study, prayer, and reflection, The Names of God Bible includes these special features:
  • More than 10,000 names and titles of God restored to their Hebrew equivalent and printed in brown ink to stand out within the biblical text.
  • Names of God reading paths lead readers to the next reference of the name so they can pray and study the names of God throughout Scripture.
  • Name Pages feature:
    • background information associated with the most important names and titles of God.
    • key Scripture passages in which the name is revealed.
    • specific Bible promises connected to each of the featured names.
  • Calling God by Name sidebars shed light on the relationship between biblical people and the specific names they have called God. 
REVIEW:  This bible is one I have looked and hoped for since I first started seriously studying the Scriptures.  Written in a very easy-to-read translation (God's Word), The Names of God Bible helps the reader understand more about the God they are searching for and hope to know better.  At first, it can be a little intimidating to read passages like Genesis 1:1-3:  "In the beginning Elohim created heaven and earth.  The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water.  The Ruach Elohim was hovering over the water.  Then Elohim said, 'Let there be light!'  So there was light."  But, in the introduction to the book and at the front of the bible, the author includes the Hebrew name, the meaning and pronunciation. Now it is easier to understand what the original Hebrew writers were trying to convey when they wrote about the God they worshiped and served.
     When it comes to the names of Jesus, the author explains in the Introduction that His names and titles remain in the English translation.  In order to put them in their original Greek, it might make it harder for everyday people to read and understand them.  She does include Jesus' Hebrew name Yeshua to "emphasize the connection between the Testaments."
     This bible has been endorsed by Rev. Billy Graham, Josh McDowell, and Dr. D. James Kennedy, all very knowledgeable and trust-worthy Christian authors in their own right.
     This is a wonderful resource to have to read on its own or within a bible study.  I highly recommend it!!

This bible was provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for review without compensation.

Ann Spangler is an award-winning writer whose fascination with the Bible has resulted in books that have opened the Bible to a wide range of readers.  She is the author or coauthor of several bestselling books, including Praying the Names of God, Women of the Bible, and Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus.  Together, her books have sold 3 million copies.  She has help senior positions at two Christian publishing houses and lives with her two daughters in Michigan.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Christmas Singing Book Review


SUMMARY:  Gideon Beiler has loved Mattie Eash since they were children.  But when faced with unexpected circumstances, he makes up an excuse to end their engagement.  He doesn't want to lie to her, but he believes that teling Mattie the truth will be more hurtful.
     Brokenhearted, Mattie moves from Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania, to Ohio where she pursues her longitme dream of becoming a cake decorator.  She finds a new beau - a man offering the secure relationship Gideon has denied her.
     When Mattie is forced to return to Apple Ridge, she and Gideon must confront the suffering created by his dishonesty - and address the powerful emotions that continue to bind the two childhood friends.

REVIEW:  If you are looking for a short uplifting read, this is the book you are looking for.  Mattie was hurt deeply when Gideon broke off their engagement.  Moving in with her brother, she makes a new life in Ohio and fulfills a lifelong dream.  Mattie's cakes are a huge hit and her business takes off.  After an accident burns down her store, she is forced to return home and face Gideon again.  This is a great story of forgiveness and friendship.  She also weaves in the rest of Beth and Jonah's story, along with Lizzy and Omar, from The Sound of Sleigh Bells.  Awesome book!

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

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.  Her ability to authentically portray her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families.  Cindy lives in Georgia with her family.  Visit her website at CindyWoodsmall.com.
 

Remembering Christmas Book Review


SUMMARY:  Can one Christmas change a life forever?
     Rick Denton lives his life on his terms.  He works hard, plays hard, and answers to no one.  So when his mother calls begging him to come home after his stepfather has an aneurysm, Rick is more than a little reluctant.  What was suppose to be just a couple of days helping out at the family bookstore turns into weeks of cashing out old ladies and dealing with the homeless guy who keeps hanging around the store.  The one bright spot is the lovely and intriguing young woman who works at his side each day.
     As Christmas nears, Rick's old life beckons, the hurts from his past loom large, and the decisions he makes will determine more than just where he spends Christmas Eve.
     With skillful storytelling, Dan Walsh creates a Christmas story that will have you remembering every good and perfect gift of Christmas.

REVIEW:  Rick does not want to be in Florida helping his mom with the family bookstore while his step-dad is in the hospital. He would rather be skiing with his friends.  Rick doesn't like Art, his step-dad, and doesn't want anything to do with his religion.  But, with the help of Andrea, the woman helping him in the store, he gradually begins to see that Art isn't such a bad person after all and Art's religion is more of a relationship with Christ.  I love the way the author wraps up the book, tying up all the loose ends, and giving us some surprises along the way.  This is a great book that is perfect any time of the year.
     Set in November/December 1980, the author reminds us of "a time not so long ago in 1980 when IBM had not yet launched the personal computer; the Boombox was hot; Reality TV was unheard of; MTV was just launching; Ronald Reagan was president; the Winter Olympics witnessed the USA team defeat the favored Soviet team and win the gold." 

Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Dan Walsh is the award-wining author of The Unfinished Gift, The Homecoming, and The Deepest Waters.  A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan serves as a pastor for 25 years.  He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel. For more information on Dan and his books, check out his website at www.DanWalshBooks.com.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Christmas Shoppe Book Review


SUMMARY:  
A small town.  
An eccentric newcomer.  
And an unusual store that is more than meets the eye.

