Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Season of Love

A Season of Love (Kauffman Amish Bakery Series) 

by Amy Clipston  (Author)

published by Zondervan

June 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0310319979

Three young friends enter the most important season of their lives. But relationships have changed, and only time will tell if Lindsay, Katie, and Lizzie Anne have made the right choices.
Three young women are about to change their lives: Lizzie Anne and Samuel have decided to get married, and Lindsay is about to be baptized into the Amish faith and is being courted by Matthew. While Katie Kauffman is happy for her friends who seem to have settled their futures, she is also finding herself something of a fifth wheel.
When Lindsay’s sister Jessica returns to Bird-in-Hand, she finds that Jake Miller has moved on with his life. He lost hope that Jessica would ever be satisfied to settle in rural Pennsylvania and takes comfort in becoming close friends with Katie. However, it’s not an easy road as Jake is Mennonite and Katie has just been baptized. Her father forbids them to see each other, adamant that his daughter marry an Amish man.
Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you’ll meet the delightful women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman’s story unfolds, you will share in her joys, dreams . . . and secrets. You’ll discover the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle and, most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families.

A SEASON OF HOPE was loaned to me by a friend since she is a huge fan of Amy Clipston and I have only read and liked a few of her novellas and one of her young adult books. My friend says this is Ms. Clipston’s best book. We both are fans of Amish fiction, so I asked to borrow my friend’s book.

I am no judge on whether or not this is her best book, but I wasn’t impressed with it. The characters were flat, and the reader was held at a distance. I couldn’t connect with them, even though I wanted to. Plus, they had the same conversation multiple times, even in the same chapter. Repetition is good in some things such as learning the multiplication table, not so good in others, such as getting lost in a book.

The story is clean, with nothing a conservative reader would find shocking, and I do like the way it is centered around a bakery in Lancaster County and everyone even remotely connected to it.  Fans of Ms. Clipston might find this “her best book ” as my friend did. Fans of Amish fiction and series related to one family (bakery) saga might like it.

3 stars. 302 pages. Available in ebook, paperback, hardcover, audio, and audio CD.  




Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Doable, Cost-Effective, Leading Edge… Life Changing.








Doable, Cost-Effective, Leading Edge…
Life Changing.





"We can bring the Gospel to a generation that is literally dying without it. An invasion of truth that interrupts the lives of people ages 15-25, in a venue they use every day. This unique strategy—to “go into all the world and preach the good news to all” by leveraging mainstream media and technology—is doable, cost-effective, and cutting edge. More importantly, it’s working."   

–Sean Dunn
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX—Today’s young people suffer from unprecedented levels of depression, anxiety, pressure, loneliness, and desperation for approval. For many, one nagging question motivates every social media post, short-sighted decision, and attempt to self-harm: Does anyone really care about me?

At JesusCares.com, teens and young adults from across the globe find comfort, guidance, and the answers they desperately seek.  An initiative of Groundwire, JesusCares.com follows and expands the remarkably effective model that has touched millions of young viewers and listeners since 2006. Using a multi-pronged strategy, Groundwire leverages media and technology to meet the age 15-25 demographic exactly where they are — viewing, listening, texting, or chatting — and to invite them to voice their questions and struggles so they can find answers in the message of the Gospel. Young people listening to popular radio broadcasts or viewing favorite shows on networks like CW, MTV, VH1, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming, and Comedy Central are interrupted by direct advertising spots that catch their attention, resonating with where they are today.

The JesusCares.com initiative includes targeted, authentic, and well-produced commercials that grab the attention of young viewers and listeners by the millions. As they respond to the broadcast messages, they are invited to visit the JesusCares.com website where they can chat with a live spiritual coach available day and night, as well as find a collection of resources such as podcasts by Groundwire’s founder and executive director, Sean Dunn, and daily devotionals.

“Statistics indicate that 86% of teens believe in God, but most don’t believe He is loving. Even fewer believe they are lovable. What if this generation truly understood and responded to God’s offer of hope, truth, and purpose?” Dunn asks.

