Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Asking for Trouble

Author: Sandra Byrd
Publisher: Tyndale
March 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4143-2597-2
Genre: Inspirational/young adult

Fifteen year old Savvy Smith has relocated to London with her family and is now attending a new school. She longs for a place to fit in, but the school is very group-oriented, and if you aren’t a member of something then no one wants you. Savvy tries gymnastics, science club, art, and other things with humorous results, but the only thing she really wants to do is write.

There is a school newspaper, one that is floundering and they are advertising for help, but the editor doesn’t think Savvy has enough experience to do the job. What can Savvy do to change his mind? Or will she find someplace else where she can fit in?

ASKING FOR TROUBLE is the first book in Sandra Byrd’s London Confidential series. I read book three first, and then was anxious to get my hands on the earlier books as I loved it and so did my daughters.

ASKING FOR TROUBLE grabbed my interest from page one and held it all the way through. I loved reading about Savvy’s struggles to find a place to belong and how she grew along the way. She learned a couple valuable lessons in ASKING FOR TROUBLE, one that girls anywhere can learn from and apply in their lives. If you have a daughter in the young adult age range you will want to consider ASKING FOR TROUBLE. $6.99. 261 pages.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Too Good to be True

Author: Trish Perry
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
March 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7369-1873-2
Genre: Inspirational/chick lit

Rennie Young is still getting used to life after divorce over a year after the divorce is final. Her ex-husband has just notified the adoption agency that the no longer want to want to proceed with adopting the little boy Rennie fell in love with.

Rennie is heartbroken. She goes to Walmart to look for a shirt for the little boy she won’t be adopting after all, but faints in the boys’ department. When she comes to she finds a male OB/GYN nurse taking her pulse.

Truman Sayers seems to be instantly attracted to Rennie, if only Rennie can believe that a second chance at love might be hers…if she learns to trust again.

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE is the sequel to The Guy I’m Not Dating though the story stands alone. Rennie is a realistic heroine, loveable and caring, and her best friend is truly a heroine in her own right. Truman is an awesome man in a female dominated field, and he truly is compassionate. The faith message is expertly woven into the story line, though a bit strong at times.

I totally loved TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE and am looking forward to reading more about the characters. I hope to see many more books by this talented author. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE is too good to be missed. $12.99. 317 pages.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

God Loves Single Moms

Author: Teresa Whitehurst
Publisher: Revell
October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3277-6
Genre: Nonfiction/parenting

Teresa Whitehurst, author of GOD LOVES SINGLE MOMS, knows what she’s talking about. She is a single mom and has faced the challenges of when there’s not enough money to reach the end of the month; what to do when her back hurt too bad to even move, yet she had to; and how to do it all without letting anyone know she needed help.

Ms. Whitehurst also learned that sometimes, letting go is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. If she stopped trying to be perfect, and admitted her needs, frustrations or fatigue, she discovered that she had a support system in place ready to step in and help out.

GOD LOVES SINGLE MOMS offers down-to-Earth advice on navigating the world of single motherhood with confidence and hope. She also addresses the pressing issues of finances, self-care, organization, discipline, developing a support system, and more.

I’m not a single mom, I responded to an urgent request by the publisher for reviewers for this particular book. So, I read it and was left with an admiration for all that single moms have to do. My husband is busy and gone a lot, but I still have his support when I must deal with a child who doesn’t understand Algebra, or is disrespectful, and if things break I don’t have to handle it all by myself. So, I admire those who do handle it all and don’t fall apart.

I received an education reading this book, and I will recommend this book to single moms or those struggling to understand who they are and how to better minister to them, such as divorce support groups, etc. This is a book that will definitely minister to a lot of women. Verses, quizzes, testimonials, and much more are included in this book. $12.99. 190 pages.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Valeria's Cross

Authors: Kathi Macias and Susan Wales
Publisher: Abingdon Press
September 2010
ISBN: 978-1-5167-0215-0
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Valeria is the pampered daughter of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. When she was fourteen, the Emperor in danger, Valeria and her mother are forced to flee to Egypt where they will live in safety. While there, Valeria is introduced to Christianity through a variety of means even though her family’s beliefs are quite different.

Eventually, Valeria grows up and falls in love with Mauritius, the captain of the Theban Legion. Unfortunately, Mauritius is forced to go off to battle where he is killed by Galerius for his Christian faith. When Valeria is forced to marry Galerius, she struggles against the man she knows him to be versus the man she sees.

VALERIA’S CROSS is loosely based on a true story that the author’s discovered in the Foxes Book of Martyrs. In the 3rd Century, Christians were often killed for their faith and had to exercise it in secret.

There really isn’t a happy ending for this story (in my opinion) but the tale is well-crafted, the characters are well…real, since they were based on real-life characters, but they were brought to renewed life on the pages of the book. If you are looking for a historical that is based on a true-life story (though not happy), then VALERIA’S CROSS is the one you’re looking for. $14.99. 384 pages.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Head in the Clouds

Author: Karen Witemeyer
Publisher: Bethany House
October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0756-3
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Adelaide Proctor longs for a story-book romance. She believes she found an adequate replacement with Henry, but not a hero straight off the pages of a book. Still, what can one expect when they are a rural school teacher—and not a socialite? But when Henry gets a promotion and shares the news he won’t be returning to her town, Adelaide quits her job and follows Henry to Fort Worth where she makes the shocking and horrifying discovery that Henry is married.

Gideon Westcott has inherited the daughter of a woman he barely knows. He left his privileged life in England to make a life for himself in America. But now he has to interview governesses. How can he find one to bring joy back into Bella’s life since she lost her mother?

At a loss what to do when she discovers she has no job and no fiancĂ©, Adelaide interviews for the nanny position. And is stunned to discover she’s hired. But when Bella’s uncle comes to claim his niece, Gideon and Adelaide must work together to save Bella. Can Adelaide get her head out of the clouds long enough to discover she might have a chance at true love and a family?

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS is the second novel I’ve read by Karen Witemeyer but it definitely won’t be the last. Ms. Witemeyer has the ability to take characters and give them a quirky, funny personality that will eventually make me care.

The prologue was kind of Legally Blonde-ish with the heroine believing she’ll get her man, but instead she was broken up with. Then she follows him to another area and instead finds the love she was looking for. Still, I couldn’t help but like Adelaide, and Gideon won my heart instantly.

If you are looking for a historical romance with a touch of suspense and a few laughs you won’t want to miss HEAD IN THE CLOUDS. $14.99. 366 pages.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bible Smuggling 101

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

Bible Smuggling 101

Legally Saturating High Schools with God’s Word

In today’s divisive culture-war society, when news stories about separation of church and state thrive with controversy, one cutting-edge Christian ministry is having remarkable success spreading the Word of God. What makes it remarkable? They are doing it by distributing Bibles in public schools—legally.

Carl Blunt is the president and CEO of The Life Book Movement, a Christian mission centered on Blunt’s own contemporary, youth-oriented edition of a portion of the Bible called The Life Book, a unique presentation of Scripture designed to engage high school students with the truth of God’s Word. The Life Book presents a brief overview of the Old Testament and the Book of John using an interactive format with honest student comments and real-life questions in the margins. Readers are drawn into the only story that can change their lives forever.