     The small town of Parrish Springs is not quite ready for Matilda Honeycutt.  A strange woman with scraggly hair and jewelry that jangles as she walks, Matilda keeps busy stocking and arranging her new shop on the town's quaint and lovely Main Street.  When rumors start to fly about what might be going on behind the papered-up windows and the locked door, the image-conscious residents start looking for a way to get this woman and her wares out of their town before Christmas.
     But Matilda Honeycutt has a little something for each one of them sitting on those cluttered shelves, just waiting to be discovered.

REVIEW:  This is not your typical Christmas story.  Matilda looks like a throwback from the Sixty's.  Her shop looks like a thrift store instead of a Christmas shop.  The business owners in town are all up in arms: some afraid she is going to run them out of business; others afraid she will mar the quaintness and charm of their little Downtown area.  Matilda is only here to bring about healing.  The items on her shelves look like junk but there is one item for each person that speaks to that person's heart, hurts, and hang-ups.  This story teaches us that if we look beyond the outward appearance and peer into the heart and soul of a person, we can begin to understand them.  When we look at our own hurts and pain and recognize where they came from, we can bring about our own healing.  This is a great book.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Melody Carlson is the popular author of more than 200 books, including The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's.  She was recently nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market.  She lives with her husband in Oregon.  More information about Melody and her books can be found on her website at www.MelodyCarlson.com

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Crossing Book Review


SUMMARY:  Imprisoned by memories, Claudia Campbell lives each day in the shadow of a ten-year-old murder.  Who can set her free?
     On the way home from a football game, a decade earlier, a masked gunman opened fire on a Texas school bus.  Cheerleading coach BJ Remington was killed, but her murderer was never found.  Claudia, who had a close friendship with the young, spirited teacher, constantly relives the anguish of that day, caught in one moment in time.  When her husband, the assistant district attorney, becomes determined to uncover the mystery of that tragedy, the secrets buried over the years threaten to tear their family apart.
     Officer Casio Hightower will never forget the day his dreams were destroyed.  A star quarterback with a promising future, Casio was on top of the world - until one bullet changed everything.  He is eager to help Victor Campbell find BJ's killer, the man who shot him.  Maybe solving the case will help silence the demons driving Casio to hurt the woman he loves.
     As the Campbells and Casio teeter on the brink of losing everything, will they be able to discover that what begins at the crossing ends at the cross?

REVIEW:  This book is really good.  About the time I think I have BJ's murderer figured out and who the father of her child is, the story takes another twist.  The ending is nothing like I suspected.  My heart goes out to Claudia, who is suffering from undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  As her husband and Casio reopen BJ's case, Claudia suffers from more and more panic attacks.  If you are looking for a good, keep-you-on-your-toes suspense novel, this may be the book for you.

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

Serita Ann Jakes has been involved in Christian ministry all of her adult life and has served alongside her husband, Bishop T. D. Jakes, throughout their marriage of nearly 30 years.  In addition to raising three sons and two daughters, Mrs. Jakes is Executive Director of the WoMan to Woman Ministries of The Potter's House of Dallas, where her husband is Senior Pastor.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lonestar Angel Book Review


SUMMARY: Eden's hope is rekindled when Clay delivers astounding news:  their daughter has been found.
     Five years ago Eden and Clay Larson's baby was stolen and never found.  Eden blamed herself, Clay lost himself in work.  Their young and rocky marriage ended.  Or so Eden thought.
     Now Eden's moved to a new town.  She's found faith and is trying to rebuild her life.  She's even dating again - a sweet guy who plans to marry her someday.  But then Clay arrives out of the blue and delivers shocking news: they are still married.  What's more, Clay has been searching for Brianna all this time.  And he believes he's found her:  their daughter is in Bluebird, Texas, at a youth ranch.
     To uncover the truth, Eden and Clay sign on as counselors at Bluebird Ranch.  Working together, they rediscover their love for each other.  But danger is closing in - Eden, Clay, and their young charges are in jeopardy.  As they fight to save their family, Eden realizes that God has been fighting for them all along.  And His plans are for a more abundant life than they've dared to hope.

REVIEW:  As Eden searches for her daughter, her past comes back looking for her.  The closer she and Clay get to figuring out which of the girls belongs to them, it looks like someone from her years in foster care or her "new-found" family is involved in her daughter's kidnapping and disappearance.  The story's ending is not predictable.  About the time I thought I had everything figured out, something changed.  The book ended in a surprising but awesome way.  This is a great book and one that kept me turning the pages, not wanting to put it down.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers/Booksneeze for review without compensation.

RITA-finalist Colleen Coble is the author of several best-selling romantic suspense series, including the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series.  She lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

God Makes Lemonade Book Review

True Stories That Sweeten & Inspire

SUMMARY:  Do you know someone who needs some encouragement.?  Perhaps that someone is you.  In God Makes Lemonade you'll read stories from everyday folks - people like you and me who discover unexpected sweetness in the midst of sour circumstances.
     Some of these real-life stories are laugh-out-loud funny, others are sobering, and more than a few will have you reaching for a tissue.  But these true stories all have one thing in common: hope.
     There's no question that life gives us "lemon," like issues with health, employment, and relationships - truly sour circumstances we wouldn't wish on anyone.  But when those lemons become lemonade, it's as refreshing as an ice-cold drink on a hot summer day.

REVIEW:  This book is made up of a bunch of short stories and is very similar to the popular Chicken Soup series.  Like the summary mentions, all of these stories have one thing in common:  hope.  You see the struggles families and individuals go through with the death of a family member, a serious injury or illness, the birth or death of a child, etc.  You also see how God comes through the sour spots in life, when you feel like you can't be squeezed any more and makes something completely sweet and refreshing.  This book is good to read all at one time or in short snippets and is very enjoyable.

