Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Unexpected Bride

Author: Debra Ullrick
Publisher: Love Inspired Historical
May 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-82870-8
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Rainelle Devonwood has been raised by a British father and a southern mother, so she is refined and cultured. When her parents are killed, signing up to be a mail-order bride to the wilderness of the Idaho Territories is preferable to staying with her abusive brother.

Haydon Bower has no intentions of marrying again. His first marriage was an absolute disaster, and he has decided that marrying isn’t worth it. Unfortunately, his brother has plans of his own, so he answers a “groom wanted” ad, in Haydon’s name, and then sends Haydon to meet his new bride.

When Rainee discovers that she’s been a *mistakenly* ordered bride, she is still determined to not let Haydon drive her away. She may not be wanted as a bride, but she is definitely up to the challenge of living on the difficult, demanding frontier…and maybe to opening Haydon’s heart?

THE UNEXPECTED BRIDE is the first Love Inspired Historical by Ms. Ullrick but I am certain it won’t be the last. Rainee is a delightful heroine, strong and courageous, definitely willing to take on challenges that are outside her realm of experiences. Haydon has been deeply hurt, but he is still more than willing to jump in to rescue Rainee when a drunken man attempts to accost her, even though this man threatens to make him pay for interrupting his pleasures…

I enjoyed reading THE UNEXPECTED BRIDE and am looking forward to reading more by this author. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.50. 280 pages.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Getting the Word Out about Groundwire

Are you a good listener?

Do you want to share the message of hope with others?

Groundwire needs you!

Teens today can be overwhelmed searching for meaning amidst depressing hopelessness, negative self-image, and the pressure to be perfect. Groundwire, a current and innovative outreach, has become a ministry where teens find comfort, guidance, and answers delivered through multi-media communication. Groundwire leverages media and technology to meet teens exactly where they are — viewing, listening, texting, or chatting — and to invite them to voice their questions and struggles so they can find answers in the message of the Gospel.

The ministry builds its impact through broadcasting that strategically places television and radio spots on secular stations. Teens listening to popular radio broadcasts or viewing favorite shows on networks like MTV, VH1, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming, and Comedy Central are interrupted by direct spots. These spots catch their attention, resonating with where they are today. Teens responding to the broadcast messages are invited to visit Groundwire’s website where they can chat with a live spiritual coach available day and night, as well as find a collection of resources such as podcasts by Groundwire’s founder and executive director, Sean Dunn, and daily devotionals.

To meet the needs of hurting teenagers across the country, Groundwire is looking for additional online coaches. Are you interested?

FAQ’s regarding volunteer spiritual coaches

What is Groundwire?

Groundwire is an international ministry aimed at broadcasting hope to students all over the world by leveraging the most effective media formats. Their radio spots are heard on both mainstream and Christian stations and their TV commercials are aired on MTV, VH1 and the Cartoon Network among others. Each spot points their audience to the Groundwire website where spiritual coaches are available to answer questions, encourage with biblical hope and pray for chatters.

What is the Coaching Line? does not simply offer content, but conversation. The coaching line is an instant message platform that connects chatters with trained coaches in order to provide one-to-one real time conversation. Volunteers all over the world offer their time and talents in order to meet the needs of those searching.

Who is capable of being a spiritual coach?

Spiritual coaches are sold-out Believers who are committed to the Great Commission and love people. They realize that although they are not perfect, God can and desires to speak through them and they realize that technology offers amazing opportunities to minister to people all over the world. Coaches need to be over eighteen and willing to submit to a background check and go through the necessary training.

What are some of the needed qualities of a coach?

Compassionate, teachable, good listener, sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, patient, resilient and authentic.

What type of commitment are you looking for?

The typical coach offers two to four hours weekly on line, however some offer up to ten. Coaches set their own schedule on a monthly basis and coordinate with team leaders to offer the line sufficient coverage.

Can I coach from home?

Once a coach has been trained and given their log in information they can offer support from any location with internet connectivity.

Who would I be talking to?

Although Groundwire media buys are aimed at youth and young adults, and the majority of chats are in that age range, chatters have ranged from eleven to sixty-seven years of age and from over one hundred countries. The issues are very diverse ranging from the extremely depressed and suicidal person to the fifteen year old who is struggling with relationships.

What does the training look like?

Training begins when an application is completed and returned to the Director of Coaching. From that point the majority of training is done online and consists of learning how to deal with the different types of conversations that might take place. There are a series of written responses that take place in email format and then an online mock chat as well.

What type of oversight is offered?

In order to protect the integrity of the Groundwire mission and message, layers of organization and accountability are built into our procedures. Coaches are encouraged and offered additional training on an ongoing basis. Each chat is read to protect volunteers from accusations of inappropriate behavior as well as to ensure a consistent message is being presented. Each coach is assigned a team lead that will act as a mentor in an ongoing manner.

How will this benefit me as a person?

Seeing God speak through you to comfort someone who is struggling builds your confidence. On top of that the skills and discernment you will discover as you serve the Lord in this type of face to face ministry translate into your everyday life and the other areas where you serve.

Let your audience know how they can become Groundwire spiritual coaches!

For more information or to get download an application, visit

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Delivered with Love

Author: Sherry Kyle
Publisher: Abingdon Press
April 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4267-0866-4
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

A thirty-five-year-old love letter is about to change her life forever.

Claire James is ready for change. Her mother has died, she’s just been fired from her waitressing job, and her brother-in-law kicked her out because she could no longer pay for his drinking habit. When Claire inherits her mom’s 1972 Volkswagen Beatle, she finds a love letter addressed to her mom, and signed only by the initial M. It’s a long shot, but Claire feels driven to find this mysterious M that once loved her mom. So, she starts heading for the town, Capitola, California, where the return address is located.

The journey isn’t as easy as it sounds. She runs into the back of a camper when it stops unexpectedly on the road, but thankfully, the elderly couple is friendly, hooks her now not-running vehicle up to their trailer hitch and tows her to a campground. From there a host of other friendly and super accommodating characters get Claire to Capitola where she finds the address of the house the letter was sent from. And it’s for rent!

Great news, except, Claire doesn’t have a job, money, or prospects. And she is still no closer to finding who wrote the letter. Is there any hope of finding her mom’s old lover?

DELIVERED WITH LOVE is a heartwarming contemporary romance that will warm your heart. I fell in love with Claire, and with a host of other characters, all of whom will play a part in Claire’s stories. Even a casual acquaintance on the trip turns into a best friend, so they are all important.