Founded by The Gideons International as an innovative strategy to reach high school students with God’s Word, The Life Book Movement works in collaboration with churches throughout the country to provide the books for free to high school students. Blunt’s organization brilliantly threads a separation-of-church-and-state loophole by getting his publication into the hands of Christian high school students and having them pass the books out to classmates at school—a practice that is entirely legal, as long as the books are not distributed by school staff or other adults. Blunt says, “It’s like we’re helping students smuggle God’s Word into a closed country (public high schools) to reach an unreached people group because studies show that only 4% of today’s teenagers are Bible-believing Christians.” The goal is to ensure that every student in every high school in the United States has an opportunity to receive the gift of The Life Book. This approach presents a phenomenal opportunity to impact a generation with the good news of Jesus Christ.

The Life Book Movement is best described to students as a week-long mission trip to their local high school. Local churches work together in targeted areas to ensure The Life Book is offered to every student in each chosen high school. All churches involved receive the books at no cost from The Life Book Movement and provide the books, along with some evangelism training, to the students in their youth groups. The students then spend a week passing them out to their friends and classmates at school. One student who received the book said, “I got one today. I read it in almost every class today. I like it. It’s pretty neat and other people asked to look at it and then asked where to get one.”

Flying under the radar since its inception last fall, The Life Book Movement is rapidly closing in on distribution of more than 300,000 copies in public high schools across 21 states and even the British Virgin Islands. A quiet success, indeed, but extremely ambitious, The Life Book Movement has an ultimate goal of distributing The Life Book to nearly 18 million high school students when all is said and done. And, so far, the outlook is extremely promising.


Become a fan at www.facebook.com/carlblunt and follow the movement at www.twitter.com/carlblunt.

My review:

THE LIFE BOOK is an innovative idea to smuggle Bibles into high schools, legally. This is a simple, to-the-point, method of sharing the gospel from the beginning (creation) to the end (the second coming) and everything in between.

There are several different “notes” in there added by different “students” in different fonts so they would be easy to tell who “says” what. I do find the different fonts hard to read and it makes it look kind of confusing at first. But it does add a unique touch to the book.

My teen son looked at this book so I could have his opinion and he thought it was interesting and something that teens would like. So I have to say that this is a good idea, and if it helps spread the good news then I’m all for it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Dream to Call My Own

Author: Tracie Peterson
Publisher: Bethany House
June 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0683-2
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Lacy Gallatin is determined to find the man who killed her father. She believes it was cold-blooded murder, even though others swear that it probably was an accident. And now that her sisters are happily married, she feels misplaced, no longer welcome at the inn they all live and work at.

Dave Shepard has loved Lacy from a far for ages, but he feels woefully inadequate for her. He believes he is close to figuring out who killed her father, but will it be enough for her even if he does?

Tension crackles when Dave and Lacy are together, but what will it take for Dave and Lacy to admit they might be in love?

A DREAM TO CALL HER OWN is the third and final book in the Brides of Gallatin County series. A family saga, each book in the series is about the three sisters, but the focus is mainly on one of them.

I read all the books in the series, but there was some lapse of time between books. I was confused at first with all the people, but after awhile it started coming back to me who the husbands were, and the step-child, etc.

Lacy and Dave were realistic characters, each with a dream and a goal they desired. I hoped that they would be able to achieve their desires and find love. This series didn’t disappoint. $13.99. 365 pages.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Then Sings My Soul: Special Edition

Title: THEN SINGS MY SOUL: Special Edition
Author: Robert J. Morgan
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
November 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7852-3182-0
Genre: Inspirational/devotional/general

We all have our favorite hymns, songs that just lift our spirits and minister to us when we hear them. THEN SINGS MY SOUL: Special Edition takes some of the most beloved songs from Christmas, other holidays, and general, and researched the stories behind the songs.

The set up is two-page, with the hymn, complete with words and music, leading, then the second page opens with a verse, then goes into the history behind the writing of the song, and sometimes, the music behind it as well.
It is written in devotional style, so a reader could read one a day easily enough.

I enjoyed reading through the collection learning the history. Some of which I knew, but some I didn’t know. This book would be an awesome edition to any music lover’s library, and would make a wonderful edition for the music minister at your church.

The book is beautifully done as well. Paperback, with inside flaps like it is hardcover, and the pages are antiquated so that it looks real nice. Don’t miss THEN SINGS MY SOUL: Special Edition. It will be a blessing as you are ministered to both by music and by how the Lord worked in the composer’s or songwriter’s life. $19.99. 310 pages.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Mend Mark and giveaway!!!

Leave a comment to possibly win a bracelet of your own. Void where prohibited by law.


Q&A With Hunter Harrison,

Creator of the Mend Mark

Q: How did you arrive at the idea for the Mend Mark? Why a bracelet?

A: I always thought about getting a tattoo. I still haven’t, but tattoo designs frequently cross my mind, and if I ever got one I would want it to be meaningful. On one particular day, I had the idea of getting two circles tattooed on my wrist to resemble a hole. But not just any hole—the hole that killed a king. The more and more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that nowadays EVERYONE has a tattoo and it would almost be rebellious NOT to get one. (I guess you could consider me a reverse rebel.) So I decided to do something a little different, something that would reach many more people than just some ink on my wrist. I took the idea and designed a bracelet instead, and consequently, the Mend Mark idea was born.

Q: At first glance Mend Mark seems like a nebulous name. What does it mean?

A: I’ve always liked the word “mend” and I feel like it’s underused. So it was an easy decision to incorporate that into the name. It fit the product purpose, and since it was representing one of the marks of Jesus, Mend Mark was an obvious choice. Plus it had a nice ring to it and with tattoo roots it seemed natural to call it that. I wanted it to be more than just another bracelet or wristband. I wanted it to represent a movement. So the “Mend Mark” it became.

Q: What are you hoping will be accomplished through the wearing of the Mend Mark bracelet and through the Mend Mark movement?

A: There are three main things I want to be accomplished. First is that I wanted people to remember the sacrifice. I wanted to unite people—Christians (no matter the denomination) and even people of other worldviews—on one common message: LOVE. The love that Christ preached in particular. With so many books out there and theological debates on who’s right and who’s wrong, sometimes we forget the simplicity of Christ’s main message: LOVE. I figured that no matter what one believes, they can’t deny that selfless love can change the world… and sometimes we need a reminder of that. So I coined the phrase “Remember Love” to be printed on the bracelet. The second thing is that I wanted people to emulate the emotion. I wanted it to require the wearer of the product to engage in conversation about the love of Christ (and hopefully show that love to others) instead of just letting the product talk for them. I felt that if this was done properly it could force people into intentional situations where they were able to demonstrate their faith. If I was a non-believer and I saw someone wearing an obvious Christian product, I doubt I would ask that person about it because I would already know what they were going to say. But, if I saw this, I would want to know what it was. It sparks curiosity… and in turn that curiosity may open some doors for people to share the love of Christ with others. Finally, I wanted it to inspire people to change the world around them. I decided to find a cause to support through the sales of the bracelet. There was no reason for me to keep all the profits for myself. I wanted to be able to give back and share the proceeds somehow. I researched and prayed and petitioned God on what ministry to support and God led me to Living Water International. I knew I wanted to help fight malnourishment in one way or another and providing “Living Water” seemed to fit the purpose of the product—using “love” to mend. That’s what it’s all about and this product allows that to happen on a global scale.