Since 2006, Groundwire has interacted with broken and searching youth on thousands of live chats. Students are drawn to the honest dialogue about spiritual issues, often receiving Christ as their Savior as a result of the coaches’ ministry. Coaches then do their best to connect visitors to local churches and resources where they can continue to grow in their faith. JesusCares.com looks to grow Groundwire’s reach in contemporary culture.

“Today’s younger generation hungers for a real and personal relationship with the Living God. And that really transcends culture. Unfortunately, a common misconception many older Christians have about young people is that they only desire interaction with others who are young like them and are products of the same culture,” Dunn says. “The truth is that this group is desperately in need of intergenerational connection. They crave it. The Jesus Cares initiative has already shown us that, when we make ourselves available to listen and respond, young people cling to that, and they are willing—even eager—to share their burdens and receive the Good News we offer.”

Hundreds of volunteers from around the world form a team that offers coaching 24 hours a day, and that number must increase alongside launches of the ministry in new locations. JesusCares.com is seeking coaches of all ages and backgrounds to be available when young seekers respond to the TV and radio ads.

JesusCares.com is rapidly expanding, having arrived in Colorado Springs and Chicago during the first and second quarters of 2015. The initiative launched in South Bend, Indiana this summer and fundraising efforts are underway to support upcoming launches in Dallas, Tampa, and Denver this fall.

To bring JesusCares to your community or to sign up as a coach, go towww.JesusCares.com.



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hope Harbor

Hope Harbor: A Novel 

by Irene Hannon

Revell

July 7, 2015


  • ISBN-13: 978-0800724528
  • Genre: Women's Fiction
Come home to Hope Harbor--where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life--and love--altered her plans. Now she's home again--with a floundering farm to run . . . a tragic secret . . . and a wounded heart. Romance is not on her agenda. Nor is it on Michael Hunter's. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets and devastating regrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help with a project that is close to her heart, winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives--including their own.

My thoughts: HOPE HARBOR is a lot slower than Ms. Hannon's trademark romantic suspense, and in this particular book, the sexual tension is almost nonexistent. There is a romance, but no sparks. The main story seems to be how Michael Hunter comes to town in search of peace and hope for his own life, but ends up offering it to everyone else. 

Anna is an older character in this book who is estranged from her son, she benefited the most from knowing Michael as her life transforms greatly. But is it enough to end twenty years of silence? 

I mostly enjoyed this book. I read it in one sitting, so it held my interest. It was just slow and I would've liked the usual Irene Hannon helping of sexual tension. 4.5 stars. 

Available in paperback, ebook, and audio. 352 pages. 

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Flying Affair

Title: A FLYING AFFAIR
Author: Carla Stewart
Publisher: Faith Words
June 2015
ISBN:  978-1455549993
Genre: historical romance

Ever since Mittie Humphreys agreed to join dashing barnstorming pilot Ames for a joyride in his airplane, her lifelong love of horses has been surpassed by one thing--a longing for the skies. It seems she's not the only one--with Charles Lindbergh making his victory tour in the Spirit of St. Louis, aviation fever is spreading across the country. Mittie knows flying is the perfect focus for the soaring ambition and taste for adventure within her, and whenever she can slip away from her duties on her family's prosperous Kentucky horse farm, she heads to the airfield.

Considering their shared passion, it's no surprise that Ames begins to vie for Mittie's time. But when handsome British aviator Bobby York offers her flying lessons, he is equally surprised-and beguiled-by Mittie's grit and talent. Driven to succeed, Mittie will do whatever it takes to compete in the Women's National Air Derby alongside Amelia Earhart. But when Calista "Peach" Gilson, a charming Southern belle, becomes her rival both professionally and in love, Mittie must learn how to navigate her heart's romantic longings as well as the skies.

