Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rhapsody in Red

Title: RHAPSODY IN RED
Author: Donn Taylor
Publisher: Moody Press
2008
ISBN: 978-0-8024-5116-3
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Professor Preston Barclay became reclusive when his beloved wife died. Now he is sort of the University campus weirdo, and content to live a quiet life teaching history and grieving. But when a colleague, Mara Thorn, barges into Press’s office with complaints about a female teacher inappropriately touching her, she begs Press to go with her to talk to this other teacher, Laila. But when Press and Mara go to Laila’s office, instead, they find the teacher murdered. And the local homicide detective, an enemy of Press’s is determined to pin the murder on Press. Or Mara. Or both.

Determined to prove their own innocence if the local police won’t, Press and Mara start questioning the few other suspects hoping that if they find the murderer on their own then they will be found innocent. Instead they find that hit men have them on their hit list, all the other suspects are threatening them, and incriminating emails, allegedly from their computers were sent to Laila shortly before her death.

Will this investigation turn up the real murderer, or will Mara and Press find themselves behind bars—or worse?

RHAPSODY IN RED is the first book in the Preston Barclay Mystery series. I enjoyed getting to know this rather droll professor, and his group of unlikely friends, and even the suspects. The humor was rather dry, but did cause a smile a time or two. Preston is a lovable hero that the reader can’t help but fall in love with.

I am looking forward to reading any other books that might come out in this series. The faith message is rather weak at first as the professor is floundering in his faith, but it does get stronger toward the end of the book. Don’t miss this page-turner. RHAPSODY IN RED is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out who the real murderer is. $13.99. 364 pages.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Quarter for a Kiss

Title: A QUARTER FOR A KISS
Author: Mindy Starns Clark
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
2004
ISBN: 0-7369-1293-2
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Callie Webber is stunned when her mentor, Eli Gold, has been shot down by a sniper. Things can’t be as innocent as they seem on the surface, because before Eli lost consciousness, he asks for both Callie and Tom. Soon, Callie finds herself on the way to the beautiful Virgin Islands, trying to figure out exactly what case Eli was working on that caused someone to attempt to murder him.

The woman Eli was surverying seems to be a mystery. Is she a former agent for the USA, a spy for the Russians, and art dealer, or working in the black market? And why would investigating her cause someone to shoot Eli? Callie and Tom jump in to try to figure the story out. But the woman seems to be guarding her secrets well. Getting close will require a miracle of it’s own.

A QUARTER FOR A KISS is the fourth book in The Million Dollar Mysteries series. Unlike in previous books, Callie really isn’t investigating organizations to donate money to, instead she is looking into the attempted murder of her mentor. I enjoyed revisiting Callie and Tom, and getting to know via the pages of a book the beautiful Virgin Islands.

The faith message is strong, the mystery is well done, I had trouble figuring it out, and parts of it caught me totally by surprise. The characters are very well developed. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and the entire series. I read the books mostly in order, but they all stood alone, though the relationship between Tom and Callie were at different places during each book. Don’t miss this exciting series, or A QUARTER FOR A KISS. 333 pages.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Be Sweet

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us! I hope you had opportunity to spend it with family.


Title: BE SWEET
Author: Diann Hunt
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
2007
ISBN: 978-1-59554-194-9
Genre: Inspirational/chick lit

Char Haverford did not want to go back too Tappery, Michigan. The place holds bad memories for her. Her ex-husband, the child that should have been hers, her bitter mother, and her too perfect sister. But her parents’ fifty-years anniversary loomed and if Char and Janni didn’t throw the most perfect party ever, they would never hear the end of it.

So, Char leaves her seaside cottage in Maine and her high-octane job and heads home, just in time for Sugar Bush. With Janni’s family needing help harvesting the maple syrup crop, Char is thrown right into farm life. But when Mom moves into Janni’s house acting paranoid, her dad sneaking around, and sweet Janni suddenly moody, Char isn’t sure where to turn. A local dentist is a welcome diversion. Could Char possibly learn that things aren’t always as they seem?

I loved BE SWEET. I think this is one of my favorites of Ms. Hunt’s books so far. Having lived in Western Michigan, Sugar Bush time is one of my favorite parts of the winter season, especially when the maple sap is running. I enjoyed reminiscing about working on a maple syrup farm.

Char is a bit snappy and bitter at first, but as she settles into the community she sweetens up considerably. I thoroughly loved this book, and couldn’t read it fast enough. A new romance, secrets galore, and an endearing senior citizen makes this book a winner. Don’t miss BE SWEET. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 314 pages.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Daring Chloe

Title: DARING CHLOE
Author: Laura Jensen Walker
Publisher: Zondervan
2008
ISBN: 978-0-310-27696-8
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Chloe Adams’ is just hours away from her dream wedding to Chris, when she receives a text message from him—breaking up. Almost virtually dumped at the wedding, Chloe isn’t quite sure how to cope, until her fun-loving Aunt Tess suggests that Chloe goes on the honeymoon, with Tess, and Chloe’s best friend, Becca. After all, Chloe had paid for the romantic cruise. No reason not to take it.

Forced out of her comfort zone on the cruise is just the beginning. Her reading club friends decide that they need to start living adventures from their books instead of just reading about them. One adventure follows another as Chloe’s friends try to force her out of her post-dumping funk, and book-geek Chloe soon finds herself hiking, sailing, river rafting, and trying exotic food. Will this help Chloe to take the biggest step of all?

DARING CHLOE is an adorable story about a girl who lives through the pages of books, being forced to face life head-on, and take risks she would never dream of doing otherwise. Chloe is deliciously real, and her cast of friends is very well developed.

The faith message is expertly woven in, and the settings are almost real enough to be seen. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Chloe, and being a book-aholic myself, I could relate to her in many ways. I hope that Ms. Walker has a sequel planned for this book, because I would love to see how certain things develop. The book wasn’t neatly tied up at the end, so there is no real sense of closure. Don’t miss DARING CHLOE. It will warm your heart. $14.99. 332 pages.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Trespassers Will Be Baptized

Title: TRESPASSERS WILL BE BAPTIZED
Author: Elizabeth Emerson Hancock
Publisher: Center Street
2008
ISBN: 978-1-59995-708-1
Genre: Memoir

Elizabeth grew up Southern and Baptist in Eastern Kentucky. Since her father was a Southern Baptist preacher, her world revolved around church, missions, revivals, and of course, the Kentucky Wildcats.

Being typical kids, Elizabeth and her sister, Meg, managed to get into situations that could embarrass the most easy going of parents. But since her father was a pastor, the misadventures were worse than embarrassing. She was caught stealing Guess jeans from a donation box, and hawking a backyard swimming pool for baptisms during the neighborhood’s annual garage sale.

Some of the stories told in TRESPASSERS WILL BE BAPTIZED are laugh out loud funny. Punctuated with pictures scattered throughout the book, the stories are sure to please even the most serious. If you love to look at the humor in things, you won’t want to miss TRESPASSERS WILL BE BAPTIZED.

This book is a collection of events that really happened, and everyone raised in church who spent time learning Bible verses from felt boards or making Noah’s arks from Popsicle sticks will find things in common. This book is a perfect gift for any Southern Baptist—or any denomination—and is sure to be a hit. Pick up your copy today.
$21.99 hardcover. 276 pages.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Journey to Judah

Title: JOURNEY TO JUDAH
Author: Eileen Hinkle Rife
Publisher: Capstone Fiction
2008
ISBN: 978-1-1-60290-091-2
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Maggie Osteder’s desire to serve God in India is stronger than even looking for a mate. After all, most men don’t understand her desire to go off to a foreign land and become a career missionary. So, at long last, Maggie boards a plane and flies off.

When she gets there, she is immediately told her ministry would be more effective if she were married. And the perfect man would be the missionary doctor, Gavin Munsfield. But Gavin is engaged to be married to a nurse he met while stateside. Maggie is disappointed to learn this, but resigns herself to remaining single.