Q: Where did the inspiration to create the Mend Mark come from?

A: My mother was the most influential person in my life. She raised me on her own, even homeschooled me in high school, and I think that extra time with her really impacted me. She passed away from cancer in 2007, but she always told me I would do great things. My wife, Morgan, has been extremely instrumental in encouraging me to take those words from my mom to heart and make them a reality. Morgan motivates me like no one else can and has been a tremendous source of love and support throughout the entire process.

Then my work in banking inspired me. All day long I am helping people achieve their dreams getting businesses and ideas started. I wanted to get out there and start doing something myself. But I wanted it to be meaningful. Since my son was born two years ago, he’s given me an added motivation to do something bigger than myself, something that will somehow leave a legacy behind.

Q: The Mend Mark is certainly growing as a movement. It’s even been worn by celebrities. What’s next for the Mend Mark?

A: The Mend Mark isn’t the first idea I’ve tried to get off the ground. It definitely won’t be the last either. By far, it’s been the most fun and the most successful, and the one I’ve been most passionate about. I’m currently working on additional product designs as well as T-shirts that will go along with the original Mend Mark purpose. The future is bright and I can’t wait to see where God takes it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Into the Deep

Author: Virginia Smith
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-373-44413-7
Genre: Inspirational/romantic suspense

Ben Dearinger accidentally comes across a flash drive hidden in the back of his toilet tank. Not knowing what to do with it, and afraid to take it to the police, Ben buries it fathoms deep. But it isn’t safe even there. Someone wants that flash drive back, and they are willing to bring Ben’s ex-girlfriend, Nikki Hoffman into the picture to get it.

Nikki is in Florida for a birthday vacation. Her mom has taken her two year old son for a week, and she planned to enjoy her time by the ocean. But she wasn’t prepared to see her ex-boyfriend, Ben, at the first dive shop she entered. She thought she’d left him safely in Mexico.

Nikki causes Ben no end of heartbreak, but he’s never been able to forget her. Still in love with Nikki even after all the years apart, he would do anything to protect her. But what will he do when he discovers her secret?

INTO THE DEEP is the most recent suspense by author Virginia Smith. The book starts out with a hook that will draw you instantly into the story, and it doesn’t let go. The pages turn with non-stop action until the end.

I couldn’t help but feel for Nikki, forced to grow up from her care-free ways early, and be responsible, and care for Ben, struggling to follow in his father’s footsteps and do a job he loves. Ben is responsible, but Nikki does misunderstand his wording often, making her believe he is less responsible than he really is.

If you are looking for a good suspense, then you won’t want to miss INTO THE DEEP. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.50. 218 pages.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


What people are saying about…..


“For decades, Floyd McClung has been at the forefront of a generation passionately following Christ, equipping them to know Him Deeply and serve Him around the globe. Follow paves the way for practical and powerful engagement by anyone seeking to make Jesus famous among all nations!”

Louie Giglio, founder of The Passion Movement and Passion City Church

“For the last thirty years, Floyd has always been something of a spiritual litmus test for the church, and his prophetic instincts over time have proved true. And Floyd is right again…God is definitely calling us to attend to this most fundamental of facts about the authentic Christian life: what it means to be an untamed disciple of the wild Jesus.”

Alan Hirsch, author of ReJesus and Untamed, www.theforgottenways.org

“Floyd McClung has done what seems impossible – he’s written a fresh and intriguing book on the basics of discipleship. You’ll love this book and want to share it with everyone who is serious about following Jesus and becoming like Him.”

Carl Medearis, author of Muslims, Christians, and Jesus and Tea With Hezbollah

Follow begins by sharing McClung’s own personal story of how he was set free from a life of religious tradition to enjoy one of relationship with Jesus. This liberating experience caused McClung to realize the importance of changing the focus of life from ourselves to Jesus and led him to form outward-looking communities of disciples. “Rather than setting out a list of rules that put people in bondage to religious legalism, we should be offering unbelievers and believers alike a Jesus-focused invitation to find one’s identity and life shaped by the kingdom Jesus came to establish here on earth,” says McClung. By using stories and Scriptural examples, McClung reveals the freedom that comes from living our lives the way God intended and provides an intelligible path toward total Lordship—without condescending into religiosity.

Follow’s message is centered upon the practical, personal areas of believers’ lives that must be examined and transformed so that they are able to love Jesus, love each other within the body of Christ, and love others currently on the outside. While addressing topics such as obedience, identity, significance, church, sexuality, marriage, work, humility, faith, prayer, witness, sacrifice, and simplifying church life, McClung seeks to answer the question, “How are we to think and live day to day as followers of Jesus?” Each chapter ends with questions for group discussion and some practical steps of application.

Offering a fresh injection of spiritual adrenaline into mediocre attempts at following Christ, Follow teaches readers how to be on mission with God in His world, free from the world’s attempts to domesticate and tame what it means to follow the wild, untamable Jesus. “We must constantly return to Jesus as our source and our example for how to live life and how to do church together,” McClung believes. “Studying His life, spending time in His presence, seeking to be filled with His Spirit, and fulfilling His mission with others in community—this is how we are to experience life as Jesus intended it.”

About the Author: Floyd McClung is the founder and director of All Nations, an international leadership training and church planting network that partners with local churches to send short-term and long-term church planting teams to more than 30 different countries. Floyd has spoken on more than 100 university campuses and has traveled to 187 countries. He is the author of fourteen books, including the best-selling books The Father Heart of God and Living on the Devil’s Doorstep, that have had a profound influence around the world and have inspired new generations to take risks in both outreach and service. Follow will serve as a catalyst for church growth at the local level—growth in both depth and size. The McClungs live in Cape Town, South Africa where they lead a training and outreach community that equips church planters to work among the poor and unreached in Africa and Asia.

Follow: A Simple and Profound Call to Live Like Jesus by Floyd McClung
David C Cook/September 1, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4347-0192-3/254 pages/trade paperback/$14.99

*** my review ***

Author: Floyd McClung
Publisher: David C. Cook
September 2010
ISBN 978-1-4347-0192-3
Genre: Christian Living

With all due respect to the author, “Great One” has a name; his name is God. And it is by that name that he has revealed himself, and ought to receive our worship, praise, and adoration. Re-telling God’s story is one thing. Re-casting God’s story in hypermodern language in an effort to gain a hearing and appear relevant to the 21st century audience is another.

Following this recreation of The Fall, author Floyd McClung goes on to portray God as never before seen in Scripture: “When Great One came for His evening visit with Man and Woman, they were missing. He could not find them. Loneliness was tangible, and sadness hung in the air. “Where are you?” He shouted tearfully. “I miss you . . . why have you left me?” (p. 20.) And this is just one example of several misrepresentations, mischaracterizations, and false anthropomorphisms (attributing human characteristics to God, who is a spirit) found in this work.

Author Floyd McClung’s passion for the church is noted, and applauded. His critique of the church is dead-on, and cannot be refuted. His desire to see the kingdom of God advanced is greatly appreciated. But this reviewer cannot help but feel that the relationships with God, and with Jesus Christ, and with the Holy Spirit that are being advocated in this book are disturbing at best.

