Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ransome's Honor


Title: RANSOME’S HONOR
Author: Kaye Dacus
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
July 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7369-2753-6
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Julia Witherington has long dreamed of marrying William Ransome, a man she imagines has spoken to her father about asking for her hand. But the evening she’s long anticipated comes, but instead of getting the proposal of marriage, William rejects her. William goes into the Royal Navy, and Julia returns home to Jamaica.

Twelve years later, William is home on leave, now a captain in the Royal Navy, but still just as determined to never marry. Julia has never forgiven William for rejecting her all those years earlier, and being around him again is just plain torture, especially when her best friend is married to William’s best friend, and Julia’s father adores William and invites him over all the time.

But Julia’s aunt desires Julia’s fortune and is trying to force her son and Julia together, one way or another. Is there any hope of Julia finding her own love?

RANSOME’S HONOR is the first book in Ms. Dacus’ Ransome Trilogy. It is a sweet romance, set in England before the Civil War period in the United States. Julia is an innocent young girl, living for the parties and the social engagements that will get her out and around William, and dreaming of the day he proposes. But when that proposal didn’t come, she allowed bitterness to eat at her, coloring her opinion of men and love.

It was interesting watching the characters develop and see their growth. I didn’t see much of a spiritual thread, but this is a good, unique Regency. The beginning is a bit slow, but the story does pick up toward the end. I’ve read Ms. Dacus’ contemporary romances, and I have to say I believe that her voice comes through better with these Regencies. I am looking forward to the others in this series. $13.99. 342 pages.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Missing Max


Title: MISSING MAX
Author: Karen Young
Publisher: Howard Books
June 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4165-8749-1
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Jane didn’t really want to take her sixteen year old step-daughter, Melanie, to the parade, but her husband, Kyle, had to work, so she had to bundle up her six-month-old son, Max, and take him along too. When Melanie got hungry, Jane left Max in Melanie’s care and went to order food. But before she even received her food someone kidnapped Max while Melanie’s attention was distracted.

Now Melanie, Jane, and Kyle are struggling to adjust to the Max size hole in their lives. Melanie is no longer happy, but withdrawn and angry. Kyle and Jane are having marital problems. Jane can’t focus on her job and is volunteering too many hours at the missing children’s center.

Lead after lead goes no where, and weeks go by with no word. Is there any hope that Max will ever be found, alive?

MISSING MAX is the first book I’ve read by award winning author, Karen Young, but it certainly won’t be the last. When I read the backcover copy of this book I didn’t think it would sound much like a book I would be too interested in, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The story telling pretty much gripped me from page one, and kept my attention all the way through the book. Parts of it might be construed as a bit contrived, but they don’t stand out too much in the reading—only in the thinking back after you finished turning the last page.

The characters are realistically developed, though sometimes I wanted to shake Melanie and Kyle for their actions. And I have to say that I love Daniel, the boy “next door.” He is a sweetheart. Don’t miss MISSING MAX. $14.99. 320 pages.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thicker Than Blood


Title: THICKER THAN BLOOD
Author: C. J. Darlington
Publisher: Tyndale Book Publishers
December 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3448-6
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

Christy Williams has been separated from her sister, May, for years. Now, Christy is barely making ends meet at her bookstore job, she has recently discovered her ex-boyfriend, Vince, is stealing valuable first edition books from her employer, and she has made some bad decisions, resulting in an arrest.

Now Christy is desperate to get away, fearing what Vince would do if she refuses to meet his demands. Who would have dreamed that a rare first edition book will lead her to her long lost sister? Christy shows up on May’s doorstep fearing for her life.

Can the two sisters find a future together after the bittersweet reunion? Or will they discover that some hurts are too deep to be healed?

THICKER THAN BLOOD is the debut novel by Ms. Darlington, and it won the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers award. The cover is certainly intriguing, luring the reader in.

Christy is a realistic heroine, battered by hard living, an alcoholic and chain-smoker, and struggling to make ends meet. But she still has a conscious, and doesn’t quite know how to react when she discovers Vince’s thefts. Vince threatens to give all Christy’s secrets away if she doesn’t cooperate with his little side business of stealing and reselling rare books. Christy’s reactions are completely normal, endearing the reader to this messed up character in spite of her faults.

Ms. Darlington did an excellent job with character development, making them come to life. The story doesn’t have any lapses in it, flowing seamlessly from start to finish. For a debut novel, THICKER THAN BLOOD is stellar. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $12.99. 376 pages.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Spring's Renewal


Title: SPRING’S RENEWAL
Author: Shelley Shepard Gray
Publisher: Avon Inspire
April 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-185236-7
Genre: Inspirational/Amish

Clara is the local Amish school teacher. When Clara was five-years-old, she was severely burned in a kitchen fire, and now her mother tells her that no one will have Clara since she is deformed. Clara is resigned to staying home and caring for her demanding and ailing mother, but she dreams of someone loving her for herself.

Tim Graber came to Sugarcreek as a favor to his aunt and uncle as they need help on the farm. He has a sweetheart back home whom he intends to marry, but when he meets Clara he is torn and confused about his feelings.

Clara’s scars mean nothing to Tim who is charmed by her quiet nature and loving ways. But then tragedy strikes. What will it take for Tim and Clara to admit their love for each other despite their differences?

SPRING’S RENEWAL is the second book in the Seasons of Sugarcreek series. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first book, Winter’s Awakening, though out of the two books, SPRING’S RENEWAL is the better. I am looking forward to Autumn’s Promise coming in August of this year.

Readers will need to read these books in order. The main romances stand alone, but there is an underlying story that readers will need to start from the beginning to have any idea what is happening there.

I thoroughly enjoy reading Amish stories, and understand why they are so wildly popular. The characters are well developed, the story and plot lines excellently done. Discussion questions and a preview of Autumn’s Promise are included at the end of the book. If you like Amish fiction, don’t miss SPRING’S RENEWAL. $12.99. 289 pages.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Who Do I Lean On?


Title: WHO DO I LEAN ON?
Author: Neta Jackson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
June 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59554-525-1
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Gabby Fairbanks is finally getting back on her feet after her husband kicked her out of their highrise apartment on the shores of Lake Michigan. Gabby is still working at the homeless shelter where she had to take temporary residency at, and balancing being a single mom to her two boys.

When Gabby receives a substantial inheritance from her deceased mother, she comes up with the idea to buy the building she’s living in and make it into a transit home for families trying to get back on their feet after being in a shelter. The shelter is behind Gabby’s idea, but then Gabby’s husband, Philip, comes to her asking for a large loan to help him get back on his feet after he suffered huge losses at the casinos. Gabby refuses.

But then Philip makes a desperate move that puts everyone and everything that Gabby holds dear at risk. Including Gabby’s dreams for the future. Gabby is forced to make a decision that will alter the course of her life—but for better—or for worse?

WHO DO I LEAN ON? is book three in Ms. Jackson’s A Yada Yada House of Hope series, and I was so looking forward to reading this book. Now, unfortunately, I have read it all and have to start waiting for the fourth book in this series.