When Gavin’s finance breaks up with him, Maggie is there to pick up the pieces. But how can she marry a man who is struggling with his own issues?

JOURNEY TO JUDAH is the first book in the Born for India series. While next exactly the most well-written story, there is a message here that needs to be read. I enjoyed reading about the mission work in India, and about how they served the community as medical personal.

While the story is a bit preachy, it fits in with the theme of the story quite well, so it is not irritating. I enjoyed reading JOURNEY TO JUDAH and hope to be able to read more in this series. Don’t miss this new series by Capstone Fiction. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book, as well as a glossary of Indian terms. $15.98. 180 pages.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hometown Favorite

Title: HOMETOWN FAVORITE
Author: Bill Barton and Henry 0. Arnold
Publisher: Revell
2008
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1914-2
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

Dewayne Jobe has a whole shoe box full of full-ride college scholarship offers, thanks to his outstanding abilities on the football field. His best friends also have offers, but they are all from different schools, so the boys know that when they head off to college they are saying goodbye. Dewayne hops a bus in his hometown of Springdale, Mississippi, and heads off to the different world of California to play football.

Some years later, Dewayne is a guaranteed Hall of Famer, and a franchise savior. His beautiful wife runs his lucrative business, and they are expecting their first child. Dewayne is on “Easy Street.”

But then troubles blindside him. Will Dewayne summon the faith and character to get through this, or will he lose everything?

I wasn’t real impressed with HOMETOWN FAVORITE. There is a bunch of endorsements on the back of this book, but I couldn’t get into the story at all. The story is supposed to be about Dwayne, but there is a lot of head-hopping in the book. The authors didn’t pay much attention to point-of-view at all. The story is also mostly told, keeping the reader at a distance.

I can’t heartily recommend HOMETOWN FAVORITE, but if you enjoy football, and the lives of the football players then you might enjoy reading this book. There is a romance, a lot of football and talk, and then the crisis that does teach a valuable message. $19.99 hardcover. 363 pages.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Back to Life

Title: BACK TO LIFE
Author: Kristin Billerbeck
Publisher: Avon Inspire
2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-137877-5
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Lindsay Brindle was made to be a trophy wife. She realized that since Ron was so much older than her that he’d see Heaven before she does, but she didn’t expect to be widowed at thirty-five. Now Ron’s been gone a year, and Lindsay can’t seem to get past the pain.

The last thing she expects is for Ron’s first wife, Jane, to show up at Lindsay’s front door with a cat. Ron had made Jane the executor of his will, and she’s been in Mexico and out of reach up until now. But there are other surprises…including a son that Lindsay never knew existed.

Lindsay and Jane have nothing in common except they’ve been married to the same man. Can these two get past the awkwardness, get past mistakes, and form a friendship?

BACK TO LIFE is the second book in Ms. Billerbeck’s The Trophy Wife Club series, and it easily stands alone. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Lindsay and Jane, and the sometimes humorous situations that they found themselves in. Ms. Billerbeck is a stellar story teller.

I loved seeing Jane, used to the mountains and realness of Mexico, struggle to fit into the concrete jungle. Sometimes her thoughts about situations seemed to mirror my own. California is a whole different world than any of the cities/towns I’ve ever lived. The faith message is not preachy. The characters are well developed, even the secondary characters. I especially loved Jane and Lindsay’s neighbor, Cherry. Don’t miss this book. Discussion questions are included at the end. $12.95. 260 pages.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hands of Hope

Give the gift of life this Christmas
Hands of Hope, a charity of Women Helping Women A World Away, is
announcing that their Holiday Gift Cards are available for purchase. These cards provide food,
income and water for impoverished women and children in Zambia , Uganda , and
Southern Sudan. They can be purchased on the Hands of Hope website
www.handsofhopeonline.org for $15.00, $30.00 and $50.00. Purchasing these cards will provide
goats, chickens or wells to help change lives. What could be a more meaningful gift for holiday
giving for family, friends, and customer appreciation?

Hands of Hope helps mobilize communities to respond to the needs of women and children
around the world. With an ever-expanding support base in the Chicago area, Hands of Hope
works to raise community awareness regarding poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa and its relevance
globally. We are confident in the integrity of the channels we have established so that
contributions provide the highest possible impact for the most critical needs.

A Chicken Card will purchase a gift of twelve chicks and be given to an impoverished family in
Africa. As the flock multiplies, a struggling family will be given the hope to survive. Your gift will
help those in need for generations to come.

A Goat Card represents an actual goat being purchased for a needy family. Beyond providing
much needed milk, a few goats can quickly become a herd, providing sustenance and additional
income that can make the difference between whether a child goes to school or not.


A Well Card will go toward funding a well in the Western Province of Zambia. Statistics show that
nearly half of all people in developing countries suffer from health related problems caused by
unsafe water. In addition, African women and children spend several hours every day collecting
Links: http://www.handsofhopeonline.org
The cards: http://www.handsofhopeonline.org/goat.asp
Purchase cards: http://www.handsofhopeonline.org/goat.asp#purchase
How HOH got their start: http://www.handsofhopeonline.org/history.asp
Current Projects: http://www.handsofhopeonline.org/ourwork.asp
Contact at Hands of Hope:
VickyWauterlek, Hands of Hope
VWAU@aol.com, 847-381-7367

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Moon Shines Down

Title: MOON SHINES DOWN
Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by: Linda Bleck
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-4003-1299-3
2008
Genre: Inspirational /children’s

We’re all familiar with the old children’s bedtime prayer:

I see the moon
And the moon sees me
God bless the moon
And God bless me.


Ms. Brown, a pioneer of children’s literature, has taken this well-known poem, and expounded on it, making an absolutely charming book for children. The book is expertly illustrated and sure to become a favorite with children and their caregivers alike.

MOON SHINES DOWN was forgotten for decades in a tucked-away trunk, but recently rediscovered, and the unmistakable voice of Margaret Wise Brown. This story book for children is soon to become a new classic, one that parents and grandparents will want to cherish for generations to come.

MOON SHINES DOWN is an excellent book that I fell totally in love with. Hardcover, with a beautifully designed dustcover, it is a book that my three-year-old will be thrilled to find under the tree this Christmas. Make sure you pick up a copy for your favorite young child. This story will thrill both of you, it is that delightful. $16.99.


http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=140031299X

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yuletide Treasure

Title: YULETIDE TREASURE
Authors: Lauraine Snelling and Jillian Hart
Publisher: Love Inspired
November 2008
ISBN: 978-0-373-78631-2
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

The Finest Gift by Lauraine Snelling. Arley Hoople doesn’t dream of romance. After all, even if a suitor did come calling, he’d have to get past her overbearing grandmother first. Not many men are that brave. So, when Arley falls and breaks her grandmother’s favorite nutcracker, she goes off to the woodcarver’s shop to see if he could repair it. Little does she know that knock will open the door to her own love.

A Blessed Season by Jillian Hart. A little abandoned girl asks bounty hunter Rafe Jones to find her long-lost mother for Christmas. The only clue she has is a sewing case. It was easy enough to find the woman that the case belongs to, but Cora Sims doesn’t seem to have an unkind bone in her body. While Cora’s the woman that Rafe has been looking for all his life, is she actually the girl’s mother?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading YULETIDE TREASURE. Both of the stories are light-hearted, and joyful, to help get readers into the mood for the holiday season. Both heroines, Arley and Cora, are loving and kind. The heroes varied greatly.