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

Don Jacobson's twenty-five years in publishing included serving as the president and owner of Multnomah Publishers, where he oversaw the production of more than 1000 titles and the sale of more than 100 million books.  Now Don and his wife, Brenda - who has been mentoring mothers for more than a decade - are excited to encourage readers everywhere with God Makes Lemonade and support single moms through the LemonAid Foundation.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jefferson Burke and the Secret of the Lost Scroll Book Review


SUMMARY:  Can a 2,000-year-old manuscript change the course of the world?
     Does a scroll written by Joseph - the earthly father of Jesus - reveal evidence that Christ's birth was not divine?
     History professor Jefferson Burke is skeptical, but his intellectual curiosity and a murder charge force him into a dramatic chase that tests his body, mind, and heart.  The former-college-athlete-turned-college-professor is dogged every step of the way by billionaire Bruno Krueger, whose ultimate desire is to destroy the nation of Israel.  And Krueger is sure the scroll is the key.
     In this battle of good versus evil, Burke finds a remarkable ally in FBI agent Lisa Marie Cho.  Their life-or-death trek takes them from an Illinois prairie to an ancient monastery in war-torn Afghanistan.  As Burke and Cho dodge bullets, they unravel a myriad of clues that date back to the beginning of Christianity, linking a long-dead monk, King Henry VIII, Thomas Jefferson, and Adolph Hitler to the words written by a first-century carpenter - words the Vatican feels might transform the Christian faith from a religion to a philosophy.
     Will these words that the ancient church tried to destroy, Thomas Jefferson once hid, and Hitler wanted to reveal change your view of the Christian faith?  You won't know until you've turned the final page!

REVIEW:  This book is like Indiana Jones meets Robert Langdon (from The Da Vinci Code) meets Jonathan Weber (from The Constantine Codex).  Action, suspense, mystery, and history (plus a little romance) - this book has it all.  The chapters are short but they are packed full.  The story moves quickly but not too fast so the reader doesn't get lost.  The author keeps the reader in suspense until the very last page about the contents of the mysterious scroll (and it is SO worth it!).  This is a great book.  I would recommend this for anyone and everyone!!

This book was provided by Zondervan for review without compensation.

Ace Collins is the author of more than sixty books, including several best-sellers:  Stories behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, Stories behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, The Cathedrals, and Lassie: A Dog's Life.  Based in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, he continues to publish several new titles each year, including a series of novels, the first book of which is Farraday Road.  Ace has appeared on scores of television shows and networks, including CBS This Morning, NBC Nightly News, CNN, Good Morning America, The History Channel, A&E, and Entertainment Tonight.

The Opposite of Art Book Review


SUMMARY:  A great artist is cast into the icy Harlem River by a hit-and-run driver.  His heart stops, and he sees something that defies description.  Presumed dead by all who knew him and obsessed with the desire to paint the inexpressible, he embarks on a pilgrimage to seek help from holy men around the globe.  But is it possible to see eternity without becoming lost within it?  After a quarter of a century, when the world begins to whisper that he may be alive, two people come looking for the artist:  the daughter he never knew existed and the murderer who hit him on the bridge all those years ago.

REVIEW:  Ridler's pursuit of painting "Glory" takes him all over the world, talking to holy men and trying to understand the different religions in hopes he can capture what it was he saw while in the river.  After many years of study and questions, each times he becomes disillusioned and is still unable to put this image to canvas.  While he is off in his pursuit, his daughter becomes a famous art critic concerning his previous paintings (in his death, his painting from before have become major and very expensive collectables).
    The way the author shows the depth of Ridler's religious study in his pursuit of the unattainable and how each time the "religion" fails him is different from anything else I've read.  One thing I found troubling was when Ridler chose to study Christianity, no mention of Jesus is made except in reference to the Shroud of Turin.  His focus was on the art of the images of God, not the study of Christianity itself.  I like how the author brought the people in the story full circle.  This was an interesting book, not one I normally read but good.

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

Athol Dickson is the author of seven novels and the bestselling memoir The Gospel According to Moses.  His novels of suspense and magical realism have been honored with three Christy Awards and an Audie Award and have been compared to the work of Octavia Butler (by Publishers Weekly) and Flannery O'Connor (by The New York Times).  He and his wife live in Southern California.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shadows on the Sand Book Review

A Seaside Mystery

SUMMARY:  She serves him breakfast at her cafe' every morning ... but he never seems to notice her.  
     Carrie Carter's small cafe' in Seaside, New Jersey, is populated with a motley crew of locals ... although Carrie only has eyes for Greg Barnes.  He's recovering from a vicious crime that three years ago took the lives of his wife and childern - and from the year he tried to drink his reality away.  While her heart does a happy Snoopy dance at the sight of him, he never seems to notice her. 
     When Carrie's dishwasher is killed and her young waitress disappears, Greg finds himself drawn into helping Carrie solve the mysteries ... and into her life.  But when Carrie's own painful past becomes all too present, her carefully constructed world begins to sink.  
     Will the fragile relationship she's building with Greg implode from the weight of the baggage they both carry?

