Monday, February 28, 2011

An Interview With Susanne Fisher Woods and giveaway of The Search


Leave a comment to possibly win a copy of this book (include contact information). Void where prohibited by law

Q&A with Suzanne Woods Fisher
The Search (Book 3 in the Lancaster County Secrets

1. Your connection to the Plain People is through your grandfather. Is that family connection what drew you to writing about the Amish?

Definitely. I have always been intrigued by my Plain relatives, even as a child. They have a very gentle spirit, very warm and welcoming, and I admire their focus on a simple life.

2. The Amish are known to be utterly private. How do you do your research? Do you have Amish contacts? Do the Amish read your books? If so, what do they think about them?

After my first book (“Amish Peace”) was contracted, I went back to Lancaster County with some initial contacts who were very helpful—introducing me to their Amish friends. One contact led to another, to another. I have a policy of “full disclosure.” I introduced myself as a writer, explained my purpose, let these new Amish friends read my stories about them for corrections, for permission, and for protecting their identities (most, but not all, Amish would prefer not have their names in print). These friends have become very dear to me, and very helpful. It’s been a lovely perquisite of writing about the Amish—these families mean a great deal to me. And yes, they do read my books! A consistent remark I’ve heard is that they feel my work is closer to their reality. That is huge to me! I have wanted to portray these people realistically.

3. Amish fiction is a “hot genre” right now in the book industry. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a front-page article that cited its market share as high as 14%. Why do you think people are so intrigued by the Amish?

Their purposeful lifestyle seems like an antidote to modern pressures. So often my life feels like this: “Whoosh! A sled without a rider!” It isn’t easy to slow down, simplify life, to focus on what’s truly important. It takes a lot of intention! It seems as if the more technology that is in our life, the more stress we face. One example: for all of the benefits of a cell phone, it also means you can never take a break. You’re always “on call.” It takes work to manage a cell phone so that it isn’t managing you.

4. Your books have sold over 200,000 copies in a year's time. How would you explain this success? Has your life changed?

Isn’t it amazing?! I don’t know how to explain it…other than thanking God for every reader. I think my publishing house, Revell, deserves a huge chunk of credit for my success. Beautiful covers, great advertising support and exposure, terrific editing. And as for my life changing…yes! In wonderful ways…I’ve connected to readers who have become friends. And I am grateful for this opportunity to write, and to have a subject matter that I find endlessly fascinating.

5. In The Search, one of the main characters leaves behind her non-Amish lifestyle and becomes Amish. How often does someone convert to the Amish in real life? Why does the Amish life seem so appealing?

I think I’ve read that there are only about fifty converts to the Amish church. It is very, very hard to become Amish: learning Penn Dutch, living without electricity, and then there’s an aspect to Amish thinking that would be extremely difficult for a non-Amish person to grasp--the group is more important than the individual. That has both a spiritual element to it, as well as a practical one. But a lot of people think they want to become Amish…until they spend a weekend a car heater in January (not to mention…no car!).

6. One of the main themes in The Search and the other books in the ‘Lancaster County Secrets’ series is the importance of faith, family, and community. Do you think the Amish do a better job of protecting those values than the rest of American society? Why or why not?

I do believe they have a handle on protecting what is important—church is central to their lives. Family (including extended family) is cherished. They do very well with prioritizing those values…and they have chosen to avoid threats to family life (television, computers, even telephones in the house—they believe the telephone interrupts family time. So true!).

7. You have four kids, you raise puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, you have five published books, eight more are contracted. You must have a writing regimen! When do you find time to write?

I am always writing. Nearly always! Promotion is a big side of this book gig—answering e-mails, participating in interviews, public speaking, keeping up with social media. Everything gets done…but it’s a pretty busy life right now. I don’t have much time for just having coffee with friends. As for the puppies…they are a joy! You just can’t take life too seriously with a puppy tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth. Taking a dog on a daily walk helps me slow down, enjoy nature, exercise, relax.

8. How long does it take for you to write a book? Where do your ideas come from? Which book is your favorite?

I wish I had about six months per book, but it ends up being about 3-4 months per book. As for ideas, I start out with a basic plan in a book and toss some ideas out to a few trusted first readers to get feedback. Usually, one thought leads to another…and suddenly, the idea becomes a book plot…and then a book. As for my favorite book, “Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World” will always hold a spot in my heart. It was my foundation for writing credible fiction about the Amish. And as for favorite novels…it seems that whatever I’m working on becomes my very favorite. The characters feel real to me…I’m always sad when a book is finished and I have to say goodbye to my imaginary people. (Does that make me sound like I’m on the brink?!)

9. What’s next for you?

I have new releases coming out later this year: “Amish Values for Families” releases in August—it’s a spin-off from “Amish Peace.” And then some fiction books follow behind: “A Lancaster County Christmas” comes out in October…then two back-to-back series follow (still unnamed). I do know that they will all take place in Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania. Different characters, same town. All good!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Secrets of Harmony Grove


Title: SECRETS OF HARMONY GROVE
Author: Mindy Starns Clark
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7369-2625-6
Genre: Inspirational/Amish/suspense

Sienna Collins’ life was falling down around her ears. She had just landed a huge deal with a firm in Boston, but she reports back to her job to find herself suspended without pay because she is under investigation by the government for crimes she knows nothing about.

When Sienna’s ex-boyfriend calls from Pennsylvania, sounding confused and spouting off nonsense, Sienna decides to go to the bed and breakfast she owns to see what is going on. What she discovers is that everything is not as it seems and the truth unearths long-held family secrets that threaten her livelihood, her beliefs and her life.

I have long loved Ms. Clark’s books, and was excited when I got this one in the mail to review. I had read a previous book of hers set in Amish country, and looked forward to reading SECRETS OF HARMONY GROVE. It didn’t disappoint.

Sienna is a realistic heroine, and written in first person, I got to know her very well. I recognized Mrs. Clark’s voice from previous books, but Sienna is her own unique character. Readers of suspense and Amish fiction won’t be disappointed by this book. I figured out some of the plot before it was revealed, but not all of it, and I really enjoyed the way it all was tied together. Bravo! I highly recommend this book. $13.99. 352 pages.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Angel Harp


Title: ANGEL HARP
Author: Michael Phillips
Publisher: Faithwords
January 2011
ISBN: 978-0-446-56771-8
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

Marie Buchan’s husband died when she was in her early thirties. Widowed at such a young age was hard, and Marie pulled herself into a shell rather than to allow herself to get involved with another man. Now, Marie is forty, and she realizes that life is passing her by. It was too late for some dreams—after all, she wouldn’t grow old with her husband by her side, but she couldn’t let other dreams die.

One of the dreams she shared with her husband was a love all Celtic music and books, so Marie books a trip to Scotland, dreaming of playing her harp on some windblown coastal bluff. Marie plans to avoid the cities, visiting instead small villages that catch her interest. But in one of the villages, the music of Marie’s harp catches the residents’ fancy, and she is unexpectedly drawn into a love triangle involving a local curate and the duke.

The two men used to be boyhood friends, but they were estranged over the love of another woman. Now it seems history is about to repeat itself, with Marie in the midst of it. Her involvement leads to a controversy over a death—and Marie must decide—what is the truth, and with who will she cast the lot of her future?

Michael Phillips has been a name I’ve been familiar with for most of my life as he rewrote Victorian novelist George MacDonald’s books. But this is the first book I’ve read by him alone. I was fascinated by the concept of a widowed harpist traveling to the United Kingdom in an effort to live her dream.

Written in first person, I instantly grew to know Marie, and I sympathized with her quickly. I wished I could sit down and listen to her play her harp music, and lose myself in the magic. Mr. Phillips is a master at making settings come alive and he drew me into the story. I could almost feel and smell and taste what Marie did. If you like contemporary fiction, you won’t want to miss ANGEL HARP. $16.99. 440 pages.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Me Project


Title: THE ME PROJECT: 21 Days to Living the Life You’ve Always Wanted
Author: Kathi Lipp
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
February 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7369-2966-0
Genre: Inspirational/women’s issues

It’s time to pursue your dreams…

As women we all have the dreams that we lived with all our lives. Dreams that take us beyond the working mother who picks up dinner at the golden arches and then goes home to do laundry and help with school work. But even looking at college catalogs is so overwhelming. How can we make time in our busy schedule to do the things we want to do—or that God is giving us the desire to do?

