Sunday, May 31, 2009

Don't Give In--God Wants You to Win!

Don't Give In--God Wants You to Win!: Preparing for Victory in the Battle of Life by Thelma Wells (Harvest House Publishers)

Popular author and conference speaker Thelma Wells inspires readers to fight the good fight of faith and win the raging wars that they battle each day as the enemy tries to steal their joy, kill their hopes and dreams, and destroy their lives. In her personable and enthusiastic style, Wells helps readers understand:

what spiritual warfare is
why they fight
who they are fighting
how to dress for the war
how to win the war
who ultimately is in control of the fight
Don’t Give In—God Wants You to Win! will cause readers to understand that the battles they fight are really not theirs. Those battles belong to the God of “Peace, be still,” who will give them the strategies and courage they need to resist Satan’s tricks.

Wells writes for anyone fighting battles over family, relationships, finances, health, broken dreams, disappointments, and just the dailyness of life that can cause so much distress and hurt. Through instruction from God’s Word and stories of modern–day as well as biblical people, Wells shows how to relinquish those troubles to the only Person who can guarantee winning strategies for life.


About the Author


Thelma "Mama T" Wells
From times of singing in a dark closet to the founding of a national women’s mentoring ministry, Thelma Wells' life has been a courageous journey of faith. The name on her birth certificate read simply: Baby Girl Morris. Thelma’s mother was a severely deformed teenager with no husband and no place to go, since her own abusive mother insisted that she take the baby and leave the house. So when the baby was born, her unwed teenage mother found work as a maid cleaning “the big house” while living with her baby daughter in servants’ quarters. Eventually, the baby went to live with her great-grandparents, who called her Thelma Louise Smith and loved her dearly. They took little Thelma to church, where she learned to love the hymns and praise songs.

On those occasions when Thelma was taken to her grandparents’ home, her grandmother abused her, just as she had tormented Thelma’s mother. She was locked in a dark, smelly, insect-infested closet until just before her grandfather came home when her grandmother would bring her out of the closet, clean her up, and act as if all was well. In spite of her deep fear, little Thelma spent her time in the closet singing every hymn and praise song she could remember. She would sing herself to sleep in that closet, and the Lord received this little girl’s innocent praise and rewarded it with an abundant life of joy, protecting her from feelings of anger or bitterness.

Thelma grew up to become a trailblazer for black women, a prominent international speaker and author, and a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. As a student at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas (now the University of North Texas), she was a member of the first group of girls to integrate the school’s dormitories. She earned her Bachelor’s degree there and eventually received a Master’s of Ministry from Master’s International School of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana. In 2002 she became the school’s first black female professor.

In 1980 Thelma became the first black woman in the South to organize her own international speaking and consulting corporation. Her natural talent for public speaking and storytelling attracted the attention of the Women of Faith Tour, and in 1996 she became the first black core speaker for the organization. She has authored several books, including her latest God Is Not Through With Me Yet, an inspiring examination of her own life experiences in which she encourages readers to “sing in the closets of their lives.” She serves as the president of The Daughters of Zion Leadership Mentoring Program, an organization she founded in 2000 (another first for a black woman). Through this ministry, “Mama T,” as she is affectionately called, has mentored over 100 spiritual daughters, received an honorary doctorate degree and was ordained into the Christian Ministry on December 16, 2008, from St. Thomas Christian College and Theological Seminary and the Association of Christian Churches in Jacksonville, Florida. She was also was named Extraordinary Woman of the Year 2008 by Mrs. Julie Clinton, Host of the Extraordinary Women Conferences an affiliate of the American Association of Christian Counselors.

Thelma has been married to George Wells, her best friend, supporter, and encourager, for over 45 years. The couple lives in Dallas, Texas, and has three children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

BEE the BEST with Thelma...and Friends
TV Show

Thelma Wells carries the name "Mama T" well. Just one look at her new show and you'll be hooked. In some shows she's teaching and in others she's chatting with her girlfriends about LIFE. But, in every show you can feel the warmth, love, honesty and devotion of A Woman of God.

The show offers a fresh prospective on today's issues for women through dialogue and teaching. (Think - "The View meets Women of Faith.") And each topic is selected to encourage and support women of all races and ethnicities in a very real way. (Think - "Mama T meets Oprah.")

You'll laugh, cry, shout, applaud and most importantly – “BEE” changed. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Stand-In Groom

Title: STAND-IN GROOM
Author: Kaye Dacus
Publisher: Barbour Books
January 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60260-288-5
Genre: Inspirational/romance

Falling in love with a client could cost this wedding planner her business: Learning the true identity of the groom could cost her heart. (from the back cover)

Professional wedding planner, Anne Hawthorne is enthralled when she first meets Englishman George Laurence, and she really believes God has at long last answered her prayers for a groom of her own. But the next day, Anne’s dreams are crushed when George enters her shop as a groom-to-be in a wedding to end all weddings.

George isn’t really happy to be lying to Anne, but as a personal assistant for a very wealthy man who wished to keep his identity and his engagement a secret, George is forced to go to Louisiana to plan the wedding and pose as the groom. But how can he continue the ruse when he is falling in love with Anne? If the secret gets out, George will not only lose his career, but also his American work visa. Not something he wants to happen before he has a chance to apply for citizenship.

STAND-IN GROOM is the first book in debut author, Kaye Dacus’, series Brides of Bonneterre. I thoroughly enjoyed the romance of this book as well as the deep seated secrets George was forced to adhere to. Anne is a real heroine, surrounded by family she was extremely close to, and working in a career she loved. George was more conflicted, not really happy with his position, but willing to do most anything to remain in America.

I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Jenn’s story entitled Menu for Romance, coming in the Fall of 2009. Don’t miss STAND-IN GROOM. It is the perfect romance to read for the busy wedding month of June. $14.95. 299 pages.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cutting Edge Devotionals Now Available Online

TheChristianPulse.com Offers Creative Daily Content

(Rio Grande Valley, TX) In real life, Christians struggle with family issues, spiritual growth, worship, life topics, and keeping the humor in their everyday lives. In order to provide people of faith with a few words of spiritual nourishment to help them through their day, TheChristianPulse.com is now offering daily devotionals Monday through Friday on these very subjects. Kathy Carlton Willis Communications, their clients and staff are providing the muscle behind the scenes to bring these new, uplifting devotionals to life.

Managing Director and TCP Founder, Aaron Harris says, "When we started TCP Media Group and TheChristianPulse.com in 2005, we wanted to create something that could not be successful unless God was clearly involved. I am humbled by how much we have grown in just a few short years. We are adding new features all of the time, and we're grateful to our volunteer team of more than 85 people who make TCP possible. When Kathy mentioned that her communications firm would be interested in partnering with us to make our daily devotional goal a reality, it was an answer to prayer. We are excited to team up with Kathy and her group of excellent writers."

Kathy Carlton Willis Communications (KCWC) is compiling and editing the daily devotions each month. Her clients and staff write the inspirational messages free of charge, with the desire to touch many lives with the message of hope and the challenge of growth. Kathy shares, "We looked at the spiritual nourishment needs of online readers, and found a way to divide these needs into five daily themes. It's always been a blessing to get to fiddle with words, but when we get to compile words about THE Word--that's a bonus!"

The partnership of KCWC and TheChristianPulse.com combines the strengths of two business-ministries to accomplish great things for the Kingdom of God. The hearts of both TCP and KCWC beat with the intent to reach and disciple this generation using the tools and technology available today.

