Psalm 27:1

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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Trauma Plan (Grace Medical) Book Review

SUMMARY:  Sidelined by injuries from a vicious assault, chaplain Riley Hale is eager to return to her former duties as an ER nurse.  But how can she show she's competent when the hospital won't let her attempt even simple tasks?  Determined to prove herself, Riley volunteers at an urban free clinic despite her fears about the maverick doctor in charge.
     Dr. Jack Travis defends his clinic like he's commander of the Alamo.  He'll fight the community's efforts to shut its doors, even if he must use Riley Hale's influential family name to make it happen.
     As Riley strives to regain her skills, Jack finds that she shares his compassion - and stirs his lonely heart.  Riley senses that beneath Jack's rough exterior is a man she can believe in.  But when clinic protests escalate and questions surface about his past, Jack goes into battle mode, and Riley wonders if it's dangerous to trust him with her heart.

REVIEW:  Riley does what she can to regain her nursing career after a debilitating injury to her neck and right arm.  Working as a chaplain at Grace Medical Hospital, she meets Dr. Jack Travis, who works as an ER doctor and runs a controversial free clinic; controversial because it is located in a new upscale neighborhood where the residents want it gone.  Jack gives Riley a chance to work on improving her skills by working as a volunteer at the clinic.
     This book is really good.  The author does a great job showing Riley's struggle and how she never gives up.  She uses her strong faith to encourage those around her: co-workers, patients and their families.  Jack is a daredevil who lets others think nothing phases him but loves working with those less fortunate.  I like how Jack lets nothing stand in his way to keep the clinic running even though his anger issues cause him lots of trouble with the residents of The Bluffs.  The secondary characters also make this story work great with their wit, understanding and loyalty.  Trauma Plan is a great book.  I'm sure there will be another wonderful story to follow.

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

 Candace Calvert is a former ER nurse and author of the Mercy Hospital series.  Her medical dramas offer readers a chance to "scrub in" on the exciting world of emergency medicine.  Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, Candace makes her home in northern California.  Please visit her website at

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Perfect Square Book Review

SUMMARY:  There's more to the quaint town of Shipshewana than handcrafted quilts!
     Amish-made furniture, immaculate farms, and close-knit families are a way of life in the tiny Indiana town of Shipshewana.  But when a dead girl is found floating in a local pond, murder is also afoot.  And Reuben Fisher is in jail as the suspect!
     Reuben refuses to divulge any information, even to clear himself of a crime Deborah is certain he didn't commit.  So, with her English friend, Callie - fellow sleuth and owner of Daisy's Quilt Shop - Deborah sets out to uncover the truth.  But the mystery deepens when an elderly man seeks Callie's help in finding his long-lost daughter, missing since the days of the 1965 Palm Sunday Tornadoes.
     An old man who has lost his past.  A young man who may lose his future.  Once again Deborah and Callie find themselves trying to piece together a crazy quilt of lives and events - one that can bring unexpected touches of God's grace and resolve the tragedy that has shaken this quiet Amish community.

REVIEW:  This is the second book in the Shipshewana Amish Mystery series. Like the first one, Falling to Pieces, this book was a great mystery.  Deborah works hard to prove her friend Reuben did not murder the girl found in the pond on his farm and to find the real murderer.  Callie helps Deborah in her pursuit of the truth while she also tries to help Ira Bontrager find the daughter he lost thirty-five years earlier in the deadly Palm Sunday tornadoes.  I like the twists and turns in the story that keep you guessing about what is going to happen and about how everything is going to work out.  The author does a great job in weaving all the different stories together and how they influence the other.  Like the first one, this story does not have a lot of blood and gore like a lot of mysteries do but still gets the point across.  If you like mysteries, you will like this book.

This book was provided by Zondervan for review without compensation.

Vannetta Chapman has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups.  She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather's birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania.  Her first novel, A Simple Amish Christmas, quickly became a bestseller.  Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Don't Panic Cook Book Review

Summary:  Great meals for your busy family! 
     We’re all busy, but that doesn’t mean we have to eat like we are.  You don’t have to settle for feeding your family commercially packaged meals­­­­ full of sodium and preservatives or fat-laced fast food.  Quick and healthy meals from your very own kitchen are easy with delicious recipes like

·         Southwestern Baked Cheese Dip
·         Thai Chicken Wraps
·         Walnut Spinach Salad
·         Homestyle Mac & Cheese
·         Slow Cooker Pork Chops
·         Oven Roasted Orange Chicken
·         Grilled Flat Iron Steak Sandwiches
·         Spicy Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry
·         Fruit Pizza
·         Mexican Chocolate Mousse
·         And many more

     From quick meals made on the grill or in the sauté’ pan to crockpot dishes that require little prep and cook while you’re out for the day, the recipes in this cookbook are tasty and nutritious – and require less hands-on preparation that traditional meals.  Easy appetizers and desserts; one-dish casseroles and pastas; simple soups, salads and side dishes; and even fast breakfasts round out the selections.  Meals that are freezer-friendly are marked for those who want to make ahead.

Give your family the best – the easy way!

REVIEW:  My family is very busy this time of year.  Between school, baseball/softball games and practices, and other activities and commitments, we usually eat dinner around 4:30 p.m. and rush out the door.  Plus, I am always looking for a quicker, easier way to cook and save money while trying not to serve my family the same things all the time.  Because of this, I thought this book should be something to check out. 
     There were two recipes I tried.  The first was the Lemon Chicken (page 121). I served it with brown rice and seasoned green beans.  It took me about 30 minutes to prep and get into the crockpot­ instead of the estimated 20­­­.  My boys and husband loved it and have asked if I could serve it again soon.  My daughter and I were okay with it – it didn’t wow us like it did the others – but once we put a little of the broth it cooked in over the meat and rice, it tasted better and wasn’t as dry.
     The second recipe I made was the Italian Chicken (page 138).  Here's the recipe:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Italian dressing
1 3/4 cups Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 T. lemon juice

Place chicken breasts in gallon-sized plastic storage bag.  Pour Italian dressing over chicken and marinate in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.  Combine cracker crumbs and parmesan cheese.  After chicken has marinated, coat each breast with cracker crumb mixture.  Place chicken breasts in baking dish and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until chicken is tender and no longer pink.