I figured about halfway through how the story would end but I had to keep reading to see how it would get there. This is an awesome story by a wonderful debut writer. I can’t wait to read more by this author. $14.99. 335 pages.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rest in Peace

Author: Francis Devine
Publisher: Barbour Books
April 2011
ISBN: 978-1602603974
Genre: Inspirational/mystery

Victoria Storm is taking her dog, Buster, into the pet store for his shots, but Buster seems hesitate to go in. When Victoria finally lures the dog in, they find the store in disarray, the parrot screeching, and, back in the store room, the owner of the store dead. The police are saying he died by an accident. But the parrot is repeating. “No. Get out.” Could they possibly be the store owner’s last words?

Since the police aren’t considering the pet store a crime scene, Vickie and some of her senior friends (who board with Vickie) decide to go to the shop and look for clues—because to them, the parrot’s words are proof enough of foul play. When searching the place, they find part of the word ‘unnel’ and they believe they are referring to the tunnels found Miss Aggie’s former home.

Miss Aggie and the deceased daughter believe that the murder might be related to a crime that happened years earlier. Could that be true? If so, why were they killing him after so much time passed? And could the senior’s find the real killer before someone else dies?

REST IN PEACE is the first novel I read by Ms. Devine, though I believe this one is the third book in her Misadventure of Miss Aggie Mystery series. So this book stands alone, though the romance that I assumed was introduced in book one was in the final stages of the relationship before the wedding.

Some of the events seemed rather contrived, and it did seem that everyone jumped to conclusions without proof, but all in all, it was a good, quick read and it held my attention. If you are looking for a good cozy mystery, then REST IN PEACE would be a good book to consider. 256 pages. $10.99.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Andi's Fair Surprise

Author: Susan K. Marlow
Illustrator: Leslie Gammelgaard
Publisher: Kregel Publications
March 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4184-4
Genre: Inspirational/chapter book

Andi and her family are going to the 1874 California State Fair. Andi is excited until she learns that her family won’t let her take her young horse, Taffy? Andi is convinced that Taffy would have won a blue ribbon too.

But despite Andi’s disappointment, Andi has fun at the fair. She samples taffy, she gets to eat out and stay in a hotel, and she gets money to spend at the fair games. Andi is glad she came…until she learns that she can’t keep the prize that she won fair and square!

ANDI’S FAIR SURPRISE is the third book in the Circle C Beginnings series. I enjoyed reading this series for beginning readers, and look forward to more books in the series. You don’t really need to read the books in order as they are all stand alone.

Andi is an adorable little six year old who gets into a lot of trouble, yet she’s so sweet. My young daughters are both anxious to read this book and were hurrying me to read this book. If you are looking for a good book for your beginning reader, then pick up ANDI’S FAIR SURPRISE or any of the Circle C Beginnings books. For ages six to eight year olds. Information about the fairs in 1874 is included at the end of the book. $4.99. 75 pages.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Dawn of a Dream

Author: Ann Shorey
Publisher: Revell
April 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3334-6
Genre: Inspirational/historical/women’s fiction

Luellen O’Connell has given up her dream of attending teacher’s college, when she met Brenden. They had a whirlwind romance and married, despite her mother’s warning, “marry in haste, repent at leisure.” Now just married a month, Luellen is preparing for a special celebration with her husband, when he comes home with stunning news.

Deeply wounded, Luellen takes back her maiden name, and takes her savings and heads off to school, despite her families objections. But fate seems to be against her. Luellen finds herself fighting at every turn to be able to realize her dream. A dream that may or may not become reality…

THE DAWN OF A DREAM is the third book in the At Home in Beldon Grove series by Ann Shorey, and I feel this is the best book in the whole collection. This book stands alone, so you don’t need to read all the books in the series to be able to start this one.

Luellen is a very realistic heroine, and her situation won my heart and my sympathy immediately. I couldn’t help but care for her and cheer her on. The hero in the book isn’t as well done, but he is a sweetheart, and one can’t help but like him as well. If you are looking for a historical, don’t miss THE DAWN OF A DREAM. It will inspire you to follow your own dreams. $14.99. 350 pages.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Handle With Prayer

Author: Dr. Charles Stanley
Publisher: David C. Cook
March 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7814-0446-4
Genre: Inspirational/Christian Living/Prayer

Prayer is essential to the life of every believer. It connects us with our heavenly Father and opens the door for Him to move in our lives, to impact our circumstances, and to help us make wise choices.

Yet—few of us claim to enjoy a satisfying prayer life. In HANDLE WITH PRAYER, Dr. Charles Stanley will show us how to cultivate a prayer life that truly makes a difference.

HANDLE WITH PRAYER is a definitive guide for making prayer a part of your everyday life.

Inside the pages of this book, Dr. Stanley will show us:

. How we can pray with authority
. How we can receive answers to prayer
. Why prayers seem to go unanswered
. How to pray in God’s will
. How we can pray for others
and more.

This book not only does all this, but there is a thirteen-session leader’s guide included, so if you are teaching a class on prayer, this resource is right at your finger tips. And Dr. Stanley also gives you session goals, preparation hints, discussion points to guide the group’s conversation, and activities to keep your group thinking about the power of prayer between sessions.

This book is an all in one resource for the student and teacher about prayer – it is a book that belongs on every pastor’s shelf, church libraries, Sunday School teachers, and serious student’s of the Bible. Don’t miss HANDLE WITH PRAYER. $16.99 hardcover. 224 pages.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Homemade Haunting

Author: Rob Stennett
Publisher: Zondervan
March 2011
ISBN 978-0-310-33147-6
Genre: Fiction/Christian Suspense

Charlie Walker is certain that there is a book inside of him. It’s just waiting to get out. So Charlie does what any other would-be author would do . . . he quits his job, sells his house, and uproots his family to move into a run-down rental place, “just for six months, so I can really concentrate on my book.” One problem. Charlie’s horror story . . . isn’t scary.

Charlie is a student of the “method writing” movement. He figures that if he could only “experience” what he is wanting to write about, the writing will take care of itself. Thus begins Charlie’s descent into a world that is best left undisturbed. A world where the supernatural is very real, very scary, and very, very dangerous. Beginning with what Charlie feels is an innocent purchase of a Ouija board, slowly his entire family is sucked into the vortex of evil that personifies Satan himself. The question remains. . . will Charlie live long enough to finish his book?

Rob Stennett writes a page-turner of a book, keeping the action moving and the suspense building, all the while offering spiritual wisdom that provides much food for thought, while making it easy to digest. Rob Stennett is very aware that the supernatural, and Satan, and God, and angels, and demons, are very real. He is also very aware of the way in which Satan first deceives his victims, and then destroys them. One quotation from the book (which I will be making a permanent part of my library,) continues to haunt me with its eternal truth: “if you want your family to be safe, you need to stop chasing the dark and you need to find a way to embrace the light.” In light of the spiritual darkness in which this world seems to be immersed, these words shine a beacon of hope, which points unerringly toward the truth.