If you have read and appreciated Floyd McClung’s previous works, you will probably enjoy FOLLOW, for he does remain true to his message. If you are more traditional in your approach, this book will be a disappointment. 254 pages. $14.99 pages.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Summerside Press
November 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60936-025-2
Genre: Inspirational/Historical

Esther Lange made a mistake. One night, in the backseat of a car with a man she didn’t love—a man who didn’t love her. Finding herself pregnant, her family rejected her and with nowhere to go, she went to Linus’s family. They hated her, but put up with her since she was having Linus’s baby.

But then she gets the letter—a medic was given to mail in case of Linus’s death. Esther is afraid to open Linus’s letter, but still she writes to Peter, the medic who found him. And a friendship grows.

Put then the past comes back to haunt both of them. Torn apart by war, Esther and Peter struggle to hold on to friendship—to love. But how can love survive being torn asunder in more than one way?

NIGHTINGALE is the second WWII book written by Ms. Warren (and published by Summerside Press). I wasn’t real impressed with the first book (though the writing was stellar as always) so I approached this one with some sort of trepidation. I was thrilled to discover that this book gripped me from page one and held me all the way through, making me love both Peter and Esther.

Esther is a realistic heroine, hurting from a mistake, and believing herself to be the lowest of the low. Peter is a true hero, reaching out to help others even though it causes pain to himself. I loved this story, getting to know these characters, and even praying that things would work out. Susan May Warren has crafted a winner with NIGHTINGALE. This is a book you won’t want to miss. $12.99. 318 pages.

About Nightingale: Esther Lange doesn’t love her fiancĂ©—she’s trapped in an engagement after a mistaken night of passion.

Still, she grieves him when he’s lost in battle, the letters sent to her by the medic at his side giving her a strange comfort, so much that she strikes up a correspondence with Peter Hess, an Iowa farmboy. Or is he? Peter Hess is not who he seems. Indeed, he’s hiding a secret, something that could cost them both their lives, especially when the past comes back to life. A bittersweet love song of the home front war between duty and the heart...a battle where only one will survive.

Don’t miss book 1 in this stand-alone collection, Sons of Thunder.

About Susan May Warren : Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota , where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at: www.susanmaywarren.com.

Link to buy the book: http://www.christianbook.com/nightingale-susan-warren/9781609360252/pd/360252?event=AFFp=&

Contest info: The Letters From Home Giveaway!

Enter the Contest: Nightingale is about letters, the power of written correspondence to convey thoughts and emotions to those far away. And sometimes near. Letters are forever, they are something we savor and pull out to read again and again. They are often cherished and kept in a special place.

To celebrate the release of Nightingale, Susan would like you to write a letter. One grand prize winner will receive a Flip HD Camcorder. 5 runner's up winners will win a signed copy of Nightingale. There are two ways to enter the contest by writing letters.

1. Write a letter to a soldier. At the end of the contest we’ll print out and mail your letter for you.

2. Write a letter to a friend, loved one, family member, enemy. Tell them something you wished you’d told them before. Tell them you love them, or maybe how they touched your life. Perhaps an apology is in order or a thank you. Or perhaps you'd like to relate a funny tale or just share life. Whatever it is, submit it here along with your email address and we’ll send it for you.

Enter here or at the SHARE page on the Brothers in Arms website. Or simply click on the button to the right.

Blog tour schedule: (please post this link in your review post: http://www.litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/nightingale-by-susan-may-warren.html)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Costly Grace

Author: Jon Walker
Publisher: Leafwood
September 2010
ISBN 978-0-89112-676-8
Genre: Christian Living

Author Jon Walker has written a primer, if you will, on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic, The Cost Of Discipleship. And he has done a thorough job at clarifying the central message of Bonhoeffer’s book, smoothing out the rough spots and untangling most of the convoluted arguments one finds in The Cost Of Discipleship. In so doing, Walker has remained faithful to the message, summed up in Bonhoeffer’s own words: “It was grace because it cost so much, and it cost so much because it was grace.” Walker has also brought that message into our contemporary worldview, providing fresh illustrations and fresh applications without losing focus on the same core belief: “Jesus doesn’t present a plan for positive thinking or suggest seven simple steps to becoming his disciple. Jesus says, “Follow me,” and we follow a person.” (p. 39)

Author Jon Walker has done a remarkable job of reviving a classic on discipleship, and casting it into a form that is more readily received by the 21st century Western mind, and yet retains the spirit of The Cost Of Discipleship which made it a classic in the first place. If you’ve ever tried to read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic, and given up in frustration, this book is for you. In fact, I purchased the classic, The Cost Of Discipleship, and have read them side by side so that I might understand the message that both authors have been captivated by. If more believers could “catch” that message, and make it their own, we might again see revival in our land.

Jon Walker did a good job of reviving and clarifying a classic on the COST OF GRACE. 4 out of 5 Stars. 237 pages. $15.99.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Mail-Order Brides

Authors: Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, Therese Stenzel, Carrie Turansky
Publisher: Barbour Books
September 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60260-969-3
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Marriage arrives by Mail-Order—just in time for Christmas.

A Trusting Heart by Carrie Turansky—Annika Bergstrom’s twin sister is getting married, but she refuses to go with her groom until she knows Annika has plans for marriage. So Annika agrees to go west to be a mail order bride. But when she gets there, the groom is not the man she thought he was and she finds herself falling for his brother. Will she marry the man she’s promised to, or hold out for love?

The Prodigal Groom by Vickie McDonough—Jolie Addams is an orphan, promised to work as a maid for a lecherous old man. Desperate to escape, she promises to marry an unknown man in Nevada. But when her stage breaks down, she is forced to spend the night un-chaperoned with Clay Jackson. Now her intended refuses to marry her and she is forced to wed Clay. Is there any hope of love coming from such an awful beginning?

Hidden Hearts by Therese Stenzel—Elisabeth Lariby agrees to become a mail-order bride after her life crumbles around her. Zane Michaels ordered a mail-order bride but both of them hide their pasts and circumstances from the other. Will their marriage survive after the secrets are revealed?

Mrs. Mayberry Meets Her Match by Susan Page Davis—Amelia Mayberry has made a living as a matchmaker but now she wants to spend her sunset years in peace. There’s only one problem. An unsatisfied customer needs her to make amends. But what will it take for both Will Lennox Bailey and Amelia to find a happy ending?

This collection of four mail-order brides historical romances is definitely a sweet romance collection to read this holiday season. I especially liked one of the stories more than the others (as it usually goes) but I did enjoy all four of them.

Only one of the stories is actually about a match being made the way it was intended, but it was fun watching the others unfold and hoping the brides (and grooms) would realize their mistakes and find love with the right person.

If you are looking for a good historical romance collection to read this holiday season, then don’t miss CHRISTMAS MAIL-ORDER BRIDES. It will warm your heart. $7.99. 352 pages.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More Glimpses of Heaven

Author: Trudy Harris, RN
Publisher: Revell
November 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3440-4
Genre: Inspirational/nonfiction/memoirs

MORE GLIMPSES OF HEAVEN is a collection of true stories that are shared about when a person reaches the end of their life. There is a lot more to death than simply ceasing to live. Trudy Harris is a hospice nurse who has been with many people when they reached the end of life’s road and she has some beautiful, heart-warming stories to tell.