About TheChristianPulse.com:

TheChristianPulse.com is an e-magazine created for both Christians and those interested in growing their faith. The e-magazine strives to inspire their readers through cutting edge, counter-cultural daily content including articles, devotionals, original PulseCast audio shows, their Art Candy photo gallery, and online video shows. Visitors can also explore Directories for Christian Talent, Camps, Schools, Businesses, and Ministries. TCP Media Group, LLC is the parent company of TheChristianPulse.com.

About Kathy Carlton Willis Communications:

KCWC is staffed with professionals who take their clients' messages seriously. First and foremost, the team lives out their Christian faith daily. This communications firm provides coaching, publicity, editing, writing, and speaking to individual clients and complete organizations and companies. Visit their professional blog at: http://kcwcomm.blogspot.com.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jesus Calling

Title: JESUS CALLING
Author: Sarah Young
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
2009
ISBN: 978-1-5814-5188-4
Genre: Inspiration/Christian life/devotional

Jesus is calling. Do you hear him? (from the back cover)

This adorable little gift book style devotional is filled with 366 daily devotionals (including one for February 29). The devotions start with two or three biblical references for you to look up, read, and ponder over, then a short one paragraph (or three paragraph) devotional for you to read.

Each devotional is considerably upbeat and encouraging, kind of longer “God speaks.” Starting with phases such as: I want you to be all mine. Or Strive to trust me…. Reminding us that I am the Risen One. and that I am with you.

While not very long, the devotional is a great pick-me-up to start the day with. It will only take a few minutes of a busy morning schedule to start your work day with the Lord, thus ensuring that your mind will be wrapped in Him, and His promises as you go about your daily business. Coupled with your favorite inspirational music as you commute to work, this book will truly help you start your day off right.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading JESUS CALLING and using it as one of my devotionals during the day. Whenever I need a God moment I pick up a devotional and spend a few minutes in my “prayer closet,” talking with my Jesus and listening for His voice. JESUS CALLING is a devotional that will go on my keeper shelf, for use over the years. $14.99 hardcover. 382 pages.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fatal Deduction

Title: FATAL DEDUCTION
Author: Gayle Roper
Publisher: Multnomah
2008
ISBN: 978-1-60142-013-8
Genre: Inspirational/romantic suspense

One across… Three down… The answer is in the puzzle. The danger is in not solving it before time’s up. (from the back cover)

Libby Keating didn’t know what her great aunt Stella was thinking. Stella’s will dictates that Libby share Aunt Stella’s old Philadelphia home with Libby’s twin sister, Tori, in order to receive Stella’s inheritance.

But this plan couldn’t work. The twins never could get along. Libby is the Christian of the family, the goody-two-shoes, the one everyone else made fun of. Tori is the flashy one, who rides around in limos and has a great job. Besides, Libby is less than please to discover that Tori had not only claimed the best bedroom immediately, but she is also on an all out campaign to steal the affection and allegiance of Libby’s thirteen year old daughter, Chloe, by buying her elaborate gifts.

When Libby finds a dead man laying on the front stoop of her house, she also discovers a note on the man’s body – addressed to Tori. It is a crossword puzzle, which everyone knows Tori loves. But this one contains a sinister message. When Tori shows no interest in the puzzle, Libby has to act with the help of a neighbor man. But can they solve the puzzles in time?

FATAL DEDUCTION is a great book by acclaimed author Gayle Roper. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and getting to know Libby, and the other characters. I especially liked several of the secondary characters. Some of the events were surprising, catching me unaware, but others I had pretty well figured out.

Don’t miss FATAL DEDUCTION. And if you love crossword puzzles and can’t resist filling them out, there are four of them included in this novel. Also discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $12.99. 336 pages.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Love Finds You in Last Chance, California

Title: LOVE FINDS YOU IN LAST CHANCE, CALIFORNIA
Author: Miralee Ferrell
Publisher: Summerside Press
2008
ISBN: 978-1-934770-39-9
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Alexia Travers is all alone in the world. Her father, Ben, was found dead on the trail, and the doctor has ruled the death as his heart. But Alex believes that someone was behind her father’s death. Especially when she learns that her father has ordered horses and mortgaged the ranch—and was carrying a large amount of cash, mostly in gold on his person. Money that has never been recovered.

Justin Phillips had been summoned by Ben Travers, with a short message stating that Ben needed Justin’s help and that he believed his life was in danger. Still, Justin is surprised when he arrives in town to discover that Ben is dead, and that his daughter, Alex is riding the range, dressed as a man.

Justin decides to keep his identity secret and applies for a position at Alex’s ranch just to keep an eye on things and find out what Ben had wanted or needed. But Alex isn’t sure what to think of him. After all, there seems to be a lot of story that Justin isn’t telling. Is the boy with him really his son? Why does he so closely resemble a horse thief? Will Alex learn to trust God for His wisdom and direction when things don’t go according to her plan?

LOVE FINDS YOU IN LAST CHANCE, CALIFORNIA is another one of the delightful romances set in various parts of the country that either are real or were once real locations. Last Chance, California falls into the once real category. Now it is nothing more than a ghost town, a wide spot in the road of California’s mountains. But in the 1800’s it was a thriving community, and possibly home to people similar to those in the story Miralee Ferrell wove about it.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Alex and Justin, and hoped that they would find Ben’s gold and be able to save the ranch. I also liked that there was a bit of a suspense in there, with someone targeting Alex. I enjoyed trying to figure that out—and though I had several ideas, I didn’t know for sure who it was until the end of the book. Make sure you pick up a copy of LOVE FINDS YOU IN LAST CHANCE, CALIFORNIA. It is a wonderful read, and I loved all the historical information about Last Chance included in the story. $13.99. 312 pages.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Three Times Blessed

Title: THREE TIMES BLESSED
Author: Lori Copeland
Publisher: Avon Inspire
2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-136493-8
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Audrey Pride and her friend, Copper, are moving to Thunder Ridge, Texas, to be near their best friend, Willow. Both Audrey and Copper have accepted teaching jobs in nearby towns and the three friends are anxious to be together again. But when Audrey arrives in town, she discovers that she’s accidentally taken out the water tower, and while the town has been suffering a drought, not the opposite is true. It won’t stop raining.

When Audrey learns that her teaching job isn’t available after all, she’s forced to take a position in a funeral parlor, preparing female bodies for burial. And with the job, comes a wagon train with an epidemic.

Audrey doesn’t really want to take the job, but she has no choice. Besides, she wants to stay in town because she has her eye on widower Eli Gray…a man who doesn’t seem to want anything to do with her.

THREE TIMES BLESSED is the second book in the Belles of Timber Creek series, but it easily stands alone. However, readers might want to read the first book in the series, Twice Loved, to learn Willow’s story.

Audrey is a realistic heroine, forced into situations that are beyond her control, yet she has to adapt to the changes and new rules if she wants to survive. I also couldn’t help but fall in love with Copper, and a secondary character that I hope will make an appearance in the third book in the series, Copper’s story, coming in the spring of 2010.

Don’t miss THREE TIMES BLESSED. While dealing with the unpleasantness of death and disease, there is still an undercurrent of faith and hope, and plenty of laugh out loud moments. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Discussion questions and an exerpt from One True Love are included at the end of the book. $12.99. 264 pages.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

When Love Blooms

Title: WHEN LOVE BLOOMS
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Publisher: Zondervan
March 2009
ISBN: 978-0-310-25928-2
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Emily Harris gave up her position in Washington to return to her ill sister’s side and nurse her back to health. But now, Emily was bored. She wanted one last adventure before marrying and becoming just a society wife. And when she saw the ad for a governess to two young girls, she knew her prayers have been answered.

Gavin Blake has seen Emily Harris’s type before. Beautiful and refined, she was not familiar with backbreaking work and constant hardship. He was willing to bet she wouldn’t even last the winter out in the Idaho high country. But his dying wife had insisted on Emily, and Gavin had to honor her wishes.