I recommend this book to those who are, or who knows someone who is, dabbling in the darkness, thinking that it’s all a bunch of parlor tricks and party favors. It’s time to wake up. This book could sound the needed wake-up call. This is an excellent book; the action grabs you from the first page, and the spiritual wisdom is presented in such a way that you find yourself learning without even realizing it. 284 pages. $14.99.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Andi's Scary School Days

Author: Susan K. Marlow
Illustrator: Leslie Gammelgaard
Publisher: Kregel Publications
March 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4183-7
Genre: Inspirational/chapter book

Andi is scared. It’s the first day of school and she doesn’t want to go to school. So Andi hides in the stable, but her brother finds her and makes her go to school. All the kids stare at her and the teacher makes her sit up front because she’s the littlest student. Then Andi gets into trouble for accidentally breaking a rule and the teacher punishes her!

Andi runs away from school and climbs a tree and won’t come down until her brother comes and makes her, then she is forced to go back to school. The next day is even worse! Will Andi ever get used to school?

ANDI’S SCARY SCHOOL DAYS is the fourth book in the Circle C Beginnings books for six to eight year olds. The book is entertaining and a fast read and is sure to appeal to beginning readers. A list of words that the young readers might not be familiar with are included at the beginning of the book. There is a peek into the pack included at the end of the book.

Andi is a character that any child will be sure to identify with. She is loveable and completely mischievous, yet she learns valuable lessons as she goes. If you are looking for a good chapter book for your beginning reader, then pick up a copy of ANDI’S SCARY SCHOOL DAYS or any of the Circle C Beginnings books. You won’t be disappointed. 75 pages. $4.99

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Plain Proposal

Author: Beth Wiseman
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
March 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59554-850-4
Genre: Inspirational/Amish

Miriam Raber’s cousin Shelby’s parents are going through a divorce, and Shelby has been sent to live with Miriam and her family for awhile. Shelby is confused and hurting, and Miriam longs to reach out to her—but that the same time, Saul Fisher has finally asked Miriam out. Saul is the man that Miriam has loved ever since they were little.

Saul feels guilty about dating Miriam as she is a solid Amish woman and he is planning on leaving the Amish behind and pursuing his dream to be a chef. But he’s dreamed of dating Miriam, and wants to enjoy her being his girl for the summer.

Miriam has heard the rumors that Saul is leaving, but she doesn’t really believe it. After all, usually a man will stay Amish when he falls in love with an Amish woman. But—what if he doesn’t? Will she be willing to leave with him? Or will he stay true to his faith and stay for Miriam?

PLAIN PROPOSAL is the fifth book in Ms. Wiseman’s A Daughter of the Promise series, but it easily stands alone. I enjoyed getting to know Miriam as well as Saul. My heart really broke for Saul, his life is truly hard. There is also a secondary romance in the story.

PLAIN PROPOSAL isn’t my favorite of Ms. Wiseman’s books. There were many things about this book that I didn’t like. But the story is well written, and I really did like Saul and Miriam. I also liked Shelby and another secondary Amish character, Jesse. Recipes, discussion questions, and an excerpt from Seek Me With All Your Heart (which was a great book) is included at the end. $14.99. 296 pages.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

As Grandma Says

Written by: Judith Robl
Illustrated by: Audrey Jeanne Roberts
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
February 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7369-3004-8
Genre: Inspirational/gift book

Written in a devotional style, AS GRANDMA SAYS is an adorable hardcover gift book that draws on Ms. Robl’s grandmother’s lifetime of experiences. This book will take you down memory lane as it helps you recall timeless wisdom you were taught as a child.

Each story has a Bible verse, then a short story that emphasizes the verse, and is followed by a short prayer. Beautiful artwork of birds, flowers, butterflies, and more accompany the stories, making this book a pleasure to read.

I enjoyed reading through AS GRANDMA SAYS and love the beautiful pictures, especially of the purple irises on the cover. They were my mother’s favorite flower and it really endeared the book to me right from the start.

Each story is entitled with a maxim we learned as a child, such as: Time and Tide Wait for No Man, Beauty is Only Skin Deep, Lay All Your Cards on the Table, Never Judge a Book by Its Cover, and more. This gets you thinking about the proverb before you even start reading. By the time you finish each short section, you have something to think about and ponder. And with each story taking a page or less, it is easy to read here and there.

This is a perfect gift for a special adult in your life. 50 pages. $12.99 hardcover.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Sheriff's Sweetheart

The winner of Kaydie by Penny Zeller is Nia for Jesus. Congratulations to Nia. An email has been sent to her privately.

Author: Laurie Kingery
Publisher: Love Inspired Historical
April 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-82866-1
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Sam Bishop is a man on the run. When he is almost murdered by a wealthy gambler, Sam manages to escape (with his almost killer’s dog) and travels to Simpson Creek, Texas, a town advertising for “marriage-minded bachelors”. A rich wife is just what Sam needs to make his gambling problems disappear.

Prissy Gilmore is the lady who placed the ad, and when Sam comes to town, she is instantly transfixed by the man and his dog, a man that she believes came to town to take the position as Sheriff.

Sam is happy to be Sheriff, if it means that fortune is smiling on him with the beautiful Ms. Prissy Gilmore. But when Sam’s past catches up with him everything could be destroyed.

THE SHERIFF’S SWEETHEART is the third book in the Brides of Simpson Creek series, but it easily stands alone. I didn’t have the pleasure of reading the first two books in this series, but I had no problem reading this book and keeping up with what happened.

The story is well-written with some surprising twists along the way. I enjoyed getting to know these two well-written characters and cheered for them as they made important discoveries about themselves. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.50. 280 pages.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Judgment

Author: Beverly Lewis
Publisher: Bethany House
April 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0600-9
Genre: Inspirational/Amish/Women’s fiction

Two Amish sisters, reunited by unforeseen circumstances…

Hen left the Amish years earlier to marry an English man, one that has completely destroyed—even forbidden—her to interact with her family. When Hen takes her four year old daughter and leaves her husband to return home to think, Brandon responds harshly, serving Hen with divorce papers, and threatening to take young Maggie and move near to his parents, and far from her.

Rose is promised to Silas, but she still can’t forget dear Nick, who ran from the Amish community when his foster brother, Christian, is killed. But a new girl has returned to the community as well, and it appears that Silas has eyes for her…not so much for Rose. Plus, Rose’s mother is worse, and it appears to be all Rose’s fault.