Ms. Stewart is a hit or miss author for me. Since recently I’ve read more hits than misses I thought I’d give A FLYING AFFAIR a try. I have to say that the writing is impeccable, and as the story is told completely from Mittie’s POV we are left guessing about whether she’ll marry Ames or Bobby—though it’s a given she’ll fall in love with a fly-boy. I liked this aspect of the book very much.

Mittie loved two things—horses and aviation. Not necessarily in that order. As a socialite, she’s also active in community events. A busy book with many subplots. If you like books with a lot of plots and subplots, this will be something you’re interested in.

I didn’t like the use of so much slang. It felt forced and unnatural. I also thought there was too much telling, including a few times when the reader is told what would happen next. I also have to add I’m a very conservative Christian and the use of cigarettes and alcohol bothered me. There were a few prayers, but otherwise I didn’t notice any faith message.   

3 stars. Available in ebook and paperback. 320 pages.


I obtained this book from the publisher (via Book Fun Magazine) in exchange for my honest review. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Beginner's Bible: Bible Story Favorites with CD / Holy Bible / Collector's Edition

Bible Story Favorites 

(I Can Read! / The Beginner's Bible) 

Hardcover – April 23, 2012

by Kelly Pulley (Illustrator)

ISBN: 978-0310728290

Bible Story Favorites features the amazing stories of our faith using artwork from the beloved The Beginner’s Bible and easy-to-read vocabulary perfect for children just learning to read! Also included is a narrated CD with each story and a signal for when it’s time to turn the page. Stories included are: Adam and Eve in the Garden Baby Moses and the Princess Joseph and His Brothers Jonah and the Big Fish Jesus Saves the World.

A great book for children just learning to read. Written in simple words, it is guaranteed to instill confidence in beginning readers as they are able to successfully navigate through five different Bible stories. Recommended for Christian schools, day cares, preschools, and homeschool parents.  For 4 - 8 year olds. 

160 pages. Hardcover (with CD) and Kindle.

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NIrV Beginner's Bible, Holy Bible (The Beginner's Bible) 

Hardcover – September 30, 2014

by Zondervan (Author)

ISBN: 978-0310743569

Ready for your first “real” Bible? Great! You’ll love how you can read this Bible all by yourself. The print is easy to read and The Beginner’s Bible® art is fun and will help you better understand the stories in the Bible.
Features include:
  • Presentation page so you can make this Bible your own.
  • Complete text of the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) of the Bible―written for kids just like you!
  • Large print is easy to read.
  • 18 full-color pages of The Beginner’s Bible illustrations help you better understand the stories.
  • 66 book introductions and outlines explain who wrote each book of the Bible and what you will discover as you read.
  • Dictionary of key Bible words will help you when you come to a word you don’t know.
  • Reading plan of 150 famous Bible stories will give you a great overview of God’s Word.

This is a nice beginner's Bible. It has large print  (might be good for adults with poor vision, too) and in my daughter's opinion, the best part is, it has pictures!  When I was a child, I had a Bible with pictures (it was KJV, with a imitation leather cover) that was my favorite Bible. I can easily see how a child would love this one with its colorful images and easy to read text. If you don't mind using the NIrV Bible, this would be a great gift for your beginning reader.  

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Hardcover: 2048 pages - also available in e-book

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Beginner's Bible Collector's Edition: Timeless Children's Stories (The Beginner's Bible) 

Hardcover – October 7, 2014

by Zondervan (Author)

ISBN: 978-0310747345

Introduce preschool children to the stories and characters of the Bible with this best-loved Bible storybook, now available in a Collector’s Edition.  Children will engage with the Bible like never before as they read the book, listen to the audio, and watch the stories come alive in individual animated story videos. With more than 90 Bibles stories included, children will delight in Noah helping the elephant onto the ark, Jonah praying inside the fish, and more, as they discover The Beginner’s Bible just like millions of children before.
The Beginner’s Bible Collector’s Edition includes a copy of the storybook Bible, an enhanced audio recording on 2 CDs, a DVD with animated story videos for each of the 94 Bible stories, packaged in  a slipcase box perfect for gift-giving.

