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, 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

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 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 . .

     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.