Stories about Jesus coming to meet with a little boy dying of leukemia. Or the old Jewish man who had a young Catholic girl come to tell him how to die. And many other stories.

MORE GLIMPSES OF HEAVEN is a book that you want to read with a box of Kleenex close by as it is a tear-jerker in places. But it is also full of stories of hope and grace, stories that allow the veil to be drawn back so we can see how God moves in even our deaths.

I lost both of my parents—my dad to cancer, and my mom to pneumonia—and I have my own true-life death stories to share. Stories that many folk don’t believe, and won’t believe unless they are able to experience them first hand. I believe that Ms. Harris truly has experienced these moments and if you are dying, or are losing a loved one, or maybe you’re just curious about what happens, then MORE GLIMPSES OF HEAVEN is a book to consider reading. A must have for any hospice nurse, a library, pastor, doctor, or family member or friend. $13.99. 204 pages.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Uncertain Hearts

Author: Andrea Boeshaar
Publisher: Realms
October 2010
ISBN: 978-1-61638-023-6
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Sarah McCabe has dreams of being a music teacher in Chicago. But when she gets there, she finds the position has been filled. At a loss what to do, she applies for a job as a nanny in Milwaukee, and moves to Wisconsin.

The four children are delightful, and Richard Navis is a big help. He’s determined to finish his indentureship to Captain Sinclair and then run the family farm. But the Captain is determined to keep him on. He needs him in many areas, and one of them is to help take care of Sarah. Not that Richard minds.

Richard can’t help but be captivated by the lovely Sarah, but he fears she might fall in love with the Captain. He has everything she wants. And she wants nothing that Richard holds dear. What will it take for Richard to win Sarah’s heart?

UNCERTAIN HEART is the second book in Ms. Boeshaar’s Season of Redemption series, but it easily stands alone. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book of the series, but UNCERTAIN HEART won my heart and I read through the entire book in a day.

Sarah, Richard, the children, and even the crusty German housekeeper had their own unique personalities and I couldn’t help but fall in love with them. Toward the end the story started dragging a bit and some of the events seemed a bit contrived to give length to the book, but otherwise it was a good read. I’m giving it 5 stars because 4.5 isn’t one of my options. $12.99. 295 pages.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas at Harrington's

Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Revell
October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1925-8
Genre: Inspirational/Christmas

Lena Markham has recently been released from serving an eight-year prison sentence for a crime she didn’t commit. She wants a fresh start in a new town, and the social worker set her up with a few ill-fitting second hand clothes, an apartment in the bad part of town, a job, and a bus trip to Minnesota.

But when Lena arrives she finds out that all is not perfect. Her apartment is a single bedroom in a boarding house with a shared bathroom. Her job is at a business that is going under and the owner refuses to hire her. She is down-right snotty.

Finally, Lena lands a job as a Ms. Santa due to a red second-hand coat. But can Lena keep her past a secret?

CHRISTMAS AT HARRINGTON’S is a beautifully written Christmas story that is sure to warm your heart this holiday season. I read through the book in one afternoon, and I know this will be a story that will stay with me, and one I will want to read each holiday season.

Ms. Carlson is a prolific author who knows how to write about characters that become alive on the pages of the book, and has plot lines that will stay with the reader for a long time after finishing the book. If you are looking for a Christmas book to give a loved one, or one to read for yourself this season, then CHRISTMAS AT HARRINGTON’S is a book that you will want to pick up. $15.99 hardcover. 170 pages.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

An Interview with Mary Ellis and Giveaway

leave a comment on the interview - or ask Mary a question - to be entered into a drawing to a copy of Mary's new book, Sarah's Christmas Miracle

Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write sweet inspirational romances set in the Amish community because a) I love to read them myself, and b) I love to study these wonderful people who put God first every day of their lives. They are the least self-absorbed, least self-serving people in America.

I love reading Amish books too. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Although I was only 6 weeks old, I suppose the 2nd best day of my life is when my parents picked me out of the 5 or 6 girl babies at the “children’s home” (county orphanage) many years ago. Although they have both passed on, my parents were wonderful loving people, who introduced me to the Lord as early as I can remember. Thanks, mom and dad!

How has being published changed your life?
Well, I can no longer write “when I feel like it.” (smile) Now I must sit down in front of that computer 5 days week. (and they are very long days, I might add.) I have adjusted my schedule to not write on Saturdays unless I’m under a tight deadline, and never on Sundays.And I got to give up my dayjob recently. Ask me in a year if I’m starving yet.

What are you reading right now?
I am reading “The Believer” by Ann H. Gabhart, a historical set in the Shaker Community.

What is your current work in progress?
Right now I’m working on a romance set in Holmes County, Ohio about a young woman who bites off more than she can handle as the local schoolteacher.

Sounds intriquing. What would be your dream vacation?
I have always longed to go to Italy—Tuscany region, in particular. Ever since I saw that movie, “Under a Tuscan Sun”, I’ve been enchanted with that area of the world. But no, I do not plan to buy a falling down house and try to restore it, without being able to speak a word of Italian.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
So far I have chosen Holmes County and Wayne County, Ohio for the settings for my Amish romances. I am familiar with these areas from my days as a sales rep, and they’re close (a little over an hour away) enough to plan plenty of getaway research trips.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
It would be Bono of the rock group, U2. Besides being an awesome singer, he’s a devout Christian. I would love to know how hard that has been in the rock-n-roll world to be a Christian.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love swimming and snorkeling, anything with water involved. I love floating around in a pool on an air mattress reading a book. (unfortunately, I don’t have a pool, so these magic moments are few and far between.)

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Time management—to not let blogs and email steal too much of my writing time.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Write the story in your heart first, then start “fixing it up”. Get the story down before you start fitting it to other (well-intentioned) people’s opinion of what a successful book looks like. If you let people read and critique your work chapter-by-chapter, when you get done, the book will “sound like” them, not like you.

What do you want readers to take away from the book?
That we must first have faith, must believe in ourselves if we want the world to take us seriously. Only when we truly believe our dreams can come true, can we make them happen.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Abbie Ann

Author: Sharlene MacLaren
Publisher: Whitaker House
April 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60374-076-0
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Abbie Ann Kane is the youngest of Jacob Kane’s three daughters. She works at the Kane’s store, teaches Sunday school, and leads the local women’s temperance union in promoting women’s rights and prohibition. She also helps abused women. Her causes aren’t popular and she keeps her brother-in-law, Sheriff Gabriel Devlin busy investigating threats directed at Abbie Ann.

Noah Carson used to run a successful shipworks in Connecticut until his business partner cheated him out of his share of the business and stole his wife. Now divorced, Noah is hoping for a fresh start, so he moves with his six-year-old son to the west shore of Michigan to join a window business.

An unexpected accident propels Noah into Abbie Ann’s life, and they are immediately attracted to the other. But Noah doesn’t want anything to do with a God that allows bad things to happen—and Abbie Ann is a very committed Christian woman. What will have to happen to bring this couple together?