Having read Ms. Jackson’s previous series, The Yada Yada Prayer Group I have fallen in love with most all the characters so reading this new series is like meeting up with a bunch of old friends. Gabby wasn’t in the previous series, but all the original cast of characters are to some level. Gabby is a realistic heroine and I’ve enjoyed watching her come out of her corporate wife shell and refinding herself. If you haven’t read any of Ms. Jackson’s books, you don’t want to miss this series. Pick up Who Do I Talk To? and Where Do I Go? and start getting to know the characters before reading WHO DO I LEAN ON? This book does not stand alone. $14.99. 400 pages.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Beloved Counterfeit


Title: BELOVED COUNTERFEIT
Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo
Publisher: Barbour Books
May 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60260-342-4
Genre: Inspirational/historical

When Ruby O’Shea and her three nieces are washed ashore on Fairweather Kay, Ruby sees it as a chance to start over. Her sister is deceased, and Ruby is hiding the girls from their father, pirate Thomas Hawkins. Ruby takes a job at a boarding house and passes the girls off as her daughters.

Micah Tate is a wrecker, a widower, and called to the ministry. He is attracted to Ruby, even if she does have three children, and he is torn about the direction his life needs to go. Ruby currently won’t give Micah the time of day even though he vows to marry her, and Micah is battling his own past demons.

Thomas Hawkins will go to any length to find his daughters – what will his determination cost the residents of Fairweather Key? What will happen when all Ruby’s secrets come to light?

BELOVED COUNTERFEIT is the third book in the Fairweather Key series by Kathleen Y’Barbo. I had the privilege of reading the first three books when they came out, and was looking forward to reading this one.

Ruby has quite a colorful past, so it is understandable why she wanted to cover it up. I didn’t quite understand why she was hiding her nieces (either it wasn’t explained, or I dozed while reading that part) but her actions seemed believable. If you like historical fiction then you won’t want to miss this book—pick up a copy of BELOVED COUNTERFEIT at your favorite Christian bookstore. $14.95. 319 pages.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Family Blessing


Title: THE FAMILY BLESSING
Author: Rolf Garborg
Publisher: Summerside Press
June 2009
ISBN: 978-1-934770-62-7
Genre: Inspirational/parenting/Christian living

The Bible shows many instances when God blesses His people, or when fathers pass on blessings to their sons. Some pastors quote the familiar blessing from Numbers when church dismisses. ‘The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord cause His face to shine upon you…’ and now, Mr. Garborg is suggesting that we take this idea and bless our children, grandchildren, and others.

To quote from the book: “The single most important concern we should have as parents should be the same primary concern Jesus has for us: We must make it our ultimate goal to help our children know and love God with all their hearts. How do we do that? One of the simplest and most powerful ways…is to give them a daily, concrete encounter with His power and favor by laying hands on them and speaking a blessing.”

THE FAMILY BLESSING includes…

Guidelines and practical advice on getting started
Testimonies and stories from parents and children
Encouragement that builds bridges across generations
Spiritual enrichment as you call upon God to bless and be blessed

THE FAMILY BLESSING is a nonfiction book that is easy to read. Attractively bound in a hard cover edition with a satin ribbon to save your place, this book is sure to be one that is cherished and passed down from generation to generation. Ideal for giving as baby shower gifts. I wish I would have discovered this book when my own children were small. The author says it is never too early to start blessing your children, but I wonder if it is ever too late. I think this will be an idea I try to incorporate into our own family devotions. $14.99 hardcover, gift edition. 174 pages.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Under the Distant Sky


Title: UNDER THE DISTANT SKY
Author: Al Lacy
Publisher: Multnomah
June 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60142-245-3
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Hannah Cooper and her husband, Solomon, live in Independence, Missouri, and witness numerous families stocking up for their exciting trip to the Wild West. Before long, the Coopers start thinking about following them west. At first, Hannah is cautious, but Solomon is excited. Finally, after careful consideration and prayer, they decide to go.

The wagon train west is not always a romantic thing. There were Indian attacks. Sickness. And many other tragedies. When the Coopers find the trip more dangerous than exciting they should have gone home. But they decide to go on. Will the end result be worth the trip?

UNDER THE DISTANT SKY is the first book in Al Lacy’s Hannah of Fort Bridger series. I read this book when it first came out in 1997, but that was long before I was a reviewer. I was quite surprised to get this book in my to review pile. It was like revisiting an old friend.

Mr. Lacy doesn’t romanticize the trip, he paints a portrayed with events that could have (and probably did) happen in real life. The story is very sad at times, so I suggest reading this book with a box of tissue close by. If you missed this book in 1997 and again in 2004, then you have another opportunity to read it. Pick up your copy of UNDER THE DISTANT SKY today. $6.99. 272 pages.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

With Hearts Courageous


Title: WITH HEARTS COURAGEOUS
Author: Jon Steven Nappa
Publisher: Storm Warriors International
November 2009
ISBN: 978-0-615-32395-4
Genre: Inspirational/historical


Sir William Hillary looked out the window at a group of fishmen gathering on the sea. He hoped they weren’t there to ogle some sea creature, but he went down to the beach anyway to see what was going on. There he discovered that not only had the lifeboat had washed away, but the only lighthouse in the area had been destroyed.

Sir William is initially undisturbed. After all, the lifeboat has been there for years, virtually unused. But the fishermen are deeply concerned. But Sir William doesn’t know how to fix this situation. It will take serious events for Sir William to take action and be willing to risk every thing to answer his call.

WITH HEARTS COURAGEOUS is the second book in Mr. Nappa’s series focused on rescue at sea. I didn’t read the first book in the series, but that didn’t seem to matter much in the reading of this book. I was thinking this book would be more about the Coast Guard and rescues than a historical set pre-Revolutionary war—but I guess that is my fault for not reading the description very well.

WITH HEARTS COURAGEOUS focuses on the founding days of the Royal National Lifeboat Association founded by Sir William Hillary, and is based on a true story, taking the reader from the founding days of rescue missions in small rowboats to the eventual founding of the National Society for the Preservation of Life after Shipwreck which remains active today (even though the name has been changed to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

The book does begin very slowly, but if you stick with it the action picks up considerably. Discussion questions and an interview with the author are included at the end of the book. $16.95. 330 pages.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Bride in the Bargain


Title: A BRIDE IN THE BARGAIN
Author: Deeanne Gist
Publisher: Bethany House
June 2009
ISBN: 978-1-7642-0407-4
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Joe Denton really doesn’t want a wife. His first wife died ten years ago, but now the judge in Seattle is threatening to take away Joe’s land, since it is supposed to go to a married man. And Joe can’t produce a death certificate for his wife. In desperation, Joe buys himself a Mercer bride—and eastern orphan brought into the Territory by entrepreneur Asa Mercer.

Anna Ivey was desperate to escape a lecherous boss, and so signs on with Mercer to go west and work as a cook. She has no intentions of marrying. And when she’s handed over to Joe, she is shocked when he expects her to be his bride. Anna adamantly refuses, jeopardizing Joe’s land.

Joe only has mere weeks to produce a bride. But how can he convince this provoking easterner to become his lawfully wedded wife?

I have read most all of Ms. Gist’s books so far, but I have to say that A BRIDE IN THE BARGAIN is the best book of hers I’ve read so far. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Anna and Joe. Not to mention, Ms. Gist does know how to write a romance.

