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?

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

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

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
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

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  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  She can also be found on Facebook at Suzanne Woods Fisher.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Too Blessed to be Stressed Book Review

SUMMARY:  Inspiration for Climbing Out of Life's Stress-Pool
     Does your to-do list have footnotes?...
     Are you imprisoned by the joy-sucking dully-funks?...
     Maybe it's time for a healthy dose of truth gift-wrapped in humor.  

     With her own brand of off-beat wit and near-wisdom, inspirational humorist Debora Coty addresses heart needs of women drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness.  Heart-transforming, real-life stories and biblically based insights will encourage and delight readers, who will find just the simple, practical steps they need to arrive at healing, refreshment, and revitalization of spirit, body, and faith.

REVIEW:  This book was a fun, light-hearted book that was easy to read.  It is comprised of short stories, insights, and biblical based advice.  If you are interested in digging deeper (and have the time), there are a few questions at the end of each "story." As the author mentions in the introduction, her "goal in writing (this book) is to help you rejuvenate your desperate heart by discovering simple-to-implement, practical ways to attain that peace we all crave."  I think she accomplishes what she set out to do in a marvelous and fun way.  This is a spectacular book.

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

Debora M. Coty is a popular speaker, columnist, internationally published writer, and award-winning author or coauthor of dozens of books.  She's also a piano teacher, orthopedic occupational therapist, writing instructor, tennis enthusiast, and knows a lot more about stress than painting her toenails.  Mother of two grown children, Debora lives in central Florida with her husband, Chuck, and desperately wicked pooch, Fenway.  Check out her website at

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Colonel's Lady Book Review

SUMMARY:  Can love survive the secrets kept buried within a tormented heart?
     Roxanna Rowan may be a genteel Virginia woman, but she is determined to brave the wilds of the untamed frontier to reach a remote Kentucky fort.  Eager to reunite with her father, who serves under Colonel Cassius McLinn, Roxanna is devastated to find that her father has been killed on a campaign.
     Penniless and out of options, Roxanna is forced to remain at the fort.  As she spends more and more time wth the fiery Colonel McLinn, the fort is abuzz with intrigue and innuendo.  Can Roxanna truly know who the colonel is - and what he's done?
    Immerse yourself in this powerful story of love, faith, and forgiveness set in the tumultuous world of the frontier in 1779.

REVIEW:  Oh, my gravy!!!  This book had me spellbound within the first few pages.  At the very beginning of the book, the author lets you know that Colonel McLinn is loosely based on Colonel George Rogers Clark, a soldier during the Revolutionary War who had a tragic life.  She "felt compelled to give him a happier ending," giving him the life and love she thought he might have had if his life had turned out differently.  Mrs. Frantz did an outstanding job!  I felt like I was there with the characters watching everything as it happened.  I love how Roxanna's character looked after and helped the "ladies" (of the evening) she traveled downriver with, risking her reputation.  There were enough twists, turns and mystery to keep you guessing until the end.  The was a fantastic book and I look forward to reading other stories written by her.  BRAVO!

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

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

Laura Frantz credits her grandmother as being the catalyst for her fascination with Kentucky history.  Frantz's family followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky in the late eighteenth century and settled in Madison County, where her family still resides.  Frantz is the author of The Frontiersman's Daughter and Courting Morrow Little and currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons.  Learn more about her books, read her blog, and learn fun facts at

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sweet Sanctuary Book Review

SUMMARY:  Wren has tried to shelter her only son from the tumult of the world.  Now she's about to find sanctuary . . . in the last place she ever expected.
     In tiny Cottage Cove, on the coast of Maine, Wren Evans is raising her gifted son, Charlie.  A single mom, she's fought hard to give Charlie a stable, secure home life.  When a prestigious music academy in Boston expresses interest in Charlie's talent, Wren is willing to move them again to make his dream come true.
     But Wren doesn't know that Charlie has been praying for her.  And the answer to her son's prayers will change both of their lives.  As Wren plans their move to Boston, life in Maine begins to fall apart.  Her job is threatened with budget cuts, and Wren's grandmother, Ruth, arrives unannounced, with an outlandish request.
     Ruth wants the family gathered together one last time, at the summer home where, years before, an accident shattered Wren's peaceful childhood.  In the turmult, Wren finds a friend in a handsome, kind-hearted local, Paul Callahan.
     When the family gathers in Cottage Cove, old wounds will be healed, new love will blossom, and the innocent prayers of a child will be answered in a most unexpected way.