Ms. Lipp suggests buying a journal, a really pretty one that you won’t mind using forever, and writing out all your goals. Even if they seem drivel to you, such as getting a weekly pedicure. But don’t limit yourself to the small stuff. Write down the big dreams, like learning to fly a helicopter, or bungy-jumping from a bridge (or whatever.) Paint a room. Start a garden. You know your dreams. My son calls this making a “Bucket List.”

After you list all your goals, then pick an easy one, to give you a sense of accomplishment. Lets say, you chose paint the bathroom, and if your like me, it’s been on the to-do list forever. Go wash the walls down, pick your colors and start. Imagine how good you’ll feel when you finish…

In THE ME PROJECT you’ll learn

>How to discover or rediscover the unique plan God has for your life

>How to connect with a group of like-minded women who want to make their goals a priority.

>How to change your attitudes toward your roles in life as well as how you approach your goals.

If you have a goal and don’t know how to reach it, or if you are looking for God’s help in making the most of your life, then THE ME PROJECT is the place to begin. $12.99. 215 pages.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Reluctant Prophet


Title: THE RELUCTANT PROPHET
Author: Nancy Rue
Publisher: David C. Cook
October 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6496-6
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

Allison Chamberlain is forty-two, but she’s semi-content in her life driving a horse-drawn carriage around the streets to entertain tourists. But that Sunday morning, everything changed. Allison is sitting in church paying only a tiny bit of attention to the minister when everything changed. God told her to get a Harley.

Allison was pretty sure she hadn’t heard right. After all, she’d never wanted a Harley, never rode a Harley, and didn’t intend to start anytime soon. But that still small voice wouldn’t relent. Go buy a Harley.

And even though she’s been a pew warmer for seven years, the word prophet would have never made it to the short list of possible career choices…

THE RELUCTANT PROPHET is the first adult book I’ve read by Nancy Rue. I was a bit put off at first by the thickness of it, really, five hundred pages? So it took a bit of courage to pick up the book and open it to chapter one. This wouldn’t be a read that took a matter of hours. But I opened it up and plunged in.

Written in first person, I was instantly put into Allison’s point of view. And while some of the things she witnessed was—um, gross—some of it was pretty funny. I enjoyed Ms. Rue’s word pictures, descriptions, and the sense of humor.

THE RELUCTANT PROPHET is still a thick book, and it does start a bit slow, but it packs a message that every reader should hear—that one person’s response to God’s call can change a community forever. I also enjoyed the Afterwards portion at the end of the book which includes discussion questions and “about Magdalene.” This book will stay with you for a long time. And possibly spur you to listen to what God might be saying to you. $14.99. 500 pages.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Whisper on the Wind


Title: WHISPER ON THE WIND
Author: Maureen Lang
Publisher: Tyndale
September 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4143-2436-4
Genre: Inspirational/historical/WWI

Isa Lassone knew the risks, but she still took them. She smuggled contraband letters and newspapers from the Allied world into Belgium while it was occupied by German forces. Her goal is to simply rescue her old nanny and her family and take them to freedom. But it isn’t quite that simple.

Edward Kirkland is the man Isa loves; he’s the son of her old nanny. But when offered freedom, Edward refuses because he’s running an underground newspaper—one that could cost his life if he’s ever discovered. He feels that in his own small way he is fighting the German rule by keeping hope in freedom alive. Edward’s mother and brother both refuse to leave without Edward. And Isa refuses to leave without him.

Soon Isa finds herself drawn into Edward’s dangerous double life. And as the German’s close in, Edward realizes he’s put more at risk than he planned…

I love Ms. Lang’s historical books and looked forward to reading WHISPER IN THE WIND—and it didn’t disappoint. Full of romance, history, intrigue, and action, this is a book sure to please readers of historical romance, or WWI stories.

The story is loosely centered around a real newspaper in Belgium during the war, and at the end of the book, Ms. Lang gives the history and the truth about which excerpts from the newspaper were real, and which were the figment of her imagination.

All I can say is WHISPER IN THE WIND didn’t disappoint and the dramatic, suspenseful ending had me turning pages into the wee hours of the night. $12.99. 410 pages.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Love Remains


Title: LOVE REMAINS
Author: Kaye Dacus
Publisher: Barbour Books
August 2010
ISBN: 978-1602609891
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Zarah Mitchell has worked at the Middle Tennessee Historic Preservation Commission for fourteen years. But when Bobby Patterson returns home, Zarah finds herself facing a history that could ruin her life. Bobby was her first love and the reason why her dad kicked her out.

Bobby Patterson has spent the last decade out west, working in criminal investigation. Now he’s home leading a task force investigating a potential real estate fraud associated with the Commission.

With Bobby’s and Zarah’s grandmothers trying to match them up, Bobby is tempted to take advantage of that to investigate Zarah’s involvement in the fraud. But when Zarah learns the truth about Bobby’s position it could destroy her dreams--again.

LOVE REMAINS is the first book in Ms. Dacus’ Matchmaker series. The book starts out with five elderly women worrying in church about one of their peers becoming a great-grandmother before they do. They determine to see if they can’t marry of their grandchildren before their friend has great-grandchildren.

The book reads fun; I loved some of Ms. Dacus’ descriptive phrases she used in the book. I also enjoyed the bits of klutziness that Zarah displayed around Bobby. It helped to make her a much more real character. The ending is very sweet. If you like contemporary romances you won’t want to miss Kaye Dacus’ LOVE REMAINS. $12.99. 320 pages.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Angel Sister and giveaway


leave a comment to be entered to possibly win a copy of this book. Include contact information. Void where prohibited by law.

Title: ANGEL SISTER
Author: Ann H. Gabhart
Publisher: Revell
February 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3381-0
Genre: Inspirational/historical/women’s fiction

Kate Merritt is fourteen years old, but during the Great Depression, she feels solely responsible for the entire running of her household. Her father is a drunk, her mother suffers from depression, and her sisters are fragile. Kate takes on the responsibility of making sure her drunk father is cleaned up and put to bed at night.

When Kate finds a little girl, Lorena, abandoned on the front steps of the church where Kate’s grandfather is pastor, Kate takes her in, becoming her Angel Sister. Unfortunately, this act of kindness causes great controversy with both Kate’s family and the church.

As the drama escalates, secrets are revealed. Could Lorena be just what her family needs? Or will her presence cause more problems than they solve?

I have read one of Ms. Gabhart’s previous books (The Seeker) and the tone and voice in both of these books are very different. I enjoyed The Seeker immensely and hoped to enjoy this book.

It did take a bit of a struggle for me to get into the book, but once I got past the spot that initially stopped me I enjoyed the story. The book is full of unique characters, all well developed, character that I both liked and disliked. Kate herself was amazingly strong for a fourteen year old. The story has a beautifully written ending, one that brought tears to my eyes. $14.99. 410 pages.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Talking with God in Old Age


Title: TALKING WITH GOD IN OLD AGE
Author: Missy Buchanan
Publisher: Upper Room Books
February 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8358-1016-6
Genre: Inspirational/aging

TALKING WITH GOD IN OLD AGE starts out with a meditation where they discuss the normalness of cornflakes, about being frugal, about pain, grumpy moments, dignity (or other problems) and how the older person feels about them after living a full life. It is followed by a Psalm that relates to the passage somewhat. The print is large, making it easier for the older person to see.

Seniors that are struggling with aging and the situations that come along with it (such as diagnosis of disease, eye-sight, money issues, etc will find comfort in discovering that they are not alone and the Bible does address these issues in the most loved book of the Bible, the Psalms.