A BRIDE IN THE BARGAIN is full of conflict from the beginning to the end. There is also plenty of sexual tension to keep the pages turning. Readers of romance will not want to miss A BRIDE IN THE BARGAIN. It was also interesting to note that the premise for this book is based on fact. Don’t miss A BRIDE IN THE BARGAIN. $14.99. 362 pages.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Love of Her Own


Title: A LOVE OF HER OWN
Author: Maggie Brendan
Publisher: Revell
April 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3351-3
Genre: Inspirational/historical

April McBride is still recovering from a broken engagement four years prior. She figures she will never marry, and is probably not intended to. When April gets a telegram from her brother Josh in Montana saying he’s getting married, April is the only one in the family able to attend. Her parents are on a tour of Ireland.

All goes well as April catches a train to Billings, Montana. But there she learns that if she waits for the next train to Lewistown she will miss her brothers wedding. The only other option is a carriage leaving the next morning.

April is warned that the carriage ride will be less than pleasant, but desperate to make it to Lewistown, she boards it. But then the carriage breaks down outside the town. April dresses as a man and rides the rest of the way into town where she meets Wes Owen, who is attempting to train a horse. April lashes into Wes, buys the horse then goes on her way.

The encounter with Wes opens up vast possibilities for frustration, embarrassment, friendship, and … love?

A LOVE OF HER OWN is book three in the Hearts of the West series. I had the privilege of reading the first two books in this series, but A LOVE OF HER OWN easily stands alone, though you want to miss any of the previous two books. Especially since book 1, No Place for a Lady is being made into a TV film.

April is a bit difficult to like at first as she is bossy, overbearing, selfish, and complaining. She does meet some wonderful male counterparts on her journey west, such as the kind doctor, Mark, also on the trip. Wes acts very kind and considerate but he is also very opinionated. The perfect hero for this heroine. It was interesting watching this romance develop. $14.99. 323 pages.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Creede of Old Montana


Title: CREEDE OF OLD MONTANA
Author: Stephen Bly
Publisher: Center Point
October 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60285-575-5
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Avery John Creede is an ex-cavalry soldier searching for four of his Army pals who didn’t show up for a reunion.

When Avery Creede arrives in Fort Benton, Montana, he notices a lady dressed in yellow strolling along the river bank. Something about the situation doesn’t sit right, so Creede heads down that way. The woman starts calling “Help, help” when she sees him and he figures she’s posted to draw his attention away from something else. Sure enough, three bank robbers come running out of the bank.

Creede is able to stop the robbery, but at that point all hopes of sitting in the sidelines becomes a distant memory. Now he is the midst of one conflict after another. Will Creede be able to make discoveries about himself and grow through this process?

CREEDE OF OLD MONTANA is a book that should appeal to Louis L’Armour fans. It is a western in the truest sense of the word, complete with gun-slinging criminals, dusty streets and small western towns, action, and of course, a beautiful woman.

There are some point of view glitches in CREEDE OF OLD MONTANA, making it kind of difficult to immediately get into the story. But after a while, the story takes over and I didn’t notice some of the point of view errors so much. Fans of westerns will want to check this book out for a breath of the Old West. $29.95, hardcover. 518 pages.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Stuff Christians Like


Title: STUFF CHRISTIANS LIKE
Author: Jonathan Acuff
Publisher: Zondervan
March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-310-31994-8
Genre: Inspirational/humor

STUFF CHRISTIANS LIKE is a tongue in cheek look at Christianity, welcoming you to the funny side of faith.

Mr. Acuff says on the back cover that STUFF CHRISTIANS LIKE is a field guide to all things Christian. And some of the ideas included in this book are actually good—like designing a Bible with a drink bottle built into the spine. If this comes out on the market, I know where the idea came from.

And having a direct deposit for tithe is not such a bad idea either. Actually, it’d be pretty handy to have a debit machine in church so you could just scan your card and punch in the amount you want to give. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?

But included with the “Hey, this is a good idea” things are also things that are laugh out loud funny. Like the guy who shows up at the riverside baptism and decides, hey, I’m here. I’ll just get baptized too, or the section where the author talks about Love Offerings.

There are also illustrations in this book to help bring the point across. As well as checklists so you can see if your worship leader is metro.

I thoroughly enjoyed thumbing through STUFF CHRISTIANS LIKE and am going to let my husband (a pastor) read through it before I pass it on. This is a great tongue in cheek book that will keep you entertained and maybe open your eyes about a few things. $12.99. 207 pages.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Life's Too Short...




About the Book:

(Brentwood, TN) – Do you ever feel like life is getting the best of you? Do you routinely question if this is really all there is? Do you wish you had more time and energy to focus on family, friends and other important, worthwhile ventures? Don’t miss the big picture—life ahead looks good!

Day-to-day life responsibilities, coupled with the ordinary consequences for each decision, create stress upon stress if we let it pile up. The world is crying for relief—for something more. Life coach and well-known author Steve Diggs’ latest release, Life’s Too Short to Miss the Big Picture, challenges readers to focus on making each day count for something important.

With seventy short Life Note chapters Diggs shares small dragon-slaying habits each reader can develop to see big long-term results. With chapter titles like “Eat Your Problems for Breakfast” and “Stop Petting Piranhas,” the author delivers single takeaway points with humor and honesty. Reading a Steve Diggs book is like having your own personal cheerleader. Each chapter is an energy bite filled with enough insight and nourishment to last the entire day.

About the Author:
Steve Diggs, Personal Finance & Life-Skills Coach, is the author of six books, hundreds of articles, and is a fixture on local and network television and radio. He speaks to enthusiastic audiences worldwide over 250 times yearly. Steve is proud to announce that Bonnie, his bride of 33 years, has just picked his option up for another two years. The couple lives in Brentwood, Tennessee. For more about Steve’s ministry, go to http://www.nodebtnosweat.com or www.SteveDiggs.com.


START SMALL IF YOU HAVE TO, BUT START
by Steve Diggs


As a habit, I don’t put bumper stickers on my car. It’s partially because they distract from the appearance of the car, but there’s actually another reason why my car is a sticker-free zone. Frankly, I don’t generally prefer to go around announcing all my political beliefs and preferences to a world that mostly doesn’t care—and when it does, can become hostile.

But what about those bumper stickers that tell the world that I’m a Christian? You know the ones. Sometimes they’re in the shape of a fish. Others make a proclamation of belief in Jesus as the Way to God. Why don’t I put those particular stickers on my car? After all, if I’m really serious about Jesus, don’t I want to be a walking, talking billboard? Isn’t life too short to miss such opportunities?

This is where it’s going to get a bit tougher, because this is going to force me to admit an embarrassing truth. I don’t put those bumper stickers on my car because I’m afraid I’ll do something that will destroy my witness. I’m afraid I’ll do more harm than good. What if I cut another driver off in traffic, or lose my temper and glare at someone? Do I really want the last thing they see as I pull away to be a sign advertising my allegiance to Jesus? It’s the same reason I don’t wear many “Jesus shirts.” I love and respect other Christians who attach the bumper stickers and wear the clothes—as long as they are 66 Life’s Too Short to Miss the Big Picture really representing Jesus. But as I say elsewhere in this book, Jesus gets some of his worst PR from professing Christians who don’t live their profession.