With the family in deep turmoil, neither sister nor their father, Solomon, has a moment’s rest. But when another tragedy occurs, it seems things will only get worse.

THE JUDGMENT is the second book in The Rose Trilogy by Beverly Lewis. I was looking forward to reading this book by my long time favorite Amish author and it didn’t disappoint.

I felt for Rose, her sister, Rose, and for Solomon, all three main characters in this book. I was also glad that Nick made a brief appearance in this book. I can’t wait for the third book in the series The Mercy, coming in September of this year. If you like Amish fiction you will want to read this book, beginning with the first book in the series, The Thorn. THE JUDGMENT doesn’t stand alone. $14.99. 330 pages.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tomorrow's Garden

Author: Amanda Cabot
Publisher: Revell
April 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3326-1
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Harriet Kirk is desperate to start over. Her parents have died in a horrible house fire, leaving Harriet in charge of her younger siblings. She moved to a smaller house and took a job as a school teacher, but the town considered her unacceptable as a teacher, so she applied for, and was accepted, as the school teacher in Ladreville, Texas.

Lawrence Wood is acting mayor of Ladreville. A former Texas ranger, he’d rather do just about anything else, but he is stuck there. He escorts Harriet and her siblings to her new home – and was flabbergasted when she declared it unsuitable. But he still can’t help but be attracted to the plucky teacher.

With the past affecting everything that Lawrence and Harriet says or does, will they ever be able to move past it to embrace a new future?

TOMORROW’S GARDEN is the third book in The Texas Dreams series, but it easily stands alone. I enjoyed getting to know Harriet and getting reacquainted with Lawrence and the other characters from previous books in this series.

TOMORROW’S GARDEN is about a couple with pasts they want to move on from, but are seemingly unable to escape from. It is a story of the hope of happiness. And I wanted both Harriet and Lawrence to find it. If you like historical romance, then pick up a copy of TOMORROW’S GARDEN. You won’t be disappointed. $14.99. 385 pages.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Deepest Waters

Author: Dan Walsh
Publisher: Revell
April 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1980-7
Genre: Inspirational/historical

John and Laura foster are newly married and are taking Laura’s dream honeymoon on a steamship, SS Vondervere. They are traveling to New York to meet John’s family, a family he wronged many years previously, and he hopes to make amends with. But tragedy occurs, and the SS Vondervere is going down.

Laura is one of the last women to be rescued and she has to be torn from John’s side, knowing it’ll be a miracle if she sees him again. She is broken with grief on the other ship, but still befriends a slave, a dog, and countless women on board, ministering to them.

John is at sea, floating on a table he tore from a ballroom, knowing it’s just a matter of time…unless a miracle occurs. And Laura is preparing for the strong possibility of life alone…

THE DEEPEST WATERS is the third book by award-winning author, Dan Walsh. I was instantly captivated by this strong story of a strong woman and a hopeful man, and I was moved to tears at times by the story line. Mr. Walsh creates strong characters, believable plots, and setting, as well as a writing style that grips the reader.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading THE DEEPEST WATERS and highly recommend this book for a great historical fiction. You will not be disappointed. $14.99. 300 pages.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Starting a Micro-business and giveaway

Author: Carol Topp
Publisher: Ambassador Publishing
September 2010
ISBN: 9780982924501
Genre: teens/business

Do you want to earn some money and learn a lot?

STARTING A MICRO BUSINESS is the book for you. It will give you practical advice in what kind of business you can realistically expect to start (no teenage restaurant owners here) and includes all the steps from starting the business to writing a business plan all the way to running the business successfully (with everything between included.)

If your teenager wants to earn money and is too young to work at McDonalds, then this is the book to consider for him/her. It will help them with everything, including the all important keeping track of what you earn and reporting it as income tax (if applicable). It will teach teenagers (and adults) all the business aspects for the ins and outs of running a successful business from home.

With plenty of true life stories and spaces to write out your information, this book will be invaluable for your teen—and you. $9.75. 115 pages.

(Cincinnati, OH) With unemployment rates high, the teen population is finding it harder and harder to find work. Adults are competing for the same minimum wage jobs. But there’s an alternative—starting a micro business. What is a micro business? It is a very small, one-person business that you can start easily and quickly with what you already know or own. No money needed, low risk and no debt! Students can spend as much time running a micro business as they wish and can even close it down during busy times. The best advantage for teens to own a micro business is that it not only brings in extra cash (often more than imagined), but students end up learning a great deal about business, money and themselves. It may lead to an entrepreneurial life or at the very least, prepare students for higher learning opportunities.

Starting a Micro Business will help teenagers earn money while learning how to start their own business. A micro business is simple to start, usually home-based, low risk, educational and easy for a busy student to run. This book offers ideas, a business plan, starting with no debt, pitfalls to avoid and resources to get a teenager started making money running their own micro business.


Carol Topp, CPA advises teenage business owners though her Micro Business for Teens book series. Carol’s day job is accountant to business owners, and she enjoys teaching teenagers to succeed beyond their dreams. Students appreciate how she shares what they need to know in clear and helpful lessons. Her website is


Spring Cleaning: A Time For a Teenager to Make Money
by Carol Topp

Here are some ideas for a micro business a teenager can start this spring:
House cleaning: Offer to tackle large jobs like washing windows, moving furniture, etc. Many people are grateful for a young, strong teenager to help them with heavy lifting. What is easy for you might be very difficult for them, especially if they are an older person.
Routine house cleaning: Some customers need regular house cleaning and may hire you on a weekly or monthly basis. Don't wait for them to ask: offer to come weekly or twice a month and see what they say.
Attic cleaning: Offer to help people do a job that they put off, such as cleaning an attic.
Garage cleaning: A big job that can earn you big bucks!
Yard cleanup: Offer to trim bushes, pull weeds, plant flowers and spread mulch to spruce up a yard.
Car and van cleaning: People spend a lot of time in their automobiles and their cars and vans need frequent cleaning. Melissa gladly paid to get her van cleaned inside and out every week because her four children could really make a mess in it. You can make some cash by offering to clean a van inside and out.
Organize. Organize a house, playroom or garage. Charge the customer for any bins, tubs and labels that you purchase for them and then add on the value of your time. Take before and after photos to use on your advertising fliers.
Declutter: Do you love HGTV shows on organization? You might be able to find someone to hire you to declutter their house like you see on TV.
Garage sales: Advertise, organize and run a garage sale for your neighbors. Get several neighbors to participate together and really earn the bucks!
eBay sales: Offer to sell your neighbors' stuff on eBay and take a cut for yourself. Combine the decluttering, garage sale and eBay tasks into a full package to help your customers profit from their excess stuff.
(This is an excerpt from Carol's article. Full article available at



The Complete Set of Carol Topp's Micro Business for Teens Series
(Winner will receive the four books shown below)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How To Be God's Little Princess

Author: Sheila Walsh
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
April 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4303-1644-1
Genre: Inspirational/nonfiction/juvenile/values and virtues

When it comes to princesses and everything pink (of course) there is always lots of fun. HOW TO BE GOD’S LITTLE PRINCESS is a how-to guide to help girls polish their royal flair in manners and etiquette and to discover their true value.