If you are an older adult, minister to them, or work with them, then you will find TALKING WITH GOD IN OLD AGE to be a beneficial guide. It captures the essence of the journey of frailty, yet with a glimpse of hope. I think this book would be beneficial to health care providers (to enable them to sympathize), to libraries in both churches and nursing homes, and to anyone who ministers specifically to the elderly (the senior saints in churches, nursing home ministries, etc.) An easy read, this book is sure to be some comfort to the hurting. This is not a devotional, and not meant to be one. $12.00. 96 pages.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Billion Reasons Why


Title: A BILLION REASONS WHY
Author: Kristin Billerbeck
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
February 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59554-791-0
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Katie McKenna has given up on love. So she plans to marry a practical man, leave all her worldly desires behind, and live a quiet life. Since moving to California she gave up her ministry to give hope to the hopeless, takes a job as a special education teacher, and the most excitement she has is when one of her students spits sweet potatoes in her face.

Luc DeForges bought Katie’s daddy’s business years earlier—and made it an overwhelming success, something with Katie has never quite forgiven him for. Not only that, but he publicly humiliated her by refusing her proposal of marriage at his graduation from college. So when Luc waltzes into her life demanding that she sing at his brother’s wedding and buys her way home, Katie isn’t quite sure what to think.

Her fiancé seems to be okay with it though, so Katie flies off in Luc’s private jet—but going home isn’t at all what Katie thought it would be like. What if God doesn’t want Katie to settle, but to experience life to its fullest?

A BILLION REASONS WHY is a book by Ms. Billerbeck that I looked forward to reading since I heard about the idea being contracted. I’ve long been a fan of her writing and have enjoyed all her books so far. While A BILLION REASONS WHY lived up to my expectations, it seemed a bit flatter than some of her previous books.

Katie is a free-spirit, in love with the 40’s, swing dancing and waltzes, the sound and the floaty dresses. Luc is the man she loved forever, the one who broke her heart into a billion pieces, leaving her to put it together the best she can and date someone “safe.” But safe isn’t love, and Katie has to discover that for herself. I did enjoy A BILLION REASONS WHY but it didn’t leave me completely satisfied. Discussion questions and an interview with Kristin Billerbeck are included at the end. $14.99. 320 pages.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Life Ready Woman and giveaway!!!


leave a comment (and your email address) to be entered for a chance to win a copy of this book. Void where prohibited by law.

Title: THE LIFE READY WOMAN
Authors: Shaunti Feldhahn and Robert Lewis
Publisher: Broadman and Holman
January 2011
ISBN: 978-14336-7112-8
Genre: Inspirational/women’s issues

THE LIFE READY WOMAN is a book for women who try to live godly lives and follow the Bible’s specific precepts. It is also for women who want to be good stewards of the gifts God has given them. To the extent that we live in accordance with God’s design and callings for us, we’ll thrive.

THE LIFE READY WOMAN is divided up in to two distinct parts. The first five chapters are about God’s desire context for our lives. In these first chapters, the authors will help us identify the mold that the world tries to fit us into and contrast that with the amazing design and callings that God created for us. The book also takes a look at what, as women, we might believe about femininity and contrasts it to what God has to say.

In part two, the book will show us, how we personally can thrive in a do-it-all world. How you are individually designed? What are your unique callings and circumstances and how do they help you arrange your life? And what steps of faith do you need to take to reach God’s heart?

THE LIFE READY WOMAN is a part of a series that includes a DVD set for women to study either on their own – or, preferably, in a small group setting. The authors say that the book can be studied on its own, but they recommend it with the DVD. The book was originally published, in part, by Robert Lewis as The New Eve.

THE LIFE READY WOMAN will help you think purposely about subjects you may have never thought about before. No matter where you are, no matter your background, or your faith beliefs, you can read this book to help you prepare for life. The book includes thoughts, questions, sayings and questions to answer in little blocks set apart from the rest of the chapter. $14.99. 230 pages.

About The Life Ready Woman:

Are you a ‘Doing it all’ or ‘Do what matters’ woman?

Whether a stay at home; or working mom, an airplane-hopping executive, an empty-nester caring for multiple generations or a single juggling high demands of career and personal life, today's fast-paced modern world leaves women gasping for balance. We as modern Christian women want to look to the Bible for guidance on how to manage our lives -- but because the world of women looks so different today than it did when the Bible was written, it is hard to find chapter and verse that seems to apply to our situation today.

Thankfully, God has given us exactly that timeless, unchanging guidance for how to find peace, clarity, and God's best for our lives once we know where to look! The Life Ready Woman: Thriving in a Do-It-All World, reveals a profound biblical roadmap for how each of us can find the abundant life we are longing for, rather than the stressful, torn, how-do-I-balance-it-all life we often feel like we are trying to keep up with today. Actually being a LifeReady Woman means that you are clear about your life, bold in your faith, and able to find God’s best for you, and the end result will be that you not only survive but thrive in our do-it-all world.

God has given every wonderfully unique woman different skills and abilities, different desires, and different temperaments -- and every woman around the planet and through the ages is certainly living in different circumstances. But no matter what a woman’s life looks like, the Bible says that God has an individual mission and plan that He’s carefully designed for each of us. And He wants us to find it. Starting January 2011, The Life Ready Woman and the Life Ready Woman Video Series will help every wonderfully unique woman to thrive as she identifies and courageously pursues God's unique design and callings for her. LifeReady Woman puts you on a roadmap to make decisions that will lead to relief, delight, and fulfillment instead of regret.

Link to Buy Book:

http://www.amazon.com/Life-Ready-Woman-Do-All/dp/1433671123?ie=UTF8&tag=sprightly-20&

Embed Code for The Life Ready Woman video:

Link:http://mediasuite.multicastmedia.com/player.php?p=s3k79xhw

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About Shaunti Feldhahn:

Shaunti Feldhahn is a former Wall Street analyst, best-selling author of the book For Women Only, national speaker, and regular commentator in the media. She has been featured on The Today Show, PBS, TNT and Fox News- to name a few. You can learn more about her many activities by visiting her website Shaunti.com or get some great mom advice from her at MomLifeToday.com. She and her husband live with their two young children in Atlanta , Georgia and enjoy every minute of living at warp speed.

About MomLife Today:

At MomLife Today you will enjoy community with real moms experiencing every age and every stage of MomLife—right alongside you.

Moms need friends we can walk through life with, but more importantly we need friends who will encourage us and equip us in our role as moms in an honest and transparent way … and that’s just what you’ll find by becoming part of our MomLife Today community! We believe that every MOMent counts!

We admit it, being a mom 24/7 is not easy. Rather than lament the role of motherhood, however, we choose to embrace that role and learn from each other how to make it through each day with the right attitude. Come share the joys, sorrows, insanity, and special moments of motherhood with us as we live it and candidly write about it…we’ll have lots of fun along the way! Join us, and do tell… What’s happening in your MomLife Today? www.momlifetoday.com


About The Weekend To Remember Get-Away Giveaway:

In celebration of Shaunti Feldhahn’s Life Ready Woman, MomLife Today is giving away 2 Weekend To Remember Gift Packs and much more!

Not only, is MomLife Today helping promote Life Ready Woman, but they are thrilled to announce that Shaunti will be joining MomLife Today as a regular contributor!!!

Weekend To Remember Getaways offer marriage-changing principles that you can take home and apply to your daily lives to strengthen your marriage. Whether you are newly engaged or have been married for 50 years, you will find value in the tools provided at the getaway.

Don’t miss this opportunity to receive a conference registration for you and your spouse … and more! MomLife Today will be randomly selecting NINE lucky recipients to receive one of these great gifts:

2 Weekend To Remember Get Away conference registrations for two. $259 value each pair (Two couples will receive this.)
2 Life Ready Woman DVD packs. $149 value each (Two different people will receive this gift.)
5 Life Ready Woman books. (Book will go to 5 people.)

To enter click one of the icons below then tell your friends. Winner will be announced on March 2nd on the MomLife Today website.

MomLife Today provides encouragement, advice and resources to help YOU with your daily Momlife! Because…every MOMent counts!

Blog Tour Schedule: http://litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/life-ready-woman-by-shaunti-feldhahn.html )

Thursday, February 17, 2011

In a Heartbeat


Title: IN A HEARTBEAT: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving
Authors: Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy
Publisher: Henry Holt
August 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9338-4
Genre: Nonfiction

You’ve often heard the saying, “Its better to give than to receive.” But how many of us absolutely believe that with no question asked? The Tuohy’s in IN A HEARTBEAT shows us how by an innocent gesture, a seed was planted that enabled them to give to a homeless boy a home and a family.