Recently I was working on a project with one of my dearest friends, Pat Boone. One thing about Pat—he’s not ashamed to proclaim his faith. As a matter of fact, he wears neck chains and rings with godly symbols all the time. One day as we were wrapping up some work in his den, Pat pulled out a ring and said, “Steve, I have a gift for you.” I wasn’t quite sure how to handle a guy giving me jewelry. But in a moment I saw what it was: a beautifully designed ring with a very large cross in the middle—just like the one Pat was wearing.

Ah, this was perfect for me! Not as bold as a bumper sticker or as bombastic as a tee-shirt—but at least it was something. It was a start. So I thanked Pat profusely and accepted the gift. As I put the ring on my pinky, I decided that this would be my first witness to the world, so I turned the cross outward.

Since that day, I’ve worn my cross ring 24/7. As a matter of fact, recently a young woman at a cash register noticed it when I paid my bill. Over the months I’d seen her on a number of occasions. I had always been amiable and friendly. She said, “I really like your ring.” I thanked her politely and walked on. Was she another Christian who had been encouraged by my ring? Was she a seeker who had run me through whatever litmus test she uses to assess whether Christians are real or fakes? I don’t know. But at least in that one particular case, I was able to smile in my heart as I walked away knowing that I had acted like Jesus would want me to act. I had not embarrassed my Master.

Now for you Christians who are much more mature than I am—those of you with fifteen “Jesus stickers” on your car, a gold cross chain around your neck, and an “I love Jesus” tee-shirt with Scripture verses on both front and back panels—my baby step probably sounds pretty pathetic. But for me it was a start.

Maybe it would do us all well to realize two things:
1. Life is too short not to be a walking, talking, living, breathing banner for Jesus.
2. Life is also too short not to walk the walk if we talk the talk.

Frankly, this is sort of exciting for me. Who knows, it may help me graduate to a bumper sticker—or even a tee-shirt.

Excerpt from Life's Too Short to Miss the Big Picture,
with permission from Leafwood Publishers.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Homecoming


Title: THE HOMECOMING
Author: Dan Walsh
Publisher: Revell
June 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3389-6
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Shawn Collins has come home from the war in Europe after being notified of the death of his wife. He is on bereavement leave and has no idea how long it will be. His young son has been placed in the custody of Shawn’s father, a man that Shawn has been estranged from for years. He arrives home to find the elderly Collins man thoroughly changed, and Shawn is enjoying the time with his dad, and his son, Patrick, while continuing to grieve.

Patrick is completely in love with the social worker, Katherine Townsend, assigned to his case, and even though the case is dismissed, Patrick finds reasons to call her and invite her to be part of his life. Katherine feels forced to leave her job over this case, since she is supposed to keep herself emotionally distant from the children in her charge, and she is emotionally involved with Patrick.

When Shawn is offered the chance to serve his country as a speaker on a war bond tour instead of returning to the battle front, Shawn is torn. He’d really like to stay home with his son and his dad. But he offers Katherine a position as Nanny for Patrick. Will this decision be the key to a new start in his life? Or will the war steal his chances for happiness?

THE HOMECOMING is the sequel to The Unfinished Gift. I recommend reading The Unfinished Gift first as the stories completely tie together. I was looking forward to reading THE HOMECOMING as I fell in love with Walsh’s writing in the first book and couldn’t wait to see what happened in the lives of this small family.

I enjoyed watching the relationship between the characters grow as Patrick and his grandfather and father interacted, as Shawn mourned the loss of his wife and struggled to go on living, and as Katherine tried to find her place in the world. The romance is rather flat, but hinted at. The ending of the book is sweet. $14.99. 310 pages.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Loved


Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of this book. Void where prohibited by law.
Title: LOVED
Author: Rebecca St. James
Publisher: Faithwords
September 2009
ISBN: 978-0-446-19701-4
Genre: Inspirational/forgiveness

Bad choices. We all make them.

LOVED is a collection of true stories of modern-day prodigals (names have been changed) who have fallen away from God, but then rediscovered the power of His love and forgiveness.

Each section begins with a story about a Biblical woman who was a prodigal, told in the Biblical way, with some embellishments to make it more interesting. Then following that are stories of women who had similar experiences.

In the beginning, Ms. St. James shares how her life coach taught her about receiving God’s love. He poured water over her hands and told her to try to catch it. She ended up with only wet hands. But then he had her cup her hands and soon they were filled to overflowing with water. Ms. St. James shares that’s how it is with God’s love. We just have to stand there, palms open, and receive His love.

No matter what your situation, whether you had a slow steady spiral away from God, whether you never knew Him and are reaching out, or whether you’ve been the Christian good girl who can’t forgive herself for a mistake, then LOVED is a book for you to consider. Each story reveals God’s amazing love and the miracle of a life saved by Jesus Christ. $16.99. 229 pages.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Out of the Spin Cycle


Title: OUT OF THE SPIN CYCLE
Author: Jen Hatmaker
Publisher: Revell
June 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3448-0
Genre: Inspirational/devotional

Having time with Jesus shouldn’t be just one more thing to do.

Sometimes, being a mom seems like one never ending to-do list. Laundry, housework, kid patrol, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. You are super busy and sometimes even overwhelmed. But you are also young, strong, and brilliant. And guess what? Many of the things on your list of expectations are things that Jesus never expected you to do on your own.

In OUT OF THE SPIN CYCLE, Ms. Hatmaker takes a verse or a story of Jesus, and adds the humor of a mom’s life in order to offer grace and encouragement.

Ms. Hatmaker covers areas such as worry, marriage, priorities, money, the comparison trap, and others to bring Jesus’ message in short, to-the-point devotionals.

If you are a busy mom with little time to spend in deep Bible studies, then perhaps OUT OF THE SPIN CYCLE would be a good book to consider. There are questions included for you to ponder at the end of each devotional. If you are looking for a more in-depth Bible study or devotional, then look further. This book is ideal for mom’s of preschoolers who are busy chasing after babies. Short and to-the-point with a measure of encouragement. $11.99. 175 pages.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Here Burns My Candle


Title: HERE BURNS MY CANDLE
Author: Liz Curtis Higgs
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
March 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7001-5
Genre: Inspirational/historical women’s fiction

Edinburgh, Britain, in 1745, was in danger of being invaded by the highlanders, led by the Bonnie Prince Charles. And Lady Marjory Kerr believes she is safe in her fortress. Her money is all hidden in the floorboard at her feet, and she believes not a soul knows that its there. While her husband may be buried, her two sons and their wives live with her. No matter what happens with the highlanders, all was well.

Lady Elisabeth Kerr is highland born and bred and while she married a man far beyond her means, she is safe in his love even though she has failed to bare him an heir. Her sympathies lie with the highlanders, but her secrets are safe. After all, in her three years of marriage, no one has discovered that she honors the auld ways.

Lord Donald believes his secrets are safely hidden away, but he doesn’t know that that they are whispered among the town gossips. And as the highlanders ride into Edinburgh, every one of the Kerr family secrets will come to light.