My favorite story in this collection of two was The Finest Gift, but A Blessed Season was just as good, in a different way. Both collections have a faith message, and both have realistic characters. If you are looking for a Holiday novella this season, make sure that YULETIDE TREASURE is on your list. Discussion questions for both novellas are included. $6.99. 272 pages.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Shape of Mercy

Title: THE SHAPE OF MERCY
Author: Susan Meissner
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
2008
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7456-3
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Lauren Durough is tired of living on her family’s laurels. She is privileged with an unlimited credit account, and watching her roommate and friends work their way through school. So, she applies for a part-time job with an eighy-three year old former librarian Abigail Boyles. Ms. Boyles has turned down numerous applicants for this job, and Lauren for some reason believes she is the one Ms. Boyles has been waiting for.

Abigail does hire Lauren, and her job is to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor, Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials. Lauren takes an immediate affinity with Mercy, which forces Lauren to take a new look at her own life.

THE SHAPE OF MERCY is a powerfully written story, gripping, haunting, and so well written that the reader simply has to keep turning the pages. Written in both Lauren’s point of view, and then Mercy’s point of view, the reader can’t help but connect with both characters—the ancient one and the modern one.

The faith message is deftly woven in, and isn’t preachy. THE SHAPE OF MERCY is a tale that will stay with the reader for months to come. Don’t miss this story. If you read one book this year, make sure it is THE SHAPE OF MERCY. It will change your life. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $13.99. 304 pages.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Light Across the River

Title: THE LIGHT ACROSS THE RIVER
Author: Stephanie Reed
Publisher: Kregel Publications
2008
ISBN: 978-0-8254-3474-4
Genre: Inspirational/historical

In 1837 the Underground Railroad was very busy. The Rankin home was a beacon of freedom on the Ohio side of the Ohio River. Kentucky slaves would sometimes cross the ice or take a dingy to get to the other side of the river to freedom. Johnny Rankin has never seen a slave, but he knows that his family is a stop on the Underground Railroad. But they never keep the escaped slaves for long, they always sent them quickly on their way north to Canada.

When the ice was beginning to break up that spring, the Rankin family is surprised when a woman carrying a baby crosses over the broken ice. They had no idea how she managed to cross without drowning herself or her baby. Johnny likes to talk, but he has to keep this woman a secret, and this woman’s story is especially hard to keep quiet.

THE LIGHT ACROSS THE RIVER is a true story about the woman who inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write her famous story that helped fuel the Civil War. The Rankin family and their house is now a historic landmark in Ohio. It is fascinating to read a book that the characters really existed and the story really happened. It is the sequel to Across the Wide River, but it easily stands alone. I didn’t read the first book, but had no trouble keeping up in this book.

THE LIGHT ACROSS THE RIVER is a great resource for homeschoolers who want to teach their kids about the Underground Railroad and some of the lives it touched. It is also great for church libraries, public and private schools, and your favorite eight to twelve year old. Don’t miss this exciting book. $10.99. 210 pages.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Let Them Eat Fruitcake

Title: LET THEM EAT FRUITCAKE
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: David C. Cook
September 2008
ISBN: 978-1-5891-9106-8
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

The four young women who moved into 86 Bloomberg Place are feeling a little blue. It’s the holiday season, and not only are they all alone, but they have relationship problems to go along with the loneliness.

Megan is feeling a bit convicted about dating a man she really likes, but he isn’t a Christian. Lelani’s relationship with Gil seems to be causing some problems with Gil’s sister, Anna. Anna’s old boyfriend barges into the picture, ruining her new relationship with a co-worker. And Kendall’s fallen in love with a famous actor—if she can convince him that she’s the woman he really wants.

LET THEM EAT FRUITCAKE is the second book in the 86 Bloomberg Place series. Readers will want to read the first book in the series I Heart Bloomberg first so they can get acquainted with the characters and their situations.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, although I really wanted to reach into the pages and wring some of the characters’ necks. A few of the decisions they made were really bad. But overall, this was a great book, and I am looking forward to reading Spring Broke, the third book in the series available in March 2009.

Don’t miss this series. The characters are completely realistic, their situations griping, and the setting almost as if you are there. Don’t miss this holiday tale about friendship. Discussion questions, an interview with the author, and a chapter of Spring Broke is included at the rear of the book. $14.99. 302 pages.

We are holding a drawing. If you leave a comment on this post or any other post in the tour by 5pm CST on November 21, you will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to the Collin Street Bakery. The Collin Street Bakery is world-famous for its - you guessed it - fruitcake and will deliver your baked goods almost anywhere in the world. You can enter multiple times by commenting on more than one post (but only one comment per post will be counted).

IMPORTANT LINKS:
Let Them Eat Fruitcake on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1589191064
Melody Carlson’s Website: http://melodycarlson.com
List of all participating bloggers: http://blogtourspot.com/Carlson-blog-tour/Carlson-blog-tour-stops

Friday, November 14, 2008

Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas

Title: LOVE FINDS YOU IN SNOWBALL, ARKANSAS
Author: Sandra Brinker
Publisher: Summerside Press
2008
ISBN: 978-1-934770-45-0
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Lucy Binoche falls in love the second she meets gorgeous Justin Gerald at her church in Little Rock, Arkansas. She gets her best friend, Matt, to introduce them, and when Justin signs up for a week-long singles retreat in Snowball, Arkansas, Lucy signs on the line right below him. So what if she can’t hook a worm and Justin is the original outdoors man.

Immediately after signing up, Lucy gets Matt to help her learn how to hook a worm and cast a line, and even how to sit in a canoe. And even though Lucy doesn’t exactly master the tricks in Matt’s living room, she’s convinced the camping trip will be a breeze, even though Lucy’s idea of roughing it is suffering through a long line at Starbucks and staying at a 4-star hotel. How long can Lucy pretend to be someone she’s not? Will the new Lucy snap a boyfriend?

LOVE FINDS YOU IN SNOWBALL, ARKANSAS, is the second book in the Love Finds You series, and it is a winner. I totally loved Lucy, and Matt, and all the other secondary characters. The book is funny and lighthearted, and even better, it is set in my part of the country. I enjoyed watching the characters tour areas that I’m very familiar with.

The faith message is very well down, and not preachy. My only problem with this story is that there were liberties taken with the October weather conditions in Arkansas, but this is fiction. I loved this book and can’t wait to read this author’s next Love Finds You book coming in 2009. Don’t miss this new series by a brand new publishing house. $12.99. 261 pages.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jesus Take the Wheel

About the Book:
The practical biblical instruction found in Stuart Migdon's book, Jesus Take the Wheel takes readers on a two-month journey that will literally transform the way they live their lives. Rich insights from the author's own life mixed with wisdom gleaned from the pages of Scripture combines to make reading this book an adventure that will be looked forward to each day. In the face of life's many uncertainties and struggles, the message of real hope that Jesus Take the Wheel brings, is one that will benefit everyone.
Jesus Take the Wheel is a valuable resource for spiritual growth and discipleship. Through applying the biblical principles and truths contained throughout its pages, readers will begin to discover that what has been impossible alone, is very possible with God at the wheel of their lives. Each day's reading is followed by an application aimed at applying the day's biblical truths and principles to the real circumstances of life.
While many in our world today know that they need and want change, they often fail to allow Jesus to have His rightful place in their lives simply because they don't know where to start. In Jesus Take the Wheel, readers are given an easy and practical plan to follow each day that will teach them what they need to do in order to begin letting Jesus be the One in the driver's seat.





What People Are Saying

Too many people say they have a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ, yet a little probing finds that He is either in the passenger seat, in the back seat, or even in the trunk. Stuart Migdon expounds powerful biblical principles that show that there is only one place for Him to be-at at wheel.
Ray Comfort-Co-Host of The Way Of The Master TV Show-Author of more than 60 Christian Books.

Just like a fast-paced game, our lives are full of events that can quickly steer us off track. Jesus Take the Wheel is the game plan all of us need to get us on the right track with God and keep us there.
Byron Scott- NBA Head Coach- New Orleans Hornets.