IN A HEARTBEAT teaches the readers some valuable lessons such as:

. If you can’t give something big, give something small.
. “Get one, give one”—when you receive something, give part of it away.
. Giving doesn’t mean enabling—before you give intelligently, you have to learn the value of a dollar.
. Generosity starts at home.

IN A HEARTBEAT is the moving true story of this amazing American family that not only had it all, but they offered it all to help a boy in need. This is the true story of the family featured in The Blind Side.

Included in the middle of the book are photos of the family from when Leigh Anne and Sean were babies all the way up to their children grown. I found this book interesting and applaud the Tuohy’s for making a difference in someone’s life. If each of us would do something for someone in need, the world would be a better place. $24.00 hardcover. 269 pages.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stars in the Night


Title: STARS IN THE NIGHT
Author: Cara C. Putman
Publisher: Summerside Press
July 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60936-011-5
Genre: Inspirational/historical/romantic suspense

Audra Shaeffer has just landed her first chance to go to court as an attorney. But then her sister, Rosemary, fails to make a phone call home from Hollywood. Worried, Audra talks her parents into allowing her to go to Hollywood to see if Rosemary is okay. She throws away her chance to work as an attorney and buys a ticket to Hollywood.

Robert Garfield is a B-list actor. He dreams of making it to the big time, but it seems unlikely, even though his ex-wife is making great strides. He agrees to jump through the hoops his agent demands, but it seems unlikely any of them will work.

Robert and Audra are attracted when they meet, but Audra puts Robert off to find her sister. Unfortunately, her sister has been murdered…and now Audra wants to solve the murder. She joins a Hollywood Victory Caravan to get to know those who knew Rosemary best—the stars. But is Audra flirting with her life?

Set during WWII, STARS IN THE NIGHT focuses on the movie stars, the ones who went to sell war bonds to the American public, those that are struggling to make it in the dog-eat-dog world of Hollywood. STARS IN THE NIGHT doesn’t set a pretty or glamorous picture of a struggling movie star in the 1940s. Small apartments, working at unattractive jobs, and other things that those desperate to succeed did in order to get a small chance at a part in a movie. Ms. Putman obviously did her research on what it took…or even takes…to break in there.

The suspense is immediate, from the moment the book starts in the prologue. I had to keep reading to figure out who did it, though I had my suspicions early on. I wanted to see if I was right. Audra and Robert are realistic characters, hurting and flawed, though struggling to do what is right. If you like historical suspense, then don’t miss STARS IN THE NIGHT. $12.99. 354 pages.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lost Island Smugglers


Title: LOST ISLAND SMUGGLERS
Author: Max Elliot Anderson
Publisher: Port Yonder Press
July 2010
ISBN: 9781935600022
Genre: Inspirational/youth/boys

Sam Cooper’s dad is moving again—this time down to Florida. Sam’s dad, a scientist, has to study the thousand islands to see if being habituated is destroying the ecosystem. Sam isn’t real thrilled about moving until he meets Tony and Tyler. Tony’s dad is really rich and he owns a marina and pays for all three boys to have scuba diving lessons. Plus he takes them out on a submarine.

After Sam gets his scuba diving license, Tony and Tyler want to go scuba diving in the ocean but Sam’s dad says no since no adults will be there. Sam sneaks out and goes with his friends. But then a storm blows up…and their boat breaks apart. Will the boys even survive? And if they do, how will their parents find them?

LOST ISLAND SMUGGLERS is book one in Mr. Anderson’s A Sam Cooper Adventure series. I was introduced to Mr. Anderson’s books back when my boys were reluctant readers and I completely credit him for teaching them that books can be fun. My son Michael still has every book Mr. Anderson ever wrote in his collection.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know eleven year old Sam. He is a fun character, and he wants to obey his parents, but he also longs for the freedom his new friends have.

If you have boys, especially boys that don’t like to read, then you won’t want to miss LOST ISLAND SMUGGLERS. It will be sure to be a favorite for your sons (and daughters). The action in this book is nonstop, drawing the reader in and keeping his attention all through the story. A yummy sounding dessert and directions for building a shelter are included at the end of the book. $12.95. 270 pages.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Enjoy Valentines Day -- Avoid the Blues


Enjoy Valentine’s Day—Avoid the Blues

© Fred R Lybrand, Author of Glaen

Jeremy visited a florist’s shop which showed a large sign that read, “Say It With Flowers.” “Wrap up one rose, please,” Jeremy demanded of the florist’s assistant. “Only one?” she enquired frowning. “Ah yes just the one,” Jeremy replied. “I’m a man of very few words.”

Market researchers deduced from their survey that eight million Americans send Valentine’s Day gifts to themselves.

Valentine’s Day is a day of amazing impact. Almost everyone who plays up the day experiences the “Blues,” you know, feeling sad about a loss or failure. Blues music grew up as a way to cope with the plight of such feelings and literally tries helping the Blues listener to “feel good about feeling bad.” Unfortunately, nothing takes the Valentine’s Blues away except time and the hope that next year will be better.

So, what are the Valentine’s Blues and how can we avoid them? The Valentine’s Blues come because of disappointment in one of two ways.

The first kind of blues comes when you don’t have a Valentine on Valentine’s Day. It starts in early February, building up to the “big day”—hitting rock bottom on February 14.

No matter how you pitch it, it makes you feel left out and unloved on some level if everyone else is getting flowers, going out for the evening, or being treated special. It stinks to feel left out. No wonder eight million Americans send themselves a Valentine’s Day gift. However, it doesn’t seem so bad on February 15th once the stores move on to Easter decorations.

The second kind of blues comes to those who celebrated Valentine’s in a big way, only to start clutching the disappointment the very next day (and the days to come) because it’s back to life as usual. When it comes to love and romance, “usual” is not what we want.

The blues can be worse for the second group because they’re long-term. We’ve all experienced it in some way or another: the excitement of Valentine’s Day, the romance, and the presents, similar to Christmas, but all about romantic love.

We humans like to feel special, and on that special day there is nothing more exciting than the build-up to the event—one incredible evening, just you and that one person. The two of you in love and enraptured with all that special day could offer.

Fast forward to the next day or two. How do you feel? The next day you are smiling for a moment at the memory of a day when his/her attention was only on you. But now, back to work, and a lurking feeling of sadness is peering over the fence at you. Will it be a whole year before you have another night like that?

You try to be logical and sober-minded, telling yourself that it was a good memory to bask in, and yet you know deep down something is amiss. Something is wrong. Finally, you scream inside (and try quickly to forget it), “Why can’t we be in love all year long?”

The Cure for the Valentine’s Blues

The blues you experience are invented, because the Day itself was invented. It’s marketing, that’s all. Yet, with Valentine’s Day there is something more—it is a day built on romance. Oddly enough, romance often works counter to true love.

Consider what romance is in reality. My friend Robert Fritz observed that, “Romance is the suspension of the norm.” Think about it this way: romance is where we clean up (don’t smell like ourselves), dress up (don’t look like ourselves), and go somewhere special (and don’t act like ourselves)! None of this is bad as long as you realize it is not real, that it is just a game. Okay, it’s a fun game, but it is still just a game. True love happens in the “norm.” It happens in the real world of your daily experiences.

In reality, I don’t believe there is much “real” about romance as it is commonly pitched. In truth, it damages both our dating relationships and our marriages to make romance itself the goal. The romantic standards can get so high that we can’t appreciate the real things right in front of us. Romance can be an equal opportunity destroyer—harmful for both men and women.

I’ve known men whose romantic standards were so high they would never go out on dates, or they wouldn’t ask the woman out again. I’ve also known women who live for the fairy tale wedding, but in time divorce to seek out the wedding-fantasy all over again.

The cure for the Valentine’s Blues is to simply recognize that it is a made up day. If you don’t have a special someone in your life on one particular day, why should it feel different than the day after? If you want to play the romance game, then play it, but remember it really is just a game. Pretending the Day itself proves or influences the love in your life, however, will really suck you into despair most of the time.