HERE BURNS MY CANDLE is the first book in the Kerr family, which will be followed by Mine is the Night in Spring 2011. I had just finished reading a nonfiction book that covered part of this time period in Britain, and it is obvious that Ms. Higgs did her research in this novel.

Elisabeth Kerr is a very realistic heroine, one that I could relate to and grow to care for. I found Marjory a bit more difficult to like. I liked the touch of romance and the hint of hope that carried through the story. If you like historical women’s fiction, then HERE BURNS MY CANDLE is a book you’ll want to consider. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 465 pages.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Finding Jeena


Title: FINDING JEENA
Author: Miralee Ferrell
Publisher: Kregel Publications
March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8254-2645-2
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Jeena Gregory is balancing caring for her aging grandmother with building her career. She hopes to move Grandma out of the nursing home and into Jeena’s home, but unfortunately, every time she goes to visit Grandma it seems she has slipped further downhill. And now Jeena has landed this wonderful new contract, and upgraded her apartment to a nicer townhouse.

But the cushy new job doesn’t seem to be what Jeena bargained for. Her new boss isn’t happy with her speed, he wants her to work slowly. Jeena is confused by this, but she agrees to slow down because he’s the boss. But then suddenly she finds her accounts frozen and her new boss is being investigated for embezzling.

Now Jeena is in a bad situation. She is facing losing her home, her car, and her job. Not only that but her reputation as an upstanding free-lance employee is shot. With no where to go, Jeena is forced to do the one thing she thought she could never do.

FINDING JEENA is the sequel to The Other Daughter and is the story of the woman that we all disliked in the first book. But Miralee has taken this snobby woman and put her in her own story, with her own insecurities, issues, and problems and created a character that we can’t help but fall in love with and care for.

I was totally fascinated with FINDING JEENA because in many ways I can relate to her. I enjoyed getting to know Jeena and cheering for her as she went through the growth changes in her life. I highly recommend this book. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $13.99. 297 pages.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Breaking the Barriers


Title: BREAKING THE BARRIERS
Author: Jason Frenn
Publisher: Faithwords
August 2009
ISBN: 978-0-446-54620-1
Genre: Inspirational/nonfiction/Christian living

The world is filled with dysfunction, futility, and confusion, people are looking for looking for meaning and significance. They want to break through the barriers holding them back.

In BREAKING THE BARRIERS, Mr. Frenn offers three foundational pillars to help his readers overcome the most difficult obstacles in their lives.

Pillar 1: The Heart of the Father
Grabbing Hold of God’s Heart
Unleashing the Power of God’s Heart in Your Life

Pillar 2: The Wisdom of the Son
Making Godly Sense
Unleashing the Power of Christ’s Heart in Your Life

Pillar 3: The Discipline of the Spirit
Peace for Your Soul
Unleashing the Power of the Spirit in Your Life

With all the materialism in this world, sometimes it takes a divine act of God to get us past the wealth and richness that we can see everywhere, to get to the heart of God and do serve where He wants us, even if that road means less wealth and glamour than you want.

Mr. Frenn introduces to the big questions of life as well: Why? What? How? What’s in it for me?

If you are looking for direction and meaning in your life, and where God wants you to serve, then BREAKING THE BARRIERS would be a good book to pick up. $19.99 hard coverc. 222 pages.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

On a Someday


Title: ON A SOMEDAY
Author: Roxanne Henke
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
January 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7369-1703-2
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Claire Westin is a wife, a mother, and a college professor. She dreams of the day when she will have time to write the book she always wanted to write. Not the “publish or perish” book, required by professors, but the book of her heart. The last thing she expects is for a new career to open before her.

Her husband, Jim, owns two grocery stores, and suddenly he is faced with the option of buying a third store and serving on a bank board. Jim had been thinking more along the lines of retirement, not adding more work to his already busy day. He wants to restore an old Dodge Charger—someday.

Drew, their son, works in New York City, as far away from North Dakota as he can get. But he’s beginning to think that maybe there might be something good about being closer to family. Though he isn’t quite sure the time is now.

An unexpected crisis force Claire, Jim, and Drew to choose their futures—now.

ON A SOMEDAY is the first book I’ve ever read by this talented author, though she has several rave reviews that I perused. I can see why some people look forward to reading Ms. Henke’s books. She is very talented, able to draw the reader completely into the character’s world and make them think about their own at the same time.

I enjoyed reading ON A SOMEDAY and getting to know Claire, Jim, Drew, and various other characters. Ms. Henke is an author that is able to create a compelling world that the reader can’t wait to escape to. Discussion questions are included. $13.99. 366 pages.
.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

They Almost Always Come Home


Title: THEY ALMOST ALWAYS COME HOME
Author: Cynthia Ruchti
Publisher: Abingdon Press
May 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4267-0238-9
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

She would leave her husband—if she could find him.

Libby and Greg are in an unhappy marriage. Ever since their daughter died their marriage has been floundering. Now, Greg fails to return home from a solo canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness. His boss is calling wondering where he is. But when Libby notifies the authorities, she learns that his vehicle is not parked in the lot to the entry to the park. It is located at a hotel in Canada. Where a man who is not Libby’s husband answers the phone.

Libby, her father-in-law, Frank, and Lib’s best friend, Jenika, decide to go off on a wilderness trip on their own. But instead of fishing, they are looking for Greg. If his car was stolen, that must mean that Greg is hurt somewhere in the wilderness—or worse.

Will Libby find her husband, her flagging faith, both, or nothing? What will it take for her to even find a sign?

THEY ALMOST ALWAYS COME HOME is the debut novel by Ms. Ruchti. I was blessed to be Cynthia’s critique partner in the beginning of this project, and it is wonderful to be able to read this book in its final form.

Libby is struggling with the disappearance of her husband and still grieving the death of her daughter, and as a result she has a lot of issues to work though. She is a very realistic and well-developed character and the reader quickly grows to care. I could even feel the mud sloshing in my boots and get grossed out by filtering bugs from the drinking water with their teeth. I still don’t like how the book ends. But otherwise, it is a good read. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $13.99. 298 pages.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Menu for Romance


Title: MENU FOR ROMANCE
Author: Kaye Dacus
Publisher: Barbour Books
July 2099
ISBN: 978-1-60260-455-1
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Meredith Guidry has been in love with Major O’Hara for eight long years. But since the love is unrequited, she decides to make a New Years resolution to find someone that will love her in return—and be married by the next New Years. But then she goes to a hardware store and meets handsome contractor, Ward. Ward seems to be interested in Meredith in return, and asks her out on a date for that week.

Executive Chef Major O’Hara has loved Meredith as well, but his mother lives in an assisted living home and suffers from mental issues. Major is afraid that once a woman finds out about his “crazy” mother she will dump him. So he focuses on his work, keeping his mother and her issues secret.

When Major is offered the job of a lifetime, he has to decide whether to leave Meredith and her company to start his own restaurant. But his mother starts having more episodes and Major finds himself facing more than he can handle. Especially as he watches Meredith falling in love with another man. How can he win back Meredith, pursue his dreams, and take care of his mother?

MENU FOR ROMANCE is the sequel to Stand In Groom but it easily stands alone. I enjoyed reading Meredith’s story and getting to know her and Major a little bit better.