The book will be a valueable resource for your daughter for secrets such as
1. dressing for the occasion
2. internet do’s and don’ts
3. hosting the perfect party
4. posture and poise
5. writing thank you notes
and much more

The book is filled with helpful tips, and it includes plenty of space for interaction with girls. Answer the questions to find out what style you have, how you interact with the crowd, etc. Finding what is wrong with a picture. Crafts. Self-help tips. And more.

I have three daughters and I can tell that this pretty pink book will be a valuable resource for all three of them. They will learn from it, they’ll interact with it, they’ll benefit from it.

If you have a daughter or granddaughter (or a girl you’re especially fond of) then you’ll definitely want to pick up a copy of HOW TO BE GOD’S LITTLE PRINCESS for her. Don’t miss this wonderful guide to dressing modestly, fellowshipping, etiquette, and how to develop true beauty. $9.99 hardcover. 130 pages.


How to Be God's Little Princess:

Manners and etiquette tips for your "royal" tween by beloved author of the Gigi, God's Little Princess series, Sheila Walsh

Seattle, Washington - Teaching your daughter how to be a princess involves more than just a pretty dress! Women of Faith® speaker and recording artist Sheila Walsh returns to the Gigi, God's Little Princess series with a new interactive guide book for 9-12 year old readers. How to Be God's Little Princess: Royal Tips of Manners and Etiquette for Girls (Thomas Nelson, $9.99, ISBN: 1400316448, April 14, 2011) gives girls a fun tool to discover how to dress, how to act, and why that's even important!

Increasingly, we see tween girls of today embracing the prevalent "anything goes" spirit of our culture. Sheila seeks to combat that spirit and reinforce God's standard in their lives. She takes a holistic approach by not just focusing on behavior but also addressing the heart. Sheila says that "it is God's Word that has the power to hold us through the fiercest storms. It is God's Word that shows us how to live in a world that has largely turned its back on our Father. It is God's Word that allows us to stand firm when everything else seems to be falling apart." How to Be God's Little Princess will supplement what parents, churches, and youth workers may already be teaching their tween girls.

In our hurried world, the art of manners and etiquette may seem like rules from a by-gone era. Nothing could be further from the truth. Etiquette isn't old-fashioned-it's relevant today! Many girls find themselves lost when it comes to what to do, when to do it, and why! Girls need the confidence that good manners and proper etiquette provide. In How to Be God's Little Princess, girls will learn important life skills and discover for themselves how to navigate the do's and dont's of life. Sheila's hope is that young girls will see that making wise decisions about clothes, friends, family, make-up, and more can be FUN!

How to Be God's Little Princess is a must-have resource for tweens and parents of tweens as they navigate this growing-up "stuff" together. It's also a great educational tool as Sheila combines practical info, humor, quizzes, and fun projects into a guide that parents and tweens can do together or that tweens can share with their friends. At an affordable price, this is the perfect birthday gift for a tween or a great addition to an Easter basket. In addition, How to Be God's Little Princess would be a great bonding gift for a mom and daughter on Mother's Day. Look for the book at Barnes & Noble, Borders and wherever fine books are sold.

Additional companion resources for How to Be God's Little Princess:
· Princess Kits
· How-to-guide for hosting a How to Be God's Little Princess Tea
· Etiquette and manners themed article written by Sheila Walsh for use in ministry newsletters, websites, blogs, etc....


How to Be God's Little Princess: Royal Tips of Manners and Etiquette for Girls

A fun guide book for God's little princesses.

What does it take to be a princess? Sheila Walsh has some important answers to share for every little girl. This trendy design features black & white line art and a two-color pink and black interior. The art will tie to each how-to topic in the book-how to make the best pink cookies, how to wear a tiara, how to earn money at home, how to care for a royal dog, how to be respectful, how to use good manners, how to help Mom, how to follow Jesus, how to act like a princess when things go terribly wrong, and many more.


Meet Sheila Walsh:

Sheila Walsh is the creator of the award-winning Gigi, God's Little
Princess® brand which has sold over 1.5 million units. Sheila is also a powerful communicator, Bible teacher, and best-selling author with more than 4 million books sold. As a featured speaker with Women of Faith®, Sheila has reached more than 3.5 million women by artistically combining honesty, vulnerability, and humor with God's Word.

Author of the best-selling memoir Honestly and the Gold Medallion nominee for The Heartache No One Sees, Sheila's most recent release, The Shelter of God's Promises, has also been turned into a DVD curriculum and in-depth Bible study. The Gigi, God's Little Princess book and video series has won the National Retailer's Choice Award twice and is the most popular Christian brand for young girls in the United States.

Sheila co-hosted The 700 Club and her own show Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh. She is currently completing her Masters in Theology.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Judgment Day

Author: Wanda L. Dyson
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
September 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7475-4
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Suzanne Kidwell is an investigative reporter who doesn’t care too much about the facts—just the sensationalism that her story brings. When two teenage girls allegedly run away from home, but when she talks to one police officer she finds out that the principal of the school has porn on his computer. To Suzanne, that is enough to ruin the man’s reputation, and she goes full forth. And when the principal commits suicide, to Suzanne that is further proof of his guilt.

Suzanne’s boyfriend, Guy, seems an upstanding, kind man, but when he offers to take Suzanne’s car into the garage for her car troubles, the car accelerates and ends up killing him. She finds out later that the car problems had been planted to kill her…

Now, facing law suits for her shoddy investigations, and a dead body she’s being framed for on her living room floor, Suzanne is desperate. And the only person she can possibly find who might help is her ex-boyfriend, Marcus Crisp—the man she betrayed in college.

I’ve read one of Ms. Dyson’s books before and really liked the book, but to me JUDGMENT DAY didn’t live up to the standards of the other book I’ve read. The story jumped from place to place and person to person with no real grounding of where we were, or what was happening. It was disjointed at best.