ABBIE ANN is the third book in the Daughters of Jacob Kane series, but it easily stands alone. I enjoyed getting to know Abbie Ann and Noah (as well as his young son) and revisiting the other characters from other books.

Set on the shores of Lake Michigan, I know the area where the fictional town of Sandy Shores well, and it is one of my favorite areas, even in the winter, the season the book begins with. The author did an excellent job letting me feel the blustery wind and the heavy lake effect snow that accumulates fast.

If you are looking for a good historical book, pick up your copy of ABBIE ANN or any of the other books in this series. A preview of another book by Ms. MacLaren is included at the end. $9.99. 525 pages.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Title: GRACE
Author: Shelley Shepard Gray
Publisher: Avon Inspire
October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-199096-0
Genre: Inspirational/Amish

The Brenneman family is preparing for a family Christmas. They have no guests scheduled, so they are going to fill the rooms with family. But then they get an unexpected reservation—one sent my mail that traveled the country before arriving, and their guest, Levi is due to arrive that day. But before Levi arrives, a very pregnant Amish girl, Melody, comes, carrying a a gift certificate and swearing she made a reservation.

Melody wants to get away from well meaning family after her brutal attack resulting in her pregnancy. She is shunned by her community for making bad decisions. Levi is angry at the world. He lost his wife and baby tragically, and now the last place he wants to be is someplace that celebrates Christmas. He thought a bed and breakfast would be safe.

The Brenneman’s try to make the best of an uncomfortable situation, but it is hard when their daughter Katie has an attitude problem and is snippy to family and quests alike. What will it take for everyone to have a Merry Christmas?

GRACE is the fourth book in the Sisters of the Heart series. I was a bit confused at first, as I’ve read the other series, Seasons of Sugar Creek more recently, and I couldn’t seem to place the characters. After awhile I realized that this book went back to the first series I read by this author. As a result it took me quite awhile to get grounded in the Brenneman’s part of the story. Levi’s and Melody’s portions of the story flowed much more smoothly.

I enjoyed watching these two hurting characters heal and interact with the big, loving Brenneman family and did enjoy going on a deer hunt with the men and interacting with the women as they baked cookies. Discussion questions, a letter from the author, some yummy sounding recipes, and a chapter from Ms. Gray’s newest series Families of Honor are included at the end of the book. Highly recommended for a good holiday read. $12.99. 287 pages.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One Lane Bridge

Author: Don Reid
Publisher: David C. Cook
October 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6508-6
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

John David (J.D.) Wickman and his wife, Karlie, have been married twenty years. They live a good life, but when their family restaurant starts having problems, J.D.’s mother needs more attention, and their college-age daughter wants to drop out of college, the couple starts struggling.

Needing to clear his mind, J.D. decides to go driving around one night. Crossing a one lane bridge, he meets a family who is clearly destitute. The wife is bedridden and ill, and the husband, Paul Clem, and their daughter. The family is very friendly. Wanting to help them out, J.D. and Karlie decide to take groceries to them. But J.D. can’t find either the house—or the bridge! J.D. is flabbergasted by this, and knowing what he’s seen, determined to find the family again so he can help.

Karlie begins to worry that J.D. might be going crazy from the stress. After all, bridges don’t just up and vanish. J.D.’s best friend shares his wife’s opinion. Is J.D. going insane, or will he be able to unravel this mystery?

Don Reid is a member of the Statler Brothers Country music group, but he is also a author. The story has a lot of unexpected twists and turns in it, which will help to hold the readers attention.

ONE LANE BRIDGE is the second novel I read by Don Reid, and I really can’t say which one I liked best. The characters are multi-dimensional, and have their own individual quirks. The reader will come away from ONE LANE BRIDGE feeling more compassionate, more loving, and more willing to travel unknown paths. This is a good book to read during this holiday season. A discussion guide and an interview with Don Reid is included at the end of the book. $14.99. 295 pages.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lonestar Secrets

Author: Colleen Coble
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN: 978-0-7394-9860-6
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

Shannon Astor swore she’d never return to the town of Bluebird Crossing, Texas. Her parents were killed there and she lived with a harsh uncle. After Shannon gave birth to twins, and one died, Shannon took her remaining daughter and went to school to become a vet. Years later, Shannon was offered a job in Bluebird Crossing, and she returns home to her uncle’s ranch, now hers.

A body is found on the ranch, that of the old ranch hand, but the death appears to be unsuspicious. But that is the least of Shannon’s concerns. A local rancher, Jack, a man Shannon despises, has a daughter who is identical to Shannon’s daughter. Same birthdays. Same clinic. And Shannon’s daughter, Kylie is adamant that Faith is her twin sister. Shannon had never told Kylie she had a twin.

But secrets are hidden, lives are at stake, and Jack and Shannon battle for custody of Faith. Shannon wants both her children, and Jack is unwilling to give up the one he has. What will it take to reach a compromise?

LONESTAR SECRETS is the sequel to Lonestar Sanctuary though it easily stands alone. The characters in Lonestar Sanctuary are prevalent in this book though. I wanted to read this book since I read the first one, and Colleen Coble ranked high on my must-read authors list. But I didn’t care for this series as much as I did her other series or stand-alone books.

Shannon is a strong woman, suspicious, and believing everyone is out to get her, while hauling herself up on her own boot-straps. She is used to taking care of herself, but will grudgingly allow close friends access to her life. She doesn’t like Jack because he’s the son of a senator and he did her wrong once years ago when he was eighteen. I can understand her attitudes as I’ve known other single parents who respond the same way, so I’d say that Ms. Coble did her research there, she is quite realistic. But I didn’t grow to love Shannon the way I wanted to. Jack on the other hand was a sweetheart who responded kindly even while he stood firm on the issues he believed in. Fans of Ms. Coble won’t want to miss LONESTAR SECRETS. Available from your favorite booksellers. 321 pages.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Woman and Her Workplace

Author: Rosemary Flaaten
Publisher: Beacon Hill Press
September 2010
ISBN: 978-0834125230
Genre: Business & Economics

A WOMAN AND HER WORKPLACE helps women learn how to relate to the different women they work with. It will help you to discover (or rediscover) your purpose at work, to be an agent of change who builds relational bridges.

When women work outside the home, they quickly discover that one person they work with becomes a best friend, while another becomes a bitter enemy. Why is that? How can we keep for making enemies at work, and have a congenial relationship with everyone in the workplace?

A WOMAN AND HER WORKPLACE will show you how to allow God to transform your heart so that His love and care will flow through you to the people you are around. The author will show you how to recognize and stand against attitudes that wreak havoc on workplace relationships and help you replace them with strong biblical principles of humility, integrity, forgiveness, grace, and celebration. The author uses the biblical account of Esther as an example for us to follow.

A WOMAN AND HER WORKPLACE is a book that would have been beneficial to me when I first started working at a “Christian” university. I had worked in the secular field for years, and had no problems, but I was shocked how a “Christian” establishment has so many unkind, back-stabbing individuals in it. I did become best friends with one person there, while another became a bitter enemy, and that is sad. I would have enjoyed being able to learn from this book.

Even as a stay-at-home mom and a writer, I do come in contact with people that “rub me the wrong way.” So this book will be helpful as I try to show God working through me to everyone I come in contact with.