The characters are well-developed, and the story is formula romance, with really no surprises. I did find the events leading up to the black moment a little too contrived, If you are looking for a good contemporary romance, then MENU FOR ROMANCE would be good to consider. This is a sweet romance with no sexual tension between hero/heroine. Available now at your favorite Christian bookstore. $10.99. 317 pages.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Momology


Title: MOMOLOGY
Author: Shelly Radic
Publisher: Revell
June 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3449-7
Genre: Inspirational/parenting

According to MOMOLOGY, mothering is part art, part science, and always a work in progress. Ms. Radic has more then thirty years of research she conducted from the MOPS International Ministry, and is designed to help you become the unique mother that God created you to be.

MOMOLOGY is divided up into four parts

 Knowing who we are: building a healthy, resilient mom core
 Knowing what we’re capable of: developing finese in the way we interact with our kids.
 Knowing who we can count on: interacting within a circle of relationships that support us and our kids
 Knowing who God is: engaging with him in his grandscape

These areas are covered in four separate sections, each divided into naptime-size bites that include stories from an assortment of moms (Field Study), survey results (Mom States) and Voices, which includes research information. There is also a place for your thoughts.

Even better, but there is an on-line sourse (www.mom-ology.org.) where you can go share with other moms.

MOMOLOGY is a book that I wish I would have had available then my children were preschoolers. It is full of invaluable information that would have been beneficial to me. No mom should mother alone, and this book will help provide some of the support you need. $13.99. 231 pages.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

One True Love


Title: ONE TRUE LOVE
Author: Lori Copeland
Publisher: Avon Inspire
March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-136494-5
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Copper is excited to finally start her new job teaching school, but tragedy strikes the first day. Due to a series of unfortunate events, the school house catches fire and two children fall down and are left in the blaze. Copper is able to rescue them, but in doing so she falls, further injuring a leg that she can barely walk on.

The town doctor doesn’t know what to do to care for Copper, other than keep her drugged until the wagon train can come through and take her to a larger town and a more knowledgeable doctor. But unfortunately, the train that comes is Josh Redlin’s and he is a man that Copper cannot get along with at all.

Copper and Josh butt heads until Josh finally lays down the facts to Copper, making her see reason. They agree to stay out of each others way, but Copper is forced to seek Josh out for some minor things while en route. What will it take for her to realize that the one man who drives her crazy is the one that she needs?

ONE TRUE LOVE is the third and final story in the Belles of Timber Creek series. I enjoyed getting to know Audrey, Willow, and Copper in the earlier books, but even if you haven’t read the series all the way through, you’d be able to read ONE TRUE LOVE without getting lost. However, if you want to know what brought the girls together in Thunder Ridge, then you’d want to start at the beginning.

I enjoyed getting to know Copper better, and hearing the story that finally brought her and Josh together, since I saw the sparks in the second book. ONE TRUE LOVE is a delightful story that will not disappoint. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $12.99. 244 pages.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

RREACH hosting reunion


Leading Pastors from 50 Countries to Converge in Dallas
for Launch of Global Proclamation Commission
From June 4-13, 2010, RREACH will host a strategic reunion to implement massive
10-year plan to reach one billion people with the message of Christ

Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX—On June 4, 2010, prominent and distinguished young pastors from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe will meet in Dallas, Texas, for a dynamic 10-day strategic reunion. These 100 leading pastors from over 50 countries are all graduates of RREACH’s GPA (Global Proclamation Academy) held on the historic campus of Dallas Theological Seminary each summer. They will initiate the Global Proclamation Commission (G-Pro Commission)—a human capital campaign to exponentially improve the quality of the proclamation of God’s Word and the perception of the Lord Jesus Christ to perpetuate spiritual health worldwide.

Over the next decade, RREACH’s vision is to fulfill Jesus’ Global Proclamation Commission (Luke 24:47) by strategically connecting, systematically uniting, and spiritually strengthening large numbers of pastors into a Global Proclamation Community. “Our ultimate goal is to connect, unite, and strengthen 100,000 pastors from 200 countries by 2020 for the purpose of influencing their congregations to reach into spiritually needy contexts,” says Ramesh Richard, Ph.D., Th.D., the founder and president of RREACH, which is the sponsoring organization of the GPA. “This global community will be made up of a few thousand pastoral cohorts with 25 pastors in each group, thus enabling us to reach our vision—to change the way one billion individuals think and hear about the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Global Proclamation Academy was established by Richard in 2005 as a ministry of RREACH in concert with Dallas Theological Seminary where he serves as Professor of Global Theological Engagement. Its annual three-week summer program was created to strengthen and connect influential younger pastors from around the world by gathering them together to explore biblical spirituality, theological discernment, and effective preaching with experienced master-coaches drawn from across the United States.

“Since Christianity has now become a non-Western religion, younger pastors from developing economies need reinforcement and relationships in order to stabilize the future health of the global Church,” says Richard. “Before the Church in the West fades to the fringes of the Faith, the Global Proclamation Academy harnesses her leaders, resources, and institutions to invest in those already making a great and beautiful impact for the Lord Jesus. We must prevent churches from internally imploding wherever they are externally exploding.”

From June 4-13, 2010, a decade-defining reunion of GPA graduates from 2005-2009, along with many of their wives, will provide the human infrastructure to build an expanding network of influential and connected pastoral leaders who shape the future of the Church for effective ministry worldwide. Structured times for prayer, planning, instruction, and fellowship, along with a special program for the wives, will culminate in the launch of the G-Pro Commission during “Launch Weekend” on June 11-13 at DFW’s new Grand Hyatt Hotel.

For more information, please visit www.TheGPA.net

Friday, June 4, 2010

D.I.V.A.S. of the Divine


Title: D.I.V.A.S OF THE DIVINE
Authors: Donna McCrary and Sherri Holbert
Publisher: Hensley Publishing
May 2010
ISBN: 978-156322-1088
Genre: Inspirational/Bible study/Small group

D.I.V.A.S. OF THE DIVINE is toted to be more than a Bible curriculum to participate in for a few short weeks. Instead, it’s an interactive experience with God that will produce spiritual transformation—if you use the guide as intended.

D.I.V.A.S. is intended to be a book for group challenges, not a Bible study to work through on your own. The first week isn’t even up before you are to find (or be assigned) an accountability partner who you are supposed to meet with (either in person or by phone) for ten minutes and or three questions. The questions are of the get down and personal variety, so you and your partner will get to know each other really well, even if you are strangers at the beginning.

D.I.V.A.S. stands for

Devoted
Individuals
Via prayer
Accountability
Spiritual Growth

The Bible study is divided up into daily portions with a short story to read, verses to look up and go over, and plenty of space to answer questions, write down your thoughts and a prayer to God.

If you are looking for a book for your small group this summer then D.I.V.A.S. OF THE DIVINE is a book to consider. It is group friendly, accountability friendly (questions to ask are included) and will help you become more intimately acquainted with the Divine.
188 pages. $19.99

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wonder Full Women's Ministry Retreat


Planning a Women’s Retreat? Why Settle for a Weekend Getaway?