What a great collection for preschooler and early elementary children! Perfect for beginning readers, and coms with CD and DVDs with over 90 different Bible stories included.  Perfect for churches, for preschools, for Christian schools, for grandparents (to entertain visiting grandchildren). A great collection. My only complaint was the DVDs were semi-animated, and rather boring (to me) and my youngest (age 10) wasn't real impressed with them either.  


  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Hardcover: 512 pages

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Beginner's Bible: Noah's Ark / Jesus Shows God's Love / Super-Duber Mighty Jumbo Activity Book

Baby Beginner's Bible: Noah's Ark (The Beginner's Bible) 

Board book – May 30, 2013

by Zondervan (Author)

ISBN-13: 978-0310736349

Noah’s Ark, based on the bestselling storybook Bible of all time, is part of the Baby Beginner’s Bibleboard book series crafted for parents to share with their youngest children to experience the Bible through colorful illustrations and simple words. For added benefit, the complete story of Creation is told at the end of the book.
Other books in this series include Creation, Daniel and the Lions, and Jonah and the Big Fish.

It is hard to review this book. Pictures, with nouns under it. Noah. Rain. Animals. Family. Calm. Bird.  The complete story is included at the end of the book. Would be ideal for baby portions of the church nursery. 

Board book for babies. 14 pages. 4 stars. 


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Jesus Shows God's Love (The Beginner's Bible) 

Paperback – December 24, 2013

by Zondervan (Author)

ISBN: 978-0310741480


Jesus’ Ministry

After Jesus is baptized, he chooses his disciples and begins his work.  Young children will learn about Jesus’ mission on earth, teaching the message of God’s love to his disciples and people everywhere.
Jesus’ ministry comes to life in Jesus Shows God’s Love using the art from the popular The Beginner’s Bible.

This is the simplified version of the story of Jesus - from birth through-out his life - for toddlers. The pictures are interesting for young children to look at and the story is simple and short enough to hold the interest of an active two-year-old. Ideal for Christian day cares or churches. 

24 pages. Available in paperback.

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The Beginner's Bible Super-Duper, Mighty, Jumbo Activity Book

Paperback – September 8, 2012

by Zondervan (Author)

ISBN:  978-0310724995


Bible stories have never been so fun and interactive.
The Beginner's Bible Super-Duper, Mighty, Jumbo Activity Book provides young children with mazes, dot-to-dots, word puzzles, matching games, and more, all using beloved The Beginner’s Biblecharacters and stories.

A thick book geared to keep young children quiet during church (if they aren't in the children's church) or for Christian preschools or long car trips. Teaches letters,  numbers, simple counting, mazes, matching, and more. Thick book for 4 - 8 year olds (I'd say 2 years old and older).  My ten year old did enjoy doing some of the puzzles though. And there are plenty of coloring pages. 

384 pages. Paperback only. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

interview with Ginger Solomon



1.      Have you always like to write?

That’s a complicated question. At times in my life I would write in a journal, but I didn’t start writing novels until a few years ago.

2.      What inspired you to write your first book?

A dream. One night I had this dream about a girl who worked in a grocery store, and it was robbed. Her boyfriend saved her from getting shot. That’s it. The whole dream. It wouldn’t leave me alone, so I sat down and figured out how her story started, and where it went from there. I sent it out, received copious amounts of rejection letters, and decided that I needed to learn HOW to write. It was at that point that I joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and learned that I was doing so many things wrong. :) I’d like to think I’ve grown since that first novel.

3.      Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I struggle with story arc. Because I write seat-of-the-pants (or organically, which is the term I prefer) instead of plotting, I have to remember to keep the story flowing and not run off on some rabbit trail that my brain has created. I rarely have problems with the point of no return, but as I enter the middle part of the process I tend to allow the tension to drop. I have several books on the topic that I’ve been studying to alleviate the issue.