But Emily is a surprise, and in spite of everything, Gavin soon starts developing feelings for Emily. But will Emily be willing to stay past the winter she promised? Or will she be in a hurry to return back to high society?

WHEN LOVE BLOOMS is one of the two newest releases by acclaimed author Robin Lee Hatcher, and I know her fans will not be disappointed. True to Ms. Hatcher’s voice, the stories are gentle, and filled with hope—even with a dying woman as a main secondary character.

I enjoyed reading this story and getting to know Emily and Gavin. I had to admire Emily’s courage as she took on the unfamiliar circumstances with pluck. WHEN LOVE BLOOMS is a book that historical romance fans will not want to miss. A sample chapter of A Vote of Confidence, Ms. Hatcher’s next release, is included at the end of this book. $14.99. 290 pages.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bayou Paradox

Title: BAYOU PARADOX
Author: Robin Caroll
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
2008
ISBN: 978-0-373-44393-5
Genre: Inspirational/romantic suspense

Tara LeBlanc is upset when her beloved grandmere became a Christian and has refused to teach her any more in the voodoo practice. So she turns to a neighbor woman to teach her. But when Tara goes over to the neighbor’s house, she finds her unconscious. And the workshop, which is always as neat as a pin, has been disturbed. Tara is convinced this is no accident.

Bubba Theriot is not happy to learn that his aunt is unconscious, and even worse, the doctors can find no reason for the coma. But when Tara’s grandmother falls into the same unconscious shape, Bubba wonders if Tara herself is involved. The only common denominator between these two women and none others is the voodoo.

Tara is upset that Bubba seems unwilling to try to find who did this to their relatives, blaming the voodoo for this, and not looking for a cause or the person behind it. So she is determined to find the cause for herself. But it seems someone is stalking Tara. Could it be a potential killer?

BAYOU PARADOX is the fifth book in Ms. Caroll’s Bayou series, but it easily stands alone, although readers might want to read the earlier books to catch up on the rest of Tara’s family.

Ms. Caroll did a stellar job bring Tara and Bubba to life, and making me care about them. This author is one that is going to go far in her writing career and will be a name to watch. The story is very well developed and thought out, and even though I figured out who the bad guys were early in the story, I still had to keep reading.

I thoroughly enjoyed BAYOU PARADOX and highly recommend this book. Available at www.steeplehill.com or at www.amazon.com. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.50. 217 pages. Laura V. Hilton

Friday, May 22, 2009

Face of Faith review and interview

Title: FACE OF FAITH
Author: Candy Wood Lindley with Kathi Macias
Publisher: Excla!m Publishing
2009
ISBN: 978-0-9820435-0-9
Genre: autobiography

Americans today are obsessed with beauty and professional (sometimes extreme!) make-overs. But what happens when some one discovers a different kind of make-over? A make-over of the heart.

Candy’s life had seemed picture perfect. She was a beautiful young woman in the 1950’s and 60’s. She grew up in the Old South, and majored in speech and drama at the University of Alabama. Married, before graduation, Candy didn’t let that stop her from getting her degree, or going on-stage. Then two beautiful children.

A nominal Christian at best, Candy remembers thanking God that she had such a perfect, wonderful life. But then she started having unexplained headaches. When doctors couldn’t find a cause, she kept going back and going back, until they discovered that she had a cancerous tumor inside her head. Her only chance at survival would be a surgery so drastic that Candy would lose the greater portion of her face—including the right eye, leaving her severely deformed.

FACE OF FAITH is a very well-written book, engaging, and making one hate what cancer does to a person, physically. But spiritually, cancer can be a blessing, drawing the person who is going through the disease closer to the God who can heal them, who made them, who wants to be all and everything to them.

I enjoyed reading FACE OF FAITH, getting to know Candy, and going through her journey with her. As I am currently going through cancer treatments myself (although a different kind), I could relate to some of Candy’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences. I highly recommend FACE OF FAITH to everyone going through some sort of life changing experience, or to anyone who is unhappy with the body God gave them. This book will give you much to consider. Pictures are included. $22.95, hardcover. 292 pages.




Candy, you have written Face of Faith. What is it about?

When I was thirty years old, I was hospitalized for the removal of a pea-sized cyst in the nasal cavity. Instead, I was diagnosed with an inoperable malignant tumor the size of a baseball situated underneath the brain in the center of the head in an inoperable area of the head. Grade-three bone cancer is not receptive to chemotherapy or radiation. They told me that I could lose the right side of my face.

I had always thought that I was a Christian, but I had never really surrendered my life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In the hospital room that night I was finally at the end of Candy - emotionally, mentally, and physically. I ask God to totally take over my life.

My circumstances didn’t change, but God began to change my heart to one seeking His will only for my life whatever that might be.

Two weeks later I met with a craniofacial surgeon at the Mayo Clinic. He was very upfront about my surgery and my prognosis. No sugar coating.

He explained that he would cut across the top of the head and down the middle of the face enabling him to peel back both sides of the face and remove the greater portion of my face including the forehead bone, the right cheekbone, and the nose. He could hopefully remove the bulk of the tumor, buying me some time. He would not replace the bones to the face. I would wake up severely deformed and blind in the right eye, probably the left.

Miraculously, he instead attempted to remove the tumor in its entirety, and it worked. Even more miraculously, he took the bones to the face that had been thrown in the trash and reconstructed my face. I had a new face. And was cancer free.


What goes through someone’s mind when they are told they have an inoperable tumor in the center of the head and could lose the right side of their face? You were thirty years old. That’s pretty overwhelming.

For me, the will to live took over. That stubborn will to fight no matter what the odds.

There were complications after that first surgery. What did that involve?

Seven months after the first surgery, infection spread throughout the forehead bone and forehead skin. I was put in isolation. Five weeks later and four more surgeries, I returned home weighing 79 pounds with a shaved head, sunken in forehead, and two skin graphs on the front and back of the head.

Two years later on a routine check up trip to the Mayo Clinic, the tumor recurred. Same place. This time the size of a raspberry. So they did the whole first surgery again

During those three years of nine surgeries and frequent trips to the Mayo Clinic, did you ever ask God “Why me?” Were you ever angry with God?

I never asked God “Why me?” I did ask what was going on? I didn’t understand. I asked why He was allowing so much in my life, but not so much why it was happening to ME. Yes, I was angry with God often. Thankfully someone informed me that God could handle my anger.

How do you address the importance that society has put on beauty?

There is nothing wrong with wanting to look the best that you can look. I personally have always enjoyed experimenting with makeup and getting professional makeovers, especially now that I am facially disfigured. I want to make the most of what I have. But at the end of the day for me, the make up comes off and the hairpieces come off. If my confidence depended on beauty, I could be devastated. And many facially disfigured people are.

In a world obsessed with perfection of the outer appearance and makeovers of every kind, God is more interested in a different kind of makeover – one that lasts – a makeover of the heart.

That’s what happened with me. He began a makeover of my heart. And He’s still working on me!!

How did your husband handle the stress of your illness and the new Candy?

Unfortunately ours was not a happy marriage before I was ever sick. It was an emotionally abusive household. After twenty-four years of marriage, Lee filed for divorce.

Candy, you have experienced emotional pain and physical pain. Which is more difficult?

Physical pain is difficult– especially chronic pain. It is wearing and can affect a person emotionally as well. But there are medications for pain.

But the emotional pain of abuse is sometimes more difficult, I think. You can’t take a pill for it. It requires a lot of time and counseling. Only the Lord can heal the broken heart and enable us to forgive.

Where can we find out more about you and this book?