Still, the story is intriguing, and I had to keep reading to find out what happens to Suzanne. I never did really grow to care for her, but I was intrigued by the mess she managed to get herself into and wondered if she’d be able to find her way out. This is a suspense with some good parts, and it will keep your interest. $13.99. 340 pages.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beside Still Waters and fun giveaway

Author: Tricia Goyer
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
April 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4336-6868-5
Genre: Inspirational/Amish/Women’s fiction

Marianna Sommer was born the night her sisters died—and she’s always known that part of her history. Just once, she wishes she could have a birthday without being reminded about the sadness that occurred, but that will never happen. Now at nineteen, Marianna plans to marry Aaron Zook, but with one of Marianna’s brothers having jumped the fence, and another talking about it, Marianna’s parents decide to move the family to a new Amish settlement in Montana.

Marianna isn’t required to move, with her mom expecting another baby; she promises she will go for six months, then move back home to be with Aaron, so they can marry. But things have a way of changing. Will Marianna go home to Indiana, or will she find something in Montana worth staying for?

BESIDE STILL WATERS is Ms. Goyer’s first Amish book. Personally, I think she does much better with her WWII stories, but this book is still engaging, and I had to keep reading to find out what would happen with the Goyer family.

I cried when I read the prologue of this book, and the whole Sommer family is colored with sadness from the events that occurred early on. The story never really steps away from the sadness, it colors the whole book. Still, it kept my interest. Some delicious sounding recipes are included. $14.99. 320 pages.


About Tricia: Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-six books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock , Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. Visit for more info.

About Beside Still Waters: Marianna Sommer believes she knows where her life is headed. Nineteen years old and Amish, her plan is to get baptized into the church, marry Aaron Zook, and live in the only community she's ever known.

When Marianna's family moves from Indiana to Montana she discovers life and faith will never be the same. As she builds an easy friendship with local guy, Ben Stone, Ben not only draws her heart, he also gets her thinking about what loving God and living in community is all about.

As Marianna struggles to find "home", she also encounters God in intimate ways. Click here to watch the book trailers.

Link to buy the book:

BIG NEWS: Tricia is having a fun giveaway.

About Beside Still Waters Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of the first book in the Big Sky Amish series Tricia is giving away 10 copies of Beside Still Waters and a pair of super cute antique Amish salt & pepper shakers.

Details at Tricia’s blog, It’s Real Life:

BONUS! Each person who enters the giveaway will receive a FABULOUS Montana Amish Calendar. Hurry, it’s only available while supplies last!

Blog Tour Schedule:

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Final Summit

Author: Andy Andrews
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
April 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7852-3120-2
Genre: Inspirational/self-help/motivational/general

David Ponder is seventy-seven years of age, and he’s feeling depressed, like nothing is worth living for anymore. His dear wife is now gone, and David is considering ending it all. He gets out the pouch filled with the treasures from his first time traveling trip, and starts thinking about how he brought himself back from nothing with the help of these tools.

When the archangel Gabriel appears, David believes the end is at hand, but instead, Gabriel takes him to someplace else where there will be a meeting of minds to discuss the fate of mankind. David is supposed to be the leader, and as such he will have five attempts to answer one question.

The answer is only two words. It must be found in five tries and before the sand in the hour glass runs out. What is the one thing that we must do when we don’t know what to do?

THE FINAL SUMMIT is only the second book of Andy Andrew’s that I’ve ever read, but I think that I am a fan for life. This book is powerful, overwhelmingly so. It is engaging. It is nonfiction told in fiction style. It is full of wisdom. It is packed with little known historical facts. It is, in one word, WOW.

If you only read one book this year, make it THE FINAL SUMMIT. This book may offend some theologically (there are some theologically unsound things) but overwhelmingly more that that, it is packed full of important truths that will leave you thinking, considering, hopeful, courageous, and on and on until you discover the final answer yourself. Discussion questions are included at the end, and teaching materials are available at $19.99 hardcover. 243 pages.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tea for Two

Author: Trish Perry
Publisher: Harvest House
April 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7369-3016-1
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Zack Cooper is a farmer, and sells his local produce to Milly’s Tea Shoppe among other places. Milly is like an older friend, and is sensitive to Zack’s moods, so when she notices something is up, she asks. Unfortunately, Zack’s teenagers are getting into trouble, minor scrapes with the law, and other things and Zack wants to curtail it before they land in even deeper water. Milly suggests that Zack talk with a therapist she knows to give him parental advice. Zack isn’t interested.

Tina Milano is a therapist, and when Milly approaches her about helping a man, pro bono, who is having some problems, Tina agrees, but on a not-exactly professional level. They were going to act as friends, so she could get to know the teenagers. But Zack doesn’t call.

At least not until something else happens and he realizes things are out of control. But then the romantic sparks fly between him and Tina, and when her friends notice, they decide to help things along.

TEA FOR TWO is the second book in The Teashop Series, but it easily stands alone. I enjoyed getting to know both Zack, Tina and Milly and was amazed how accurately Ms. Perry did the therapist character. Tina was definitely a therapist, on and off the clock. Zack was a true father, and like most parents out of his league with teenagers, but in a more difficult position as a single father.

I enjoyed TEA FOR TWO immensely and couldn’t put it down. I enjoyed the sparks between Zack and Tina, evident from the moment they met, the gentle, caring way Millie has with her characters, and I even liked the real-to-life teenagers giving Zack so much trouble. I highly recommend this book. Discussion questions and some wonderful sounding recipes are included at the end of the book. $9.99. 256 pages.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Cowboy's Touch and interview with Denise Hunter

Author: Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
April 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59554-801-6
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Abigail Jones is an investigative reporter for a periodical that her mother owns and operates. She is good at her job, but the stress is getting to her and affecting her health. So, Abigail’s mother sends her to Moose Creek, Montana, for a three-month vacation, and to look after her great-aunt Lucy, whom they fear might need assisted living.

Aunt Lucy is fine—but the little eleven-year-old girl next door needs a mother’s touch. And her father, Wade Ryan needs a nanny for the summer. The job is offered to Abigail, and she takes it. Wade is attracted to Abigail—but he gave up everything to protect his daughter and he’s not about to risk it all on a pretty face.

Wade and his daughter thrive under Abigail’s care. But the periodical is going under. And Abigail knows the rancher is hiding something. But will these secrets destroy everything?

A COWBOY’S TOUCH is the most recent book by Denise Hunter and it is just as good as all the rest of the books written by this acclaimed author. I enjoyed getting to know Abigail and Wade (as well as Aunt Lucy and a host of other secondary characters). The sexual tension in this book was extremely well-done, and the setting so well described that I could almost see it. The characters were realistically developed.