Each chapter could work as a devotional, starting with a story, then the Esther connection, then verses to study, an application, and three or four questions (with room to answer) for you to consider. It could work to study with a friend too. I highly recommend A WOMAN AND HER WORKPLACE to any woman who works outside the home (or comes into daily contact with others, if they do work from the home). $14.99. 192 pages.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blood Ransom

Author: Lisa Harris
Publisher: Zondervan Books
March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-310-31905-4
Genre: Inspirational/thriller

Joseph Komboli has managed to make a life for himself away from his remote village. But when he returns home to visit his family, he finds “Ghost Soldiers” already there. He watches from the forest as they kidnap the entire village, killing the elderly, but taking the rest to work as slaves in the mines. Then he overhears two men talking about a government take-over. Joseph takes pictures, but when his presence is discovered he loses the camera while trying to escape.

Natalie Sinclair is sympathetic to Joseph’s story, but doesn’t know what to do about it. The Dhambizao government denies all charges of the “Ghost Soldiers.” And since Joseph has no proof…

Dr. Chad Talcott is on sabbatical from his American medical practice, helping to take care of those in Dhambizao who need medical help. Chad doesn’t believe Joseph at first, but eventually evidence comes to light that indicates he might be telling the truth. When a high-ranking political figure involved, disaster nips at their heels. But can Chad and Natalie expose this modern day slave trade in time?

BLOOD RANSOM is the first book in Ms. Harris’ Mission Hope Series set in the African soil where she and her husband serve as missionaries. The prologue starts out with Joseph watching the horror in his village, and it is gripping. I had to keep reading to find out if he was able to prove what he saw.

I enjoyed reading this very well-written thriller, and getting to know the characters. Natalie is kind and considerate, and so is Chad, but he is a bit more skeptical than Natalie, and more willing to consider ulterior motives than she. I had to cheer for this couple as they took on a cause to help a village boy. If you are interested in a thriller, then BLOOD RANSOM is definitely a book to consider! It will hold your interest to the end. $14.99. 316 pages.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

An Interview with Roxanne Rustand - and a giveaway of her new book

Leave a comment to possibly win a copy of this book! Void where prohibited by law

Why do you write the kind of books you do?

I love writing about family relationships, as well as romance, suspense and mystery. I was able to use these elements through sixteen secular books, but truly came to the genre that touched my heart when I switched over to the inspirational market. Being able to include a faith element adds greater depth, gives me the chance to explore issues of faith with my characters, and really speaks to who I am.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

When each of our children were born!

How has being published changed your life?

It certainly made life busier! Before being published, I imagined there was just one peak to reach--a first sale. But beyond that moment are the stages of revision and editing, along with many deadlines. I have now left my day job, and look forward to having more time to devote to my writing. But beyond the fun and satisfaction of the writing process, writing has brought many new friends, the enrichment of constant study while researching details, travel, the opportunity to continually try to grow as a writer, and even the chance to evolve as a person. Throughout high school and college I was the most timid person you've ever seen, but now I've given many workshops at the national and regional level for RWA, and I really enjoy doing them! I've also taught quite a few classes online and have found that I really enjoy teaching--though with a deadline schedule that's often tight, it can be hard to find the time to do that as often as I’d like.

What are you reading right now?

Finished ROOM last night, DEAD AS A DOORNAIL last week, and THE HELP before that. I've got several books that I'm reading on my Kindle at any given time, which I can pick up in spare moments--my purchase of books increased exponentially when I bought that Kindle!

What is your current work in progress?

I have a book due in January for the six-author Love Inspired Rocky Mountain Heirs series. My book, #5 in the series, will be out November, 2011. As soon as its done, I will need to get busy on a book in my Big Sky Secrets series, which will be out 12/11.

What would be your dream vacation?

I adore the Rockies, and the scenic northwoods of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and these places often provide settings for my books. It woud fun to have a few weeks in Hawaii, though!

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

Frankly, my biggest joy is when I can spend time with our three children, who are all now in their twenties, and our two grandchidlren--and they would be my choice over anyone who might be famous.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

We have horses--I've had one horse or another since I was six years old, and can't imagine looking out of our windows and not seeing them in the pasture.
I love walking our dogs with my husband, on our quiet country roads. Photography is another joy--I've been having a lot of fun with a new 18-270 mm IS lens this fall! I love to travel. And finally, I love cookng for lots of company--the best times are when all the kids are home, with a host of their friends!

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

The Internet is a huge distraction. If I have trouble with a scene, I can easily find myself over on Craigslist looking for horses. A program call Mac Freedom has been a great help, because it totally locks me off the Internet for whatever length of time I set!

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Work hard, develop a tough skin, enter lots of contests and listen to advice. And never give up--because you'll never know if success might have been just around a corner!

Tell us about the book.

I've written seven romantic suspense novels for Steeple Hill's Love Inspired Suspense line. WINTER REUNION is my very first for Love Inspired. What a treat (and an exciting new challenge!) it was to write a story without a strong external suspense plot!

WINTER REUNION involves an emotionally and physically wounded Marine who left his marriage long ago, and is now back in his home town on medical leave. He comes back to Aspen Creek to meet the stipulations of his mother's will and finds he must not only work with his ex-wife, but must face a whole new set of challenges. Facing enemy fire is something he understands. But helping a houseful of elderly people--who were his late mother's final mission in life--truly tests his mettle! Winter Reunion is the first book in my Aspen Creek Crossroads series, and will be followed by SECOND CHANCE DAD in June, 2011.

What do you want readers to take away from the book?

I always hope that readers will take away an affirmation on the power of faith, as they follow the growth and healing of the hero and heroine during their journeys in the story.

My review:
Author: Roxanne Rustand
Publisher: Love Inspired
November 2010
ISBN: 978-0-373-87633-4
Genre: Inspirational/romance

Beth Carrigan has struggled to make a life of her own after her husband filed for divorce and marched off to serve with the military, unhampered by a wife. Now Beth runs a bookshop/coffee house, and all is good until she learns that her mother is planning to visit about the time that Dev is coming home on medical leave.

Then the lawyer calls, claiming Beth needs to be present for the reading of her ex-mother-in-law’s will. Just a formality… or is it? Suddenly, Beth is shocked to discover that she and Dev are forced to work together for six-months in order for Dev to inherit the family estate. And for her to own her bookstore, free and clear. If they refuse to work together, then the entire estate goes to a money-hungry uncle who already plans to raze the buildings and build condos.

Beth desperately wanted to keep her building, but Dev isn’t so sure about his portion—until he learns about the uncle. But after a messy divorce, is it even possible for Beth and Dev to make a cordial business relationship? Or is this an invitation for open warfare?

WINTER REUNION is Ms. Rustand’s first Love Inspired romance, but she is a romantic suspense writer with a huge fan base.

Beth is a realistic heroine, hurting and caring, and desperate to do what is right, even when it stretches her own schedule to the limits. Dev has devoted his life to the military, thwarting all his parents’ plans for him, determined to be his own person. The tension between them is high as neither want to bring up the past, but the past is something they must work through to achieve their goals. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book.