REVIEW:  This is a good book.  I like Carrie's character.  As a sixteen-year old, she runs away with her ten-year old sister from a drunk mother and her horrible boyfriends to Seaside.  She takes full responsibility for Lindsay, working as a waitress then becoming owner of Carrie's Cafe'.  She is strong but loving towards her customers and friends.  I like how the author shows Carrie's faith towards others, a quiet but secure faith that she relies on when things get tough.  Even though the relationship between Carrie and Greg seems to take off abruptly, I like how it evens out in the end. 
     The only problem I had with this book is that it switches from first person to third person quite often.  When the author is writing for Carrie, she writes in the first person and you can see her thoughts and concerns.  When the author switches to Greg, Harl or one of the other characters, it is written in the third person.  It took me a bit to get use to these changes.  In my opinion, it would have been better just to write all of it in the third person with insights to the character's thoughts, feelings, and ideas instead of switching back and forth.
 
This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for review without compensation.

Gayle Roper, a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, is the multi award-winning, best-selling author of Fatal Deduction and more than forty other books.  She teaches and leads mentoring clinics at writers conferences across the country.  Gayle lives in eastern Pennsylvania.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Necessary Deception Book Review

The Daughters of Bainbridge House

SUMMARY: When young widow Lydia Gale helps a French prisoner obtain parole, she never dreams she will see him again.  But just as the London Season gets under way, the man presents himself in her parlor.  While she should be focused on getting her headstrong younger sister prepare for her entrance into Society, Lady Gale finds herself preoccupied with the mysterious Frenchman.  Is he a spy or a suitor?  Can she trust him?  Or is she putting herself and her family in danger?
      Discover a world of elegance and intrigue, balls and masquerades as Laurie Alice Eakes whisks you into the drawing rooms of London Society on this exciting quest to let the past stay in the past - and let love guide the future.

REVIEW:  Things I liked about this book were the mixture of spies, mysterious visitors, blackmail and London's High Society.  Having the storyline extend over a series of months instead of days made it seem more realistic.  The characters were likable and believable.  Lydia's struggles with her family were ones I could relate to - a headstrong sister who doesn't care about the rigid rules London Society and the era place on women; another sister's struggles with wanting to stretch her wings and problems with her fiance; an ailing mother and absent but overbearing father - all while trying to figure out her role in the spy game she was tricked into playing and wondering about her feelings for Christien. The ending was good and the spy was not at all who I suspected.
     This is the first book in "The Daughters of Bainbridge House" series.  It will be interesting to see what becomes of Cassandra and her fiance, Honore and her high spirits, and Lydia and Christien and how their stories play out.

Available October 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Laurie Alice Eakes is the author of Lady in the Mist as well as several other novels.  She won a National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007 for Family Guardian.  Laurie Alice writes full time from her home in Texas, where she lives with her husband and sundry dogs and cats.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

No Wonder They Call Him The Savior Book Review

Discover Hope in the Unlikeliest Place

SUMMARY:  The Cross.
It rests on the timeline of history like a compelling diamond ...
its tragedy summons all sufferers ...
its absurdity attracts all cynics ...
its hope lures all searchers ...
Far more than a gold-plated symbol of religious belief, the cross is the centerpiece of the Christian faith - the meeting place of time and eternity, where God and man encounter each other.
     Max Lucado leads you through the drama of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ ... bringing to life Peter's denial, Pilate's hesitancy, and John's loyalty.  Relive the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion, from the foggy garden of Gethsemane to the incandescent room of the resurrection. 
     Jesus' darkest hours.  Mankind's highest hope.  They hang together on the cross for all eternity, leaving no doubt why they call him the Savior.

REVIEW:  Max Lucado has hit the ball out of the ballpark again.  I have the gift book copy of this book and was interested in the complete novel.  Infusing humor, seriousness, and stories that help you comprehend even the most complex ideas and problems, the author makes the cross and all its complexities easier to understand. He helps you make sense of why Jesus endured this horrible death and how those who followed Him found grace, hope and mercy when they failed miserably.  Get this book!!!  You will NOT be disappointed!!

This book was originally released by Multnomah Books in 1996 and has been re-released by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers (Booksneeze) for review without compensation.

With more than 100 million books in print, Max Lucado is one of America's most widely read authors.  He and his wife, Denalyn, live in San Antonio, Texas, where he serves the Oak Hills Church.  Visit his website at MaxLucado.com

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Diary of a Teenage Girl [Becoming Me] Book Review

Caitlin No.1

SUMMARY:  January 1, 2000  10 p.m.    "I used to think that being fifteen was bad...  Well, let me tell you, being sixteen isn't exactly a walk through the mall either.  And so far, I think today's been about the worst day of my entire life..."
     Follow Caitlin O'Conner, a girl much life yourself, as she makes her way from New Year's to the first day of summer -- surviving a challenging home life, changing friends, school pressures, an identity crisis, and the uncertainties of "true love."
     You'll cry with Caitlin as she experiences heartache, and cheer for her as she encounters a new reality in her life:  God.  See how rejection by one group can -- incredibly -- sometimes lead you to discover who you really are...

REVIEW:  This book is written as diary entries, giving you a glimpse of Caitlin's personal thoughts and observations.  You see her struggles with friends and boyfriends, feel her anger towards her dad, and experience her confusion about doing the right thing and wondering exactly what that is.  She struggles with God and His role in her life; wrestling with her decision to follow Christ and how it impacts her actions (and how it doesn't).  Caitlin's "diary entries" reminded me of my struggles in high school and how I wished I had God in my life at that time to give me more direction.  This is a great book for teenagers and their parents.  I think it could open doors that might otherwise be closed between them.  This is the first book in the five book series on Caitlin O'Conner.  For a list of all the Diary of a Teenage Girl series (I've read one other but there are sixteen total), check out Melody Carson's website.