About the Stuart Migdon

Stuart Migdon was raised in Reformed Judaism. He married and became a father at the age of 18. With no money and no one to help, he quickly determined he had to take control of his own life. He developed a "don't quit" attitude and set out to beat the odds that were already stacking up against him. While working a full time job to support his family, he also managed to graduate college in four years, and to do it with high honors. That same stubborn persistence propelled him to become a CPA and later a successful insurance agent. With a commitment to hard work and excellence, Stuart continued to achieve every goal that he set for his life. However, all the success in the world could not fill the emptiness that was growing within him.

In 1991, things began to change. He came to know Jesus as His Messiah and felt a strong desire to live a life that would really be pleasing to God. A life that he somehow knew was radically different than the one he had been living. With every ounce of his being, he was now determined to live that life.

Since then, Stuart has become an avid student of the Bible. Over the last five years, his thirst for more has led him into a detailed study of God's Word, and specifically the lives of the Bible's two central figures, Jesus and Moses. During this time he also began to realize that what had been driving him in his own study was more than just a personal quest for knowledge, it was actually a calling from the Lord. As a result, he began a new adventure as an author, and in 2008 published his first book,Jesus Take the Wheel: 7 Keys to a Transformed Life with God.

Today, Stuart is a successful Christian businessman and serves as an elder and biblical counselor at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge in New Jersey. Stuart's growing understanding of his own need to let Jesus take the wheel of his life, has equipped him for the many situations he faces in ministry today. In every area, he challenges those he encounters to begin living a transformed life by letting Jesus have His rightful place behind the wheel of their lives.

Stuart and his wife Jeanne have two adult children, Jennifer and Jason, and one grandson.



FREE CONTENT !

DO YOU DESIRE TO BE KING OF THE HILL?


The key to being used by God for His glory is that we give over control and realize all glory and honor goes to God alone. True Humility. The great love of God allows us to see the changes that need to be made in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Even the greatest can be humbled.
It's never too late to change as long as He is the one changing us. Most people won't admit that being important matters to them. But if we seek recognition in one way or another, we have revealed through our actions that we desire to be self-important. Here's a five-point test to see just how significant self-importance is to you.
Five Evidences of Desiring Self-Importance
Whenever you do something with the goal of recognition, it's really about your own importance. Let's say you help someone out, and you're looking for acknowledgment of what you've done. Maybe you helped them with general advice, helped them get a job, watched their children, lent them money, bought them a gift, or did some other favor for them. You could even be doing what God instructs all of us to do, comforting the sick, visiting the prisoner, feeding and clothing the poor, or being there for the needy. If you're doing it with the desire to be noticed, even if that's just part of your reason, then you have too much focus on your own importance.
How many times have we heard people talk about a time when they did something for someone else, and the person they did it for wasn't appreciative, didn't say thank you enough, or in some other way didn't show enough gratitude? Doesn't that show that they were doing it for the recognition and not to help someone else? It's hard not to want recognition--we feel like we deserve it. That's the sin nature with which we constantly struggle.
The fight is only won with God at the wheel. In order to do so, you need to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit and relinquish control of your life to Him. When you give to others without looking to feed your own ego but only to see good being done for someone else, your reward is from God, and it far surpasses any reward of recognition you can get from man. Keep in mind that recognition can be good if it comes naturally, but if you do things with the intention or motive of being recognized, you're making yourself too important!
Whenever a good deed is not done because it brings no attention to you, then it is really about your own importance. How about when you assess a certain situation and you decide not to help if you don't get recognition. Perhaps you decide not to give to a good cause because your gift would be anonymous. Or you decide not to help someone unless there are enough people around to see--an audience, so to speak. Some people are notorious for showing up to help at a charitable event only for the recognition, the photo op so to speak. Once the cameras are packed away, they leave. We do the same thing when we choose not to do good deeds when there is no acknowledgement in doing so. If that's your thinking process, it is obvious that recognition is your motivation, and you've put too much significance on your own importance. The recognition may come, but it is your only reward. God will have no part in it.
When you are looking for opportunities to tell people about your accomplishments, it's really all about your own importance. Have you ever been in a situation where you've heard someone telling others about their own accomplishments, their job titles, degrees, money, house, or material possessions, when there's really no need for others to know? Or maybe you've been around someone looking for opportunities to fit these kinds of things into the conversation? It's out of context, and it's a clear sign that they're doing it for recognition, putting too much significance on their own importance.
When you worry about what others think of you, you are too focused on your own importance. If you are constantly worried about what other people think of you and you make decisions based on this concern, you are placing too much significance on your own importance. It could be deciding to go someplace or to be with some people because you think others will look more favorably on you. Or perhaps you stay away from someplace or some people because others would think less of you if you didn't. Self-importance matters to you if you are concerned about the actions you take or the things you say based on what other people might think.
When you admire others based on their possessions or status, then your focus is on your own importance. If it's all about their power or prestige, then you're impressed by the wrong elements--these things do not make a person truly important. If you are impacted by the importance of others, then importance matters way too much to you.
In summary, whenever you attempt to accomplish something with a reason other than for the love of God and the love of others, it is done to demonstrate your own importance, and it gets in the way of God's love. Rather than desiring to be "king of the hill," yield to the King of the Hill. He was victorious over death on a cross on the hill of Mt. Calvary; He will be victorious in transforming our lives as well.





An Interview with Stuart Migdon


According to your bio, you are a Messianic Jew. Tell us your conversion story.

I was raised in Reformed Judaism, made my Bar Mitzvah at age 13 and was even confirmed in my Reformed Temple, playing the role of God in the class play! When I was 18 my girlfriend Jeanne got pregnant and we got married and had our daughter Jennifer a short time later. Suddenly, in addition to going to college full time I was working 50-60 hours a week to support my family. Money was tight, we were very poor and life was a struggle. I had no time for religion in my life and only focused on finishing college in four years, becoming successful and making a lot of money so I would never have to be poor again. My life was consumed with striving for success and eventually I became physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. In my quest for success I decided to track down the leading salesman for an insurance company I worked with. I hounded Ron for months to meet with me and he finally agreed. During the meeting he told me many things he did for success but the last thing he told me is that he prayed before each sales appointment. I told him I thought that was strange and because of my answer he reached under his desk and handed me "the book" which he told me was the bible written in fourth grade language for anyone to understand, I took the bible and decided that I was going to read the Old Testament which I did just about every day for three years. I was searching for God and I didn't really even know it. Even though the bible Ron gave me had the New Testament in it I never considered opening it; I was Jewish and Jewish people did not read the New Testament. About three years later at the age of 33 I walked into a meeting with a prospect of mine, looking to sell him some disability insurance. As I walked into Sal's office I noticed a bible on his desk and asked him why it was there. He told me that he was going to be leaving his job as the controller of a very successful company to become a full time minister. I told him that I couldn't believe that he would leave such a good job to do this and I also told him that I had been reading the bible for the last three years. Sal asked me some questions and then he asked me if I could ever believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. That was 17 years ago but I can still remember my response word for word. I told Sal that it would be easier to believe that I was a female then to believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah! Sal was surprised by my answer and asked me if he could pray for me. I told him no but he insisted. After making him explain exactly what he was going to do and say, I agreed to let him pray for me. Before I left, Sal invited me to his ordination as a minister which was scheduled in a month and to my surprise I agreed to go. I somehow felt drawn to go and I was even looking forward to it. During the service for Sal's ordination, I heard the gospel message for the first time in my life and I felt an irresistible desire to repent of my sins and receive Jesus as my Lord. I left my house that evening to go to the ordination a Jew who knew nothing about Jesus and I came home a Jewish believer in Jesus!


Most people would assume that when you began your relationship with the Messiah that Jesus was automatically in charge of your life. Did you find this to be true, or was it a struggle to keep Jesus in the driver's seat?