Travel the world in seven sessions with Group’s new retreat kit

When most churches begin planning a women’s retreat, their first step is to track down a guest speaker. Next, they may book a fancy hotel or rustic retreat center for a weekend. Regardless of the venue, the outcome is usually the same: lots of sitting, listening, and note-taking. For churches willing to trade convention for adventure, the next women’s retreat could be a passport to another world.

Wonder Full World Women’s Ministry Retreat Kit, the newest retreat kit for women from Group Publishing, Inc., offers an affordable, fun-filled, interactive experience for churches of any size and budget. The retreat kit equips churches to create an experience for the women of their congregations using the talent of their own members rather than having a speaker come in for the weekend. Wonder Full World is more than just a weekend getaway. It’s an imaginative journey around the world and an exploration of the “I wonders” in a woman’s heart through in-depth Bible study, an unforgettable worship experience, and an open invitation for girlfriends to draw closer together and experience the vastness of God’s love.

With a Group retreat kit, churches have access to all the resources they need to lead a retreat and the opportunity to encourage the women in their own congregations to fulfill the leadership roles. As women take part in this imaginary world tour, they will ponder seven questions:

· I wonder if anyone cares about me…

· I wonder what it would be like to be royalty…

· I wonder if I matter to God…

· I wonder where God is when life is hard…

· I wonder if I can really rely on God…

· I wonder if I can make a difference…

· I wonder what’s ahead for me…

For $99.99, churches will receive everything they need to host the retreat, including a director’s guide, a worship leader’s guide, a custom CD with eight songs, seven leader’s guides (one for each session), a training and promotional DVD with three commercials, a CD-ROM with graphics and other resources, and travel themed audio tracks for each session. The kit also contains samples of the essentials and gifts for each participant attending the retreat: a journal, charm, music CD, tote bag, and swatch from the service project blankets. The basic cost for materials per participant is between $13.50 for the essentials (journal, charm, and service project) and $21.00 (which includes the essentials as well as a music CD and tote bag). Like Group’s VBS curriculum, each women’s retreat includes a service project. This year, participants will make fleece blankets to be sent around the world to those in need.

In a time when many young women perceive women’s ministry as an activity for their mothers, Group has created Wonder Full World Women’s Ministry Retreat Kit to connect with women of every age and walk of life, even teenagers. Nappa’s team has also taken care to make the materials accessible to women who don’t know Jesus.

Q & A with Amy Nappa, Executive Editor of

Wonder Full World Women’s Ministry Retreat Kit

Q: Let’s talk about the way churches usually do a women’s retreat. What makes Group’s retreat-in-a-box such a great alternative to the usual retreat setup?

A: The traditional approach to a women’s retreat has been to look outside of the church for content and leadership, usually by hiring a speaker for the weekend. This tends to result in a lecture environment where women do a lot of sitting and listening. With a Group retreat, churches have access to all the resources they need to lead a meaningful, life-changing retreat, including the opportunity to encourage the women in their own congregation to fulfill the leadership roles. A Group retreat is about interaction. We give women ample opportunity to discuss, to share their hearts, and to make new friends.

Q: What kind of woman will be touched by a Wonder Full World retreat?

A: We really want to engage women of all ages and from a variety of experiences. This retreat was written to engage both married and single women, mothers and those with no children. In Group’s 2009 State of the Church Report, we discovered that 94 percent of women’s ministry leaders we polled felt that reaching younger women was a great area of need for them, so that is one of our greatest target groups. There is also a special woman that we are thinking of as we plan the sessions—the woman who does not know Jesus. We include a gospel message in every retreat, shared simply, and we tell the leader of that session to be prepared to share her own salvation story. We have also included all the Scriptures in the participant journals so that women who don’t know much about the Bible won’t have to search for them.

Q: As you develop new ministry materials, what steps does your team at Group take to ensure that those materials will really connect with women?

A: One of the most important aspects of the creative process at Group is the research. We do focus groups with women all over the place, with both the women who love retreats and those who hate retreats. We are intentional in creating a retreat to meet the needs of many women, and what those women tell us is that they want to be able to talk and make friends, not just sit and listen. We have incorporated lots of discussion time, allowing women to share their own stories of how God has worked in their lives and what they hope He will do in their lives. Once we have completed the actual content, we lead every retreat ourselves with a group of real women before we market it to churches. We invite teens as young as 14, and we don’t put them at the kids’ table because we see these retreats as great opportunities to initiate relationships that will become mentoring relationships.

Q: As a woman equipping churches to minister to women, what do you see as the biggest challenge women’s ministries face today?

A: I think the biggest challenge is to come up with new and creative ideas for engaging women. Most people know they need to do something different, but nobody wants to change. They wish they could reach more women, but they are bound to tradition. We don’t wear the same clothes now that we wore ten years ago, so obviously we are willing to change some things in our lives to stay relevant in the culture. But for some reason, nobody wants to give up on the Christmas Tea, for example, because it was once the highlight of the women’s ministry year…15 years ago! No wonder so many women perceive women’s ministry as something for their moms. For some ministries, reaching more women could be as simple as offering a women’s Bible study in the evenings as well as in the mornings so that working women can attend. But none of this will happen until someone decides to change.

Q: Tell us more about Wonder Full World. What was the inspiration for the “around the world” theme?

A: That was based on research. We do focus groups and research to determine the next theme. We were tossing around the question: where do we want to go? Then we realized that we had a seven-session retreat…and there are seven continents, seven wonders of the world. But women don’t care so much about the “wonders of the world.” They wonder about their faith, their families, their purpose, and their God. As women began to tell us what they really wonder about, seven clear themes emerged. We have called them the Seven Wonders of a Woman’s Heart. They are things like: “I wonder if anyone cares about me…I wonder if I matter to God…I wonder where God is when life is hard…I wonder if I can make a difference, etc.”

Q: What is included in the Wonder Full World Women’s Ministry Retreat Kit?

A: The contents of the kit (retail: $99.99) include:

· Director’s guide with supply list, suggested schedules, and decorating ideas

· Worship leader’s guide with sheet music for the songs

· Custom CD with eight songs

· Seven leader’s guides—one for each session

· Training and promotional DVD including three commercials

· CD with reproducible graphics, forms, and other goodies

· Travel themed audio tracks for each session

· Samples of all of the per-woman essentials and gifts (journal, charm, music CD, and tote bag)

· Sample swatch from the service project blanket

The cost for materials is $13.50 per participant, which includes these essentials:

· Journal with all the discussion questions, song lyrics, and Scriptures which is used throughout the retreat

· Globe charm which is presented as a constant reminder of the retreat and God’s everlasting love

· Service project (materials for fleece blanket – one blanket for every two participants)

For an additional cost, churches may also purchase a Wonder Full World tote bag and CD for each woman at the retreat. When the essentials and extras are purchased as a value pack, along with one blanket for every two women, the total cost is only $21 per attendee.