Please visit my web site at faceoffaithbook.com. Thank you for letting me visit

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Murder on the Ol' Bunions

Title: MURDER ON THE OL’ BUNIONS
Author: S. Dionne Moore
Publisher: Heartsong Presents Mysteries
2008
ISBN: 978-1-59789-639-9
Genre: Inspirational/cozy mystery

LaTisha Barnhart has bought a couple boxes of books from her former employer, but when she and her husband go into the store to get the boxes, Marion Peters is no where to be found. LaTisha tells her husband to grab one of the boxes of books while she goes looking to see what’s holding Marion up.

What she finds is Marion’s body.

The police believe LaTisha is a suspect, since they learn that Marion had recently fired her. And now LaTisha is out to clear her name before she spends Easter in jail. But what she finds is a whole town with people with disagreements with Marion. But which one would have been angry enough to murder?

MURDER ON THE OL’ BUNIONS is the second book in Ms. Moore’s A LaTisha Barnhart Mystery series, but it easily stands alone. I enjoyed reading about this very strong opinionated heroine. This series is totally different than other ones in the cozy mystery line, but there are plenty of tense moments, and even snickers as the characters stumble into funny circumstances.

However, I wasn’t even ¼ of the way through the book when I figured out who the murderer was; it was just a matter of learning why. So, as for suspense, it wasn’t really, the murderer was fairly obvious. However, it was a good read, and I’d recommend this book if you enjoy cozy mysteries, and even looking for the three volume collection to read the third story in this series. $6.95. 251 pages.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Michal

Title: MICHAL
Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Publisher: Revell
2009
ISBN: 978-0-8007-4430-9
Genre: Inspirational/biblical fiction

Michal, the daughter of King Saul, loves David, but so does her sister. Michal lives for the days when her father needs the harpist to soothe his troubled mind—even as she fears them. After all, the Kings unpredictable moods are what allows her to see David.

When the King and his army go to war against the Philistines, the King promises the marriage of his oldest daughter to the man who will slay the giants. But who would guess that the victor would be none other than the shepherd boy, a man who wasn’t even involved in the war. Michal is devastated, and sets out to ensure that David won’t marry her sister…

But King Saul’s rages increase. And trying to save David for herself is the least of Michal’s worries. After all, the King seems to be after nothing other than David’s death. And when David flees for his life, he must leave Michal at her father’s mercy. Will Michal ever be reunited with David?

MICHAL is the first book in Ms. Smith’s The Wives of King David series. I was privileged to see this story go from it’s beginning stages and to watch the frustration as Jill Eileen Smith struggled to find a market for her biblical fiction and I cheered from the sidelines when she did.

I knew the biblical account of King David and his wives, but I never could have imagined this much life into their stories. Michal became real, and I felt very sorry for her loving the man that she did – not that David was a bad man, but you know the Bible stories as well as I do. She always would have to be worried about his life, and sharing him with other wives could not have been easy.

I enjoyed reading this book, and am looking forward to the others in the series. Don’t miss MICHAL. It will bring the Bible stories to life in a whole new way. $13.99. 375 pages.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nothing but Trouble review AND contest

Title: NOTHING BUT TROUBLE
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale Fiction
2009
ISBN: 978-1-4143-1312-2
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

PJ Sugar has spent her life running. From a false accusation of arson in high school, (where she promised she’d get out of town if they don’t press charges), she went from job to job, doing everything from feeding zoo animals to stunt driving.

But when PJ’s perfect sister, Connie calls, needing PJ to watch her son while she goes on her honeymoon, what can PJ do? After all, she’s between jobs and needing somewhere new to run to after her boyfriend dumps her. It’ll give her a chance to get to know Davy, and how much trouble can a four-year-old be?

Add in an exclusive preschool, a murder occurring within hours of PJ’s arrival home and the arrest of someone that PJ knows is innocent, and life starts getting interesting. The question is, how can PJ possibly stay out of trouble?

I have been looking forward to reading NOTHING BUT TROUBLE for some time, so was thrilled when it showed up in my to-be-read pile. And when I needed a book to read for long hours at the hospital the other day, what else would I grab but a book by one of my favorite authors?

Susan May Warren did not let me down. NOTHING BUT TROUBLE is a wonderful book. PJ is a realistic heroine, loveable and hurting, struggling to find the right thing to do, but as per the name of the book, she couldn’t help but get into trouble. The question is, will she find herself in the process?

Don’t miss NOTHING BUT TROUBLE. It is sure to be nothing but enjoyment. $13.99. 338 pages.


CONTEST!!!!
The fun will Kick-off with a SUGAR BOMB on Friday May 15th. Susan is encouraging everyone to purchase a copy (and maybe a few for friends) of Nothing But Trouble anytime during the day on May 15th. Every one who purchases a copy of the book will be entered into the contest to win a Sugar Spa Basket. All you need to do is purchase a book at Amazon or CBD (or anywhere else) and then come back here (contest page at www.susanmaywarren.com) and leave Susan a message letting her know where you bought your book. Easy. And for every additional copies you buy, you'll gain an additional ten entries into the contest. So just let her know how many copies you bought. Join the fun by putting this button on your own site! (Email me at amy@litfusegroup.com and let me know you added the button to your site and be entered to win $25 to Amazon.com, twitter and facebook it and get additional 5 entries! Include your twitter/facebook id in the email too!)



paste this code into your blog sidebar:
Get in Trouble with PJ Sugar on May 15 - come join the fun with author Susan May Warren

The party will continue all month with a blog tour and chances to win copies of Nothing But Trouble from the blog tourists! View the Schedule here.


The Sugar party will conclude in a day of celebration on Friday June 19th with a day long ONLINE Sugar Bookclub Party. Susan will be giving away prizes, answering questions, hosting a live chat, and generally getting herself into some "Trouble".


Tell your friends...or better yet, host your own Sugar Party! Details to follow.



About the book: PJ Sugar knows three things for sure:

After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that’s become her life, she needs a fresh start.

The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister’s wedding is Boone—her former flame and the reason she left town.

Her best friend’s husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg , Minnesota , has seen in more than a decade.

What PJ doesn’t know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she’ll uncover much more than she bargained for—a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she’s been longing for.

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her hometown, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder--who also happens to be PJ's former flame--is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend's husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right.

Read the first chapter: http://gotsugar.susanmaywarren.com/

About Susan: Susan May Warren is the award-winning author of seventeen novels and novellas with Tyndale, Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing. Her first book, Happily Ever After won the American Fiction Christian Writers Book of the Year in 2003, and was a 2003 Christy Award finalist. In Sheep’s Clothing, a thriller set in Russia , was a 2006 Christy Award finalist and won the 2006 Inspirational Reader’s Choice award. A former missionary to Russia , Susan May Warren now writes Suspense/Romance and Chick Lit full time from her home in northern Minnesota .

A note from Susan May Warren
Sometimes, do you feel like you just don’t fit in? You look around you and if anyone knew how difficult it was just to put yourself together, to smile when you feel completely overwhelmed, to even figure out what you were making for supper, they’d know what a mess you were. Maybe you totally relate to those words in 1 Peter – God’s elect, strangers and aliens in the world. Do you feel like when you look in the rear view mirror, all you see are your mistakes?

Maybe not. But if so, then PJ is your gal. I wanted to write a story about the person in so many of us who just wants to get it right…but can’t seem to stay out of trouble. My friend and I have what we call the “stupid mouth” club…and we report our weekly foibles (usually on Monday, after Sunday church!). PJ is our charter member. She’s the girl that changes her mind, always hopes for the best, is always discovering that she is just a little different than everyone else. PJ is us.