If this is the first time you’ve picked up a book by Ms. Rustand, you’re in for a treat. If you are already a fan of her suspense, check out WINTER REUNION. You won’t be disappointed. $5.50. 213 pages.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dawn's Prelude

Author: Tracie Peterson
Publisher: Bethany House
September 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0151-6
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Lydia Gray’s father gave her away in a business arrangement at the tender age of sixteen. Twelve years later, her husband finally dies. Lydia really doesn’t mourn the loss of her husband as he was a harsh, abusive man, and she is thankful to be free. Her stepchildren are materialistic, determined not to let Lydia see a penny of the fortune, and not even giving her a month to get out of the house.

Through some unforeseen events, Lydia and her step-children are shocked to learn that Lydia is the sole recipient of her late-husband’s fortune. But instead of providing security, instead war breaks out in the Gray mansion as the step-children fight to regain the inheritance for themselves.

When Lydia washes her hands of the situation and flees to Alaska to stay with an aunt, she leaves the financial situation in the hands of her lawyer. But as Lydia begins to find a new life in Sitka and a new love with Kjell Lindquist, her security is once again threatened as her past intrudes. What more will Lydia be forced to give up?

DAWN’S PRELUDE is the first book in the Songs of Alaska series, by Ms. Peterson. The story is really slow starting, as it begins with the funeral of Lydia’s husband, and the children arguing, while she sits in a corner and rocks. I was quite disappointed by the beginning as it didn’t do much to draw me into the story and I struggled to keep reading. Normally I’m engaged in Ms. Peterson’s books right away.

Lydia does begin to show some spunk and courage as the book progresses and by the time she actually decides to go to Alaska it gets interesting. But to me, this book didn't quite match my expectations. There are also some things that made me wonder if Ms. Peterson did the research she usually does. However-- If you are looking for a new historical fiction to read and like Ms. Peterson’s books, then you will want to pick up a copy of DAWN’S PRELUDE at your favorite bookseller. $13.99. 335 pages.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Highland Blessings

Author: Jennifer Hudson Taylor
Publisher: Abingdon Press
May 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4267-0226-6
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Akira MacKenzie was kidnapped on her wedding day by Bryce MacPhearson. Akira had been promised to marry the MacPhearson clan chief, but Bryce’s brother, the chief is hesitant to keep promises his now deceased father made. So he refused Akira as bride. Akira chose to marry a friend, a clansman, but someone she doesn’t love instead, but he said he couldn’t marry her.

Akira is frightened and angry when Bryce kidnaps her. He intends to force his brother to keep his promise to the MacKenzie clan and their father, but Bryce wants Akira for himself. When his brother is killed in a disput between the MacPhearsons and the MacKenzies, Bryce forces Akira’s hand into marriage.

But—is this enough to end a half-century-old feud between the two clans? Or is the anger and resentment going to continue despite Bryce’s efforts?

HIGHLAND BLESSINGS is the debut novel by Jennifer Hudson Taylor, but it won’t be her last. The story is engaging, with realistic characters and events that might have happened in Scotland in 1473.

Akira is spunky with a red-headed temper, and Bryce is a warrior, and as the son of a chief, used to getting his way. He doesn’t know how to relate to women other than to boss them around, something Akira wasn’t prepared to take. Much conflict. There are several bloody battle scenes. If you like Scottish historical romances with strong heroes and heroines, then you won’t want to miss HIGHLAND BLESSINGS. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $13.99. 300 pages.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Autumn's Promise

Author: Shelley Shepard Gray
Publisher: Avon Inspire
August 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-185237-4
Genre: Inspirational/Amish

Lilly Allen has been pregnant out of wedlock, miscarried and lost her baby and as a result, grew up a lot in the time her parents lived in Sugarcreek. She is a world away in differences from her old friends, and beginning to fit in well in the Amish community she lives in…or so she thinks.

Robert Miller is still mourning the death of his wife, Grace, from three years ago. His friends and family are trying to fix him up with other Amish widows, but the only woman Robert has eyes for is Lilly, a woman he would be shunned for loving.

When Robert and Lilly start to become more than friends, Lilly quickly discovers how she doesn’t exactly fit in with the community. Marriage with Robert could never happen. She would never become Amish—and he would never become Englisch. Is their love doomed before it even begins?

AUTUMN’S PROMISE is the third book in Ms. Gray’s Seasons of Sugarcreek series. The books are a continuation series from the beginning and I recommend reading all the books from start to finish, in order, as they don’t stand alone.

I was looking forward to reading Lilly’s story since Robert started going to the restaurant where she worked and watching her. And the story didn’t disappear. It did drag a little bit in places, but over all, it is well-written and I enjoyed getting to know Lilly better, and getting acquainted with Robert in this book.

If you enjoy reading Amish fiction then you won’t want to miss AUTUMN’S PROMISE or any of the other books in this series. Discussion questions and a prelude to the next book in the series, Grace, are included at the end of the book. $12.99. 310 pages.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More Pages From the Red Suit Diaries

Author: Ed Butchart
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1904-3
Genre: Inspirational/memoirs

MORE PAGES FROM THE RED SUIT DIARIES follows a real-life Santa as he shares hopes, dreams and child-like faith. Ed Butchart works as well as other personals, but even as, say a railroad engineer, he is always identified as Santa.

As Santa he has made impacts on many children’s and adults from all different walks of life, and even helped out when tragedy touched the families. Mr. Butchart shares story after story about how he has reached others, and how many people are convinced that he truly is Santa.

I usually avoid memoirs, but I did enjoy reading Mr. Butchart’s collection. He has a sense of humor that is evident in the pages of the book and it is touching how he does seem to care for the children and adults he meets, and even prays for them.

If you are looking for the “real Santa” and want to know stories from his experience, then look up MORE PAGES FROM THE RED SUIT DIARIES. It is available at www.amazon.com and other booksellers. $15.99 hardcover. 207 pages.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Seek Me With All Your Heart

Author: Beth Wiseman
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
October 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59554-824-5
Genre: Inspirational/Amish

Emily Detweiler and her family are looking for a new beginning. They have joined the Amish moving west to Colorado. The climate in Colorado is very different than what they are used to in Ohio, so to make ends meet, Emily is working at a salvage store while her father and brother install solar panels. Everything is going well until an ill-tempered Amish man walks into the shop…

David Stolzfus’s family moved west for the cheaper farmland. David is bound and determined to save his money so he can return to Lancaster County where his extended family and friends are. And he senses that his parents aren’t honest with him as the reason why they moved. He is attracted to the kind and beautiful Emily, but both of them are adamant they can never be more than friends.

Emily and David begin to fall in love, but Emily fears of his rejection of her once he knows her secret, and David fears the same thing of Emily. What will it take for them to see that the truth will set them free?

SEEK ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART is the first book of Ms. Wiseman’s newest Amish series, A Land of Canaan, but it does include some characters from her earlier books. I have read all of Ms. Wiseman’s books so far, and I think that SEEK ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART is the best books of hers I’ve read, hands down.

The characters are all very well developed, and real, and some of the secondary characters are just adorable. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Emily and David, and even a cranky Englisch lady named Martha. There is a secondary story line included in SEEK ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART which will be the main theme in book two, coming in Fall of 2011. Discussion questions and a few recipes are included at the end of the book. If you like Amish fiction, don’t miss SEEK ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART. $14.99. 310 pages.