Wonder Full World Women’s Ministry Retreat Kit
Group Publishing May 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7644-7400-2/$99.99
For other product information, visit www.group.com/womensretreats

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Download & Go Series: Whale Tales and Contest


Title: Download & Go Series: Whale Tales
Author: Amanda Bennett
Publisher: 2010 Old Schoolhouse
2010

Download & Go Series: Whale Tales is a 83 page lesson plan that encompasses all aspects of learning about the giant animals—Whales. This lesson plan includes:

Daily Objectives
Book Suggestions
Introduction to Lapbooking
Day 1—What is a Whale?
Day 2—Getting to Know Whales
Day 3—Where are the Whales?
Day 4—The Science of Whales
Fun Family Ideas

This series is a full color, one-week in length comprehensive teaching tool that requires absolutely no preparation. There are a few inexpensive supplies needed for completion of this program, such as a file folder, glue stick, scissors (or safety scissors, depending on child’s age), brass brads, and either crayons or markers.

In Whale Tales children will investigate whales and learn about what they eat, what sounds it makes, where it lives, what the Bible says about Whales (including the story of Jonah), the anatomy of whales, the different kinds of whales, the history of whales, and in addition the geography of oceans.

This Series is designed to teach unit studies to all ages of children. The ones I used it on were age eight and age five. I didn’t have any problem making the subject matter adaptable for the five year old, while allowing my eight year old to use the pages I printed. I did make additional photocopies of some of the pages so both girls could use them. An answer key is included, as well as web sites you can visit for more information.

If you are looking for an easy, colorful, relatively cheap answer for unit studies about whales then Download & Go series Whale Tales is something to consider. Available at: www.downloadngo.com/WhaleTales.

They are having huge anniversary sale (Great for those of you looking ahead to fall!)


THE PRIZE:

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and Amanda Bennett Unit Studies have teamed up to celebrate the successful launch of Download N Go™ with a Sweet Treat Prize Package in The Adventure Begins ... Giveaway!

They're offering one lucky winner the SWEET chance to go EXPLORING this FALL!


The entire FALL curriculum lineup of Download N Go™ (Wow! That's 19 studies!).
A $25 gift certificate to Baskin-Robbins (yummy ice cream).
A $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com (for those back-to-school supplies).
A $15 gift certificate to Starbucks Coffee (a special treat just for the teacher).
A full year's subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine (encouragement and resources all year long).
A "sweet" blue and brown Homeschooling With Heart tote bag (THE must-have accessory for FALL!).
ENTER HERE!

For more information just click on the icon above! Contest will run May 24 and through June 12

There is also a blog tour for the Download N Go Studies - you can follow the reviews here!

***
DNG has decided to offer a coupon code for 20% off multiple packs of the DNG units! Wow - 20%. Please share this in your DNG blog post/review! Both you and your readers are eligible to use the coupon code!

The code is: DNG20PKS - just use that code at check out and receive 20% off any multiple pack purchase!

About Download N Go™

Download N Go™ studies are the next generation of exciting learning products, where unit studies merge with lapbooks in a fun and easy to use curriculum product. Written by Amanda Bennett and The Old Schoolhouse, Download N Go has a growing following!

Seattle, WA - 5/28/2010 - Download N Go™ studies are daily lessons and lapbook instructions woven together with eye-pleasing pages and interactivity based on exciting themes-ready for immediate use. You can try them out for 20% off (use the coupon code I mentioned above) just in time for your fall lesson plan!

Expand your family's homeschool horizons--add Download N Go™ to your homeschool! All the research is done for you; just dig right in and start learning!

There are no expensive resources required; these units are complete and very affordable.

Download N Go™ studies are a new kind of learning experience! Exactly what will you find in each weekly study?

· Lapbooking activities.

As the student works through the week, he/she is creating a lapbook-a finished capsule of learning.

· Daily lessons.

Each study is one week in length, having five daily lessons with lapbook components for each day. Simple to use, step by step, but complete in content!

· Eye-pleasing pages of integrated, reusable studies.

Studies include history, geography, reading, science, spelling, vocabulary, writing, art, and more in reusable units, printable as needed-use them for your first child now, your second child in two years, and your third in six! Nothing is consumed.

· Resource list for optional further study.

These studies each have a great list of books that you can use to enrich your learning, but they are not required. This study is complete on its own. If desired, find books easily at your local library using the title and ISBN information for suggested optional resources.

· Interactivity built in with hyperlinks embedded right in the study.

All the research and preparation have been done! Enjoy a variety of multimedia selections, such as video clips and animations, plus educational and craft sites. You'd spend all week searching if you had to find all these great links yourself!

· Exciting themes.

Units are theme-based and full of exciting discoveries and motivation to develop lifelong learners. Your students will look forward to the next day's investigation! Designed to allow you to work them into your schedule (holidays are planned a few weeks ahead), plan to do them a few weeks after receiving them, or a few months-it's up to you!

· Ready to download for immediate use.

Download instantly! A few inexpensive materials are needed for the lapbook, consisting of basic art and school supplies you probably already have on hand such as a simple file folder, a glue stick, safety scissors, brass brads, and crayons or markers. That's it-simple, effective, and what a way to learn! The learning process is on GO from that point on-let the fun begin!

Are you planning for fall? Consider these options ...

Studying animals? Check out the animals in Expedition Australia, Dolphin Days, and Whale Tales.

Add hands-on history fun with Amelia Earhart, Davy Crockett, and Ben Franklin.
Travel farther in geography with Expedition Mexico, Expedition China, Expedition Ireland, and Expedition Australia!
There are many more possibilities!
Whether your schooling approach is unit studies, textbook, relaxed, or a mix of different styles, enriching your child's learning is easy with Download N Go™. Print your copy of the handy checklist and start adding learning, fun, and adventure today!

Remember, the more units your purchase, the bigger the savings. (and don't forget to use the coupon code mentioned above!)

The Pick Your Own Four bundle is a good deal.
The 19-week option is a better deal. But the most savings are enjoyed when you purchase the 38-week option!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Montana Rose


Title: MONTANA ROSE
AUTHOR: Mary Connealy
Publisher: Barbour Books
July 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60260-142-0
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Cassie Griffin’s husband, Griff died and suddenly as her husband is laid to rest, virtually every man in town shows up, demanding Cassie marry him—right away. Griff left Cassie heavily in debt, pregnant, and homeless, and every man in town wants a “turn” with the “China Doll.”

“Red” Dawson has long admired the “China Doll” but figures he’ll never marry her. After all, he’s a minister, and can’t marry an unbeliever. But still, he’s the one that ends up married that day… Red is determined to treat Cassie well, but well, sometimes it is hard because the only thing Cassie is good at is cooking. She brings mayhem everywhere else on the ranch and is turning even Red’s mildest horse into a nerves wreck.

When another local cowboy who was denied the “China Doll” begins stalking her, suddenly Red finds his life in danger, and Cassie living in fear. What will it take to be set free from this nightmare?

MONTANA ROSE is the first book in Ms. Connealy’s Montana Marriages series, and it is loosely based on Ms. Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series. MONTANA ROSE is filled with laugh out loud moments and mayhem, and with non-stop action. I literally couldn’t put MONTANA ROSE down.

Cassie is a real sweetheart, totally different than the “China Doll” image that most of the town folk had of her, and her first husband was abusive, so she learned to read signals and try to be that kind of wife, so she wouldn’t get knocked around. Red is a real sweet hero, but sometimes he became a bit difficult, so he did have some flaws. I enjoyed getting to know both of these characters and think this is the best book by this author I’ve read to date. Looking forward to the next book in this series. 318 pages. $10.99