While chicken is baking, melt butter in small saucepan and add lemon juice.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Drizzle lemon butter over chicken and serve immediately.

     I served it with Normandy vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini and yellow squash).  From the start, I really wanted to make this but the hardest part was finding time early enough to marinate the chicken.  The recipe was easy and fairly quick to put together.  My three kids liked it and so did my husband.  I thought the chicken could use a little more flavor but, overall, I liked it.
     The title suggests these recipes are quick and easy.  It may have just been the first recipe I picked but most of them didn't seem that way.  Also, I was expecting recipes that utilize a combination of fresh ingredients and boxed and canned packages (something along the lines of Food Network’s Sandra Lee’s show) that were simple and fast, which it didn't.  A lot of the recipes required items I don’t normally keep in my kitchen like red/white wine, half and half or heavy cream, and herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme and curry.
     Now, that said, the Lemon Chicken and Italian Chicken were delicious.  There are a few more recipes I am interested in trying when I have more time.  The book is set up in an easy-to-use way with codes to help you find recipes to fit your needs (i.e. quick, author’s favorites, entertaining, etc).  This is a cook book that I will keep handy and use again. 

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Available April 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of 
Baker Publishing Group.

Susie Martinez is a professional counselor with a private counseling practice in Lakewood, Colorado.  She has been married to her husband, Joe (whom she adores), for twenty-five years and has two children.

Vanda Howell is a busy wife and mom who works part-time as a kitchen design consultant.  She is a Denver native and has been married to her husband, Mike, for twenty-nine years.

Bonnie Garcia keeps busy with her husband, Steve, three teenage sons, and golden retriever, Gracie.  She is a pediatric nurse in a pediatric practice in the Denver area.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I Blame Eve Book Review

Freedom from Perfectionism,Control Issues 
& the Tendency to Listen to Talking Snakes

SUMMARY:  When Eve ate the fruit, we lost out on the perfect life.  But that doesn't stop us from trying, does it?  What would happen if we stopped trying to be perfect and started trying to be his?
     In this encouraging book, Susanna Foth Aughtmon helps you find out what it means to be honest about what you crave in life and let go of your deep need to be in control.  With the skillful blend of Scripture, insight, and humor, she shows you the freedom of embracing the unique path God has laid out for you.  The study questions included will help you or your small group make the most of this fun and fascinating book.

REVIEW: This book is funny, insightful and full of practical wisdom.  Susanna uses her own experiences (good, bad and funny) and encourages her readers to examine their own lives.  She points out where Eve made mistakes, shows us how we can learn from them to hopefully keep from repeating them, and does it without totally bashing Eve.  It is an easy read and has a great study guide included.  Check it out!

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Available April 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of 
Baker Publishing Group.

Susanna Foth Aughtmon is the author of All I Need Is Jesus and a Good Pair of Jeans and My Bangs Look Good and Other Lies I Tell Myself.  A pastor's wife and mother of three, Susanna assists her husband, Scott, in various ministries at Pathway Church, their church plant in Palo Alto, California.  To meet Sue and read about her take on life as a mom of three boys, a church planter's wife, and a writer, check out her blog, Confessions of a Tired Supergirl, at  She can also be found at

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Discovery Book Review

SUMMARY:  An engrossing story of family secrets and a love for the ages.
     When aspiring writer Michael Warner inherits his grandfather's venerable Charleston estate, he settles in to write his first novel.  But within the confines of the stately home, he discovers an unpublished manuscript that his grandfather, a literary giant whose novels sold in the millions, had kept hidden from everyone - but which he clearly intended Michael to find.  As he delves deep into the exciting tale about spies and sabotage, Michael discovers something that has the power to change not only his future but his past as well.
     Laced with suspense and intrigue, The Discovery is a richly woven novel that explores the incredible sacrifices that must be made to forge the love of a lifetime.  Author Dan Walsh delivers yet another unique and heartfelt story that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page.

REVIEW:  As mentioned above, this story will stick with you after you finish it.  Set in modern day Charleston and World War II Daytona Beach, the characters come alive.  Michael and family didn't know anything about his grandfather's past.  When asked, Gerard Warner (Gramps) would just avoid the question or change the subject.  After Gerard's death, any hope of finding out where he was born, who his parents were and other information wanted about the times before his marriage to Mary (Nan) seemed impossible.  All that changes when Michael finds a yellowing manuscript Gramps had hidden for him to find.  The document not only contained information about his meeting his wife but how he was involved in espionage and his arrival to America on a German U-boat.
     This is a wonderful and spell-binding story.  It is reminiscent of Andy Andrew's book The Heart Mender.  Anyone who loves suspense, history, especially World War II, and a good love story will love this book.  The characters are well thought out and developed.  The story kept you reading to see if you could figure out what would happen to the characters and what Michael would do with his grandfather's story.  Check it out for yourself.  I don't think you will be disappointed.  If you like Nicholas Spark's writing, you will love Dan Walsh.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Available April 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Dan Walsh is the bestselling and award winning author of The Unfinished Gift, The Homecoming, The Deepest Waters and Remembering Christmas.  A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan serves as a pastor for 24 years.  He lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.