4.      How did you decide upon the title of Mr. Christmas and Miss Scrooge?

I’m not sure. It sort of just popped into my head when I realized my hero loved Christmas and everything about it, but my heroine didn’t. Not that she doesn’t love Christmas. She just doesn’t love all the material and commercial aspects. She’d rather have a quiet dinner than sing carols on street corners. The novella set is about a fundraiser to save an animal shelter. They decide on a Christmas in July theme, and my heroine doesn’t want to do Christmas twice in one year, so she becomes Miss Scrooge.

5.      How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names of character in Mr. Christmas and Miss Scrooge  based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

The names of my characters are very important to me. I can’t write the story until I find the right name, and put a face to him or her. I scour images for the right face, then in turn go to baby naming sites for names. Sometimes I have a specific trait in mind and look for a name to match. At other times, I have only an inkling of what kind of name I want, or what letter of the alphabet it should start with. My hero’s name is Grayson Mitchell Silverton, but he goes by Mitch because he thinks his name sounds pretentious and snooty. My heroine on the other hand is Margaret Priscilla Holberg. Her dad called her Meggy. When she takes control of the business, she tells everyone to call her Miss Holberg. It becomes a source of contention between them. ;)

6.      What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Mr. Christmas and Miss Scrooge is my first stab at a novella. Our goal was between 20,000-25,000 words. My word count came in at just under 30,000. My biggest issue was keeping it short. I’m used to aiming for the 70,000 word range, and then adding the extra 15,000 or so with edits. But with this novella, I had to make things happen fast, and it was very hard.

7.      If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’ve actually been fortunate to have a number of great writers come along side me and give me pointers. Vanetta Chapman mentored me for a time, and most recently it’s been Lee Carver and Gail Sattler, both of whom are fellow authors in the novella set, Love In Mistletoe Springs.

8.      Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

This one is tough. I read a lot, and I like a lot of different sub genres of romance. I think at the moment my favorite writers are Jen Turano and Karen Witemeyer. Their writing is always witty, and their heroines always get in tons of trouble, having to be saved by the hero, of course. But the heroines never think they need help. I like them because they have a can-do attitude and don’t rely on others to get stuff done when it is within their power to do it themselves—even though most of the stories occur when women were expected to sit in the parlor, do needlework, and look pretty. :)

9.      What are you working on now? What is your next project?

Another complicated question. I have another novella projected to release in November with several other authors. The working title of my story is Broken Holiday. I am in the editing process with this one, at the moment.

I also have two other novels in the works. One is a sequel to my debut novel, One Choice. It is tentatively titled Second Choice. For those who have read book one, Second Choice is Anaya’s story. The other is a stand-alone novel entitled Coming in First. I had intended for both of these novels to be completed by the end of the summer, but I hadn’t planned on a second novella, so my plans got pushed back a bit. I hope to have them both published sometime in the next year.

Thanks for hosting me, Laura, and letting me talk about my writing.



bio:
Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer — in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest four, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre, some sci-fi/fantasy, and some suspense. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for two blogs. In addition to all that, she loves animals, likes to do needlework (knitting, crocheting, and sometimes cross-stitch), and is a fan of Once Upon a Time and Dr. Who.



Author Links:


Blurb for Love in Mistletoe Springs:
The Mistletoe Springs animal shelter loses their grant, endangering the lives of countless stray dogs, cats, even birds and turtles. The community attempts to save the shelter by running a Christmas in July fundraiser. Groups of volunteers scramble to get all the details together while managing their personal lives. For ten people, love gets in the way. 

Blurb for Mr. Christmas and Miss Scrooge:
Mitch Silverton agreed to be in charge of decorating for the fundraiser. And he needs his boss, Margaret Holberg, to donate her family's vast array of decorations to make the day unforgettable. BUT...

She's not sharing. Christmas is not a holiday she wants to celebrate in July, and saving the animal shelter is not high on her list of important things to do.

He wants her to share more than the decorations. He wants her heart. Will he succeed in changing Miss Scrooge into Mrs. Christmas?

Buy Link: