Friday, April 30, 2010

Winter Haven

Author: Athol Dickson
Publisher: Bethany House
March 2009
ISBN: 978-1-7642-0164-6
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Vera Gamble has gotten the call she’s feared for thirteen years. A body has washed up on the coast of a remote island in Maine, and they believe its her brother, Siggy. Reluctantly, Vera takes vacation leave and heads for Winter Haven, while reading a guide book telling a spooky story about how pilgrims disappeared on the island leaving no proof when a man sent to find help returns with the promised help.

At first Vera doesn’t believe the body found is her brother. Siggy hadn’t aged a day in thirteen years! He didn’t look a day over fifteen. But he carries proof that he is indeed Siggy Gamble. The law on the island refuses to release the body in light of this new mystery, so Vera is forced to stay on the island.

But there is something evil on the island trailing her. It rains rocks around her. Trees bleed blood. And only she can hear the hissing voices. Amid tales of witches, unexplained deaths, unfriendly islanders, and threats Vera is sure who to trust. And with no way off the island, is she doomed to become one more Winter Haven legend?

I have read and loved all of Athol Dickson’s novels so far, and WINTER HAVEN has a different feel to it than the others, more gothic—dark and brooding. While repulsed, I couldn’t put the book down. I was caught up in a story I didn’t want to be caught up into. A story of evil.

There are some Christian touches in the story, so it is not all on the dark side, but WINTER HAVEN is too much on the dark side for my tastes. But the story is very compelling, the story very well drawn out, and there is a touch of a romance. Not sure how Athol Dickson did on characterization—the whole story is more plot driven than character driven, and what I learned about Vera was all related to the plot. Very well written. If you’re a member of the “chicken club” you might want to avoid this book. But if you like a bit of the dark side in your books, then WINTER HAVEN is a book to consider. $18.99 hardcover. 333 pages.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Homeschooling for the Rest of Us

Author: Sonya Haskins
Publisher: Bethany House
January 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0739-6
Genre: Inspirational/home school

It’s time to break a myth: Homeschooling families aren’t perfect. (from back cover)

Are you tired of seeing the pictures of large homeschooling families, all dressed immaculately, and in matching clothes designed by their preteen daughter in her spare time? Good news! There are some families out there that are just normal people, we don’t have twelve children, and we may only have one or two. We don’t have a perfectly designed house which is cleaned daily; instead we have piles of books, craft supplies, and other miscellaneous items lying around.

HOMESCHOOLING FOR THE REST OF US is a practical guide that will help normal everyday people to begin homeschooling, or face some of the challenges that they are incurring in the day to day walk.

The author addresses topics such as socialization, finding a routine, addressing concerns from friends and family, nurturing a biblical worldview, chores, and much much more.

HOMESCHOOLING FOR THE REST OF US is the book that would have been helpful for me back in the beginning when I started homeschooling. I didn’t know anything about it and I quickly discovered that I was not that perfect family pictured on the cover of a magazine. I have real children who struggle with concentrating, who didn’t fit into the public school mold that I tried to force them into, and well, they weren’t perfect. I had to learn on my own that trips to the grocery store can count as school work. Field trips don’t have to be elaborately planned events, but can be a simple family trip to a local farm to watch them harvest maple syrup…or shear sheep.

If you are considering homeschooling or worried that your family isn’t matching up with another family you know, then HOMESCHOOLING FOR THE REST OF US is a book that will encourage you as well as guide you as you make decisions that will be right for your family. $13.99. 172 pages.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How Do You Tuck in a Superhero?

Author: Rachel Balducci
Publisher: Revell
April 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3372-8
Genre: Inspirational/parenting

Rachel Balducci knows about raising boys. She has five of them. So she doesn’t have to look very far to find material for her book. I was impressed after reading just the first couple pages how she nailed boyhood on the head. I have two boys, and I could relate to most all the stories she shares.

Such as, the love language of boys is food. Very true. Boys have to eat, and heaven help us if there is no snack food in the house. I counteract this need for junk food by keeping celery and peanut butter on hand. As well as unpeeled carrots. They think that it’s cool to peel them. (Please don’t tell them this stuff is healthy!)

Then there is the phone issue. Am I the only one in the family who can hear the phone? My husband can be sitting right beside it and no answer it. My sons will let it ring. Unless they are expecting a call—from their boss, girlfriend, etc, and then they will kill anyone in their path. I had to laugh when I read Ms. Balducci’s story of her boys and their phone phobia.

Then there’s the rubber snake attack, how boys make plans, and dangerous living, among other tales.

HOW DO YOU TCK IN A SUPERHERO? is stock-full of laugh-out loud moments that mothers of boys will definitely relate to. Mother’s of girls might want to read it just out of curiosity. If you are a parent, grandparent, or just live next door to a parent of boys (and wondering about all the tunnels in the backyard) then you might want to pick up a copy of HOW DO YOU TUCK IN A SUPERHERO? While you won’t be guaranteed a new kid, you will have a new appreciation of the blessings God has given you. $12.99. 203 pages.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

An Honest Love

Author: Kathleen Fuller
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
March 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59554-813-9
Genre: Inspirational/Amish

Elisabeth is a bit klutzy, but she is trying to work carefully so she won’t mess up as much. She is thrilled when Gabe offers to hire her to work in the office of his blacksmith shop. They need an accountant, and Elisabeth has a reputation of being good with numbers. Elisabeth jumps at the chance, thrilled that the job also includes working with Aaron, an Amish man with a troubled past, a reputation, and a rap sheet.

Anna and her mother have relocated to Ohio to take care of an elderly uncle, and have decided to start their own business, with a gift shop catering to tourists. Lukas brought some homemade toys up to the shop for sale, and found himself enthralled by the lovely Anna. He offers to do some maintenance work in the shop, removing the electric and installing gas lighting. When he refuses to take pay for his services, Anna feels obligated to spend some time in his company when he invited her to singings.

But Anna’s past is secret, and her present is built on lies—how will Lukas react when he discovers the truth?

AN HONEST LOVE is the second book in Ms. Fuller’s A Hearts of Middlefield Novel series, but it easily stands alone. Readers may want to read the first book to be brought up to speed on some secondary characters’ stories, but otherwise, it isn’t necessary to read first.