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

Melody Carlson is an award-winning author of more than sixty books for teens, women, and children.  She enjoys an active lifestyle of hiking, skiing, and boating in the beautiful Oregon Cascade Mountains with her husband, two sons, and a chocolate Lab.  For more information about Melody or her books, check out her website at www.MelodyCarlson.com.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Measure of Katie Calloway Book Review


SUMMARY:  Her heart seeks sanctuary in the deep woods.  But will trouble find her even here?
     The Civil War has ended, but in Katie Calloway's Georgia home, conflict still rages.  To protect herself and her young brother from her violent and unstable husband, she flees north, finding anonymity and sanctuary as the cook in a north woods lumber camp.  The camp owner, Robert Foster, wonders if the lovely woman he's hired has the grit to survive the never-ending work and harsh conditions of a remote pine forest in winter.  Katie wonders if she can keep her past a secret from a man she is slowly growing to love.
     With grace and skill, Serena Miller brings to life a bygone era.  From the ethereal, snowy forest and the rowdy shanty boys to the warm cookstove and mouth-watering apple pie, every detail is perfectly rendered, transporting you to a time of danger and romance.

REVIEW:  Katie is much stronger than she appears.  She and her brother Ned leave with the clothes on their backs, a little money and a horse when she finds a trap set by her husband to kill her.  Katie finds work as a cook at a lumber camp in the deep woods of Michigan, where she has to deal with a cantankerous cook and making numerous large meals to feed all the men, all the while praying her husband doesn't find her.  She stands up for herself when needed but quickly helps out those in need at the camp and a lone Indian woman and baby.  Katie is the type of woman we all need to strive to be:  strong but soft, generous but not willing to be run over.  This is a great book.

Available October 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Serena Miller is the author of Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio, as well as numerous articles for periodicals such as Woman's World, Guideposts, Reader's Digest, Focus on the Family, Christian Woman, and more.  She lives on a farm in southern Ohio. Check out her website at www.SerenaBMiller.com.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Falling to Pieces Book Review

A Shipshewana Amish Mystery

SUMMARY:  In this first book of a three-book series, author Vanetta Chapman brings a fresh twist to the popular Amish fiction genre.  She blends the familiar components consumers love in Amish books - faith, community, simplicity, family - with an innovative who-done-it plot that keeps readers guessing right up to the last stitch in the quilt.
     When two women - one Amish, one English - each with different motives, join forces to organize a successful online quilt auction, neither expects nor wants a friendship.  As different as night and day, Deborah and Callie are uneasy partners who simply want to make the best of a temporary situation.  But a murder, a surprising prime suspect, a stubborn detective, and the town's reaction throw the two women together, and they form an unlikely alliance to solve a mystery and catch a killer.
     Set in the well-known Amish community of Shipshewana, Falling to Pieces will attract both devoted fans of the rapidly-growing Amish fiction genre, as well as those who are captivated by the Amish way to life.

REVIEW:  Callie just wanted to get away from the memories and stress caused by her husband's death, the loss of their child, and her job.  Going through and packing up the quilt shop her Aunt Daisy left her in Shipshewana seemed the perfect escape.  Deborah, Melinda and Esther needed Callie to keep the shop open and sell their quilts so they would have extra money for expenses caused by a husband's death and the illness of a child.  Instead, a murder causes the friendship of Deborah and Callie to develop, which will be needed when things get rough.  
     When I got this book, I wasn't sure what to expect.  An Amish Mystery sounded interesting and it was.  There is not a lot of gore that is so popular nowadays but a lot of suspense and trying to figure out who did it and if and when they would be caught.  I really enjoyed this book and, like it says in the summary, it keeps you guessing right up to the end.  If you like a good mystery and/or you like the Amish genre of books, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.  I can't wait to read the other two books.  I already have possible plot lines and relationships forming in my mind.

This Advance Reader Copy was provided by Zondervan for review without compensation.
Vannetta Chapman holds a BA and MA degree in English and has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups.  She published an Amish novel with Abington Press called A Simple Amish Christmas.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Deeply Devoted

SUMMARY:  She is staking her future on a man she's never met.  Can she learn to love him?

     When Catharine Olsen leaves Holland for Wyoming as a mail-order bride, she brings some extra baggage with her:  two sisters, her mother's set of Blue Willow china, and a tragic past.  As she steps off the train, Peter Andersen is glad to see that she is everything her letters showed her to be.  But he is a bit perturbed by her unexpected companions.  How will he support them all?  And what other secrets might Catharine be keeping from him?
     Filled with sweet romance and vivid characters, Deeply Devoted highlights a clash of cultures as a highborn European and a simple wheat farmer learn to love one another and trust God with the past - and the future.

REVIEW:  Catharine goes through a lot of changes in this story.  After she loses her parents when their ship goes down at sea, she is left to raise her two sisters and deal with the loss of the family shipping business.  Once living in elegance in Amsterdam, she moves to Wyoming to marry a wheat farmer she's only met through letters.  Catharine was raised with servants and now has to learn how to cook, clean, garden and help her husband with the chores around the farm.  Instead of complaining about her losses and all the upheaval of her life, Catharine digs in and does her best to adapt to her new surrounding.  One thing I didn't like in the book (and it is just a personal preference) is when problems arose between Peter and Catharine, they didn't discuss them with each other, which caused even bigger problems.  They both wanted to wait until "the timing was better."  Other than this, I thought this was a great book.

Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Maggie Brendan is the author of No Place for a Lady, The Jewel of His Heart, and A Love of Her Own.  A member of the American Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, and Georgia Romance Writers, Maggie lives in Georgia.  Visit her at www.MaggieBrendan.com.   

