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?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Claudia Wife of Pontius Pilate Book Review

SUMMARY: In a time of turmoil, one woman will search for love and peace - and find it where she never expected.
     Tugged this way and that by fate's indifferent hand, Claudia's life is adrift - until she meets Lucius Pontius Pilate and becomes his wife.  When they move to the troublesome territory of Judea, she does what she has always done: makes the best of it.  But unrest is brewing and Claudia will soon find herself and her beloved husband embroiled in controversy and rebellion.  Might she find hope in the mysterious Jewish Rabbi everyone seems to be talking about?
     Let this epic story whisk you through marbled palaces, dusty marketplaces, and idyllic Italian villas as you follow the unlikely path of a woman who warrants only a passing mention in one of the Gospel accounts, but whose story, as told by Diana Wallis Taylor, is one worthy of legend.

REVIEW:  This is an awesome book!  Let me be quick to point out that this book is a work of fiction.  Not much is written about Claudia but the author did a fantastic job making this story seem like everything was true to life.  There are so many things I love about this book.  The author does not drag you down with details about every year the story covered but gave you the necessary details and moved on. She also weaves in minor characters mentioned in the bible, such as Joanna, where they become important in the movement of this story.  One of my favorite parts of the book is how Pilate feels about the trial (or lack thereof) of Jesus and how he tries to handle it.  The author shows how he really wanted to release Jesus and tried numerous times but, in the end, was forced to hand him over to the Jewish leaders.  The way Diana wrote it fits in neatly with the gospel story of Jesus and Pilate.   Another is how Claudia moves from worshiping the many gods of Rome to worshiping the One True God.  Even though she could be put to death for her beliefs, she stays strong and helps others when she can.
     This is a great book and I highly recommend it to any and everyone!

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Diana Wallis Taylor is the author of the novels Journey to the Well, Martha, and Mary Magdalene and lives in California  Find out more at

Pennsylvania Patchwork Book Review

Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy
Book Two

SUMMARY:  Once choice can change a destiny ...
     When Holly Fisher finally meets the Amish family her mother had kept hidden from her, she comes face-to-face with her real-life legacy - and it's very different from the life she led in suburban Seattle.  She loves it.
     And she loves Zach, a handsome Mennonite veterinarian who proposes marriage.  He seems to be everything she's ever wanted in a husband.  But her mother and Amish grandmother think she's rushing into a commitment with a man she barely knows and who harbors a dubious past.  When Holly meets a charming Amish man and an old suitor shows up, so do a myriad of doubts.  Will Holly figure out what - and who - truly matters before it's too late?

REVIEW:  To fully understand this book, you really need to read the first one in the series.  So many times I became confused trying to understand what was going on and why Holly and Esther, her mother, reacted the way they did in most situations that must have been mentioned in the previous book.  The characters needed more backbone and were just too weak and wishy-washy for my tastes.  The story also seemed to drag so many times that I was tempted on more than one occasion to just put the book down and quit.  There were a lot of loose ends at the end that should have been tied up like in regards to Nathaniel's first wife.  Was Esther really married to Holly's dad? If so, wouldn't she still be married to him even if she hadn't heard from him in 25 years, even if he left her?  
     I really wanted to like this book but I'm sorry to say I was disappointed.

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

A native of Baltimore, Katie Lloyd spends time with family and friends in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the inspiration for Leaving Lancaster and Pennsylvania Patchwork.  She is a member of the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and has done extensive research on the Amish.  Kate and her husband live in Seattle.  Learn more about Kate at and and on Twitter @KateLloydAuthor.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Slow Moon Rising Book Review

A Cedar Key Novel

     The beautiful Claybourne home on Cedar Key has long been a place of rest, healing, and release.  Each member of the family has turned there in times of confusion, loss, and hurt, only to feel their spirits renewed and their hearts restored.
     But Cedar Key might also be the birthplace of a lie that is poisoning the family from within.
     Join the five Claybourne women - Anise, Kimberly, Jayme-Leigh, Heather, and Ami - as they search the past and confront the truth.  Their unique paths will lead them through heartbreak, misunderstandings, and pain.  But their journeys will also bring reconciliation with each other and the precious renewal of love in their own lives.
     In her lyrical, evocative fashion, Eva Marie Everson weaves a tapestry of complicated relationships that, when complete, reveals the most beautiful work of art there is - family.