And that’s good news. Because God loves PJ. He loves her messiness, and her impulsiveness, her heart bent toward others, the hope that fuels her actions. And He has a plan for PJ – one that includes her weaknesses as well as her strengths.

Yep, I need to hear that – need to hear that I don’t have to be perfect for God to love me, use me, sing over me. Need to hear that although I don’t fit in, well, I’m not supposed to…in fact, I’m supposed to be a little…alien.

I wrote PJ for everyone who feels just a little messy, just a little like they can’t quite get it right. And who needs to hear that God loves them. Period. Full stop. Hallelujah.


What is your favourite Bible verse and what does it mean to you?
My current favourite is: Hebrew 4:16, “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” It means that even when I come crawling, my face to the floor, He won’t reject me. I pull it out whenever I blow it, or feel inadequate, or when someone hurts me, or...when I hurt someone else. Basically whenever I feel like I’m Trouble, I remember that God won’t turn away. In fact, He may even do what I do to my children – turn me to face Him, despite my puffy red face, wipe off my tears and pull me into His arms.


How did I come to be a writer?
I’ve always been amazed at the journey God has taken me on. I always loved to write, but being a missionary in Russia , I never dreamed about being an author. I just tried to do the best with what God had entrusted to me, and for me that meant writing missionary newsletters. I honed my skills through my newsletter, and then, after a number of years, began to write devotionals and magazine articles. Although I tried my hand at writing novels (I wrote 4 before I ever had one published), I never thought I would get anything published. But I diligently studied craft and analyzed books, even though I was hidden away in Siberia . I’ll always be grateful that Tyndale took a chance on me! I’m still learning, and still trying to be a good steward of the gift and task I’ve been given to write books that draw people closer to God.


Where did the idea for PJ Sugar come from?
Every author dreams of a moment where someone says something, or they see something on the news, or in a newspaper and it springs out at them, nearly shouting – STORY IDEA! This happened to me a number of years ago while talking to friends about their daycare situation, and how one of the parents ended up being a murder suspect! Scary! But an interesting idea. About that time, I was a mom who wore many hats – homeschooling mom, writing teacher, speaker, children’s church leader, -- and it occurred to me that a mother really has to be a sort of PI. Not only taking on different roles, but sleuthing out daily household mysteries like, who ate the last of the peanut butter (and put it back in the cupboard?) and whose socks are laying in the middle of the floor, and finally…(in our house), who let the dog (and her muddy feet!) in the house! PJ is the alter-ego in every mom, that super-hero inside of us that allows us to have esp (I know you’re not really done with your homework!), or have “eyes in the back of our head,” (stop poking your sister!) or even figure out how to whip together an award-winning science project the night before the fair. PJ just applies all those skills to bad guys and figuring out the truth.

PJ Sugar is also a woman who wants to be all things to all people. She wants to be her nephew’s champion and her sister’s best friend, and her mother’s favorite daughter, and Boone’s special girl, and the hero of her hometown. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Maybe…because God wants her to be His girl, and satisfied in who He made her to be. And that is a journey for all of us PJ Sugars.

Blog tour schedule and link: http://www.litfusegroup.com/latest/current-blog-tours/81-nothing-but-trouble-blog-tour-schedule

Monday, May 18, 2009

The American Patriot's Bible

Title: THE AMERICAN PATRIOT’S BIBLE
New King James Version
Edited by Dr. Richard G. Lee
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
2009
ISBN: 978-1-4185-4153-8
Genre: Bibles/NKJV/Study

I thought this Bible sounded interesting when I saw it listed on Thomas Nelson’s blogger page, so I thought I’d take advantage of it. After all, my daughter needed a new Bible, and history has always interested me. The combination made it even more appealing.

What I received wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. THE AMERICAN PATRIOT’S BIBLE is not a Bible that one would tote to church—unless they were planning on knocking someone over the head with it. It is huge, heavy, and more of a coffee table Bible than one that would be used in a daily basis.

And while some of the information about the American Patriots was interesting, I was completely and totally turned off by mention of some men who by no stretch of the imagination could be called either patriots or Christian.

All in all, this Bible, to me, was a huge disappointment. However, if you are a teacher of History in a Christian school, or if you like to bring out some historical (or not so historical, in some cases) facts during your Sunday School lesson, or if you just like to know your history and your Bible for your own person study, then THE AMERICAN PATRIOT’S BIBLE would be one to consider.

To quote the back cover, THE AMERICAN PATRIOT’S BIBLE connects the teachings of the Bible, the history of the United States, and the life of every American. Beautiful full-color insert pages spotlight the people and events that demonstrate the godly qualities that have made America great. $39.99 hard cover. Laura V. Hilton

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Plain Perfect

Title: PLAIN PERFECT
Author: Beth Wiseman
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
2008
ISBN: 978-1-59554-630-2
Genre: Inspirational/Amish

Lillian Miller is tired of the life she’s been living. An abusive boyfriend, a neglectful mom, and a teaching career going nowhere. So, in desperation, she leaves her boyfriend, and boards a plane to Amish country, Lancaster County, where her maternal grandparents still live.

Lillian is hoping to find peace living among the Amish, but she isn’t ready to embrace the Amish lifestyle. How can she live without a cell phone? And those horrible dresses…There is no way.

One of the first people Lillian meets in Amish country is widower, Samuel Stoltzfus. Samuel is fascinated by the modern Lillian, but isn’t willing to let her get too close. After all, Englischers never stay. And Lillian is as worldly as they come. But Lillian’s feelings for Samuel keep growing—will Lillian’s Amish roots claim her heart, or will she return to the modern city life she left behind.

I was kind of dreading reading yet another Amish novel as not too many of the more recently published ones measure up to Beverly Lewis or Wanda Brunstettler. However, PLAIN PERFECT is the exception rather than the rule. The characters are interesting, real, with conflicts. And I couldn’t help but keep reading the well crafted story.

PLAIN PERFECT is the first book in Ms. Wiseman’s Daughters of the Promise series, and I am looking forward to reading the other books by this writer. The characters could be real, with real life struggles, and even the Amish had issues to work through. Some yummy sounding recipes are included at the end of the book. Don’t miss PLAIN PERFECT by this debut novelist. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 305 pages. Laura V. Hilton

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Salty Like Blood

Title: SALTY LIKE BLOOD
Author: Harry Kraus, M.D.
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
2009
ISBN: 978-1-4165-7789-8
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

David Conners, M.D., is all set to win partnership in his clinic, when he gets a call from a stranger. His father isn’t doing well. Family comes first in David’s life, so against his wife’s wishes, they head out to the coast to see what is wrong with David’s dad. But while they are there, the unthinkable happens. David’s seven-year-old daughter, Rachel, vanishes.

The local law-enforcement believe that Rachel fell into the water and her body was washed out to see, explaining why no body was every found. But David can’t accept that. He believes that someone abducted his daughter. He remembers hearing a car roaring away seconds before he realized Rachel was missing.

But even David’s wife doesn’t believe Rachel isn’t alive. And David’s all-consuming quest to find Rachel—dead or alive—threatens to destroy everything: his medical practice, his marriage, his integrity, and even his soul.

SALTY LIKE BLOOD is a fantastic medical read by a fantastic author. As the mother of a seven-year-old girl, the story line was quite painful to read, and I’m afraid I became quite watchful of my daughter, not wanting a repeat of this drama in real life. Still, the storyline was engrossing, and it held my interest.

David Conners acted the way I imagine any loving parent would act when his beloved child disappears, leaving no stone unturned in their search for answers. I hoped David would find Rachel, and the answers he needed, and that it would all be okay. Surprises filled this book, and while I wasn’t disappointed, I’ll admit to being shocked by some of the events. Don’t miss SALTY LIKE BLOOD. It is sure to keep your interest. The story ending seems to suggest that a sequel to this book is in the works. $13.99. 338 pages.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today

Title: MOTHERS OF THE BIBLE SPEAK TO MOTHERS OF TODAY
Author: Kathi Macias
Publisher: New Hope Publishers
2009
ISBN: 978-1-59669-215-2
Genre: Parenting

In the beginning was Eve…a woman who became a mother with no woman to guide her, to talk her through parenting. Most of us don’t have to struggle through it alone, like Eve, we have mothers, sisters, aunts, and friends who have become a mother before we did. And we also have the biblical mothers to turn to for advice by reading and studying about them in the Word.

Mothers like Hannah, a truly amazing woman of God who wanted a son so badly that she dedicated him to God before he was even born.

Like Leah, who hoped to win the love of her husband by producing him with many sons.

Like Jesus’s mother, Mary, who had the blessing of raising God’s own son…

And many others.

God uses mothers for his extraordinary purposes. And us modern moms struggle through many of the same things that biblical moms struggled with. Such as doubt, fear, grief, patience, etc. In addition to learning how these biblical role-models reacted, in the book are also included:

 reflective and journaling questions
 warmhearted quotes from a diverse group of women and men
 mothers’ prayers

Don’t miss MOTHERS OF THE BIBLE SPEAK TO MOTHERS OF TODAY. This book is the perfect gift for moms – a bit late for mother’s day on my blog, but a great gift for any mom, any time. Not only that, but this attractive hardbound book is designed for gift giving and is sure to be a blessing to your favorite mom—whether she be a struggling young mom of a newborn, or the middle age mom of six. 254 pages.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Learning to Live Financially Free

Title: LEARNING TO LIVE FINANCIALLY FREE
Authors: MaryBeth Whalen and Curt Whalen
Publisher: Kregel Publications
2009
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4188-2
Genre: Business and Economics

Eighty-four percent of people surveyed say that money issues causes tension in their marriage.

If you and your significant other are one of the many arguing over finances, struggling to pay off the mounting credit card bills, and living from paycheck to paycheck, then this book is for you. MaryBeth and Curt Whalen struggled for the first ten years of their marriage, and witnessed first hand the devastating effects it had on their marriage. LEARNING TO LIVE FINANCIALLY FREE recounts their journey to get out of debt.

Inside the covers of this timely book, you’ll discover:

 Encouragement to commit to your financial goals
 Scripture passages to inspire you
 Reflection questions to foster communications
 Action points to help you get started
 Hard-earned wisdom that will help save your marriage and your money

LEARNING TO LIVE FINANCIALLY FREE is written in a friendly, non-confrontational manner that reminded me of a conversation over a dinner table. MaryBeth and Curt simply told their stories, but then also included scripture references for you to meditate on and homework assignments for you to follow up on if you are interested in getting out of debt. They were also clear that getting out of debt is not a solo act. Both the husband and wife must be committed to follow the plan or it won’t work.

If you are in debt and want to get out, then pick up a copy of LEARNING TO LIVE FINANCIALLY FREE. It will be sure to help you start on the journey and give you the willpower to follow it to completion. In today’s recession, the advice is certainly timely. 170 pages.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Working Mom's 411

property of Armchair Reviews

Family
http://www.regalbooks.com/
4 stars
2009

Working Mom’s 411
Michelle LaRowe
Regal Books

Reviewed by Laura V. Hilton

Have you ever wondered how some moms seem to do it all?

In Working Mom’s 411, Michelle LaRowe shares from her experience as a Nanny, and household manager, to teach moms how to balance their time between work, children, and personal life.

Taking you from the time you realize you are expecting, and are worried about how to tell your boss, Ms. LaRowe will teach you how to research the pregnancy leave laws in your state to make sure you will have a job when you return, and how to talk to relatives you think you are selfish wanting to return to work; to scenes where you might have a sick child and need to find alternate care for him.

Some of the scenes are written as plays and are quite humorous. Some of them are not so humorous. There are also question and answer times in each chapter where Michelle La Rowe answers questions from real moms. It will help find super solutions to problems, and also includes expert advice, and tried-and-true tips.

Some recipes are included that are guaranteed to be quick and healthy meals for the working mom and the family. Things like fish tacos, tri-tip roast, and others.

I did think that Working Mom’s 411 would be a bit different than it was – maybe more a guide for even the mom working at home. But this is more a guide for the mom that works away from home, teaching her how to balance her career, with coming home to a house that still has chores needing attention, and children needing mom.

Some of the answers are great and will be really helpful for the mom who has to work (or wants to work) and can’t stay home with the little ones. Working Mom’s 411 will show you how to do it all, and may even allow you some time to sit back and kick your feet up. $14.99. 252 pages.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Face of Betrayal

Title: FACE OF BETRAYAL
Author: Lis Wiehl with April Henry
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
2009
ISBN: 978-1-59554-705-7
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Katie is seventeen years old, smart, and a Senate page. Her dreams are to become a senator—eventually. But when Katie goes home over Christmas break, she takes her dog out for a walk, and doesn’t return.

Reporter Cassidy Shaw is the first to break the story. And soon the FBI is on the case. Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce and FBI Special Agent Nicole Hedges are working to solve the disappearance of the girl. The three women have been lifelong friends, and call themselves “The Triple Threat.” Authorities believe the Katie might have run away, or been kidnapped, but the theories shatter when Nicole discovers Katie’s blog. They reveal a relationship with a mysterious man…possibly married. Possibly a Senator.

The FBI and the three friends race against time to find Katie alive. But leads are few. And the case is becoming increasingly personal.

FACE OF BETRAYAL is the first book I’ve read by either of these authors, but I am totally impressed. By the middle of the book I thought I had the case solved, but in reality I was not even close. I am totally impressed with this writing team’s ability to produce a page turning suspense novel…one of the best I’ve read this year.

Don’t miss FACE OF BETRAYAL. An excerpt from their next novel (available in 2010) is included in the back of the book, as well as discussion questions and an interview with the author. This is really an awesome book. $24.99 hardcover. 284 pages. Laura V. Hilton

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Soldier's Reunion

Title: A SOLDIER’S REUNION
Author: Cheryl Wyatt
Publisher: Love Inspired
June 2009
ISBN: 978-0-373-87532-0
Genre: Inspirational/romance

Mandy Manchester and Nolan Briggs used to date, but after high school they went their separate ways. Mandy to medical school, and Nolan into the military.

When the bridge over the river in Refuge, Illinois collapses, a school bus is among the vehicles wrecked, and it is full of kids. Reece North, the soon-to-be daughter of another pararescue jumper is among the students trapped on the bus. Emotions are running high, and the last person Nolan expects to see is his old flame, Mandy.

Mandy has been hurt by the way she and Nolan parted ways, and she just can’t get past the barrier she erected to keep the pain at bay even though Nolan makes it clear he wants to resume their old friendship…and possibly more. Can Mandy possibly trust Nolan enough to take a leap of faith?

A SOLDIER’S REUNION is the fourth book in the Wings of Refuge series, but it easily stands alone. I couldn’t help but be swept into the action as the story begins with excitement, and doesn’t let up for several chapters, which kept the pages turning.

Ms. Wyatt is definitely a talented author, and her military heroes are one of a kind with Steeple Hill Books. I enjoyed reading about the pararescue jumpers and their life, and getting to know Mandy and Nolan. I especially enjoyed having Reece and the other characters from previous books make routine appearances in A SOLDIER’S REUNION.

Don’t miss A SOLDIERS REUNION, available from www.steeplehill.com or from www.amazon.com. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.50. 211 pages.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

More Tales of Seamus the Sheltie

* property of Arm Chair Interviews.**

Childrens
4 stars
http://www.nightengalepress.com/
http://www.seamusthesheltie.com/
2009

More Tales of Seamus the Sheltie
Author: James Beverly
Illustrator: Anita Miles
Nightengale Press

Reviewed by: Laura V. Hilton

Seamus is a real Sheltie dog and the stories in this book, and the previous book are based on some of the real life adventures that Seamus had when he was outside on the farm. Other stories were made up from requests that parents had written in with, like they wanted Seamus to have to learn to deal with bullies, or helping people, or fear of doctors or other difficult issues for children.

Seamus is a real sweet, kind, intelligent dog, but being a dog he doesn’t talk like people do. The author has made up a sort of “Seamus” language that he imagined Seamus might talk like if he could talk. It was kind of difficult for me to read at first, but when I read the story out loud it was much easier to understand. In the beginning of the book, the author goes into detail about why he chose to make Seamus and his friends talk the way they do.

I really enjoyed reading these stories out loud to my children, though I think the age levels are a bit unclear. My four-year-old was unimpressed and easily bored with the story, she was more fascinated with finding the pictures and talking about them. My seven-year-old enjoyed the story, but didn’t have any interest in reading the book for herself, she wanted me to read it to her. So this would be a great book for cuddling with an elementary age child, and could encourage conversations about difficult events that happen in the child’s school or private life.

If readers are interested, they are also invited to join the Seamus fan club! All they have to do is go to http://www.seamusthesheltie.com/ and they will send you a member certificate, poster, coloring book, and much more.

The book is a bit pricey at $14.95 for 176 pages, but the stories and quality time with your child make it more than worth it. The author also indicates at the end of this book that more books with Seamus’s adventures will be following.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Where the Truth Lies

Title: WHERE THE TRUTH LIES
Authors: Elizabeth Ludwig & Janelle Mowery
Publisher: Heartsong Presents Mysteries
2008
ISBN: 978-1-59789-530-9
Genre: Inspirational/cozy mystery

Casey Alexander is shocked when the local police believe that her aunt committed suicide. Okay, the only suicide notes she’s seen have been in her favorite mystery books, but her aunt’s note is nothing like the ones in the books, so Casey is convinced that someone murdered her beloved aunt.

But the police and other residents in the town are shocked at the idea that a murder might have occurred in their sleepy little town. Still, someone has something to hide, because Casey is barely investigating twenty-four hours before someone tries to run her off the road. And then her brakes are cut…

Luke Kerrigan, nursery owner, happens to be on hand each time an attack against Casey occurs and he’s her first (and top) suspect. But is Luke stalking her? Does he have something to hide? The secrets Casey uncovers will turn the small community upside down.

WHERE THE TRUTH LIES is a fun read, with a lot of unexpected twists. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Casey, and the quirky residents in this little town. Casey is realistic, wanting answers since she disagrees with the polices’ decision, but often makes a laughing stock of herself since she fancies herself an investigator, based on the mystery books she devours.

I enjoyed reading WHERE THE TRUTH LIES, the first book in the Massachusetts Mayhem Mystery series by this new author duo. But since the cozy mystery line was discontinued, we’ll have to wait for the collection of three to come out before we read the rest of the story. Don’t miss WHERE THE TRUTH LIES available at www.barbourbooks.com, or at www.amazon.com. $6.95. 243 pages.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Making Work At Home Work

Title: MAKING WORK @ HOME WORK: Successfully growing a business and a family under one roof
Author: Mary M. Byers
Publisher: Revell
2009
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3275-2
Genre: Women/self-help

It is easy to start a home based business, but not so easy to balance that business and your family. Mary Byers has started her business and in addition to her experiences, plus interviewing over one hundred other home business owners, she has compiled this book to show you how it can be done.

In the pages of MAKING WORK @ HOME WORK, she will ask (and help you answer) important questions such as: How do I fit my business into my family life? How much income is enough? What are my priorities?

She’ll also teach you how to:

Ø schedule your time effectively
Ø manage your business expenses
Ø know when and how to take a break
Ø avoid strain on your relationships
Ø arrange child care when needed
Ø plan for your future and retirement
Ø work smarter and make more

plus much more.

Whether you own your own home business or work in direct sales, success is a reality.

MAKING WORK @ HOME WORK includes profiles of other home business owners, plus some yummy sounding (and easy) recipes for working moms to fix to feed their families. If you own your own business, work at home for someone else, or are just thinking about it, then MAKING WORK @ HOME WORK is the book for you. This book is invaluable. Endorsed by www.MOPS.org. Available at www.revellbooks.com, or at www.amazon.com. $12.99. 220 pages.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Keys to Destiny

Title: KEYS TO DESTINY
Author: Craig Dressler
Publisher: Morris Publishing
2007
ISBN: 978-0-8778247-1-7
Genre: Inspirational/Christian living

The Bible states that people perish because of lack of vision—a clear idea of where we are headed and how to get there. KEYS TO DESTINY will help you stay on track by identifying the areas of our lives that must be brought into alignment with His will.

The land of promise is not some make-believe place, but an actual realm. Ruling and reigning becomes a way of life. But in order to reach destiny, you must understand certain key principles and act on them.

According to Mr. Dressler, in KEYS TO DESTINY, each of the twelve tribes of Israel represents a different key. It took the whole nation to enter the Promised Land, just as we will need to incorporate each of these principles into our lives.

As there are technically thirteen tribes, in the Bible, Mr. Dressler uses that tribe as the compass to guide us in the way that we should head, as he maintains that without it, purpose does not exist and life is virtually meaningless.

KEYS TO DESTINY is small booklet, only 50 pages, which is easily read in one sitting. However, to fully understand the book, you will need to take the book in smaller sections, studying each, learning from it, and doing additional research to validate what Mr. Dressler teaches, according to God’s word. I’m not exactly sure where Mr. Dressler got the idea that each of the tribes represents a virtue that we need to reach our vision, but it does make for some interesting reading. $6.95, available on www.amazon.com.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ready-Made Family

Title: READY-MADE FAMILY
Author: Cheryl Wyatt
Publisher: Love Inspired
April 2009
ISBN: 978-0-373-87526-9
Genre: Inspirational/romance

Amelia North and her little girl, Reece, have been living in Amelia’s car ever since her parents kicked her out, saying that Amelia’s best isn’t good enough. But when Amelia passes out from dehydration and starvation issues and wrecks her car in the small town of Refuge, Illinois, she is stunned when people go out of her way to offer help.

Ben Dillinger is the person Reece ran to when her mother wrecked the car, and she clung to Ben during the whole time Amelia was in the hospital, and wouldn’t let anyone else care for her. Ben is stunned when he contacts Amelia’s parents and the only comment they could come up with is that they’d take Reece, but Amelia is on her own and they couldn’t care less what happened to her. How could any parents be so cold?

Ben just can’t leave Amelia alone even though she repeatedly refuses his help, and insists she has to be in Missouri to work on a certain day. Is there any hope that Amelia—or her car—will even be ready to travel in a week? Or will they be stranded—by love—in Refuge forever?

READY-MADE FAMILY is Cheryl Wyatt’s third book in her Wings of Refuge series, but it easily stands alone. The hero, Ben, is a pararescue jumper, and like all of the heroes in Ms. Wyatt’s previous books, in the military. Amelia is a stubborn woman, used to taking care of herself, and toughing it through rough situations—a sometimes good trait, and sometimes, not so good. Amelia had to learn how to accept help gratefully.something that I had to learn too.