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Harvest of Grace Book Review

An Ada's House Novel

SUMMARY:  Reeling from an unexpected betrayal, Sylvia makes a painful mistake that forces her to seek work far from her family.  Can she find relief from the echoes of her past...or will they shape her future forever?
     Although Sylvia Fisher recognizes that more Old Order Amish women her age spend their hours managing a household and raising babies, she has just one focus - tending and nurturing the herd on her family's dairy farm.  But when a dangerous connection with an old beau forces her to move far from home, she must concentrate on a new start and pour her energy into reviving a debt-ridden farm.  
     After months in rehab, Aaron Blank returns home to sell his Daed's failing farm and move his parents into an easier lifestyle.  Two things stand in his way:  The father who stubbornly refuses to recognize that Aaron has changed and the determined new farmhand his parents love like a daughter.  Her influence on Aaron's parents could ruin his plans to escape the burdens of farming and build a new life.
     Can Aaron and Sylvia find common ground?  Or will their unflinching efforts toward opposite goals blur the bigger picture - one revealing the path to forgiveness, glimpses of grace, and the promise of love?

REVIEW:  This is the third and last book in the Ada's House series but it more than lives up to the previous stories.  Sylvia steps out of the traditional Old Order Amish woman's role to take care of her family's dairy cows.  Taught and encouraged by her grandfather, she hopes to continue making improvements and to make the farm more profitable.   Sylvia's father is less supportive, hoping she will marry and settle into a more traditional role.  When she turns down her suitor's proposal for marriage, Elam marries Sylvia's sister.  For these reasons and more, Sylvia leaves to work on the Blank farm to work and, inadvertently help heal Aaron's relationship with his family and fall in love.
     The stories of Cara and Ephraim and Lena and Grey are concluded.  After much struggling, Cara is able to show God's love, grace and mercy to her father, seeing how deeply God can heal old wounds. 
     This is an awesome follow-up to the other two books The Hope of Refuge and The Bridge of Peace.  I love how the author weaves her stories together and resolving seemingly impossible problems.  I highly recommend this book and this series.

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for review without compensation.
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured on ABC Nightline, in the Wall Street Journal, and in other media.  She is the author of the Sisters of the Quilt series, the Ada's House novels, The Sound of Sleigh Bells and Plain Wisdom.  Cindy lives in Georgia with her family.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Heart Revealed Book Review



SUMMARY:  Her heart is tied to a youthful vow... but can true love set it free?
     Ten years ago, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston, running for her life.  Her emotional wounds have finally faded, and her life is now full of purpose and free from the pain of her past.  But when she falls for her friend Charity's handsome and charming brother, Sean O'Connor, fear and shame threaten to destroy her.  Could Sean and Emma ever have a future together?  Or is Emma doomed to live out the rest of her life denying the only true love she's ever know?
     Filled with intense passion and longing, deception and revelation, A Heart Revealed will hold you in its grip until the very last page.

REVIEW:  This book was AWESOME!!!  I had a really hard time putting it down.  This is second of two phenomenal books I've read recently.  Everything about the characters and the storyline grabbed my attention: Charity's friendship with Emma that is so strong Charity would do anything to help Emma;  the O'Connor family who looks past Emma's physical scars and sees the beautiful woman she is inside; the long standing deep friendship between Sean and Emma;  Emma's determination to keep her wedding vows even though her husband was abusive, lives in a different country, and she hasn't seen him in ten years; and last, but not least, the depth of Emma's relationship with Jesus Christ, knowing He helped heal her of abusive past and will always be there for her.  Emma is probably the best heroine I've ever read (and I've read a TON of books).  Julie Lessman did an outstanding job on this book.  She has written several others about the O'Connor family and I want to try to find them.  I'm sure they are as good as this one.

Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Julie Lessman is the popular author of A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied, as well as A Hope Undaunted, which was one of 2010's Booklist Top Ten Inspirational Fiction winners.  Lessman has garnered several writing awards, including ten Romance Writers of America awards.  She lives in Missouri.  You can contact Julie through her website at www.julielessman.com. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Lancaster County Christmas


SUMMARY:  Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband, Sol, the Christmas gift they have both longed for – news that a baby was on the way.  But as usual, she is disappointed.  The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big Amish family isn’t likely to become a reality.  Will those empty chairs at the table ever be filled? 
     Then a winter storm raging outside blows an impatient young woman and her husband into the Riehl home on Christmas Eve – into a much slower pace of life.
     Both couples are about to find out if they can weather the storm – and if miracles still happen at Christmastime.

REVIEW:  Mattie and Jaime are complete opposites – Mattie is Amish and loves the slow country life.  Jaime is a city girl who impatient, not content to stay where she is. Mattie loves cooking for her family while Jaime barely knows her way around a kitchen.  Mattie wants a large family; Jaime isn’t sure she even wants children.  When a major snowstorm (and an accident with Jaime’s car) throws these women together, along with their husbands, they all learn more about themselves and each other than they ever thought they would.  I love how Jaime and Mattie show each other what is missing in their lives and they learn how to solve some of their own problems.  I really liked how Mattie saw the good in everyone, especially her cousin Zach who was known to be a troublemaker.  Jaime’s husband, C.J., was inspirational too in that he never gave up, whether it came to his junior high students, a Search and Rescue event, or his marriage.  This is a great book.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group for review without compensation.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, and The Search, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace.  Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.  Benedict eventually became the publisher of Christianity Today magazine.  Suzanne is the host of a radio show called Amish Wisdom, and her work has appeared in many magazines. She can be found on line at www.SuzanneWoodsFisher.com or on Facebook Suzanne Woods Fisher.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Deadly Pursuit Book Review



SUMMARY:  A stalker with deadly intent...    A woman who protects children...    An ex-Navy SEAL turned police detective.