If you have a special someone, it is far better to find the love in every day. The day-to-day normal world is with you all the time in terms of work and laundry and colds and tragedies and funny moments. This is where true love grows and binds and matures. If you seek love in the suspension-of-normal world of romance, then you can only experience the diminishing return of, “But what have you done for me lately?” Each experience must top the last one when you fall into a quest to escape from life. True love is not an escape; it is nourishment to see us through the mundane parts that make up our daily lives.

Pause for a moment and notice that a love relationship is about building a life together. Tell the truth, both the good and bad, and work through it together. If you want to play the game, then dress up and go out! Pretend you are rich, or just met, or just got back from being a contestant on Survivor. It doesn’t much matter because you are playing a game that you take for what it is; it’s merely Valentine’s Day. A day brought to you by the card and candy industry…with some hope that you will find a special moment, made better by a special purchase! Make it great, but make it important! You’ll thank me in the morning.



Author Fred Lybrand takes an in-depth look into relationships and dating, plus offers a little common sense for the real day-to-day world, in his book, Glaen. Lybrand wants others to know the freedom that can be found in relating to others truthfully and without pretense. In his presentation of thought-provoking ideas, Lybrand first uncovers the lies of a secular world-view and then counters those lies with the truth of God’s design for the marriage relationship.



The life-changing principles found in Glaen are the gems Lybrand wants readers to take and experience in their own lives and relationships. The book serves as a great teaching tool for parents to use with their children as well as for church leaders guiding couples who are seeking a more satisfying marriage relationship. The Glaen Small Groups Study Guide is now available as a free download at www.glaen.com.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lady in the Mist


Title: LADY IN THE MIST
Author: Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Revell
February 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3452-7
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Tabitha Eckles is a midwife, and the keeper of secrets. Due to the laws of the land, if a woman is unwed, Tabitha is required by law to find out the name of the father before she can help the girl give birth. But when a woman and her child dies, suddenly her entire practice comes under scrutiny…even though the woman died from trauma not related to birth…and even though someone threatened her, at knife point, to keep her mouth shut about the night’s happenings.

Dominick Cherrett is a British aristocrat, in America working as an indentured servant for reasons of his own. He has his own secrets and his own agenda, one that is coming under question, as to why an Englishman is in America while British warships are stealing boys from the former colonies while the town sleeps.

When Dominick and Tabitha meet, in the mist beside the ocean, Dominick pretends to believe she's a mermaid. This sets off a delightful round of flirting between the two. But is their love doomed before it even begins, killed by a world that is set against them?

Readers will not be disappointed by this latest book by Ms. Eakes. I fell in love with Dominick and Tabitha, thoroughly enjoying every page of this book. My only complaint is that sometimes the chapters end with a great hook and the next chapter begins with no resolution so the reader left to only guess at the conclusion reached at the end of the previous chapter until a much later time.

LADY IN THE MIST is a book about the role of midwives in history. The first book in The Midwives series, it is a gentle book, a slow, easy read that is gripping with it’s pure tenderness, a hint of mystery and intrigue and the lures of forbidden love. I couldn't put this book down. $14.99. 402 pages.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Digitalis


Title: DIGITALIS
Author: Ronie Kendig
Publisher: Barbour Books
January 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60260-783-5
Genre: Inspirational/military suspense

Colton Neeley needed out of the military. But they liked his work too much and denied his request. When Colton had a breakdown on the fourth of July, a friend helps him get out—but he has to agree to serve with a team of special ops called Nightshade.

Piper Blum is in hiding from the assassins bent on destroying her family. She’s attracted to Colton, but he doesn’t seem in any big hurry to ask her out—and she’s afraid of him discovering her secrets.

When someone makes an attempt on Piper’s life, someone else dies. Nightshade steps into the line of fire. Will Piper and Colton even survive the mission? Will their love?

DIGITALIS is the second book in Ms. Kendig’s series, but it easily stands alone. I couldn’t help but care for Colton and his family as they dealt with his flashbacks and hoped that he’d find a cure. I couldn’t understand why Piper was so edgy at first, it seemed out of character when that happened the first time, but as the book progressed it became clearer.

If you like military suspense, you will love DIGITALIS. This is definitely a cross-gender book, appealing to both male and female readers alike. The action keeps the pages turning and it doesn’t stop until the end of the book. Don’t miss DIGITALIS. $12.99. 320 pages.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Save the Date


Title: SAVE THE DATE
Author: Jenny B. Jones
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
February 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59554-539-8
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

You are cordially invited to the wedding of the year with the most unlikely bride and groom.

Save the date … and say your prayers. (from the back cover)

Lucy Wiltshire runs a home for homeless girls who’ve outgrown the foster care system. Some of them are trying to attend college or get a job to better themselves so they don’t end up on the streets, but it’s a hard life. When funding for the home is cut by the Sinclair Enterprises, Lucy is up in arms. They are the primary donor and without them she has no hope of succeeding.

Alex Sinclair has it all. He’s an ex-pro-football player, a wealthy family, fans and paparazzi. The only thing he doesn’t have is the votes needed to win the seat in congress that he’s hoping for.

When Alex and Lucy meet, he’s charged with keeping the fiery woman away from board members. But the paparazzi catch them in some interesting photographs. To everyone’s surprise, Alex’s ratings start going up. All because of Lucy. So Alex and his campaign advisors come up with the most unlikely plan—ask Lucy to pose as his fiancée in return for the money she needs. But is the world ready for this disaster in the making?

SAVE THE DATE is a laugh-out-loud romance that will tickle your funny bone in some spots and leave you in tears in the next. This is a book that takes an unlikely couple and pairs them up. I wasn’t sure whether I hoped that they’d work things out or not?

I totally loved SAVE THE DATE and if you are looking for a lighthearted romance then this is definitely a book to consider. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. This book is going on my keeper shelf to read again when I have time. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 312 pages.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lady in Waiting


Title: LADY IN WAITING
Author: Susan Meissner
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
September 2010
ISBN: 978-0-307-45883-4
Genre: Inspirational/part historical, part contemporary/women’s fiction

Jane Lindsey has been married for twenty-two years and she’s content—at least until Brad packs his belongings and walks out the door of their Manhattan home. But Jane is powerless to stop Brad—nor the events that follow his departure.

While going through a box from a British ‘jumble sale’, Jane discovers an old ring with a Latin inscription on the band. There is just one recognizable word—Jane. Jane feels an instant connection to the ring, and starts trying to learn more about it—and maybe even about herself.

LADY IN WAITING is the story of two different Jane’s who’s lives dovetail through the journey of one ring. Each woman ultimately realizes she has more control over her own life than she initially realizes.

Ms. Meissner writes award-winning novels that are sure to grab the readers attention and keep it through the end of the book. I was captivated from page one, and had to keep reading to find out more about the mysterious ring and the women who’s lives it touched. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $13.99. 340 pages.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Made to Crave


**Today at Amazon the Crave God companion study is FREE for KINDLE: http://www.amazon.com/Craving-God-eBook-ebook/dp/B004H1T824/ref=pd_ts_kinc-f_89?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text I’m not sure how long it will be free! Be sure to check for the $0.00 price!**

Title: MADE TO CRAVE
Author: Lysa Terkeurst
Publisher (and producer): Zondervan
December 2010
ISBN: DVD: 978-0-310-67154-1
Participant’s Guide: 978-0-310-67155-8
Book: 978-0-310-29326-2
Genre: Inspirational/Christian Living/women

Craving isn’t a bad thing—we were made to consume food, but food was never meant to consume us. And this two-book and DVD set is set to teach you one big word—one that you can go to www.lysaterkeurst.com and print it off and tape it to the refrigerator—and the word is Empowered. And Ms. Terkeurst will teach you how to break the diet chain. Ms. Terkeurst says right up front that she is not a nutrition expert and she has never craved a carrot stick. But nevertheless she has learned how to develop the spiritual empowerment to say no to comfort food and yes to God.

The DVD is a six-week study designed for either one or two hours a week (used as a group study). The participant’s guide includes questions for the participant to answer both individually and as a group. There are also study suggestions and questions for you to do on your own each day of the week, either a Bible reading, or reading the chapter of the main MADE TO CRAVE book.

Ms. Terkeurst is a real person, with real cravings, and she uses a conversational tone both in the book and in the DVD to teach us about both God and about breaking that link between us and food.