REVIEW:  This book is about keeping secrets and the harm that can come to a family and relationships if they are not revealed.  Each one of Ross' daughters has a secret and refuses to tell the other - their mother's "sickness" from being an alcoholic, a cancer scare that leaves one unable to have children, the one who tries to make everything perfect which ruins her marriage and one who finds out about a mistake in her father's past.  Once all of their secrets are revealed, the ones listed and others that occur, healing can take place, hopefully before it is too late.  
     One of my favorite characters is Anise.  I like how she approaches the girls and her new life as Ross' new wife and the girls' step-mom.  She does not come in and try to take over, making changes everywhere.  She also doesn't try to change the attitudes of her stepdaughters but loves them whether or not they accept her.  Instead, Anise makes small changes and is accepting of the girls and does what she can to help them.  She keeps secrets when asks and doesn't hold the information as leverage.  
     This is a good book, great for summer reading or if you are looking for something light to read.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Eva Marie Everson is a successful speaker and the award-winning author of Things Left Unspoken, This Fine Life, Chasing Sunsets and Waiting for Summer.  She is coauthor of the Potluck Club books and the Potluck Catering Club series.  She lives in Florida.  Find out more at

The Bare Naked Truth Book Review

Dating, Waiting, and God's Purity Plan

 SUMMARY:  The truth about sex and waiting .... uncovered and revealed
     Purity. Sex. Boys. Waiting. Something about those words makes everything complex in a heartbeat. Is there something wrong with me if I don't kiss a boy after a date? Or am I doomed if I did?  Is waiting a one-way trip to life as a crazy cat woman? And what if I, um, think about a certain boy a certain way?  It seems the lady at church and your friends have two very different opinions on the subject.  And the purity talks aren't always cutting it.
     Bekah Hamrick Martin knows the waiting game isn't easy or straight-forward.  In The Bare Naked Truth, she lays everything on the table - including some embarrassing moments - as she explores the honest, naked truth behind what God means by purity.  With additional entries from popular authors, you'll see the bare naked approach to waiting isn't always easy, but it's worth the risk.

REVIEW:  This book is not for young girls but perfect for teens, and even pre-teens, if their moms read it first.  Singles of all ages, and even married people, would also benefit from reading this book.  The author holds NOTHING back which helps answer those embarrassing questions every girl has and is afraid to ask.  Moms can use it to help answer those embarrassing their daughters ask.  Bekah draws from her own experience and friends who have gone through the gambit of mistake-making and doing the right thing to help her readers make the right decisions.  The advice she gives is biblical based and full of common sense. She even includes quizzes at the end of each chapter and a few places to journal.  I loved this book and want my daughter to read it!

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

Bekah Hamrick Martin was born in Savannah, Georgia, in an event which her brother keeps reminding her was completely unnecessary.  She spent the better part of her high school years vacationing on the north end of her mattress due to an illness, where she developed a deep taste for chocolate and sarcasm. Today Bekah shares with teens about tough times, healing, and surviving their high school years - no matter where they spend them.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Simple Song Book Review

SUMMARY:  From Amish country to Hollywood, Katrina Yoder is in for the ride of her life!
     Katrina Yoder loves to sing, but her strict Amish parents view her singing as vain.  Still, Katrina's best friend, Bekka, is convinced Katrina is good enough to try-out for American Star, a televised singing competition that Bekka has been secretly watching.  Katrina has a good voice, but really - try out for a TV show?  Her parents would probably disown her!
     But when her family faces a crisis, it seems to Katrina that the competition might be the way to get the money needed to cover the emergency expenses.
     How will Katrina handle herself as an Amish teenager out in the world?  Is she truly good enough to win?  Will her parents ever forgive her? And will she be accepted back into her community when it's all over?

REVIEW:  I love Melody Carlson's books and was intrigued with the idea of an Amish teenager singing on American Star, a show very similar to American Idol.  As she advanced through the parts of the show, I liked how Katrina did not compromise her beliefs and tried to stay true to her upbringing, even dressing more conservatively that other contestants or than the stylists liked.  At the end of the story, I also liked how Breezy and Tyler saw the pain and suffering being away from her family and community was affecting Katrina and stood up for her during a live show.  The Zooks, an Amish family that lives within the city, were very supportive of Katrina.  I liked how they even offered her and Aunt Alma a place if their community shunned them. 
     Now, I thought the ending left a lot to be desired and a LOT of questions unanswered, even questions listed in the summary on the back of the book.  Did her parents find out she gave them the money for her Daed's surgery?  Even though Cooper accepted Katrina's return, did her family and the rest of her community?  What happened when Aunt Alma returned to the community after staying with Katrina in Hollywood?  Did the surgery correct her Daed's back pain? 
     This book has a great storyline and I can't wait for my 11-year-old daughter to read it.  I just wish it was a little longer and answered the rest of the questions that the story raised.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of ore than 200 books, including The Jerk Magnet, Never Been Kissed, and Double Take.  She recently received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice.  Melody and her husband live in Oregon.  Find out more at

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Promise Box Book Review

Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors Series
Book Two
SUMMARY:  With her heart - and her loyalty - on the line, can she let true love in her life?
     Ever year, young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live for six moths and receive "resident" status for the hunting season in the fall.  They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides!
     In The Promise Box, the second book of bestselling author Tricia Goyer's Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series, Lydia Wyse, a book editor from Seattle who grew up Amish, returns to the small community of West Kootenai, Montana, to giver comfort to her father after her mother's death.  She is drawn back to the familiar Amish ways after finding her mother's most precious possession, a Promise Box of prayers and scripture.  What her publisher sees, though, is an opportunity for a sensational "tell-all" book about the Amish.
     Lydia soon finds herself falling in love with Amish bachelor Gideon Hooley.  She wants nothing more than to forget her past and look forward to a future as an Amish bride.  But will the pain of her childhood - and her potential betrayal of her community - keep her from committing her whole heart?