     Social worker Alison Taylor has a passion for protecting children.  But now it seems she needs protecting.  When her tormentor's attentions take a violent turn, she calls in reinforcements - her police-detective brother, Cole, and his new partner, ex-Navy SEAL Mitch Morgan.  As her relentless stalker turns up the heat and the danger intensifies, Mitch takes a personal interest in the case.  Because protecting Alison has become more than a job; his future depends on keeping her safe.
     Filled with nail-biting suspense and heart-melting romance, Deadly Pursuit is Irene Hannon's storytelling at its very best.

REVIEW:  This is the second book in the Guardians of Justice series but you would never know it.  The story is wonderfully told and kept me guessing how she was going to pull everything off up until the end.  The characters are very personable and real.  At times, I felt like I was right there in the midst of the story seeing everything unfold.  This book is one of two of the best I've read recently.  I will definitely be on the look-out for her other books and any upcoming ones.  I HIGHLY recommend this book.

Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Irene Hannon is the author of more than 35 novels, including the bestselling Heroes of Quantico series and Fatal Judgment.  Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and two Reviewer's Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine.  She lives in Missouri.  Meet Irene Hannon at www.IreneHannon.com.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck Book Review


SUMMARY:  Unlikely romance is sometimes just an inconvenient marriage away.
     Charlotte Beck may be entering adulthood, but she can’t seem to keep her stubborn, independent spirit from bucking social protocol.  Fed up with her behavior, Charlotte’s father, Daniel, pressures her to settle into a nice marriage, despite knowing she is set on going to college.  Then Daniel sees Charlotte with the handsome but annoying English astronomer Alex Hambly, and everything changes.
     Though Alex and Charlotte can barely stand one another, Daniel offers them a deal they can’t refuse:  if they agree to marry, he will save Alex’s family from financial ruin and grant Charlotte the freedom to go to college.  Reluctantly the couple agrees, but in private they plot to annul the marriage as soon as possible.
     But when Alex’s feelings change and he refuses to dissolve their contract, will Charlotte find a way out of her vows?  Or will she discover that maybe this marriage isn’t so inconvenient after all?

REVIEW:  This book is set in Victorian England and the Colorado Territory, so it took a little bit for me to fully understand why some of Charlotte’s behavior was frowned upon.  But after a little bit, the story and plot line became easier to follow.  I would have liked to have seen a couple of the characters (Martin Hambly, Edwin Beck) more fully developed and included further into the story.  That said, I thought this was a good book and really enjoyed reading it.

This book is the third book in the Women of the West series that discusses Charlotte Beck’s character but all three are meant to stand alone.  The first one, The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper, is one of the first books I reviewed and I loved it.

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

Kathleen Y’Barbo is a best-selling author of more than forty award-winning novels and novellas with nearly one million books in print.  Kathleen is a tenth-generation Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, and the mother of three grown sons and a daughter.  She recently enlisted for a happily-ever-after of her own with her hero in combat boots.  Find out more about Kathleen at www.kathleenybarbo.com.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Confident Heart Book Review

How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises

SUMMARY:  Step out of the shadows of self-doubt to live with a confident heart.

     Ever feel like you're not good enough, smart enough, or valuable enough?  Renee Swope understands.  Even with a great family, a successful career, and a thriving ministry, she still struggled with self-doubt.  Sharing her own personal story, Renee shows you how to rely on the power of God's promises to find the security you need and the confidence you long for!
  • Exchange fear-filled thinking with faith-filled believing
  • Fail forward when life or sin sets you back
  • Embrace your God-given purpose, passion, and personality
  • See beyond who you are to who you are becoming in Christ
Powerful Scripture-based prayers are at the end of each chapter, along with Bible study questions and a chart with thirty-one promises to replace our most common self-doubts.

REVIEW:  This was a very interesting book. Having problems with self-confidence myself, my interest was piqued.  The author lays everything out in a very easy-to-read format.  She interweaves her personal story with stories from the bible and scriptures showing you that it is possible to leave your self-doubt behind and develop a confident heart.  There was one concept I had trouble understanding.  It was on failing forward.  I could relate to being a work in progress and having to move "forward even when I have a setback" but the examples she gave just made me want to condemn myself for my failures (if they have happened to me - which most of them have) and remove any confidence I had instead of whatever it was suppose to accomplish.  Other than that, I could easily apply her principles to my life and become a more confident woman.  Good job!

Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Renee Swope is a popular national conference speaker, P31 radio show co-host, and executive director with Proverbs 31 Ministries.  She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children.  Connect with Renee and sign up for her "7-day Doubt Diet" at www.ReneeSwope.com.

Monday, August 22, 2011

One Call Away Book Review

Answering Life's Challenges with Unshakable Faith

SUMMARY:  What can you do when your well-laid plans fall apart and life takes an unexpected turn?
     Brenda Warner is best known as the outspoken wife of NFL superstar and Dancing with the Stars alum Kurt Warner.  But years earlier, she found herself living through any woman's nightmare: a healthy baby tragically injured in the bathtub; a sudden end to a career she loved; betrayal and divorce; poverty; public humiliation; a deadly natural disaster that destroyed her foundation and shook her to her core.  One shattering phone call at a time, Brenda Warner's life came to resemble little of her dream.
     But each time her plans fell apart, Brenda faced a choice:  to collapse in the face of tragedy or press forward and survive.  She chose to keep going.  In the process, she's learned that the unexpected is only one call away.  Her story provides hope and encouragement for anyone facing life's challenges and shows us that our circumstances don't tell us who we are, nor are they a measure of God's love.  God has a plan for us, even when our plans fail.  Brenda's life is proof that sometimes the best dreams are not the ones we dream, but the ones that come true when we least expect them.