I loved getting to read A COWBOY’S TOUCH and getting to know these characters. It is a really good contemporary romance, one that I had to keep reading. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. I can’t wait to read the next book in Ms. Hunter’s A Big Sky Romance series, available January 2012. Highly recommended. $14.99. 312 pages.


An interview with author Denise Hunter:

Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer? When did you first begin to write?

I’ve always been an avid reader, but I didn’t start dreaming about writing a novel until I was in my early twenties. By then I was married and busy pursuing a degree. I put writing on the back burner until my grandfather became fatally ill. While I was visiting him in the hospital, I was struck by the brevity of life and felt God pressing on my heart to take the first step. I started my first novel a couple weeks later. I had two small children by this time, so I wrote while they napped. I wrote my first four books that way. Even if you can only write a page a day, by the end of a year you’ll have a complete manuscript!

Q: Are you a small town or a city girl? What inspired you to write a book about the life of a cowboy?

I’m a little of both. We live in a country setting just outside the city. It’s the best of both worlds. There’s something very earthy and organic about a cowboy’s life. I was drawn by the idea of living off the land. I think it takes us to a simpler time and place—even though the life of a cowboy is not necessarily simple! And Montana is such a beautiful state. I thought my readers might like to journey there with me through story.

Q: Can you tell us a little about what you have learned about the cowboy lifestyle while doing research for this book?

I learned a lot of fascinating details about the workings of a ranch: branding, breeding, cattle disease, etc. But what I came away with is a great respect for cowboys and their families. Those who choose this way of life do it because they love it. It’s not easy, and it’s not for the faint of heart.

Q: Abigail’s title at her job is “the Truthseeker.” What is the significance of this title, and what do you think a real truthseeker does?

I thought it would be interesting to write about a protagonist whose job was to seek the truth and have her find out that she was missing the real Truth the whole time. Since Jesus is the Truth, a real truthseeker follows Him.

Q: Forgiveness seems to be a recurring theme in your books. Why do you feel it is so important? Your main characters both dealt with forgiving their past mistakes. Do you think that it is just as important to forgive ourselves as it is to forgive the mistakes of others?

With sin rampant in all of us, this is something we need to get good at! Eventually, someone’s going to do something you struggle to forgive. I think this is partly because forgiveness is easily misunderstood. It’s not saying that what they did is okay. It’s saying that you’re not going to hold it over them anymore. I do think it’s just as important to forgive ourselves as it is to forgive others. Oftentimes, it’s even harder.

Q: Abigail and Wade both threw themselves into their work in order to escape their pasts. Do you believe it is easy to find an escape in work in order to hide from our problems?

No one likes to hurt, so I think the tendency is to avoid it however we can. Throwing ourselves into our work is certainly one way of doing so. But these things have a way of bubbling up to the surface eventually, no matter how hard we try to avoid them.

Q: What would you like your readers to take away after reading A Cowboy’s Touch?

Abigail was essentially trying to work off her guilt. She thought if she could just keep exposing other peoples’ wrongs, it would appease her own guilt. I’d like readers to see that only God can redeem us.

Friday, April 8, 2011

At the Captain's Command

Author: Louise M. Gouge
Publisher: Love Inspired Historical
April 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-82865-4
Genre: Inspirational/historical Romance

Dinah Templeton lives with her foster sister, Anne, and Anne’s husband in Florida, a British colony, during a time of great unrest. Dinah doesn’t ever want to marry a sea-faring man, as she can’t handle the idea of marriage to a man she’d never see, but the prospects in her town don’t appeal much either.

Captain Thomas Moberly of His Majesty’s Navy is in Florida to catch an pirate, and to protect the most southern colony from the impending war… But he knows that Dinah’s brother, Jamie, is on the opposing side of this war. But what of Dinah?

Despite his reservations, Thomas can’t help but be attracted to the kind, sweet, and charming Florida belle, and to be appalled by the situations in which Dinah is forced to reside. When situations threaten to tear them apart, permanently, Thomas is forced to rethink his position.

AT THE CAPTAIN’S COMMAND is the most recent historical fiction by acclaimed, award winning author, Louise Gouge. I have enjoyed Ms. Gouge’s other books in this series and looked forward to reading this one. I also look forward to Ms. Gouge’s next book.

The behavior, speech, mannerisms, and setting are quite well researched, and it is apparent in this book. Ms. Gouge’s characters are distinct in their voice, and one could easily imagine the turmoil this community must feel with the Revolutionary war looming in the near future. Readers of historical fiction will appreciate the time and effort put into this book that is more than just a charming romance, but a history lesson as well. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.50. 300 pages.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Grandfathers

Producer: EthnoGraphic Media
UPC: 8 94684 00204 3
Genre: Anthropology

THE GRANDFATHERS is a film about a young man’s struggle with his heritage. This DVD completes the triology that includes End of the Spear and Beyond the Gates of Splendor. These films tell the unforgettable and inspiring story of the killing of five missionaries by a stone-age tribe deep in the Amazon jungle. The impact of this tragic event lives on today in families of these slain men as well as among those responsible for their deaths.

Steve Saint consulted with Jim Hanon (director) and Matt Green (producer) to help bring the story of Nate to life through the feature End of the Spear and the companion documentary Beyond the Gates of Splendor. These films traced the events leading up to and including the death of these men. But even more than that, they showed the impact the events played on the lives of both their survivors and their killers.

When the widows and their children went to live among the Waodani—a tribe regarded as the most violent on earth—the became an integral part of an incredible redemptive journey.

THE GRANDFATHERS showcases both the burden and benefit of the Saint family’s legacy. Jesse Saint, Steve’s oldest son and Nate’s grandson, was not raised among the tribe. He struggles to find his place under the weight of a famous grandfather he never knew and a heroic father he doesn’t understand. This changes when Jesse travels to the jungles of Ecuador with his family and forms a special bond with Micaye—one of the tribesmen who took part in the murder of his grandfather. On then does Jesse come to grips with his family’s past and his own destiny.

I was raised with the story of these five missionaries. My mother and aunt knew one of the men who went down there and were murdered, and later were shocked when their wives returned there to continue the work the husbands had begun. So this story has always been a part of me. I was interested in hearing Jesse’s story, and the film-making really brought this remote area of Ecuador to life. I could see the animals, plants and people native to the area and their way of life.

If you are interested in this continuing story of the five murdered missionaries and the impact it has on the subsequent generations, then you will want to watch THE GRANDFATHERS. This is a family approved film, safe for all ages. As Hanon states: Forgiveness is an awe-inspiring virtue that seems to have been passed on by the Saint family and is shared by many among the Waodani tribe—both demonstrate a profound capacity for forgiveness and healthy self-healing.” This film has been awarded The Dove Foundation seal of approval.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Interview with Penny Zeller and giveaway

Penny is willing to give away a copy of her book, Kaydie. Leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win.
Thanks for joining us today, Penny. It's great to have you here. We have a few questions for you. Why do you write the kind of books you do?