Used as a set, MADE TO CRAVE is an ideal small group study for women to break the chain of food. This is not the latest dieting plan, or how to count calories guide. This is a helpful companion to use alongside whatever healthy eating approach you choose (exercise, counting calories, or whatever)—a book and Bible study to help you find the “want to” in making healthy lifestyle changes.

MADE TO CRAVE will help you make lasting changes. Not so you’ll be skinny, but so you’ll feel peace with who you are as a whole. If you are looking to become Empowered and motivated to make a change, then MADE TO CRAVE will help you use your spiritual connection to help you.
Available individually as so: Book: $14.99. 220 pages. Participants Guide: $9.99. 160 pages. DVD $29.99. Approximately 145 minutes.



About the book: Just because a woman finally fits into her skinny jeans doesn't mean she's won her battle with food. Too often, women overlook the spiritual component to their physical struggle with healthy eating. Made to Crave taps into the desires God gave you to consume food without letting food consume you.

Made to Crave is the missing link between a woman's desire to be healthy and the spiritual empowerment necessary to make that happen. The reality is we were made to crave. Craving isn't a bad thing. But we must realize God created us to crave more of him. Many of us have misplaced that craving by overindulging in physical pleasures instead of lasting spiritual satisfaction. If you are struggling with unhealthy eating habits, you can break the "I'll start again Monday" cycle, and start feeling good about yourself today. Learn to stop beating yourself up over the numbers on the scale. Discover that your weight loss struggle isn't a curse but rather a blessing in the making, and replace justifications that lead to diet failure with empowering go-to scripts that lead to victory. You can reach your healthy weight goal - and grow closer to God in the process. This is not a how-to book. This is not the latest and greatest dieting plan. This book is the necessary companion for you to use alongside whatever healthy lifestyle plan you choose. This is a book and Bible study to help you find the "want to" in making healthy lifestyle choices. 224 pages. Companion Bible study DVD set also available. http://madetocrave.org/purchase-resources/

About the DVD series:

If you want to maximize your experience and bring these teachings to life in a way you’ll never forget, you’ll want to order the full set of resources. Adding the DVD teaching series and the workbook will motivate you to get healthy without feeling deprived, lose the weight in a permanent way, and find the peace your body, mind and soul desires. This DVD study can be done in a group or by yourself.

The Bundle is only available through Proverbs 31 Ministries, so click here to order! http://madetocrave.org/purchase-resources/

About Lysa: Lysa TerKeurst is an author and speaker who helps everyday women live an adventure of faith through following Jesus Christ. As president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa has led thousands to make their walk with God an invigorating journey.

Lysa wrote the book Made to Crave from the perspective of a woman who has never craved a carrot stick in her whole life. Having struggled with her weight her whole adult life, Lysa knows what it feels like to be in the vicious cycle of gaining and losing, but never feeling at peace in her struggle. Everything changed when Lysa decided to have her deepest desire met by God not food. Now, armed with the spiritual motivation she gained in her own journey, she is inspiring others to find lasting victory.

As a nationally known speaker, Lysa has been passionately teaching women God’s truths for years. Lysa’s personal adventures of following God led to appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The 700 Club, USA Today newspaper, Woman’s Day magazine, and Focus on the Family radio.

Today, Lysa and her ministry team at Proverbs 31 Ministries encourage more than 375,000 women through their daily online devotional. In addition, she co-hosts a 1-minute inspirational radio program aired on more than 1,200 stations around the world. Plus, she touches hearts through their monthly magazine, P31 Woman. Lysa’s blog averages over 70,000 avid readers per month. She is the award-winning author of 14 books, including her newest releases, Made to Crave and Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. Other noteworthy books include What Happens When Woman Say Yes to God, What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, Capture His Heart, and Capture Her Heart. Visit Lysa's website for more info and to visit her blog! http://lysaterkeurst.com

Link to buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/Made-Crave-Satisfying-Deepest-Desire/dp/031029326X/ref=sprightly-20

About the giveaway and party:

Lysa is throwing a Made to Crave Party on February 8th! Made To Crave Party on Facebook! During the party Lysa will chat with guests, host a trivia contest or two, and give away lots of other fun prizes (copies of Lysa’s other books and Amazon.com, iTunes & Starbucks gift certificates) – including a live Author Chat with Lysa for your small group!

Don’t miss the fun! Lysa is looking forward to learning more about you – so be sure to stop by Lysa's Facebook Author Page on February 8th at 5:00 PM PST (6 PM MST, 7 PM CST, & 8 PM EST).

Blog tour schedule: http://litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/made-to-crave-dvd-series-by-lysa-terkeurst.html )

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Unlikely Blessing


Win a KINDLE with Wi-Fi from Judy Baer during the An Unlikely Blessings Giveaway. If you loved Karon’s Mitford series, you’ll love Judy’s Forever Hilltop series! Find out more and enter to win the KINDLE at the link below! (insert this Link) http://litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/an-unlikely-blessing-by-judy-baer.html




Title: AN UNLIKELY BLESSING
Author: Judy Baer
Publisher: Guideposts
October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8249-4814-6
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

Alex Armstrong is a former college professor in his hometown of Chicago, but now he’s finding himself going to North Dakota to serve as a first-time pastor. His first assignment is two churches that are too small for a pastor, so they want one pastor to share the load and the churches.

Alex and his nephew, Jared, arrive a day early, but are welcomed into the community right away. Visitors stop by the parsonage on a minute-by-minute basis sometimes, but the pantry is well stocked, the families are nice, and the farming community is about as far from city life as Alex can get.

But things don’t seem as idyllic after Alex is there for awhile. It seems that everyone has their problems. Is Alex in the place God has him? Or did he jump from the frying pan into the fire?

AN UNLIKELY BLESSING is the first book in A Forever Hilltop series. It is a quiet, sweet story about a pastor serving in his first church. Ms. Baer did an excellent job describing the North Dakota landscape and the type of farmers that live there. She also pretty much has the pastoral role of a small town country pastor down pat.

Alex might have felt like a fish out of water but he definitely tried to put his best foot forward in this community. I couldn’t help but applaud him as he faced everything from tipped over pickups, loose hogs, and runaway cows in his first twenty-four hours in town. And that was just the beginning. $14.99. 265 pages.

About the book: An Unlikely Blessing is a heartfelt story about a new pastor and life-long city dweller Alex Armstrong, who reluctantly accepts his first assignment, a two-point parish in the wilds of North Dakota . Hilltop Township , a farming community, blooms from the prairie like a wild pink rose—lovely and prickly all at once, much like the people who live there.

Alex quickly finds that this lovely place is in quiet peril. Farmers are struggling to make ends meet: Jonas Owens, a faithful member of Hilltop parish, is on the brink of losing the farm. Alex believes that part of why God called him to Hilltop was to help turn things around, and steps in with ideas for saving the Owens' land. But can even God's minister help save this rural community?

There are a lot of firsts for the new pastor—the annual Hunter's Breakfast, julebukking (also called Christmas fooling), King Oscar's fish balls, and the melody of the musical saw. And the new, single pastor creates remarkable excitement among the unmarried women in the community. If you could die of hot dish overdose, Alex would be a dead man. Whether performing weddings, counseling his flock, or herding cattle by snowmobile, Alex soon discovers that his new church home has as much to teach him as he will teach them. Day by day, he falls more in love with the people of Hilltop Church . People may leave Hilltop, but Hilltop never leaves them.

Link to Buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/Unlikely-Blessing-Forever-Hilltop/dp/0824948149/ref=sprightly-20

About Judy: Judy Baer is the author of over seventy-five books for adults and teens. She has won the Romance Writer of America Bronze Medallion and has been a RITA finalist twice. She lives in Elk River , Minnesota with her husband. Follow the Hilltop characters on Judy’s blog and find out more about Judy and her books at http://www.judykbaer.com

About the Unlikely Blessings Giveaway (Please use attached html button code and html blog post)

In celebration of the release of An Unlikely Blessing, Judy is giving away a KINDLE prize package worth over $175.