I enjoyed reading READY-MADE FAMILY and am looking forward to reading more books by this talented new author. Don’t miss READY-MADE FAMILY or any of Ms. Wyatt’s previous books, available at your favorite bookseller or at www.steeplehill.com. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.50. 217 pages.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Flight of Apollo 13: Lost in Space

Property of Armchair Interviews

Childrens
www.stonearchbooks.com
2009

The Flight of Apollo 13: Lost in Space
Written by Gary Bush
Illustrated by Nick Derington
Stone Arch Books

Reviewed by Laura V. Hilton

Fourteen year old, Ramon Garza’s grades have started slipping since his father died, and Ramon’s attitude needs major adjusting as he keeps getting into fights at school. In desperation, Ramon’s mom asks to take him up to the NASA center where she works in food service, a nowhere job, according to Ramon.

As Ramon is forced to sit in the cafeteria and do his homework every day after school, he gets to know some of the astronauts as they come in and some of them even offer to help him with his homework, explaining how important math, science and other subjects are to their career.

Apollo 13 is launched on April 11, 1970, and Ramon has enjoyed getting to know the crew and watching the shapeship launch, but only two days after launch, the mission goes horribly wrong. Now Ramon has a front row seat at what could be the greatest disaster or rescue in American history.

I was too young to remember Apollo 13 when it occurred, but I did enjoy reading this children’s book about the most successful failure in history. Part of the book is written in cartoon format, and part of it is written in story form.

The Flight of Apollo 13: Lost in Space gives a lot of valuable information about the mission, about NASA, and about what children would need to study if they want to be an astronaut when they grow up (which most kids do, as some point or another).

There is a glossary, more information about Apollo 13 (which was quite fascinating), and discussion questions and writing prompts included at the end of the book, which makes it invaluable to school children, no matter which form of education they are in, public, private, or home. There are also an information page for internet sites, if the reader wants more information. 49 pages. Guided Reading Level: N.

Monday, May 4, 2009

If Tomorrow Never Comes

Title: IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES
Author: Marlo Schalesky
Publisher: Multnomah
April 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60142-024-4
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Kinna has always loved Jimmy, ever since they were young children playing on the beach. Jimmy was the son of the town drunk, and Kinna the daughter of a rich pastor, but that didn’t stop Kinna from befriending Jimmy. But now things have changed. She and Jimmy have been married for years and now Kinna wants a baby. But she’s barren. Infertile. And she’s put them in debt with all the fertility treatments that she’s taken.

When Kinna takes a walk on the sea, she finds a locket eerily similar to her own, then she hears someone cry for help, and then discovers it’s a woman, drowning. Kinna rescues the woman, little knowing that everything will change and nothing will ever be the same.

Who is the mysterious woman named Thea that Kinna rescues? Will Kenna grasp the one final hope, the last chance, to follow, not her dreams, but God’s plan.

Marlo Schalesky has penned another winner with IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES. I had the privilege of reviewing two of her previous books, Only the Wind Remembers, and Veil of Fire and found them unforgettable, and among my all time favorite books, so I was excited to get the chance to review IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES.

IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES is a different sort of book from the previous two books of Ms. Schalesky’s that I’ve read, but it is still very excellent. The writing is tight, and interesting, keeping the pages, turning, and I couldn’t help but relate to Jimmy and Kinna even when I wanted to knock their heads together and tell them to start listening to each other! And Thea—she was a wonderful character with her own point of view, that I couldn’t help but fall in love with.

Don’t miss IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES. It is a wonderful book with a mysterious locket, wonderful characters and a powerfully told story. Discussion questions and a sample chapter of Marlo Schalesky’s next novel (available in the Spring of 2010 is included at the end of the book. $12.99. 339 pages.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Expecting: Praying for Your Child's Development--Body and Soul

Title: EXPECTING: Praying for Your Child’s Development—Body and Soul
Author: Marla Taviano
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
2009
ISBN: 978-1-4165-7200-8
Genre: Inspirational/devotional

Expecting? Wrap your new baby in prayer…

EXPECTING takes us from the two weeks before conception through the entire pregnancy, until you hold your little bundle of joy in your arms. This book will help you surround your baby with prayer as his/her little heart begins to beat and ears begin to form, and will guide you into praying for the child’s development, physically and spiritually.

The entire time of pregnancy will become even more special as you pray for your child. There are also beautifully depicted illustrations showing each stage of your baby’s development.

There are forty weeks in this devotional, and each one includes:

Ø a prayer for your child’s body and soul
Ø a devotional message
Ø a carefully selected scripture
Ø an inspirational quote
Ø a “body and soul” reflection for mom
Ø a space for you to journal your own thoughts and prayers

This book will be much more than just a devotional for your forty weeks of pregnancy, but it will become a keepsake that you will cherish. $14.00 hardcover. 200 pages.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Online Auction -- good cause

Brenda Novak's online auction to benefit diabetes research began yesterday and runs through the month of May. If my calculations are correct there are 2050 (WOW!) items up for auction as of this morning and I'm sure there are still last minute items to be posted. Love Inspired authors have contributed generously and the members of http://www.loveinspiredauthors.com/ have two baskets in the Inspirational category, each containing over 25 autographed books with a value of over $200.00! Please get the word out to your readers to bid on these great prizes! In addition to books, collectibles, jewelry and other great items (be sure you check out the ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCES!), there are many offerings from Editors and Agents! So this is a great opportunity to get one-on-one with a publishing professional that may not happen any other way. Registration is fast and easy and I can't wait for the bidding to open up tomorrow! This is a worthy cause with amazing prizes! Happy bidding!

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Gift of Grace

Title: A GIFT OF GRACE
Author: Amy Clipston
Publisher: Zondervan
May 2009
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction/Amish

When Rebecca Kauffman’s sister dies prematurely, Rebecca’s tranquil Old Order Amish life is disrupted when she finds she’s been named guardian for her two teenage nieces—both very modern “English.” Rebecca and her husband Daniel have tried for years to conceive a child, unsuccessfully, but now they find themselves instant parents.

Jessica and Lindsay don’t know quite what to think about landing on the “set of Little House on the Prairie” and don’t take kindly to the changes. Well, some of them. Lindsay is more than thrilled with quitting school to work in a bakery, since she’s past the eighth grade. But Jessica is resistant to the Amish ways and chaffs at being forced to work in a furniture store when she wants to graduate and go on to college to become an accountant.

With Rebecca being forced to raise two teenagers who are not of her faith, the strain causes problems between Rebecca and Daniel. Instead of the beautiful family Rebecca dreamed of, now she finds her world being torn apart. Will her faith in God be able to see her through?

A GIFT OF GRACE is the first book in Ms. Clipston’s Kauffman Amish Bakery series, and the debut novel by this talented author. In a way, A GIFT OF GRACE seems like the polar opposite of Beverly Lewis’s novel, The Redemption of Sarah Cain, as instead of Amish children being forced to be raised by an “English” guardian, we have “English” children being raised by an Amish guardian.

Like most of America, I enjoy reading about the Amish lifestyle, and found the struggles that the children went through to adjust to this new way of living realistic, although both Daniel and Rebecca were very lenient with their nieces, allowing them to keep their modern conveniences, though they would have to find way to charge their modern gadgets elsewhere since the Amish don’t have electricity.

I am looking forward to reading more books in this series, set in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. $10.99. 332 pages.

IMPORTANT LINKS:
A Gift of Grace on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0310289831
Amy Clipston’s Website: http://amyclipston.com
Amy Clipston’s Blog: http://amyclipston.blogspot.com
Amy Clipston’s Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Clipston/33955140823
List of all participating bloggers: http://blogtourspot.com/clipston-blog-tour/clipston-blog-tour-stops

The Source of Confidence by Heidi Dru Kortman

Text: Philippians 3:3ff. “For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who...