In the first few years as a Jewish believer I was fascinated by Messianic prophesy and I studied these prophesies regularly. I really enjoyed reading a prediction about the future coming of the Messiah in the Old Testament and then reading about the fulfillment of this prophesy in the life of Jesus. This study was strengthening my faith which was my daily prayer to God. However, in reading the bible every day I realized that God desired for me to live a certain life for Him and I wanted to learn more about what that life was. Before knowing Jesus I had read many self help books about how to live a successful life but none of the advice made sense to me anymore. Although I was changed by Jesus instantly, I was slowly learning what He required from me, how He wanted me to live for Him. I had lived such a "me" centered life before knowing Jesus, always thinking about how things would affect my life, that there was a lot of changing that needed to take place. I was a control person and so giving Jesus the wheel of my life was a difficult process. Fortunately the bible is filled with examples of how to let Jesus take control of your life and the joy that it brings when you do!


What have you found to be a Christian's biggest obstacle in allowing Jesus to take the wheel?

The biggest obstacle Christians have in letting Jesus take the wheel is pride. We say that we have no pride but our actions speak differently. We think that we can control our lives and when we need God we call out to Him for help. The world around us is so "me" centered that we can easily be indoctrinated into believing the lie that we are good enough and able to be in control. In order to begin to let Jesus take the wheel, we must understand what it means to live in our relationship with God with childlike humility, which is the opposite of pride. That's why the book, Jesus Take The Wheel begins with understanding childlike humility and why it's so important to God and how to live it every day in our relationship with Him.


Are there practical tips you can briefly share that help Christians keep Jesus at the wheel?

The most important thing to do in keeping Jesus at the wheel is to recognize whether He is truly there in the first place. We often think He is at the wheel of our lives but when probed, we find He is either in the back seat or in the trunk. One of the best indications of determining whether Jesus is at the wheel is to take a look at what you worry about. If you are worrying about your children, your job, your finances, your health, your spouse or anything else for that matter, chances are that Jesus is not fully at the wheel. Once you recognize that you need to move over and let Jesus drive, you are ready for the journey necessary to allow Him to remain at the wheel. This comes in changing life patterns and actions to no longer imitate anything of the world around us but instead to imitate Jesus. It's the journey to self denial that leads to total joy in Jesus.


Explain the benefits of trusting God completely.

When a Christian totally trusts the Lord there is a peace in their life that transcends all comprehension. Even through trials and difficulties, through tough times and sorrow there will be an inexplicable joy that only God provides. God never tells us that life will be easy when we truly deny our self, take up our cross daily and follow Him, He instead tells us that it's the best way to live. Why? Because trusting Him provides a childlike dependence on the Creator of the universe and all else seems secondary to a life dedicated to Him. When we live a life totally trusting God, scriptures come alive without doubting and our commitment to God is unwavering. That's why Jesus Take The Wheel focuses on the lives of biblical characters who have trusted God no matter what and what we can learn from them to do the same.


How do you hope to reach Jewish people with the message of this book?

I am a Jewish believer in Jesus. The book, Jesus Take The Wheel is written for the Christian audience who is looking for a closer relationship with God and all the joy that brings. Therefore the book is not specifically designed for Jewish people who do not know the Lord. However my life as a Jew before knowing Jesus is depicted in the book and my new life as a Jewish believer reveals a changed man, only changed by the sacrifice of the Messiah, Jesus Himself. Christians that read this book will be encouraged to tell their Jewish friends about the Jewish Messiah and be able to introduce them to a Jewish believer by recommending they read the book. What's also interesting is that one of the focal biblical characters written about in the book is Moses, the Most revered Jew of all time!


How destructive is pride in the life of a believer? What's the cure?

As I said earlier, pride is the biggest obstacle in letting Jesus take the wheel. Pride is why the Devil rebelled against God and why we do as well. Pride causes us to sin against a holy God. The only cure for pride as a Christian is to live a life of self denial. That's why the book, Jesus Take The Wheel is focused on doing just that. It's easier said than done and Christians need an action plan of how to live their life with no focus on self. It must be a daily plan that uses the scriptures to reveal the ugliness of pride and the beauty of a forgiving God.


How has your experience as a church leader helped to develop the methods used in the book?

As a church leader, I have had many opportunities to listen to the various struggles Christians have in their lives and how they attempt to deal with these struggles. With the responsibility to counsel other Christians comes the obligation to provide the best biblical counseling possible. That comes only as we dig deep into God's Word for the answers of how to live for Him today. I discovered that the only answer of how to do this to learn how to let Jesus take the wheel.


You're a Christian businessman. How do you think other businessmen could benefit from the principles of your book?

I have been a businessman since graduating college. I first started my career as a Certified Public Accountant and then went into the financial planning field, ultimately settling in as an insurance broker. When I first began my career in business I was struggling financially and raising a family. As I faced the many trials and circumstances that businessmen encounter, I started to spiral into striving for success and all that I believed it would bring. The striving ultimately led to physical, emotional, mental and spiritual exhaustion. Many businessmen face the same struggles and will relate to my experiences. After coming to know Jesus, I continued in business but with a different perspective. The more I let Jesus take the wheel the less striving became a part of my life. The book is written from a businessman's perspective and reveals how, as a Christian I deal with the many obstacles that are part of the business world.


So many of us are "control freaks." Does this mean we aren't letting Jesus take charge of our lives?

The short answer is yes. The bible tells us that we must decrease and that Jesus must increase. Jesus must be Lord of our lives and in total control in order for us to truly live as His disciple. Jesus Take The Wheel was written by someone who struggles with wanting to take control of his life but realizes that Jesus must be in full control. So even so called "control freaks" can live a life letting Jesus take the wheel. It takes a commitment to run the race for God but it is well worth it!!!


My thoughts…

I’ve heard Carrie Underwood’s song that inspired this book. Unfortunately for Stuart Migdon, I was more inspired by the song than the book. Christian growth, spiritual growth is a vital subject which is in need of more exposure than it is currently receiving. However, it will only occur as one grows in one’s relationship with the God who was, and is, and is to come. That is only going to occur as one spends time in God’s Word. This “devotional” tends to spend more time recounting the author’s memoirs than delving into God’s Word. While the anecdotes are amusing at time’s (the “christening” of Stuart’s first new car is priceless!), the scriptures seem to be quoted almost as an afterthought, treated superficially, and finished off with a pious platitude. Truth be told, it appears that Stuart Migdon is still seeking SUCCESS; only this time from the Christian marketplace.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Fantastic Fall Giveaway

Click here to find out how you can participate in the blog tour!**
Welcome to the 1st ever TitleTrakk.com Blog Tour!This week we're chatting about:
The Fantastic Fall Giveaway Contest!
Just in time for the holidays, you could win over $335 worth of books, cds and dvds!


The Grand Prize Winner will receive:

BOOKS:Whispers of the Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark
Rachel's Secret by BJ Hoff
Beach Dreams by Trish Perry
Playing God by Michelle McKinney Hammond
White Soul by Brandt Dodson
The Legend of the Firefish by George Bryan Polivka
Finding Marie by Susan Paige Davis
The Power of Praying Through the Bible by Stormie Omartian
A Man After God's Own Heart by Jim George
Evidence for Faith 101 by Bruce Bickel & Stan Jantz

CDS:Wake Up! Wake Up! by Everyday Sunday
Rock What You Got by Superchick
Sunday by Tree63Houston We Are Go by Newsboys (Live CD/DVD)
Nothing Left To Lose by Mat Kearney
I Am Free Worship Collection
Salvation Station by Newworldson
Not Without Love by Jimmy Needham
Pages by Shane & Shane
Colors and Sounds by Article One

MOVIES:Love's Unfolding Dream
The Ten Commandments Animated
Between the Walls

But that's not all!We're giving away even more!During this blog tour (November 10th - 16th) we'll be drawing 2 winners daily from the contest entries to win an additional free book or cd!

Visit the TitleTrakk.com Contest page today to enter the contest and place yourself in the running to receive the Grand Prize, plus all the daily prizes! Deadline to enter is November 17th.

About TitleTrakk.com:Founded in 2006 by Tracy & C.J. Darlington, TitleTrakk.com is an interactive website spotlighting Christian books, music & movies. Updated weekly, we feature author and musician interviews, album and book reviews, music videos, movie reviews and interviews, book excerpts, surveys, polls, and fun contests. Learn more: http://www.titletrakk.com/about.htm

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pedigreed Bloodlines

Title: PEDIGREED BLOODLINES
Author: Sandra Robbins
Publisher: Heartsong Presents Mysteries
2008
ISBN: 978-1-59789-602-3
Genre: Inspirational/cozy mystery

Leigh Dennison has finally landed a date with the guy of her dreams, but her dream date ends disastrously when she returns home to find her dear friend, Addie Jordan, has been murdered. Leigh is devastated, and everyone is suspect, including the guy she went out with. Now, Leigh is the proud owner of Addie’s champion show-dog kennels, even though Leigh knows next to nothing about show dogs, and the two men that Addie employed are both people of interest in Addie’s murder investigation.

Content to leave the investigation in the police’s hands, Leigh doesn’t know quite what to think when clue after clue falls into her lap. As someone who can’t even remember to add soap to the washing machine, none of the clues make much sense. A homeless Vietnam veteran is found with Addie’s most prized possession. A Cherokee highschool drop out has run off with Addie’s truck. A rival kennel is insisting Leigh sell out. And the man that Leigh is falling in love with has come into a bit of money to help his ailing parents. Did he kill Addie in a blotched robbery?

PEDIGREED BLOODLINES is a fun read that I was looking forward to reading for quite sometime. It didn’t disappoint, and I am looking forward to reading the second and third stories in the Leigh Dennison Mystery series.

The faith message is expertly woven in, and Leigh really struggles with learning the faith lesson she needs to master, but toward the end of the book she starts making strides with it. I really liked Leigh a lot, she is loveable, smart, and yet so very flawed. I didn’t care as much for the hero, but maybe because he wasn’t as well developed as Leigh. Depending on the secondary characters, some were well-rounded, others weren’t.
I didn’t guess who-dun-it until near the end of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading PEDIGREED BLOODLINES and am looking forward to reading more by this talented author. $6.95. 246 pages

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Life as a Bush---And My Heart for Imitating Jesus

Title: MY LIFE AS A BUSH…AND MY HEART FOR IMITATING JESUS
Author: John Morgan
Publisher: Creation House
September 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59979-459-5
Genre: Humor

John Morgan has made his living imitating the President of the United States of America before corporate giants and everyday citizens. He has shared the spotlight with thousands of music, television, and movie stars.

Mr. Morgan has appeared on shows such as E!, The View, The 700 Club, Family Feud, among others as he began his life as an impersonator. However, he maintains that being a imitator of President Bush is not what drives him. MY LIFE AS A BUSH…AND MY HEART FOR IMITATING JESUS is his story.

MY LIFE AS A BUSH… is a very good book. It held my interest all the way through. I enjoyed getting to know Mr. Morgan some as a person through reading this book. It was interesting reading how he became discovered at a Bush Rally in 2004 and went from being an appliance salesman to impersonating the President.

This book also kind of works as a devotional, with verses and an application and even a questions for reflection section in each short chapter. Don’t miss MY LIFE AS A BUSH… it will not only entertain you, but will help you to grow spiritually as you attempt to become authentic imitators of Jesus Christ. $14.99 hardcover. 118 pages.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Secrets for Sale

Title: SECRETS FOR SALE
Author: Kristi Holl
Publisher: Zondervan Kidz
June 2008
ISBN: 978-0-310-71430-9
Genre: Young adult/mystery

Twelve year old Jeri McKane is horrified when her best friend, Rosa, accuses Jeri of blackmailing her to get money. Whatever the blackmailer knows is a secret that Rosa has only told Jeri. Jeri convinces Rosa to ignore the blackmailer, but as a result, Rosa’s secret is made public and she is kicked out of the school play.

Now a second blackmail attempt has Rosa scrounging for $100 to pay off the blackmailer. But when Rosa is caught with another girl’s purse, she is expelled from school for stealing! Jeri is convinced Rosa didn’t steal any money, but what can she do when her absentee father is finally coming for a visit? When Jeri herself is blackmailed, what will she do? Give in to the blackmailer’s demands, or hope to catch the person behind the notes?

SECRETS FOR SALE is the second book in The Boarding School Mysteries series. The books easily stand alone; there is no reason you have to read the books in order. Jeri is an adventurous heroine, and doesn’t hesitate to confront people from the headmistress, to an unknown person threatening her friends.

Any young girl would love to read this series geared for eight to twelve year old girls. They are sure to hold the girl’s attention and fulfill their need for good wholesome stories. Be sure to pick up this series for your favorite tweener girl. $6.99. 144 pages.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Review of The Chronological Study Bible from Thomas Nelson

Title: The Chronological Study Bible
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Copyright: 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7180-2068-2
Genre: Bibles/NKJV/Study

A treasure in the hand is worth ten on the shelf! And The Chronological Study Bible is just such a treasure for the one who desires to follow the flow of history as he reads the Bible. I reviewed the hardcover edition, which comes with a handsome full-color jacket over a burgundy cover. It is also available in bonded leather, for a modest price increase. You are invited to “immerse yourself in the world of the Bible,” and the study aids throughout the work make this an effortless experience. On practically every page, there is a picture, a time capsule, a thought-provoking question, or a reference to archaeology, geography, or technology, often more than one. They are arranged on the page in a way that draws your attention without unduly distracting your devotions. Section headings provide a point of reference and an overview of the successive passages, enabling you to easily capture the flow of events as they were recorded. Another valuable aid is the manner in which Old Testament passages are quoted in the New Testament. The Chronological Bible indents and italicizes the quote, and provides a footnote as to the Scripture reference. No more searching through reams of notes and commentary in order to locate the source of the quotation!

In addition to the features I’ve mentioned, the jacket cover draws your attention to:

The chronological Bible text of the New King James Version
Daily Life Notes – how people in the Bible REALLY lived!
Time panels and charts that help you grasp the flow of history
A Topical Index, Glossary, and a more – comprehensive- than usual Concordance.
In-text and full-color maps of the world of the Bible.

If you have ever asked, “What in the world is going on?” of your Bible, The Chronological Study Bible by Thomas Nelson is the treasure you’ve been seeking!

http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?dept_id=190000&sku=0718020685&TopLevel_id=190000
$44.99 hardcover. 1670 pages.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fading Tracks

Title: FADING TRACKS
Author: Kristi Holl
Publisher: Zondervan Kidz
June 2008
ISBN: 978-0-310-71429-3
Genre: Young Adult/mystery

Jeri McKane is surprised when her roommate at the Landmark School for Girls doesn’t get back from a field trip in time for dinner. She is horrified when the head mistress of the school informs them that the bus carrying the girls has vanished somewhere on a 2 mile stretch of a treacherous highway. The bus was seen going into that stretch, but no one witnessed it coming out.

Taking matters into her own hands, twelve year old Jeri contacts a news team, and sends out missing persons alerts, which makes the head mistress upset since she wanted to keep the vanished bus and children secret. Jeri gets grounded on campus. How can she find her missing roommate if she isn’t allowed to help? And what happened to the missing girls? Were they kidnapped, or worse?

FADING TRACKS is the first book in The Boarding School Mysteries series. Jeri is an adventurous twelve year old, good at thinking on her feet. I was curious about some of the people in the story, knowing that whodunit is usually introduced in the story, and it seemed a lot of people had opportunity. I didn’t figure out who actually did it until the end of the book though.

I enjoyed reading FADING TRACKS, though at times it seemed a bit contrived and unrealistic. Still, it is a book that will appeal to eight-to-twelve year old girls, and maybe some older ones. Don’t miss this new series. $6.99. 144 pages.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Trion.Rising

Title: TRION.RISINGAuthor: Robert ElmerPublisher: Zondervan 2008ISBN: 978-0-310-71421-7Genre: Inspirational/Science Fiction/Fantasy
What would it be like if Jesus had come to another planet?
Those who lived in lush comfort on the bright side of the small planet Corista have plundered the water resources of Shadowside for centuries, ignoring the existence of Shadowside’s inhabitants, who are nothing more than animals. Or so the Brightsiders have been taught. It will take a special young woman to expose the truth—and to help avert the war that is sure to follow. (from the back cover)
Oriannon is the princess on the bright side of Corista. Her dad doesn’t punish her, but he doesn’t want her spending time with her friend Margus, because one of Margus’ ancestors used to work as a servant in the castle. Since she isn’t allowed to talk to Margus any longer, Margus invents a device where he and Oriannon can communicate without speaking—they can hear each other’s thoughts. This works great until a new music teacher arrives at their school. And even though Margus doesn’t seem to think the music teacher can hear their thoughts, Orianna believes he can.
When Margus decides that the new teacher, Jesmet, is a “faith-braaker”, he pressures her to spy on Jesmet. Oriannon really doesn’t want to believe ill of Jesmet, after all, he tells fascinating stories, and he’s such an interesting person. But while spying on Jesmet, Oriannon loses her way on the dark side of the planet and is taken in by an odd, cliff-dwelling people. Yet when her new friends are threatened, can Oriannon follow her heart, and maybe even save the planet in the process?
Trion.Rising is the first book in The Shadowside Trilogy by Mr. Elmer. Written for young adults, this book is sure to please any teen or preteen that likes to read science fiction or fantasy. The main character is Oriannon, which is female, but I believe this book would appeal to males and females alike.
Oriannon is a well-developed character that one couldn’t help but care for. The main secondary characters are also very well-developed, but the other cast are just there to fill out the cast of school mates, and we don’t spend much time getting to know them. Even though I don’t particularly care for this genre, I had to keep reading to find out what happens, how Oriannon managed to get lost, etc. Mr. Elmer did a stellar job keeping my interest. A great book for young adults. $9.99. 342 pages.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Instructing a Child's Heart

Title: INSTRUCTING A CHILD’S HEART
Author: Tedd & Margy Tripp
Publisher: Shepherd Press
2008
ISBN: 978-0-9815400-0-9
Genre: Inspirational/parenting

INSRUCTING A CHILD’S HEART is chock full of wonderful material on how to instruct your child in the way he should go.

The book is divided up into three sections:

Part 1 – The Call to Formative Instruction covers three chapters, including the five goals for formative instruction.

Part 2 – Introduction to Formative Instruction has eight chapters covering the heart of behavior, the sowing and reaping of Scripture, and the importance of church.

Part 3 - Application of Formative Instruction has four chapters including communication, and corrective discipline.

Instructing a child’s heart is not simply transferring data from parent to child, as the author points out in the book. It is impressing the heart with truth. Parents are always looking for tips and ideas that will address the “top ten problems” they would like to know how to solve. The authors advocate that you need more than tips and ideas, you need solid biblical truth.

The book has some very excellent advice, all of which is supported by scripture. Most chapters have little box inserts included with some ideas that you can implicate into your child’s life right away. INSTRUCTING A CHILD’S HEART is an excellent resource to help you every step of the way. $13.95. 188 pages.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dog Gone

Title: DOG GONE
Author: Eileen Key
Publisher: Heartsong Presents Mysteries
2008
ISBN: 978-1-59789-710-5
Genre: Inspirational/cozy mystery

Arabelle Blevins thought cleaning houses would be a calm, quiet job. But when a rash of dog thefts start happening right in her backyard, she begins to investigate the world of show dogs. Why would anyone steal a beloved family pet?

Belle soon learns that there is a world of dognappers out there. But the thieves don’t seem to be contacting the owners for ransom money. Are the valuable show dogs being sold in the black market? Are they going to a dog fighting ring? What are happening to the dogs? And even more important, will Belle find the thieves in time to save the family farm?

DOG GONE is the first book in Ms. Key’s Feather Duster Mystery. At first I didn’t know why DOG GONE would be a feather duster mystery, but once I learned that Belle is a house cleaner by profession the series title became clear.

I enjoyed getting to know Belle, she seems a loveable character, and the set of well-rounded secondary characters fill out the cast. The world of show dogs was interesting, especially since my family used to enjoy watching some of the shows on television in years past.

I didn’t notice much of a faith message, but the story is still very good with a touch of a romance to keep the interest level up. I’m looking forward to reading the other two books in Ms. Key’s series. DOG GONE is definitely a book that cozy mystery fans will enjoy. $6.95. 252 pages.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Leaving November

Title: LEAVING NOVEMBER
Author: Deborah Raney
Publisher: Howard Fiction
2008
ISBN: 978-1-4165-5829-3
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Vienne Kenney moved away from Clayburn, Kansas, with no intentions of returning. But after failing the bar exam in California for the second time, Vienne has no choice but to return. After all, her mother has just suffered a severe stroke, Vienne is out of a job, and her mother’s café needs attention.

Jack Linder also left Clayburn. He was involved in an accident that killed his best friend’s wife and son. Feeling responsible for their deaths, Jack turned to alcohol, but went to rehab when his best friend and his mother begged him. Now ten months sober, Jack has no intentions of drinking again, but the good people in Clayburn aren’t so forgiving.

Jack and Vienne are drawn together, but when Vienne discovers Jack’s past, she pushes him away. Can she possibly forgive him enough to pursue a future?

LEAVING NOVEMBER is book two in the Clayburn series but it easily stands alone. I enjoyed getting to know Vienne and Jack and watching their struggles in a small town that doesn’t easily forget or accept change.

Vienne and Jack are both realistic characters that tug at your heart strings. The faith message is weak, but present, with a theme of forgiveness, something we all struggle with at times. Ms. Raney is a gifted storyteller, and this story will definitely stay with you after you finish. Discussion questions and a sample chapter of the next book in this series, Yesterday’s Ember’s is included at the end of the book. $12.99. 356 pages.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Quills and Promises

Title: QUILLS AND PROMISES
Author: Amber Miller
Publisher: Heartsong Presents
2008
ISBN: 978-1-60260-049-2
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Fifteen year old Elanna Hanssen meets her friend’s dashing cousin, Major Madison Scott, during one of her rare visits to town and is instantly smitten. But unfortunately, the very next day, the Major catches Elanna spying on a town council meeting and chastises her. In spite of this, Elanna still agrees to write to Major Scott when he is called off to fight in the French and Indians.

Madison Scott is loath to leave the flaxen-haired beauty that captured his attention when he first meets her, but he lives for her correspondence. As they cautiously bare their hearts to each other, they begin to fall in love.

However, the local newspaper begins to question the integrity of Madison Scott. Elanna is crushed, but uncertain whether to let her heart or head rule.

QUILLS AND PROMISES is the second book in Ms. Miller’s Delaware series which will be repackaged later as a set of three stories set in Delaware. I enjoyed getting to know Elanna, and reconnecting with the hero and heroine from the first book.

Elanna seems to be a spunky heroine, reminding me rather of the heroine in the American Girl movie, Felicity. Ms. Miller has the speech for that time period, the clothing, and the historical facts down pat, indicating that she must have spent a lot of time researching this series, and her efforts show. Don’t miss QUILLS AND PROMISES, or the first book in this series, Promises, Promises. $4.95. 170 pages.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Simplify Your Holidays

I already posted the review on this earlier - but here is more information on this!