REVIEW:  This book was 351 pages long and it took me just over a day to read.  It was that good and that easy of a read.  Brenda had her life all planned out.  She would join the Marine Corp, marry a Marine and make serving her country a life long career.  But, after her son had an accident in the bathtub, her plans changed and her path would be a very rocky one.  Brenda's faith in God kept her head above water (sometimes barely) during the trying and troubled times.  She also shows us that being the wife of a superstar athlete is not always the perfect life you may think it is.  When she tries to protect her family and straighten out misinformation, the backlash is tremendous.  She will be quick to tell you she is not perfect and, if she could go back, she would do some things differently, but her faith in God and her testimony of what He can do is something she will not ever give up.  This is a great book!
This book was provided by Booksneeze (Thomas Nelson Publishers) for review without compensation.
Brenda Warner is a speaker, philanthropist, and New York Times best-selling author.  She is the mother of seven children, a registered nurse, and a Marine.  But most of all, she is a storyteller who candidly shares her struggles in hopes that her life experiences can help other women.  Brenda is also Vice President of the First Things First Foundation, an organization she co-founded with her husband, NFL player Kurt Warner.  You can learn more about her and the work of her foundation at kurtwarner.org.
Jennifer Schuchmann loves her job of helping incredible people tell their stories.  She is the author or coauthor of eight books, including the New York Times bestseller First Things First by Kurt and Brenda Warner, and is the host of the television program Right Now with Jennifer Schuchmann.  She holds an MBA from Emory University and has an extensive public speaking background.  She and her husband, David, have been married for over twenty years, and together they have a teenage son, Jordan.  You can find her online at wordstothinkabout.com.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blue Skies Tomorrow Book Review


SUMMARY:  In a time of peril, can they find the courage to confront their fears and embrace a love that lasts?

     When her husband becomes a casualty of the war in the Pacific, Helen Carlisle throws herself into volunteering for the war effort to conceal her feelings.  But keeping up appearances as the grieving widow of a hometown hero is taking its toll.  Soon something is going to give.
     Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit.  His stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life - and a convenient excuse to ignore his deepest fear.  When the beautiful Helen catches his eye and captures his heart, he is determined to win her hand.
     But when Ray and Helen are called upon to step out in faith and put their reputations and their lives on the line, can they meet the challenges that face them?  And can their young love survive until blue skies return?
     Filled with drama, daring, and all the romance of the WWII era, Blue Skies Tomorrow is the captivating final book in the popular Wings of Glory series.

REVIEWThe time during World War II has always captured my attention.  The way everyone pulled together, sacrificed what they had to help the fighting men and women overseas, and the obvious love of country is something that is so fascinating.  But, you often do not hear about the fear and conflict going on in the soldiers' lives and the horrible things that go on behind closed doors at home.  Sarah Sundin explores those concepts in this book.  Ray Novak does not want to go into battle because he doesn't know how he feels about killing someone made in God's image, even if it is a hated Nazi.  Helen has kept a horrible secret all of her married life and even after her husband's death.  If the town was to find out how she was treated, would they turn against her, especially since her father-in-law is so well respected?  But Helen and Ray both come to realize that they need to step out and stand up on their own and fight for what they believe in.  Blue Skies Tomorrow is the third in the Wings of Glory series but stands very well on its own.  My heart ached as the author describes what Helen goes through and cheered as she found her way.  I waited anxiously to see what would happen to Ray as he trusts God to show him the way.  This is an awesome book and I can't wait to find the others to read them.

Available in August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Sarah Sundin is the author of A Distant Melody and A Memory Between Us.  Her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England during World War II.  Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.  Read her blog, more interesting facts about her books, and the history behind them at www.SarahSundin.com.  She can also be found on Facebook at Sarah Sundin.

Amish Values for Your Family Book Review


SUMMARY:  What We Can Learn from the Simple Life

     When it comes to strong families that know how to truly enjoy life together, there is much we can learn from the Amish.  Just how do they establish such strong family bonds, such deeply held values, and such wonderful family traditions?  In Amish Values for Your Family, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shares the secrets of Amish family life.  In this inspiring and practical book, you will meet real Amish families that are a lot like yours.  Through their stories you'll discover how to slow down, safeguard family time, raise children who stand strong in their faith, and prioritize what's truly important.
     Amish values like community, forgiveness, simple living, obedience, and more can be your family legacy - without selling your car or changing your wardrobe.

REVIEW:  This book is interesting and inspiring.  Some of the ideas were very obvious but they are ones that we've forgotten in our busy and electronically connected lives.  Simple ideas like helping your neighbors or anyone in need, giving your children responsibilities, observing God's handiwork around you, forgiving those who are mean and hurtful, and that marriages are made before God and are permanent.  The author also included snippets found in a weekly Amish-Mennonite newspaper that were humorous.  I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to families (and singles) wanting more of the simple things in life.

Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs, as well as the Lancaster County Secrets novels.  Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.  Suzanne is the host of a radio show called Amish Wisdom.  She lives in California.  Visit her website at www.SuzanneWoodsFisher.com.  She can also be found on Facebook at Suzanne Woods Fisher.