REVIEW:  I read this book while on my family vacation.  It is a very easy read.  The characters are interesting and believable and story lines keep you reading more.  I love how Wren's grandma Ruth shakes up her life, along with her brother's and sister's, which helps wounds from long ago heal along with their rocky and strained relationships.  Forgiveness, hope, love, and second chances are woven all throughout this story.  I would highly recommend this book.

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

Sheila Walsh is a best-selling author with over four million books sold.  A featured speaker with Women of Faith, more than 3.5 million women have heard her speak.  She lives in Texas with her husband, Barry, and their son, Christian.  Visit to learn more.

Cindy Martinusen Coloma is the best-selling author of several novels including Ruby Unscripted, Beautiful, and Orchid HouseThe Salt Garden was chosen by Library Journal as one of the five best Christian fiction books of 2004.  Visit to learn more.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

River's Song Book Review

SUMMARY:  Sometimes when we look back, we are able to see ahead.
     Following her mother's funeral, and on the verge of her own midlife crisis, widow Anna Larson returns to the home of her youth to sort out her parents' belongings, as well as her own turbulent life.  For the first time since childhood, Anna embraces her native heritage, despite the disdain of her vicious mother-in-law.  By transforming her old family home on the banks of Oregon's Siuslaw River into The Inn at Shining Waters, Anna hopes to create a place of healing - a place where guests experience peace, grace, and new beginnings.  Starting with her own family ...

REVIEW:  Melody Carson does a great job with Anna and her story.  There are many things Anna regrets: coming home only once in almost twenty years (and that was at the death of her father), not spending more time with her parents and grandmother, not learning more about her Siuslaw Indian heritage, and her very dysfunctional relationship with her daughter and mother-in-law.  Anna meets Hazel, an anthropologist studying the local Indian populations for her upcoming doctoral thesis, who encourages Anna to change her parents' defunct general store into an inn.  In the process, Anna finds healing of wounds left by her husband's illness and death, embraces her heritage and tries to reconcile with her family.  This is a great book.  It is suppose to be the first in a series.  I can't wait until the second book comes out.  I'm sure it will be as good as this one.

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

Melody Carson is the award-winning author of more than 200 books, including Love Finds You in Sisters, Oregon, Limelight, the Diary of a Teenager Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series.  Nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, Melody is also the author of Homeward, which won a Rita Award.  Melody and her husband live in central Oregon.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Information for Cindy Woodsmall readers

Since I have reviewed at least five of Cindy Woodsmall books, Blogging for Books asked me to share some information with my readers about a few updates on all things Cindy Woodsmall. 

* Special eBook promotion!
The eBook of Cindy’s first book in the Ada ’s House series, The Hope of Refuge, is specially priced at only $1.99 for a limited time! Click here to purchase before August 15.  (This is a great book!!)
* Book Signing Tour!
Cindy will kick off her The Harvest of Grace book signing tour with a stop at Lifeway in Memphis , TN on August 9th. She’ll also be meeting fans and signing books in Arkansas ( Conway , Little Rock , Harrison, Rogers , Jonesboro ), Oklahoma ( Tulsa , Oklahoma City) Kansas ( Topeka ), and Missouri ( Kansas City , St. Louis , Branson, Springfield ). If you live in any of these stops, Cindy would love to meet you! Details are available here

If any of my readers live in the Memphis area and would like to see her at the Lifeway store, let me know.  I am hoping I can go so maybe we can go together.