Laura




Simplify Your Holidays Blog Tour
By Marcia Ramsland, The Organizing Pro National Speaker, Media Guest, and Author of Simplify Your Holidays, A Classic Christmas Planner to Use Year after Year (Thomas Nelson 2008)

Are you looking for a way to simplify the most stressful time of the year? Feeling like it’s impossible to keep up with all the demands of the coming holiday season? Marcia Ramsland, The Organizing Pro and author of Simplify Your Holidays, has found a way to change seasonal stress into intentional success! She believes everyone can find that calm and peace they are looking for.

1. Every year the holidays come around and we face them with mixed emotions. You have a great book title of Simplify Your Holidays, but how do you simplify the holidays? I love the dictionary definition of “simplify” – “To make something less complicated and therefore easier to do.” I can’t think of a more complicated time in the year than the holidays. Why? Because we are already busy 24/7 and then we add another layer of complexity to our lives – the holiday season.
In my view as a Professional Organizer, simplifying your holidays is all about having a meaningful Christmas without feeling overcommitted or under prepared. And my motto is: If you do anything more than once in life, organize it and simplify it. That’s especially true for the holidays that come year after year like clockwork.
I can’t think of a more complicated time or emotionally challenged season, but I also know you don’t have to stress to get through it.

2. Were you always ready and organized for the holidays?
No way! Before I became “The Organizing Pro” I struggled with holiday pressures big time. I was stuck in the mall shopping for gifts at the last minute, standing in the rain looking for a “real” Christmas tree late in December, and staying up Christmas Eve wrapping presents. That was a stressful life I decided to change, and did years ago. One day I sat down at the kitchen table determined to get control of the season. Looking at my calendar, it suddenly dawned on me -- there was an easy way to manage it all! It all hinged on one date and no, it wasn’t Thanksgiving. Many people, myself included, have used Thanksgiving to trigger serious action steps for Christmas. It just didn’t seem right to commercialize Christmas by purchasing gifts before Thanksgiving. But that’s the problem. Waiting until after Thanksgiving does commercialize the holidays and puts us smack dab in the middle of a mall with throngs of shoppers.


3. So how did you change from frazzled to peaceful… and you now have a beautiful new three ring notebook, Simplify Your Holidays? And Sam’s Club just bought 15,000 of them! Good for you. My first personal turning point came when I discovered one particular holiday occurs exactly eight weeks before Christmas -- and it’s NOT Thanksgiving. It is Halloween. That event is important to note because the next day you can kick off your holiday plan on November 1 every year.
Noting that November 1 is your springboard to begin the holiday season means you have eight weeks until December 25. Now you have a structure to easily organize and prepare -- with a good plan. You’re back in control whatever day it is.
Once I figured that out, I found you can organize your holidays no matter how many weeks you have left before Christmas. In my book I have an 8-week, 4-week, 2-week calendar plans you can choose to guide you whatever day you start. The Plans are like a “holiday compass” that people use year after year to stay focused and take the stress out of the holidays.

4. What else can you tell us to ease the calendar stress for the holidays? My second discovery came when I noticed that almost all holiday events landed the three weeks of December right before Christmas. Children’s school parties, the neighborhood cookie exchange, church events, civic symphony concerts, friends’ Open Houses, and an office potluck luncheon the last day before vacation. ALL fell into the last three weeks before Christmas.
No wonder we are stressed trying to buy gifts and partake in the busiest social season of the year. All these things are good, but it’s plain stressful to be listening to the Hallelujah chorus thinking about how many things you have to pick up on the way home and still get on-line to purchase gifts with “expedite shipping” costs involved.

5. Ok, but the thing I dread is going to the attic and basement dealing with all those holiday decorations that take up so much room. What can I do?
I agree. My third discovery came when I tried to simplify my holiday decorations after the holidays. It just seemed too much to put it all up so I thought I’d simplify it.
But alas, I found even charities would not accept holiday decorations after December 25. They had nowhere to store them until next year. That was the next discovery – if I store holiday decorations for 11 months of the year, then why do we hesitate about getting them up?
A recent poll showed most people take down their holiday decorations the weekend after New Year’s Day. If that’s the case, what date do we need to put them up to enjoy them for 4-6 weeks? Especially when they are taking up valuable space for 11 months of the year.
The answer? Pick a date (or weekend) to put up your decorations early every year so they can be enjoyed. Typically it’s either the first weekend in December, or even Thanksgiving weekend to be ready to turn the lights on December 1. I found I’m happier the sooner I start and get full enjoyment of them for the season… and give some away each year.

6. Before you give us “A Dozen Gift Theme Ideas,” tell us what’s in your notebook and why is it considered a classic Christmas planner to pull off your shelf and use year after year? Once I got organized I thought of every woman struggling to pull together meaningful holidays in an already busy life. So I created a hand made notebook years ago which my publisher picked up and is available right now on my website or wherever books are sold. This is a holiday planner you can pull off your bookshelf any time day or night and start the season.
The six tabs inside the three-ring notebook include: The Plan, Gifts, Cards & Decorations, Events, December 1-25 Inspiration, and Recipes. There are almost 200 pages of charts, table talk topics for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, room for photos, and even journal pages of “The Best Things that Happened This Christmas.”
Within those six tabs I’ve sprinkled “10 Tips from 10 Experts” covering things like 10 Money Saving Tips for Holiday Gifts, 10 Super Simple Holiday Décor Tips, 10 Holiday Tips for the Working Woman, 10 Tips to Serve Fabulous Food and Impress Your Guests, 10 Tips for a Successful Event, and 10 Tips to Celebrate and Not Gain Weight!

7. Give us your plan to “Simplify with a Gift Theme” for this year, especially for the busy woman starting to think about the holidays.

Simplify with a Gift Theme(Excerpt from Simplify Your Holidays, Marcia Ramsland (Thomas Nelson 2008)
Simplify shopping by visiting only certain types of stores for everyone on your list. Choose a giving “theme” for the year. Get a different gift in that theme for each person so it is personalized. For example, all the women get jewelry, spa baskets, certificates or robes. Men get sporting event tickets, restaurant certificates, or tools. Sweaters, CDs, DVDs or books all make a great theme for the year, too.

A Dozen Gift Theme Ideas
Sweaters for everyone
Favorite Restaurant or movie gift cards
Gloves and mittens
DVD's
CD's or books
Tickets to a play, musical, or retreat
Photo Book or digital camera
A trip or the latest technology
Favorite magazine plus a year’s subscription
Chocolate, nuts, or gourmet food basket
Spa, massage, or bath items
Jewelry, purse, or accessories
Keep track of where you get your gifts each year and head there first. They will have new merchandise that will probably work well for you again. Remember a gift shows you had the person in your thoughts and a note on your card tells them why you thought they’d like it. Gift giving is a skill to learn. Keep working to hit the mark of delight and surprise with the receiver. With all your lists in one notebook, you’ll be able to do just that as you see what worked well before.
Question 8: Any last words of encouragement for the woman who wants to pull together a meaningful (and peaceful!) holiday season?
This is your year! The Simplify Your Holidays notebook will help you create that organized Thanksgiving and Christmas you’ve dreamed of with all your notes in one place! You’ll love its beautiful red cover, sturdy tabs, and attractive green charts.
To simplify your holidays, manage your time with our holiday plan and keep your notes all in this notebook. You will graduate from seasonal stress to intentional success!

Thanks for having me today. I truly believe you can simplify the coming holiday season and have a more meaningful season than ever!
Marcia Ramsland, The Organizing Pro
Speaker * Author * Media Guest Expert


P.S. Can you simplify your holidays this year? I truly believe so and am eager to know how you do it with my new book, Simplify Your Holidays. Start today by getting your notebook and downloading your FR*EE Master Gift List at http://www.organizingpro.com

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