I enjoyed revisiting Middlefield, Ohio, in this series, and love Ms. Fuller’s writing style. Her characters are loveable and her situations are realistically portrayed. It is obvious she spent some time researching the Amish and their ways. AN HONEST LOVE also includes a reader’s guide and an interview with the author. Readers are encouraged to also join to be kept up to date with contests, recipes, and be part of an ongoing book discussion, plus more. If you like Amish fiction, you will definitely want to read AN HONEST LOVE. $14.99. 287 pages.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rachel's Garden

Author: Marta Perry
Publisher: Berkley Books
April 2010
ISBN: 978-0-425-23236-1
Genre: Inspirational/Amish romance

Rachel Brand is struggling to survive after the tragic death of her husband, Ezra. Now, Rachel and her three children are forced to make decisions they don’t want to make. Should they sell Ezra’s farm and move home with Rachel’s parents? Or should she try to keep Ezra’s dreams alive?

Rachel’s friends and family come forward to help. Ezra’s brothers are maintaining his milk cow herd, and Ezra’s best friend, Gideon Zook asks Rachel’s permission to build the greenhouse that Ezra promised Rachel. But Gideon was involved in the same accident that claimed Ezra’s life, and his presence is a reminder of all Rachel has lost.

But without the income from the plants Rachel sells to the community, she may be forced to sell the farm and have no means of supporting her family. Or, would it be wiser to take her greenhouse and let Ezra’s brother buy the farm? Can Rachel find the courage to make her own choices?

RACHEL'S’S GARDEN is the second book in Ms. Perry’s Pleasant Valley series, but it easily stands alone. Readers might find it helpful though to understand a bit about Rachel’s brother, Johnny, and her friend, Leah, both of whom are in the first book.

I enjoyed getting to know a bit more about the characters featured in the first book, Leah’s Choice, and especially getting to know Rachel, Gideon, and Ezra’s sweetheart younger brother, William. I hope that sometime in the future, Ms. Perry will have William as a hero in a book.

A glossary of Amish terms, a preview of Ms. Perry’s third book in the series Anna’s Return, coming in June 2010 are included at the end of the book. Don’t miss RACHEL'S GARDEN if you are looking for a good Amish book to read. $14.00. 329 pages.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Author: Cerella D. Sechrist
Publisher: Summerside Press
January 2010
ISBN: 978-1-935416-64-7
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Chef Sadie Spencer is working her way back up from the bottom. Years earlier, she’d written two successful cookbooks, ran a television program, and had a successful eatery. Now, she only has a moderately sized restaurant in Hershey, where she has a small, but loyal following. Sadie has a four-year-old daughter, and her long time friend, Jasper, babysits. Everything is good.

But then a handsome Russian entrepreneur, Dmitri, comes to town, and rumor has it that Dmitri is planning in opening his own restaurant right across the street from Sadie’s! To Sadie, this means war. Not only that, but her father, who abandoned her as a child, is now back in town, claiming to be a Christian and trying to make things right.

When a Hershey’s bake-off is announced, Sadie is determined to win—no matter what the cost. Even if she loses her daughter, Jasper, Dmitri, and everything else she holds dear. What will it take for Sadie to see the light?

LOVE FINDS YOU IN HERSHEY, PENNSYLVANIA is a sweet contemporary in this line. I enjoyed reading a little about the town of Hershey, but there really isn’t as much town information included in this book as there are in other Love Finds You books.

Sadie is a very selfish woman who can’t see beyond her own needs (which she expects everyone to cater to) but the secondary characters, as well as the two male leads, are all sweethearts. To also help balance out Sadie’s negativity, there is plenty of laugh out loud moments. $12.99. 347 pages

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Teacups Full of Treasures

Author: Mary Grace Birkhead
Publisher: Integrity Publishers
ISBN: 1-59145-495-6
Genre: Inspirational/nonfiction/gift book

This charming little book contains pictures of beautiful heirloom teacups and the names of God, going through the Old Testament and the New Testament.

On each page is a picture of an antique tea cup, then in larger print a name of God, such as “God is your Redeemer”. Under that is a thought containing to that name, such as: “You can’t mess up so badly that He can’t make it all work out. He can fix anything! He can take your past mistakes and make them treasures.”

I thoroughly enjoyed reading through this little book, and read it all through in a setting. I also enjoyed looking at the pictures of the teacups. Teacups are one of my little treasures and I was blessed enough to inherit an aunt’s collection. I also loved reading the little thoughts about God’s names in this book, and put it aside to read and reflect on in smaller pieces, maybe as part of a Bible study.

If you are looking for an unique gift book for a special lady in your life, then TEACUPS FULL OF TREASURES would be an excellent choice. Pair it with a selection of specialty teas, and a new teacup and you’ll have a winner. $9.99 hardcover.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Promise of Hope

Author: Amy Clipston
Publisher: Zondervan
March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-310-28984-5
Genre: Inspirational/Amish

Sarah Rose Troyer is mourning the death of her beloved husband, Peter, and expecting a baby. She doesn’t know how she’ll manage to be a single mother, and is even more upset when an ultrasound reveals she’s actually having twins.

Luke Troyer makes his home in Ohio, but when a family friend comes into the shop claiming she hasn’t heard from him in a while, Luke is concerned. He agrees to go to Pennsylvania to search for Peter.

When Luke arrives in Bird-in-Hand he discovers that Peter is dead, but Peter’s extended family is quick to take him in. Luke quickly develops feelings for the very pregnant Sarah Rose, but knows she’s in mourning…plus she is struggling with having discovered that her husband has lied to her all along. What will it take for Sarah ever be able to trust a man again?

A PROMISE OF HOPE is book two in Ms. Clipston’s Kauffman Amish Bakery series by Ms. Clipston, but it easily stands alone. I enjoyed reading the book, but the premise of the story did bother me a bit. Luke lost a lot of respect with me by the way he handled certain situations.

I enjoyed getting to know the close Kauffman family and Luke, and learning about Peter’s secrets, and I’m looking forward to the third book in this series. If you like Amish stories, then A PROMISE OF HOPE is a book that you’ll want to consider. $12.99. 304 pages.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Green Mama

Author: Tracey Bianchi
Publisher: Zondervan
March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-310-32036-4
Genre: Inspirational/Christian life/family

Going green is a popular topic now-a-days. We’re inundated with suggests for electric cars, getting new heat pumps, water heaters, etc, and getting rid of our old appliances and buying new “greener” ones. But sometimes our financial situation just doesn’t allow that. So how can you go green without going into debt?

