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?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Holy Guacamole Book Review

SUMMARY:  Nestled along San Diego's coast, the former romantic getaway of the silver screen's most notorious lovers is now the sizzling hacienda of Bonnie Miller's culinary boot camp.  "If you are what you eat, make it hot, spicy, and irresistible," is her motto, and this queen of Southwestern cuisine enjoys quite a savory life: success, fame, and a reputation for the finest palate west of Barcelona.  That is, until a pot-rattling bang causes Trace Domingo, a washed-up sports writer, to crash into her life.  His arrival turns up the heat at the culinary boot camp as Bonnie discovers in life's recipe book, it is not the spices which add the most flavor, but how truly hungry you are.

REVIEW:  This book was not as enjoyable as I thought it would/should be.  It was difficult to follow along at times.  Some of the events that happened seems way out there.  The time line was also hard to follow.  Even though Bonnie says "it is not the spices which add the most flavor, but how truly hungry you are," I wondered how she knew this because she was a self-proclaimed food snob.  Even when she was really hungry during some events that happened in Mexico, she still turned her nose up at the food that was offered.  Trace and a few other characters did add some spice to the book with their outlook on life but I felt the book was still lacking.

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

Dan and Denise Harmer enjoy living in Southern California's "Avocado Capital of the World" where they maintain a laid-back lifestyle as they run a cabinet shop, raise four children, and tend a small ranch.  Okay, maybe it does get a little hectic.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book go to support the ministry of Outside the Bowl.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Leaving Book Review

SUMMARY:  The Bailey Flanigan Series begins with Bailey leaving Bloomington for the adventure of a lifetime.  She has won an audition for the ensemble of a Broadway musical in New York City.  She's determined to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity, but is she really ready to leave family and friends for the loneliness of the city?  And what of Cody Coleman?  His disappearance has Bailey worried about their future and praying that their love can survive.
     In order to be closer to his mother in jail, Cody takes a coaching job in a small community outside Indianapolis.  New friends, distance, and circumstances expose cracks in his relationship with Bailey Flanigan.
     Love, loneliness, big opportunities, and even bigger decisions highlight the first book in the new Bailey Flanigan Series that features members of the popular Baxter family and finally completes the Bailey/Cody story.

REVIEW:  When I first started this book, I was really confused.  It started with a "Baxter Family Newsletter" from the fictional Baxter family (apparently well-known to Mrs. Kingsbury's readers) that was included in my review copy.  Having never read any other books by this author, I didn't know what to do with the seemingly important information.  Adding to my confusion, as I read the book, Bailey's character is the main focus and the Baxter family doesn't make an appearance until much later.  About halfway through the book, though, my confusion dissipated.
     That said, the book is really good.  I was drawn into the characters and the story.  The book can stand on its own but I think it would be helpful to read the other stories, too.  Mrs. Kingsbury does a great job filling in the background and backstory gaps for those who may not be familiar with them or may have forgotten some of the details.  I would have liked more information on the movie of Brandon Paul's that was shelved, but that is just my personal preference.
     Leaving is the first book in the four part Bailey Flanigan series.  I highly recommend this book and can't wait for the rest of the series to come out.

This book was provided by Zondervan Publishers for review without compensation.

New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America's favorite inspirational novelist, with over 15 million books in print.  Her Life-Changing Fiction (tm) has produced multiple bestsellers, including Take One, Between Sundays, Even Now, One Tuesday Morning, Beyond Tuesday Morning, and Ever After, which was named the 2007 Christian Book of the Year.  An award-winning author and newly published songwriter, Karen has several movies optioned for production, and her novel Like Dandelion Dust was made into a major motion picture and is now available on DVD.  Karen is also a nationally known speaker with several women's groups.  She lives in Washington with her husband, Don, and their six children, three of whom were adopted from Haiti.
     You can find out more about Karen, her books and her appearance schedule at

Blood Covenant Book Review

SUMMARY:  The struggle for survival deep in the heart of Africa.
     When fighting erupts between government forces and renegade Ghost Soldiers deep within the Republic of Dhambizao, thousands are forced to leave their homes.  Dr. Paige Ryan, who works with Volunteers of Hope International, is sent to lead a team to set up a refugee transit site - where the immediate needs for shelter, water, sanitation, and food are critical.  Nick Gilbert, a bush pilot for compassion Air, joins the team to help fly supplies in and out of the area.
     With the refugee camp already experiencing overcrowding, raids, and uprisings, a group of American mountain climbers is attacked by the Ghost Soldiers.  Paige's medical team responds immediately, rescuing survivors and taking them into the camp.  When it's discovered that one of the trekkers is carrying an infectious disease, the harrowing conditions of the camp are forgotten.
     In desperate need of vaccines and with the Ghost Soldiers blocking the only road out until their demands for amnesty are met, it won't be long before the disease is out of control . . . and there is nowhere to run.

REVIEW:  This is a really good book!!  Even though the prologue doesn't fit into the book until almost the end, the story flows seamlessly.  Paige is someone I could easily identify with.  Wanting to help the refugees but overwhelmed with all they were facing made Paige feel helpless and wanting to give up.  Nick helps her see beyond the impossibility of meeting all their needs and focusing on what she can do to help them.  This is something we all need to remember.  The story does take some interesting twists and turns but they kept the story real and alive.  I would highly recommend this book!

This book was provided by Zondervan for review without compensation.

Award-winning author LISA HARRIS has been writing both fiction and nonfiction since 2000 and has more than fifteen novels and novellas in print.  She currently lives with her family in Mozambique, where they work as missionaries.  Visit her website at and her blog at