One lucky winner will receive:

Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi
A $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com
To enter just click HERE (http://litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/an-unlikely-blessing-by-judy-baer.html) and then tell your friends! Winner will be announced on February 21st on Judy's blog, http://www.judykbaer.com/wordpress


Blog Tour Schedule: http://litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/an-unlikely-blessing-by-judy-baer.html )

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Voyage of Promise


Title: THE VOYAGE OF PROMISE
Author: Kay Marshall Strom
Publisher: Abingdon Press
October 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4267-0212-9
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Grace Winslow has already survived slavery once. And she is enjoying her freedom now. But the night the former slaves have in celebration ends abruptly when slavers burst into their village the next morning. Grace’s husband is taken away and her infant son is killed, but Grace is left behind.

Grace’s old enemy has a different kind of servitude planned for her in London. But Grace is determined not to be enslaved. And she doesn’t want to be separated with her husband. But with her man bound on a slave ship to America, what hope does she have of ever finding him?

THE VOYAGE OF PROMISE is the third book in Ms. Strom’s The Grace of Africa series. Readers will want to read The Call of Zulina first as this book doesn’t stand alone. The third book in the series, The Triumph of Grace will be released in 2011.

This book (and the series) is a heart-rending telling of the days when slavers burst into Africa tearing families asunder, not caring who lived or died, only what kind of price they would bring on the slave market. A heart breaking time in history, and a heart breaking book. But those who are interested in history or are previous fans of Ms. Strom’s books won’t want to miss THE VOYAGE OF PROMISE. Discussion questions and a sample chapter from the third book in the series is included at the end of the book. $14.99. 310 pages.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Point of No Return


Title: POINT OF NO RETURN
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
January 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-44434-3
Genre: Inspirational/romantic suspense

Mae Lund would do anything for two things. One is the opportunity to fly. The other is her nephew, Josh. When she’s leaving her hated job of flying tourists (too calm) she gets a phone call from her sister, stating that Josh had gone missing. In Georgia. The country. Mae calls the first person who comes to mind, her ex-boyfriend, Chet Striker.

Chet is surprised to hear from Mae after so long. After all, they hadn’t parted in good terms. He needed a pilot, she was the best of the best, but he hadn’t wanted her to fly into the heart of danger. Mae had never quite forgiven him for refusing to offer her the job. Chet is hesitant to help her with Josh though, because the Georgian officials had a price on his head. If he enters the country again, he’s dead.

But Mae is insistent, she is going to Georgia. And the next thing she knows is Chet is there too, taking a risk on his life to help her find Josh. Or is he there to find the missing Princess that Josh had allegedly run away with? It didn’t matter. Chet and Mae together were like mixing oil and water. The sparks flew. The anger grew. And they had no idea where to look for Josh. Plus the very people that want Chet dead are also on their trail.

POINT OF NO RETURN is the first book in Ms. Warren’s new series Missions of Mercy. I was looking forward to reading this book since I heard that it was coming out since I liked Ms. Warren’s previous books set in the former Soviet Union. Filled with danger, intrigue, and romance, they can’t be beat.

Mae and Chet are both strong willed characters suffering from the back-lash of bad decisions they’d made in their lives. I hoped they’d be able to find their peace, find Josh (and the Princess), and love. Once I started the book, I had to keep reading. Mae is the queen of sarcasm and her witty comebacks were funny. Plus the action and suspense were non-stop. Discussion questions are included at the back of the book. $5.50. 220 pages.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Interview with Missy Buchanan


Q&A with Missy Buchanan

Even when age creeps up on the body and mind, and life changes from what it once was, is it still possible to have a purpose in life? When it is no longer possible to venture out and do the things you once loved, can you still find a reason to look forward to each day? Missy Buchanan, a leading expert and advocate for senior adults, believes that you can. Buchanan wants to encourage older adults to find their purpose, share their stories, and make an impact on those around them.

Q: What made you decide to start ministering to and writing books for older adults?

Well, as a middle-aged adult, I never had any intention of becoming an author of books for older adults. But because of the journey that my own aging parents were on, I realized how they had become disconnected from their church as their lives changed. They started off as active older adults and then that circle got smaller as they had more needs and physical limitations. As I would visit them at their retirement community, I would also see so many others that were just like them. They needed spiritual encouragement. And so that’s why I got started. The first book began as a project just for my own parents. I wrote devotions and kept them in a loose-leaf notebook. But others started asking for them and things just spiraled from there.

Q: What do you think children need to know about their aging parents?

What I realized personally was that I had been so caught up in my parents’ physical needs that I had neglected their spiritual needs. They were no longer connected to their church, at least in regular worship attendance, and that had been such a huge part of their lives. I almost made that mistake of just totally missing that, and that was the point where I began to write. I looked and there were other books written about older adults but not very many that were written to them and for them. So the first thing I would tell their children is to pay attention not only to their physical needs but also to their spiritual needs.

Q: What is your opinion about role reversal with children and their aging parents?

I hear the whole idea of role reversal where the older parent becomes a child and the grown children become the parent, and I understand what they are talking about because my own parents became more dependent on me. But I think that when we refer to it as a role reversal, and we begin to think of our aging parents as children, we strip away their dignity. We rob them of respect and we overlook the fact that they are not children. They have had a lifetime of experiences that a child has not had. And I think that is an important difference that grown children need to think about and pay attention to. It’s more of a role shift in responsibilities and not a role reversal. I know how much it hurts an aging parent to feel like they are being treated like a baby or like a child.

Q: Other than aging adults, who else has benefited from your writing?

A friend of mine in an assisted living facility asked me to bring some books for one of her tablemates. Her tablemate explained that these books were for her adult children. “They don’t understand what it feels like to grow old, and I can’t seem to make them understand, but your books say it better than I ever could.” My books are all written in the first person as if an older adult is speaking directly to God. There are a lot of adult children that are buying them for themselves and older adults buying them for their grown children.

And I’ve heard of different youth groups that have been reading my books in order to better understand what it’s like to grow old. Instead of just mocking their older peers, they are learning that they share a lot of the same feelings—feelings of insecurity, feelings of fear. As a result of reading the books, one youth group in Tennessee has even adopted the residents of the senior living center across from their church.

Q: How can faith change our idea of growing older?

So many see aging as a punishment, and they dread it so much. But even though it is difficult to be limited by an aging body, they need to look at it as a gift that God has given them. They still have so much to give. They have great wisdom to share and stories to share. I always tell my older friends that their story is not yet over.



Missy Buchanan is the author of Talking with God in Old Age: Meditations and Psalms and

Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults (Upper Room Books).

Visit Missy Buchanan’s website, www.missybuchanan.com, and blog, http://missybu.wordpress.com/.

Become a friend on Facebook (Aging and Faith) and follow on Twitter (MissyBuchanan).

Talking with God in Old Age: Meditations and Psalms

In Talking with God in Old Age, Missy Buchanan sensitively address the worries, fears, and frustrations of older adults and extends hope, encouraging them to maintain an open dialogue with God. Each reading features:

· A candid conversation with God

· A related passage from Psalms

· Easy-to-read print

Seniors grappling with the aging process will readily identify with these reflections and will find reassurance of God’s Presence. Caregivers, family members, and others seeking to understand aging loved ones will gain insight into the thoughts and emotions of the elderly frail.

Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults

Birthed out of real-life experience, Living with Purpose in a Worn-out Body is a big does of authentic spiritual encouragement for frail elderly who struggle to find purpose a the end of their lives. These devotionals addressed to God raise in prayer the many concerns of the frail elderly and provide opportunities to reminisce and reflect on their blessings.

Each devotional offers the following:

· Easy-to-read print

· Reader-friendly format

· Comfortable, nonacademic language

· A first-person address to God

· Brief supporting scriptures from the New and Old Testaments

Friday, February 4, 2011

Heart of Stone


Title: HEART OF STONE
Author: Jill Marie Landis
Publisher: Zondervan
February 2010
ISBN: 978-0-310-29369-9
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Laura Foster had an unspeakable childhood, one she has struggled to overcome. She now owns a beautiful, affluent boarding house in Glory, Texas, where she is known as a wealthy, respectable widow. But Laura is only one step ahead of her past.

Reverend Brand McCormick is the pastor in Glory. He has two young children from his first marriage, but his wife is deceased. His attention is caught by Laura, and even though he knows she has nothing to do with men, he’s determined to win her heart.