Tracey Bianchi has written this book for busy moms who want to make wise choices for her family – and makes simple suggestions for going green. Simple things, like reusing scrap paper for your to-do-lists or recycling your cans and bottles. But there are also more complex suggestions if you are already doing the simple stuff.

Ms. Bianchi includes creative tips and spiritual inspiration to help you make wiser environmental choices in the community, office, or at home.

GREEN MAMA is filled with suggestions, most of which are common sense ones. But they are shared with real life stories, such as the time Ms. Bianchi went hiking with a real eco-friendly man as their guide, or stories about her children discussing why trees are important. And Ms. Bianchi recognizes that not everyone will be able to follow all the advice. Such as, I live in a rural area with no public transportation and am twenty miles from the nearest grocery store. I won’t be riding the bus or biking any time soon. But the tips are there in case you are in a situation where you might be able to use it.

I already incorporate most of the ideas into our lifestyle, and with homeschooling, that might make it a bit easier, since the children are raised with it day in and day out. But still, even if you don’t do anything right now, there are things to try, and simple suggestions included in each chapter, as well as questions to answer at the end, with plenty of room to answer them. If you want to go green then GREEN MAMA is definitely a good place to start. Ms. Bianchi suggests borrowing a copy of this book so you don’t waste resources, but I don’t think the publisher would be behind that suggestion one-hundred percent. And since you might want to refer back to it occasionally, I suggest buying your own copy. $12.99. 208 pages.

Tracey Bianchi is an editorial advisor and quarterly columnist for Christianity Today's Gifted for Leadership newsletter and MOPS International's Fullfill magazine. A frequent speaker at MOPS groups and MOPS International conventions, she earned a master of divinity degree with honors from Denver Seminary. She is now the director of women's ministries for Christ Church of Oak Brook, where she regularly teaches large groups and classes. Bianchi lives in Chicago with her family.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In Harm's Way

Author: Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell
March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3312-4
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Rachel Sutton is on her way out of a restaurant with lunch when she notices a scrap of orange in a snow drift. When she digs it out, she notices it’s an abandoned doll. Thinking that the mother lost it, Rachel picks it up, intending to put it in the store’s lost and found. But when she touches the doll, Rachel has a panic attack. Unsure how to react, Rachel talks to a friend who’s husband is a police officer, then against better judgment, takes the doll to the FBI.

FBI Agent, Nick Bradley has seen his share of kooks, but Rachel doesn’t seem to fit the mood. Still, her story is strange. Nick takes the doll, planning to dump it, but it still has it when he discovers a link between the doll and a child abducted from Chicago.

A reporter overhears Rachel’s friend talk about the doll and believes that Rachel is a psychic, something that freaks the kidnapper out when she reads the article. Suddenly Rachel’s life is on the line. Will connect the dots in time to save the child and the witness?

IN HARM’S WAY is the third and final book in Ms. Hannon’s Heroes of Quantico series but it easily stands alone. I didn’t read the first two books but I fully intend to get my hands on them!

Rachel and Nick have an instant spark that triggered this romance lover’s interest. Plus the suspense kept the pages turning. Both characters are realistically developed, and the plot line is believable. I highly recommend this book. $14.99. 324 pages.

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than 30 novels, including Against All Odds and An Eye for an Eye. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, and the Reviewer's Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviewsmagazine. For more information about Irene and her books, visit her website at

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ruby's Slippers

Author: Leanna Ellis
Publisher: Broadman & Holman Books
April 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8054-4698-2
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary/women’s fiction

Dottie Meyers is happy with her life in Kansas. All she ever wanted was the family farm, a family to love, and her dad to return home. Her sister, Abby, on the other hand, always wanted more—more money and more fame. Now, Abby is a famous movie star, but she is always out of money—she sold what things she had, and went home to Kansas to try to talk Dottie into selling her farm—and to see if there was anything in the basement she could steal, and sell.

When a tornado blows through Kansas, Dottie, and her little dog Otto, are blown away. Dottie wakes up in Kansas where she finds that Abby has sold the farm from under her (and pocketed the money), and her dad has left her a mystery gift—a pair of Ruby slippers.

Now everyone wants those slippers, including Dottie’s own sister. So Dottie and some friends travel to Seattle in search of answers. What is the story behind those slippers? And is it possibly that they will solve Dottie’s problems?

RUBY’S SLIPPERS is a really cute play off of The Wizard of Oz and Cinderella in a more contemporary tale. I enjoyed reading this story—but I didn’t really care for the ending so much. Dottie is a sweetheart of a character, and I just couldn’t believe the selfishness of Abby, but sadly she reminds me strongly of someone I know.

RUBY’S SLIPPERS is humorous and entertaining, and yet teaches an important lesson about family, material goods, and love. Highly recommended. $14.99. 312 pages.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Bridegrooms - and giveaway!

Leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win a copy of this book.
Author: Allison Pittman
Publisher: Multnomah
April 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60142-137-1
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Vada Allenhouse’s mother vanished when Vada was eight years old. As the oldest of four girls, Vada virtually grew up overnight, having to raise her three younger sisters while their father hid his grief by burying himself in his medical practice.

Now all grown up, Vada works as an errand girl for Cleveland’s amateur orchestra where she dreams of someday sharing her violin talents, and spending her evenings with her beau, Garrison Walker, who seems a bit detached and passionless.

When the Brooklyn Bridegrooms come to play the Cleveland Spiders, a line drive hits one of the spectators in the head. The fan is taken to the Allenhouse home for treatment, and suddenly the four girls are filled with potential suitors. Dr. Allenhouse is frustrated by the medical case. Will Dr. Allenhouse figure out how to treat his patient? And will the four Allenhouse girls find love?

THE BRIDEGROOMS is a cute story of four sisters who long for love and acceptance while struggling to understand why their mother would run off. Each girl has suffered some sort of side-effect from their mother’s abandonment that they must work through.

The story is well-written, with Vada being the main character. The setting is very well developed so that as a reader, I could see and hear what was happening. Ms. Pittman is a very talented author that will go far, and I’m looking forward to reading many more books by her. If you enjoy historical fiction, don’t miss THE BRIDEGROOMS. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $13.99. 335 pages.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Once In a Blue Moon and giveaway

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Author: Leanna Ellis
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8054-4988-4
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Bryn Seymour was only nine years old when her mother died on the same day Apollo 11 made its historic lunar landing. Since then, Bryn has been fascinated by death, to the point where she becomes an Obituary writer. She is also a thrill-seeker, whilling to defy gravity. But staying in a meaningful relationship with a member of the opposite sex is not so easy.

When Bryn goes to write a freelance story about the fortieth anniversary of the first moon walk, she meets Howard, a loopy old gent who believes that the government is covering up the existence of crystal caverns on the moon, as well as other conspiracy theories. Bryn decides to ignore him, at least until she goes home and watches old family movies to see her mother—and sees this old gent that she met at the anniversary. Who is Howard, and how does he know her mother – enough to rate being included in family movies?

Bryn decides to investigate, and so she travels to Howard’s small Texas town, hoping for answers. But then she meets Sam, Howard’s son and an outspoken Christian. Bryn can’t decide who’s believes are stranger—Howard’s – or Sam’s.

I’ve read all of Leanna Ellis’ books so far, and discovered she is a hit or miss author for me. I totally loved some of her books, and didn’t care for others so much. ONCE IN A BLUE MOON is a not-so-much book for me. Maybe because of Bryn’s fascination with death, or maybe its due to the tone of the book. I don’t know.

The writing is stellar, and written in first person, we are in Bryn’s head, experiencing all she does, from stomach-churning stimulator rides to steamy encounters with the opposite sex (which did make it kind of fun). I also loved aspects of the ending of this book, it was so unexpected. There are also humorous obit teasers included in this book. The last line is a winner. $14.99. 306 pages.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

God Never Blinks

Author: Regina Brett
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
April 2010
ISBN: 978-0-446-44652-1
Genre: Self-help

Regina Brett wrote essays for her newspaper in Ohio, and soon found out that they were wildly popular. Filled with common sense from a woman who has lived to fifty (and beyond) and has learned some valuable life lessons along the way.

Regina Brett is a breast cancer survivor (which automatically makes her a kindred spirit) and is wise, compassionate and honest in her writings. Raised Catholic, Regina Brett did make some mistakes along the way, but as a result she gave us a road map that we can all follow, no matter what age we are.

Some of the lessons included in this book are:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good
2. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
3. Pay off your credit cards every month.
4. The most important sex organ is the brain.
5. A writer is someone who writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
6. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
7. Over-prepare then go with the flow.
8. Always choose life.
9. What other people think of you is none of your business.
10. The best is yet to come.

This is just a sampling, and every one of these essays are beautifully written, full of humor and good advice. I did disagree with some things, such as I would never dare cuss God out, and Regina Brett says that its good for you to do that every now and again.

If you are looking for a book for a gift for college graduation, mother’s day, father’s day, or someone’s 80th birthday, GOD NEVER BLINKS is certainly a one-size fits all. $21.99, hardcover. 234 pages.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Plain Paradise

Author: Beth Wiseman
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
March 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59554-823-8
Genre: Inspirational/Amish/Women’s fiction

Linda is hoping that her Amish boyfriend will propose so she can marry in November. She’ll be eighteen by then and ready to have her own home. But then she discovers a terrible secret when a stranger, an Englisch woman, comes to the family farm house. Linda discovers that she’s adopted, and that her Amish parents have kept this secret from her. And that this Englisch woman is her real mother.

Josie was just seventeen when she gave her baby up for adoption. Now Josie is dying from a brain tumor and she wants a chance to get to know her daughter before she dies. She and her husband relocate to Paradise so they can be near to Linda, and Josie starts stalking the young Amish girl, praying for the courage to approach her.

When Linda and Josie do get together, Linda finds herself unexpectedly drawn to Josie’s world, while her Amish parents and boyfriend struggle to understand how this can possibly be God’s will. Will Linda jump the fence, or stay in the world she’s grown up in?

PLAIN PARADISE is the final book in the Daughter’s of Promise series by Beth Wiseman. I enjoyed reading this series, and am looking forward to her new series where readers will be following the Amish to Colorado.

I wasn’t adopted, so I really can’t relate to Linda or Josie, but I did feel that Linda over-reacted somewhat when she did learn she was adopted. (I may be wrong, and that may be how people react, it just seemed a bit melodramatic to me.) But otherwise, I thought the story was very well done, and interesting and I enjoyed getting to know the characters a bit better, since they did show up in previous books. A discussion guide, Amish recipes and an interview with Amish Author Kathleen Fuller is included at the end of the book. $14.99. 301 pages.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Winter's Awakening

Author: Shelley Shepard Gray
Publisher: Avon Inspire
March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-185222-0
Genre: Inspirational/Amish

Joshua thought he had his future all mapped out. He’d work in his father’s store, marry Gretta, and they’d have babies… but then a new English family moves in next door, and their young daughter catches Josh’s eye. Suddenly, Josh feels trapped. What if he isn’t meant to marry Gretta? If he can look at another woman, then Gretta must not be the one for him. So, he breaks off the relationship.

Gretta is shocked by the sudden changes in Joshua. When Josh breaks things off, another Amish man, Roland, is quick to move in. Roland is calm, quiet, and kind, but he is not the man that Gretta loves. Still, she needs to give Roland a chance.

Lilly is new to Sugarcreek, but she is there in shame as her parents are hiding her away until after the birth of her baby. Lilly is fascinated by the Amish next door, and especially Joshua. He’s like no boy she’s ever met before.

WINTER’S AWAKENING is the first book in Ms. Gray’s newest series, Seasons of Sugarcreek. I enjoyed getting to know Joshua, Gretta, and Lilly, and even some of the secondary characters. At first I thought that Josh acted a bit immaturely, but he is only nineteen, and there aren’t that many really mature nineteen year olds out there.

Gretta is a sweet young lady, thrown into a tailspin by Josh’s decision, and her subsequent meeting of “the other woman” but she still was kind and gentle with people, whether she wanted to be or not. I really appreciated her attitude.

I enjoyed reading WINTER’S AWAKENING and the ending is completely sweet. I’m not one hundred percent certain Ms. Gray got all her Amish facts right, but it is a good story. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book as well as a sample chapter of the next book in the series, Spring’s Renewal. $12.99. 276 pages.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shadows of Lancaster County

Author: Mindy Starns Clark
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
January 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7369-2447-4
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

What shadows darken the quiet valleys of Amish County?

Anna Bailey has worked hard to put the tragedies of the past behind her when she took on a new identity. She moved from Pennsylvania to California. Anna is caught off-guard when her sister-in-law calls her saying that Anna’s brother, Bobby, has disappeared and she needs help. Not only that, but while Anna is on the phone with Lydia, an intruder is in Anna’s house demanding that Anna hands over some rubies…ruby’s that Anna knows nothing about.

With no choice but to go home to look for her brother, Anna is baffled trying to follow the high-tech trail her brother has left behind—a trail that leads from the simple world of Amish farming to the cutting edge of DNA research and gene therapy.

It doesn’t take long in the pursuit, Anna realizes that she has something that others want—something worth killing for. And now Anna seeks to protect herself, find her brother, and keep a rein on her heart when a former love interest appears on the scene.

I have read all of Mindy Starns Clarks books so far, and I love this author. The story is more telling than showing, but the mystery is so well-developed, and the story line and plot so engaging that I can’t help but being drawn in.

I loved Anna, and sympathized completely with her as she was forced to relive the horrors of her past. I also enjoyed the point of view of an ancient relative of Anna’s that were written into the story in the forms of letters or diary entries. Reed, Anna’s former love interest, was a flawed hero, but definitely realistic.

I completely enjoyed SHADOWS OF LANCASTER COUNTY and while I did guess some of the story line, I didn’t completely guess everything. This book is highly recommended for mystery lovers everywhere. $13.99. 326 pages.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Perfect Piece

Author: Rebeca Seitz
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
June 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8054-4693-7
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary/women’s fiction

Meg Sinclair has been fighting killer headaches for months, but she’s never had the time to go into the doctor to find out why. She has too much to do, caring for her husband and her little family, and spending times with her sisters. But at her son’s ballgame, Meg collapses, scaring her son.

Jamison is horrified to learn that the cause of his wife’s headaches is a brain tumor. Surgery removes the mass, but Meg’s personality has changed, with mood swings, depression, anger, and bitterness. Neither Jamison nor Meg’s sisters know how to handle this new and unimproved Meg.

Meg is confused about her anger and not sure how to handle it. And her sisters and husband must somehow find the strength and wisdom to traverse the unknown roads ahead.

PERFECT PIECE is the final book in the Sister’s Ink Novel series. I have read three of the four books in the series, but I had no problem keeping up even though I did miss book three.

I enjoyed getting to know Meg better, and her family, and to go through this trial with them. This is truly a series about relationships between family, and has a lot of scrapbooking included. Don’t miss this final installment – PERFECT PIECE. $14.99. 308 pages.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Too Close to Home

Author: Lynette Eason
Publisher: Revell
April 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3369-8
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Seven teen girls have gone missing in a small Southern town, and four of the seven have turned up dead. The police have hit dead ends, and have absolutely no leads left, but Homicide detective Connor Wolfe knows the deaths have to be related. So he asks for help, and the FBI sends in Special Agent Samantha Cash, a computer expert, to help crack the case.

The town is demanding answers, Connor’s sixteen year old daughter is demanding attention, and the case has Connor, Samantha, and the rest of the staff in a tailspin. Connor is running out of ideas – and time. And the killer is beginning to get personal.

To my knowledge, this first book in the Women of Justice series TOO CLOSE TO HOME is the first book I’ve read by Lynette Eason, but it certainly won’t be the last. I was instantly drawn into the story and I couldn’t put the book down. I had to stay up late reading so I could find out who did it. I had my suspicions early on, but I wasn’t sure.

Connor, Samantha, Jenna (Connor’s daughter) and all the other characters are very expertly developed. This is definitely an author I’m going to keep on my reading list. If you are looking for a great suspense with a sweet romance, then TOO CLOSE TO HOME is definitely a book you’ll want to read. I’m looking forward to reading book two in this series, coming in the Fall of 2010. $14.99. 332 pages.

New romantic suspense series: “Women of Justice”
FBI agent Samantha Cash sets out to solve a string of murders in a small Southern town. Troubles arise when the case turns personal…
Lynette Eason debuts a new romantic suspense series that features strong female characters who will stop at nothing to find the criminal: the Women of Justice series.
Too Close to Home is the first novel in this new series, which renowned suspense author Dee Henderson called “a hit” and said that she “enjoyed every minute.”
In this thrilling first book, readers meet Samantha Cash, who is the FBI's secret weapon. Her methods are invisible, and she never stops until the case is closed. When missing teens begin turning up dead in a small Southern town, Samantha is assigned to help the local police chief Connor Wolfe find the killer. And he has two problems with that. There's her faith--in God and herself. And then there's the fact that she looks exactly like his late wife.
As they get close to an answer, the case becomes personal. The killer seems to be taking an interest in Connor's 16-year-old daughter, who thinks her dad is getting way too protective. Can't a girl just have some fun?
Too Close to Home ratchets up the suspense with each page, and will have readers cheering for the characters they love as justice is served and love grows even in the face of danger. Read this one with the lights on!
Lynette Eason is the author of three romantic suspense novels, and a member of American Fiction Christian Writers and Romance Writers of America. A homeschooling mother of two, she has a master's degree in education from Converse College.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.

For more information, visit

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Wiersbe Bible Study Series

A New Small Group Resource that includes the legendary insights of Dr. Warren Wiersbe

David C Cook releases four studies based on Dr. Wiersbe’s trusted Bible commentaries—the “BE” Series

Finding good small group material can be tricky. Some studies look slick on the outside but lack the kind of depth that can help the group move from a social gathering to a place of spiritual intimacy. Other studies focus so heavily on information and detail that relational connection is an afterthought. More than ever there is a need for a balanced study guide that combines community building with in-depth Bible knowledge. Thankfully, both of these priorities can be made clear to your group with the help of one of the most influential, in-depth, and relational Bible scholars in modern history.

A man who has given his life to a deep examination of the Word of God, Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher, former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago, and the author of more than 150 books. For over thirty years, millions have come to rely on the timeless wisdom of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s “Be” Commentary series. Dr. Wiersbe’s commentary and insights on Scripture have helped readers understand and apply God’s Word with the goal of life transformation. Dubbed by many as the “pastor’s pastor,” Dr. Wiersbe skillfully weaves Scripture with historical explanations and thought-provoking questions, communicating the Word in such a way that the masses grasp its relevance for today.

The Wiersbe Bible Study Series will incorporate material from Warren’s popular series of expositional commentaries (known as the “Be Books”) into a small group Bible study format, consisting of a Bible book introduction, tips for small group study, self-introspective questions, and practical application. The studies will be Bible book specific and follow along with certain topics respective of how they are presented in the “Be Books.” The studies will not overshadow the actual commentary but instead give the reader just enough of a sampling of Wiersbe’s enduring wisdom that he will want to go out and read the rest of what Wiersbe has written.

Studies to be released this spring include:

· Galatians—Offers believers the alternative of exchanging legalism for true spirituality. (ISBN: 978-1-4347-6509-3/softcover/128 pages/$8.99)

· Proverbs—A rich study of the fundamental truths from God’s guidebook on wise living. (ISBN: 978-4347-6511-6/softcover/144 pages/$8.99)

· 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon—Encouragement from the writings of Paul on what it means to press on and never give up. (ISBN: 978-1-4347-6510-9/softcover/128 pages/$8.99)

· Matthew—An exploration of the remarkable life of Christ and wise teaching on what it means to follow the King of Kings. (ISBN: 978-1-4347-6512-3/softcover/144 pages/$8.99)

Acclaimed worldwide as a pastoral resource for international leaders, the “Be” series has inspired these companion study guides—The Wiersbe Bible Study Series—so that each study guide correlates with the appropriate “Be” book. David C Cook plans to release additional editions of the series over the next few years.

The Wiersbe Bible Study Series by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe
David C Cook/January 2010

***my thoughts

I love Warren Wiersbe's Bible Study series and think they are an excellent resourse for Bible study for the average person. I was raised on Wiersbe's books as my parents used his Bible study books. If you are looking for an excellent small group resource, then this book would be one to consider.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Distant Melody and giveaway!

Author: Sarah Sundin
Publisher: Revell
March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3421-3
Genre: Inspirational/historical/romance

Allie Miller considers herself plain, and her beautiful mother enforces that point. Now Allie’s parents have picked out the man they want Allie to marry—a man that Allie’s dad wants to inherit his business. But Allie doesn’t love him. She’s willing to marry him though, to gain her parents approval.

At least until she goes up to northern California to go to a friend’s wedding. There she meets the dashing pilot, Walter Novak. Walter considers himself hopeless with women, but he and Allie hit it off immediately, and developed an instant rampart. But Walter is about to be shipped overseas to fight the Nazis.

Walt and Allie begin a correspondence that will change their lives. But as Walt—a chronic liar—begins to discover how to tell the truth; Allie learns to tell a lie. Will these two sinners find the courage to tell the truth—and maybe find love in the meantime? Or will their lies keep them apart?

A DISTANT MELODY is the first book in debut author, Sarah Sundin’s new series Wings of Glory. I enjoyed getting to know Walter and Allie, and their friends. World War II is my favorite historical time to read about, so it was a bonus that the story was set during that time period.

Ms. Sundin is a master story teller, gifted with dialog and with setting. Some of the characters I felt were a bit flat (like Baxter, but that might have been intentional), but otherwise there was excellent characterization too. I am looking forward to reading book two in this series. This book is definitely worth reading. A stellar job. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 420 pages.


Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval--even marry a man she doesn't love.

Lt. Walter Novak--fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women--takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives.

As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

A Distant Melody is the first book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.


Sarah Sundin is an on-call hospital pharmacist and holds a BS in chemistry from UCLA and a doctorate in pharmacy from UC San Francisco. Her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England during WWII. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. This is her first novel.

For more info please visit her website at!



The Winner of our ‘NETFLIX® & Nostalgia’ giveaway will receive a vintage prize package, including:

*A 6 month NETFLIX® subscription
*$25 Starbucks® gift card
*A box of See’s Famous Old Time Chocolates®
*A jar of homemade strawberry jam
*A Big Band music CD
*A Mini B-17 Model airplane
*Vintage stationery and pen
*British specialty tea
*WWII style playing cards

Enter the Netflix and Nostalgia contest from author Sarah Sundin!

To enter just click on the icon above! Contest will be live April 5th and run through April 25th!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lookin' Back, Texas

Author: Leanna Ellis
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
ISBN: 978-0-8054-4697-5
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary women’s fiction

Suzanne Mullins gets a frantic phone call from her father, but it is too garbled to understand. A few minutes later, a neighbor calls and talks about how her father has just died. Suzanne is horrified when she realizes that its her father that died. So, she flies to Texas to be there for her mother. But then she discovers that her father isn’t really dead. He just left her mother. And her mother is planning his funeral.

Suzanne is convinced there is something illegal in what her parents are doing, so she calls her lawyer husband for advice. Mike flies out to be with Suzanne, bringing their fifteen year old son with him. But then it seems as if Suzanne’s life is starting to spiral out of control.

Not only is her mother determined to have a funeral for a very alive man, but residents of the town are reporting ghost sightings…and Suzanne has a secret she’s harbored for years. A secret that could destroy her own marriage.

LOOKIN’ BACK, TEXAS is the second book I’ve read by Ms. Ellis and she is definitely an author whom I’ll be checking out her future books. I enjoyed getting to know Suzanne and Mike, and even the considerably off-kilter Betty Lynne and some of her neighbors.

I didn’t know that is actually a town named Luckenbach, but my husband knew about it when I started sharing some of the events in this book. Some of the scenes are laugh out loud funny. I literally couldn’t put this book down and I read when I should have been doing other things. If you are looking for a great contemporary, be sure to pick up LOOKIN’ BACK, TEXAS. This is a book that will touch your heart. $14.99. 372 pages.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Love God's Green Earth

Authors: Michael & Caroline Carroll
Publisher: Tyndale Kids
February 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3179-9
Genre: Inspirational/devotional/youth

I LOVE GOD’S GREEN EARTH is a devotional for kids who want to take care of God’s creation…which should be everyone.

Each devotional starts with a verse, usually in the New Living Word version, followed by a short devotional relating the verse with some aspect of nature. Then it makes the “connection” tying scripture into creation. After that, it concludes with a section called “What can I do?” that will help your child understand their part. And, to make it fun, each devotional includes a joke or riddle.

I have been using I LOVE GOD’S GREEN EARTH with my five children for awhile so I could get a feel for the book and its style. Three of my children are probably a bit old for it, since they are teenagers, but my five year old and eight year old thought this is great. My teen boys loved the jokes.

My older son said that this book is a great devotional for the young and young-at-heart. My younger son said this devotional is great and he likes it.

I liked how this took stuff that you could teach your children from a magazine like “Ranger Rick” – but that isn’t offered in a Christian view – and this is. It is like a simple science lesson included with the Bible lesson.

Topics include: Smart Energy, Natural Disasters, Recycling, Animals Helping, Animals Behaving Badly, Trash, Simple Things to do at Home and more. Plus, included at the end of the book are Top Ten Tips for Creation Care. This would be an excellent book for your child or grandchild. $12.99. 182 pages.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ambushed by Grace

Author: Shelly Beach
Publisher: Discovery House
October 2008
ISBN: 978-1-57293-242-5
Genre: Inspirational/Christian Life

AMBUSHED BY GRACE is a book that all caregivers need to read. There are over twenty-two million in the U.S. caring for their loved ones. And most of them are probably feeling ill-prepared, with no training, few skills, and a tentative heart for the challenges faced daily.

Shelly Beach is an experienced caregiver who has learned that caregiving is messy and costly—physically, emotionally, and financially—plus it is the hardest work you’ll ever do. Yes, Shelly Beach shows us that with all its demands caregiving can also be a gift that changes your heart and transforms your life.

AMBUSHED BY GRACE offers practical advise, web sites, phone numbers, and wisdom for experts in the field of geriatrics and family counseling. Most importantly, this book also draws you into the Word and helps to sensitize you to the work of the Spirit of God in your life.

AMBUSHED BY GRACE is a book that I wish had been available when I walked the caregiving path eight years ago. I felt alone, inadequate, and frustrated, but yet, Shelly Beach was right—I would gladly go back and do it again.

If you are caring for a loved one or possibly might be in the near future, then AMBUSHED BY GRACE is a book that you should consider reading. There are also helpful forms included at the end of the book. Available now from your favorite bookstore, or $11.99. 204 pages.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Lady Like Sarah

Author: Margaret Brownley
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
December 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59554-809-2
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Justin Wells is a pastor, headed toward Rocky Creek, Texas, to his new parish. But enroute, he runs into a dying U.S. Marshal, with a feisty redhead in handcuffs at his side. Justin promised the Marshal that he will deliver the criminal to Texas, but he has no intentions on letting the Marshal die. And he didn’t expect that the criminal would be female.

Sarah Prescott has never known a respectable life. Just a hardscrabble childhood and brothers who taught her to shoot first and ask questions later.

Justin has high society expectations, and Sarah’s outspokenness and outlaw habits clash from the start. But with a price on Sarah’s head and an orphaned baby rescued from the brink of starvation, Justin and Sarah head toward Rocky Creek, where Sarah possibly faces death by hanging…

A LADY LIKE SARAH is the first book I’ve ever read by Margaret Brownley, and I really appreciate that it didn’t begin with a death! Whoo hoo! I think this is the first historical that I’ve read in ages that hasn’t begun with one. That made me unbelievably happy.

Sarah is certain feisty, mouthy, and not a bit hesitant to say what is on her mind. She was quite shocking at times with her straight talk. Justin certainly didn’t know how to take her, but he responded like a true gentleman. A LADY LIKE SARAH is a book that those who love adventure, mishaps, and a historical romance will need to read. Discussion questions are included. $14.99. 311 pages.

Monday, April 5, 2010

This Little Prayer of Mine and Giveaway!

Leave a comment to possibly win a copy of this book - void where prohibited by law

Author: Anthony DeStefano
Illustrator: Mark Elliott
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
February 2010
ISBN: 978-0-307-45804-9
Genre: Inspirational/Children’s

I know you’re up in heaven, God,
And can hear my voice from there.
I’m just a little child.
Will you answer my short prayer?
(from back cover)

THIS LITTLE PRAYER OF MINE is a totally delightful book that illustrates how to pray and trust God to answer our prayers, no matter what our age.

The book has engaging rhymes and beautifully done illustrations, and teaches our children that God is always near, listening, and eager to respond to our requests. They’ll also learn that prayer isn’t all about asking for stuff, but also for giving thanks for what God has already blessed us with.

I thoroughly enjoyed this cute little book and read it to my eight-year-old and five-year-old, and they were both completely captivated by the story. They wanted me to read it to them over and over again.

If you are teaching your children about prayer, or are just looking for a cute little book to put in your child’s Easter basket, then THIS LITTLE PRAYER OF MINE is an excellent choice. Highly recommended. $12.99, hardcover. 40 pages.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Author Anthony DeStefano’s adult books, The Prayers God Always Says Yes To and A Travel Guide to Heaven, have sold a quarter-million copies. Illustrator Mark Elliott’s cherished artwork has appeared in popular picture books and novels for young readers, including Gail Carson Levine’s ever-popular Princess Tales series.

Now, these acclaimed inspirational experts have come together to create This Little Prayer of Mine, a beautiful and alluring book designed to guide children into a very simple, real and expressive relationship with God.

Through engaging rhymes and alluring illustrations, This Little Prayer of Mine shows children—and their parents and grandparents—that complete dependence on God is what brings peace and fulfillment. It invites children to know and believe that God is always just a simple prayer away and that He longs to respond to them with a resounding, “Yes!”

This Little Prayer of Mine appeals to readers from all different faiths. Easy-reader format allows children to read alone, or with someone older, and encourages them to openly express their fears, thanks, and needs directly to God.

Author Bio:

Anthony DeStefano is the author of The Prayers God Always Says Yes To and A Travel Guide to Heaven. He has received prestigious awards from religious organizations worldwide for his efforts to advance Christian beliefs in modern culture.

Mark Elliott’s brilliant illustrations have appeared in popular picture books and novels for young readers, including Gail Carson Levine’s Princess Tales series. His acclaimed artwork delivers inspiration, wonder, and timeless beauty on every page.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes

Author: Lisa McKay
Publisher: David C. Cook
February 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6726-4
Genre: Inspirational/ministry

YOU CAN STILL WEAR CUTE SHOES is a book to help women who’s husbands are planning on going into the ministry. Or, perhaps he’s already in it, and you just aren’t sure what your duties are when you are married to the pastor. Suddenly, you’re living in the fishbowl and struggling to survive.

Lisa McKay is a pastor’s wife and in honest terms described how she and her husband were close to divorce when he started going to church. He found the Lord and was called into the ministry, and she tried to copy a stern-faced old lady by dressing in old-person clothes, taming her hair and baking casseroles for everyone.

Most of us weren’t that extreme when our spouse announced his call to the ministry. But we all were a little lost. Are the churches going to get a “Two for the price of one” couple, or will she be able to stay home and raise her children while supporting her husband?

In a witty manner, you will be able to relate to Lisa McKay as she shares the challenges of a life lived before a congregation. She’ll walk you through finding friends to coping with criticism, to saying good-bye to a church family and starting over again.

YOU CAN STILL WEAR CUTE SHOES is a must read for every woman who is doing the ministry wife “thing.” If your husband is a pastor, or is in school to become a pastor, then YOU CAN STILL WEAR CUTE SHOES is a book you must read. $12.99. 208 pages.

Author’s Bio: Lisa McKay and her husband, Luke, serve at a thriving church in Alabama. Together they are happily – if not always properly—raising three rowdy boys and one dramatic girl. In addition to being a wife and mom, Lisa is also a popular conference speaker. Visit Lisa online at

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Love's Rescue

Author: Tammy Barley
Publisher: Whitaker House
July 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60374-108-8
Genre: Inspirational/historical

In 1863 the War Between the States is just beginning, and it is dividing more than a nation. To escape the escalating conflict, Jessica Hale’s parents decide to flee their Kentucky home and head for the Nevada Territory. This is good news for the parents who make a fortune selling expensive goods to those who strike gold. But then Jessica’s brother, Ambrose, decides to head home to Kentucky and defend the family land—and joins the Kentucky militia, resulting in his being disowned.

When Jessica attempts to send a telegram to someone to get information about her brother, the family is presumed to be Confederate, and Unionists set a fire to her home, murdering her family. Jessica is rescued, but “kidnapped” by cattleman Jake Bennett and taken to a remote ranch.

Despite attempts to escape, Jessica is apprehended each time. Leaving Jessica wondering—what happened to Ambrose? Why did God allow her family to be killed, but spare her? And why is Jake Bennett so determined to keep her in the Nevada wilderness?

LOVE’S RESCUE is Ms. Barley’s debut novel, and the first book in her The Sierra Chronicles series. I enjoyed taking a new and different look at the Civil War era and how it affected people, even those assumedly far from the conflict.

Jessica is a realistically developed heroine who only wanted to keep her family together and keep in contact with her brother, but ended up losing almost everything dear to her as a result. A heartrending beginning, but the story does end up showing an important lesson about forgiveness. $6.99. 400 pages.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Clouds Roll Away

Author: Sibella Giorello
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
March 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59554-534-3
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Raleigh Harmon is finally back home in Richmond, Virginia, after being sent to Seattle, Washington in disciplinary action. But she is hardly getting a warm welcome. Instead, her new supervisor seems to have it in for her, putting her on phone calls for a task force, and yet expecting her to devote full attention to a cross burning at a local celebrity’s mansion.

Raleigh is having trouble getting to the bottom of the case too. The deeper she digs, the murkier the waters become, making her wonder who is behind it—the historical society who hates the renovations the celebrity made, or a local sheriff, or someone else?

To make matters worse, Raleigh’s personal life seems to be fraying with issues with an exboyfriend and her mother’s sanity. Raleigh is soon forced to depend on her forensic skills, her faith, and prayers that a breakthrough will come.

THE CLOUDS ROLL AWAY is the second book in Ms. Giorello’s A Raleigh Harmon novel series, but it easily stands alone. Ms. Giorello writes with a strong descriptive manner, making the setting come very alive to the reader. The voice of the character is more clipped; a more masculine manner of speaking than feminine, but it fits an FBI agent.

I read book one and was looking forward to reading THE CLOUDS ROLL AWAY and I was not disappointed. Ms. Giorello keeps me guessing, and I had to keep the pages turning to see what happens next. I am looking forward to reading the third book in the series, The Mountains Bow Down, coming in the fall of this year. An interview with the author is included. $14.99. 322 pages.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What Your Son Isn't Telling You

Authors: Michael Ross & Susie Shellenberger
Publisher: Bethany House
March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0749-5
Genre: Inspirational/parenting

WHAT YOUR SON ISN’T TELLING YOU is a guide to “Unlocking the Secret World of Teen Boys.” The book tells you what boys will be going through developmentally from the tweener years on up to their late teens, which is helpful, if you go into the strange and new world of raising sons with no experience with having male siblings (which is how I approached it.)

The book has chapters with helpful titles such as:

 Mysteries of the Guy Zone
 Teen Guy Battlegrounds
 Making Contact: Getting Through to Your Son
 Helping him Unmask His “True Self”
 What He Needs From Mom

And other valuable information.

I found most information in this book I had learned through trial and error (my sons are 20 and 18 respectively) but other things in here I didn’t know and would have been helpful. I wish I would have had access to this book when my boys stopped being cuddly little children and turned into tweeners. It would have been very helpful.

If you have young boys then WHAT YOUR SON ISN’T TELLING YOU is definitely a book to put into your library. It will help you as your sons approach their teens and as they go through the many different things they go through as teens. This book even touches on gambling, their sexual orientation, and if they reject your religion. Some poems are included at the end of the book, one of them by a famous historical person. $13.99. 190 pages.