REVIEW:  This book was the first I've read about a woman who left the Amish lifestyle for the life of the Englisch who returns to her roots.  I was pleasantly surprised with the story.  The recurring themes seemed to be facing the hurts and mysterious events that happened and forgiveness.  Lydia knew from early on she was adopted but, when she was sixteen, she found out about the circumstances of her conception and birth, she rebelled and left the Amish community.  I love how even after her mother's death, she helps Lydia come to terms with the past through promises found in scripture and the notes her mom wrote throughout Lydia's life.  Visiting her birth mother also gives her answers she was seeking.  I love how the community forgives Lydia for writing about them when a mix-up in communication had Lydia's private musings about the community and her life is picked up by a publisher. 

This book was a pleasant surprise and I am interested in reading more of this series.  It is an easy read and would be great for summertime vacations.

This Advanced Reader's Copy was provided by Litfuse for review without compensation.
USA Today best-selling author Tricia Goyer is the author of 35 books, including the three-book Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series. She has written over 500 articles for national publications and blogs for high traffic sites like and Tricia and her husband John live in Little Rock, Arkansas where John works for FamilyLife. They have six children. You can find out more about Tricia at

Saturday, June 8, 2013

That Certain Summer Book Review

SUMMARY:  Two very different sisters . . .  an unexpected homecoming . . .  one unforgettable summer
     Karen and Val are family - yet they're anything but close.  Karen has carried the burden of responsibility for her aging mother ever since her sister left town years ago to pursue a career in theater.  But Val had other reasons for moving away - as well as a secret to keep - and coming home has never been an option . . . until their mother suffers a stroke.
     Reunited in their hometown, Karen and Val must grapple with past mistakes as they care for their ailing mother.  When two handsome men enter the picture, the summer takes on a surprising new dimension.  As their lives intersect, can each of them learn how to forgive, let go, and move on?  And strengthened by the healing power of faith, might they also find the courage to love?
     With her trademark compelling characters and heartwarming hope, award-winning author Irene Hannon pens an inspiring true-to-life tale of complex relationships, the search for forgiveness, and the life-changing process of finding love.

REVIEW:  Irene Hannon's suspense novels are wonderful so I eagerly anticipated her newest novel.  I was not disappointed.   The interaction between the sisters was refreshing.  I like how they faced their difference, embraced them, learned from each other and became better people.  I like how they did not hold onto grudges but let their relationship flourish.   I loved how Karen finally learned how to stand up for herself and found her voice, literally.  By doing so, she changed her relationship with those around her for the better.  Val had her own issues to deal with, trying to do it on her own.  Once she told her sister about them, she found sharing her burden with others who cared helped her put an end to some past hurt and was able to finally get to a better personal place.
     This book was an easy read and exceptionally written.  A great summer read!

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of over forty books, including more than two dozen contemporary romance novels and the Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice suspense series.  Her books have garnered many honors, including two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, and two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine.  In addition, Booklist included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011.  She lives in Missouri.  For more information, please visit

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Chasing Francis Book Review

A Pilgrim's Tale

SUMMARY:  What happens when the pastor of a megachurch loses his faith?
     Pastor Chase Falson has lost his faith in God, the Bible, evangelical Christianity, and his super-sized megachurch.  When he falls apart, the church elders tell him to go away: as far away as possible.
     Join Chase on his life-changing journey to Italy where, which a curious group of Franciscan friars, he struggles to resolve his crisis of faith by retracing the footsteps of Francis of Assisi, a saint whose simple way to loving Jesus changed the history of the world.
     Read this riveting story and then begin your own life-changing journey through the pilgrim's guide included in this powerful novel.

REVIEW:  The author says "Chasing Francis (was) written in a genre called wisdom literature, which is a delicate balance of fiction and nonfiction, pilgrimage and teaching."  The story is about Chase but it speaks to anyone who may be looking for more in Chrisitanity.  In this story, Chase has become disillusioned with Christianity.  His uncle Kenny has Chase join him in Italy, research the life of Francis of Assisi and together they go where Francis walked and ministered.  Since Francis encountered many of the things we as modern Christians experience, Chase was able to figure out what he believed and how to help others experience God in a different way.
,     This is a thought provoking book.  For me, it is one I would need to read numerous times to fully understand what God may be speaking to me and to fully understand what we as Christians are called to do.  This is a great book that I highly recommend.  For those wanting to go into more depth either by themselves or with a group, there is an excellent reader's guide at the end of the book.

This book was provided by Booksneeze/Zondervan for review without compensation.

Ian Morgan Cron is a bestselling author, Episcopal priest, speaker, retreat leader, counselor, and songwriter.  Ian and his wife have three children and divide their time between homes in Franklin, Tennessee and Dorset, Vermont.  For more information, visit Ian's website at