But then some strangers come to town. Strangers with the power to not only ruin Laura’s reputation, but also Brand’s. And some things might never be restored.

HEART OF STONE is the first book in the Irish Angel’s series. I looked at the cover and read the back cover copy and thought, this is going to be a book that’s a struggle to read. I was so wrong! This is probably one of the best historical romances I read this year. It is easy to see why Ms. Landis is a New York Times best selling author.

This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Landis but it won’t be the last. I fell in love with her characters in this book, and the message of forgiveness is one that everyone needs to hear. This is a book that will minister to so many, no matter what their situations. I can’t wait to read the second book in the series Heart of Lies. An excerpt is included in the back of HEART OF STONE. $14.99. 320 pages.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

An Amish Love


Title: AN AMISH HEART
Authors: Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, and Kelly Long
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
December 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59554-875-7
Genre: Inspirational/Amish

Romance is in the air, old-fashioned courtship is alive and well, and love is an eternal promise… (from the back cover)

AN AMISH HEART is a collection of three novellas written by three different Amish authors.

A Marriage of the Heart – by Kelly Long: Abigail Kauffman told a lie. Angry that Joseph Lambert ignored her beauty, she lied about him making inappropriate moves toward her and they are forced to marry. Joseph knows it’s a lie, but he agrees, because he wants a way into the community. Abby is looking for a way out. But instead Joseph moves into her home, with her father, and prepares to stay. Is there any hope for this marriage built on deceit?

What the Heart Sees – by Kathleen Fuller: Ellie Chupp was blinded in a car accident, the accident that killed her best friend, and drove another man, Christopher Miller from the close-knit community. But five years later, Chris is back, considering joining the church—until he discovers his sister is engaged to the man Chris blames for killing his fiancée. Will Ellie help Chris move past his anger and stay?

Healing Hearts – by Beth Wiseman: Naaman Lapp left his wife, Levina, after 31 years of marriage. Now, eleven months later, he is home, wanting to take up where they left off. Levina allowed him back in her home, but it’s going to be some time before she allows him back into her heart. What can Naaman do to possibly win back his wife’s trust?

At first I didn’t like Abby Kauffman in the first story, A Marriage of the Heart, but have to say that I loved Joseph, and I loved the sparks between them. Abby did grow on me. This story was the most fun to read in this novella collection. I loved this story.

What the Heart Sees is written by an author that I love so I had high hopes for it. I don’t remember ever reading a story similar to this, but for some reason it seemed familiar. Ellie was a sweet heroine, and Chris a confused and hurting hero. It was a cute story, and read well.

Healing Hearts is a story about a couple trying to rekindle their love after the husband betrays his marriage vows. This book was really the most difficult to read, but it was also the most hopeful that marriages can be repaired after a betrayal…whether it is physical or emotional. There are a lot of hurting marriages out there, and I really feel that this story could have a healing effect on some of them if the couple took the time to rediscover each other.

I highly recommend this novella collection. Plus there are several yummy sounding recipes, and discussion questions included at the back of the book. If you are looking for a great novella collection, I highly recommend AN AMISH LOVE. $14.99. 390 pages.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The House on Malcolm Street -- and Leisha Kelly


Title: THE HOUSE ON MALCOLM STREET
Author: Leisha Kelly
Publisher: Revell
September 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3328-5
Genre: Inspirational/historical/women’s fiction

Leah Breckenridge has faced the ultimate in loss. In less than two years she lost her mother, her husband, her newborn son, her home, and most of their belongings. All she has left is her six-year-old daughter, Elisa Rose. Angry at God, Leah and Ellie have no place to go but to her husband’s elderly aunt, Marigold, who owns a boarding house.

Arriving unexpected, late at night, no one is at the station to meet them. Encumbered with two heavy bags and a drowsy daughter, Leah is still more than reluctant to accept a stranger’s help. He’s insistent though, especially so when he discovers they’re going to the same place.

Aunt Marigold offers Leah and Ellie the best room in the house, and Leah offers to help in exchange for free rent. The only downside is Josiah—Aunt Marigold’s nephew, the man who helped Leah. Is there any hope that Leah’s heart will heal and she’ll discover that God loved them and helped them all along?

THE HOUSE ON MALCOLM STREET is the latest release by acclaimed author Leisha Kelly. She is talented and able to bring the characters to life, causing us to feel some sympathy for Leah and the terrible situation she and Ellie found themselves in. I hoped Leah would be able to mend the relationship with her estranged father, and find a new hope for the future.

This is women’s fiction, not a romance, which disappointment me, but it is still good, though sad, and there is a hope-for-a-romance in the book. I was disappointed in the overall plot and the death factor, but it's a story of healing from loss, not romance. $14.99. 346 pages.

Author Leisha Kelly Passes Away

Grand Rapids, MI – Leisha Kelly, 47, was killed in car accident Tuesday night (January 25th) near Fowler, Illinois . Her son, 16-year-old Justice, was also killed in the crash. Kelly, a resident of nearby Clayton , Illinois , was the author of 11 books, among them a best-selling inspirational historical fiction series centered around the Wortham and Hammond families, set in Southern Illinois . Her most recent book, The House on Malcolm Street, was published by Revell in September 2010.

Kelly leaves behind her husband K.J. and a daughter, Hosanna. Kelly home-schooled her two children and served as a children’s ministry director and a youth minister at her family’s church. The couple had also recently become foster parents.

Vicki Crumpton, Executive Editor for Revell, who worked with Kelly since her first book, Julia’s Hope, was published in 2001 said, “I remember receiving Leisha’s first proposal in 2001. I read what her agent sent and called him that day to ask to read more of the manuscript. When I presented the proposal to our publishing committee, the team read the proposal and a few sample chapters. The first thing people asked was, “When can we read the rest?” And every time we received a new proposal from Leisha, people always asked, “When can I read more?” Leisha’s fans felt the same way. They always wanted to know when her next book would be out.”

“Leisha Kelly was an amazing talent. More than that, she was an amazing person, loved by family, friends, and her fans. Her unique writing voice will be greatly missed,” Crumpton said.

Twila Bennett, Senior Director of Marketing for Revell, remembers a story Kelly told her once. “She had a vivid memory of one of her first writing experiences that has stayed with me after all this time. She was young, it was the year that Mount Saint Helens erupted and she had heard the news stories about how the ashes might fall on other states. She felt a story burning in her and went out to her front porch and wrote and wrote. And then, the ashes from Mount Saint Helens really did indeed begin falling on her paper like snow.”

“I keep seeing that young Leisha now and look in wonderment at this girl, who overcame so much and gained the world on Tuesday with her son at her side,” Bennett said.

For more information on Leisha and her books, please visit www.leishakelly.com.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stars Collide and giveaway!


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Title: STARS COLLIDE
Author: Janice Thompson
Publisher: Revell
January 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3345-2
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Kat Jennings and Scott Murphy play two people in love on a television sit-com. But in real life, they are in love too. When the lines between real life and TV-fantasy blur they hope (and try) to keep their real-life relationship under wraps.

Kat’s grandmother, Lenora, is a 1940’s star, and she still thinks she is “the cat’s meow.” She insists her home be on the map of star’s homes, dresses in 1940’s fashions and seems offended when she’s not center-stage. Even when Kat’s fans try to take a picture with Kat, Lenora shoves her way into the shot.

When the on-stage proposal for TV is filmed, Lenora mistakes it for the real thing and that is when Kat’s (and Scott’s) lives begin to spiral out of control. How can they keep their real life relationship out of the tabloids? Will their fledgling romance survive the paparazzi, wedding preparations, and misinformed family?

STARS COLLIDE is a fun-filled look at Hollywood with it’s quirky, bigger-than-life characters. Readers have long expected Ms. Thompson’s books to be humorous wedding tales and STARS COLLIDE is no different.

I enjoyed reading STARS COLLIDE and getting to know Kat, Scott, and Grandma Lenora (as well as a host of other secondary characters). If you like contemporary romance, Hollywood drama, and wedding stories, then STARS COLLIDE is something you can’t miss. Pick up your copy today. $14.99. 330 pages.