Thank you for having me here, Laura. Writing is my ministry, and I pray daily that the path of writing that I have chosen in life will glorify the Lord. I am in constant prayer for wisdom, guidance, and that my books would be life-changing – that they would bring others to the Lord or closer to the Lord. I have chosen Psalm 19:14 as my life verse: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

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

The happiest days of my life were the day I married my husband and the times we became parents to our two daughters.

How has being published changed your life?

Life is a lot busier! I also discovered rather quickly that the hard work begins after publication.

What are you reading right now?

I am reading a fantastic love story by Christian Author Melinda Evaul titled Grow Old With Me. I’m also reading and studying Acts in the Bible.

What is your current work in progress?

I am currently working on book two in my second historical romance series, which takes place in the post Civil-War era.

What would be your dream vacation?

Hmmm….well there’s a four-way tie of places I would love to visit for a dream vacation with my family: Hawaii, Alaska, Hilton Head Island and Prince Edward Island.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

I choose places that intrigue me or places that I have visited. I am a very visual person, so if I have visited a place, I can easily integrate my characters into that setting.

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

Let’s see…family and friends aside, I would say the Christian band Kutless because they’re my favorite music group and I love their hearts for God.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

I also enjoy playing volleyball, gardening, camping, hiking, canoeing, and spending time with my family.

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

I would say my most difficult writing obstacle is setting priorities and sticking to them and not wasting time on less important things on my “to-do list.”

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

God calls us all to do different things for His Kingdom. If He has called you to write, seek His guidance. Never give up, even when you feel like it or when someone has unkindly criticized you. Seek to please and honor Him in whatever you write, whether it be for the secular or nonsecular market; whether it be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, song lyrics, or a screenplay. Find a mentor and be open to ideas and suggestions from one who’s “been there, done that.” One final note, join forces with other Christian writers. After all, we are all working for the same Boss.

Tell us about the featured book?

I am thrilled about my featured book, which is set for release this month. It is titled Kaydie and is book two in my Montana Skies Historical Romance Series (Whitaker House). Here is a short blurb:

For the first time in years, Kaydie Worthington Kraemer can breathe easily. Although she is still haunted by memories of her abusive husband, Darius, she takes comfort in knowing the man is dead. Staying with her sister McKenzie and brother-in-law, Zach Sawyer, at their ranch, Kaydie is still wary of men, especially now that she has another life inside of her to protect. As she looks forward to her baby's birth, she builds a protective wall around herself that won't be easy to tear down.
Ranch hand Jonah Dickenson views his boss, Zach, like a brother. He does not, however, envy Zach's new role as a husband. Deserted by his mother at a young age and forever despised and rejected by his own father, Jonah has few close relationships. But there's something about Kaydie that draws him to her and makes him question his decision to remain a bachelor.

When Cedric Van Aulst, an old friend of Kaydie's, comes to town, an unforeseen prospect of marriage arises. Cedric is someone Kaydie trusts. Will she settle for a safe union with him, or can she trust God to guard her heart and her life in the arms of Jonah?

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

I hope my readers will get from Kaydie- and all of my novels- the power of God’s love, redemption, hope, and forgiveness. I want them to catch a glimpse inside my characters’ lives and see that God can and does change hearts. In addition, in Kaydie, I hope that readers will take away from the book the importance of depending on God and putting our full faith and trust in Him. As Psalm 46:1 tells us “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” What a reassuring promise!

Thank you so much for having me here, Laura. I appreciate your enthusiasm and encouragement and am honored to be a guest on your blog!

How can readers find you on the Internet?

I love to connect with my readers at
my website,
my humor blog, A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author:,
on Twitter at, and
on Facebook at

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Penny is willing to give away a copy of her book, Kaydie. Leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win.
Author: Penny Zeller
Publisher: Whitaker House
April 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60374-217-7
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Kaydie Kraemer is still recovering from the abuse she suffered under the hands of her first husband, Darius. Now she, and her unborn baby, find refuge with Kaydie’s sister, McKenzie and her brother-in-law, Zach Sawyer. Kaydie is still wary of men, and she’s especially leery of Zach’s ranch hand, Jonah Dickenson.

Jonah is attracted to the beautiful Kaydie, but he recognizes that she’s afraid of him. It doesn’t bother him so much as Jonah has no plans to ever marry, thanks to his father’s rejection. But Kaydie begins to make him rethink marriage as he begins to break down her walls and build a fledging friendship.

When someone from Kaydie’s past shows up, Kaydie must decide whether between two different paths. Will she return to Boston and live the life of a socialite, like she was raised to be? or will she stay in Montana?

KAYDIE is the second book in Ms. Zeller’s Montana Sky series. I didn’t have the opportunity to read book one in this series, but book two easily stands alone and I didn’t feel like I missed anything by not reading the books in order. I will want to go back and read book one at some point in the future.

Both Kaydie and Jonah are hurting characters, scared by events and people in their past and they both have huge obstacles to overcome. Readers will grow to care for Kaydie and Jonah and will want to keep reading to see how these situations are resolved. Recommended. $9.99. 255 pages.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Author: Leanna Ellis
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
October 2010
ISBN: 978-08054-4989-1
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary/women’s fiction

Kaye Redmond owns a business where she goes into people’s houses that are for sale and makes suggestions that will give the house a “facelift” so that potential buyers will buy.

Her husband has left her for a much younger woman, her teenage daughter has a major attitude problem, and her ex-mother-in-law is not her fairy godmother. In fact, the ring tone when her mother-in-law calls is the Darth Vader song.

But then things get even weirder. After a failed facelift, Kaye’s mother-in-law moves in with her. And Kaye dreams it will get her husband back and solve the problems with her daughter… instead a surgically enhanced mistress, an extra-large mutt, and a handsome client is added to the mix. How is she supposed to find her “happy-ever-after?”

I have read all of Ms. Ellis’ books and she is a hit or miss author for me. Some of them I have loved, such as Ruby’s Slippers and Lookin’ Back, Texas, and others I didn’t care for quite so much. FACELIFT is a miss for me. I understand Kaye wanting her husband back, but I just can’t believe that a business woman can be so clueless that she falls for everything her cheating ex-husband pulls.

However, FACELIFT is full of Ms. Ellis’ sharp prose, sarcasm, laugh-out-loud moments, and a romance. Fans of Ms. Ellis’ previous books won’t want to miss FACELIFT. And even if she is a hit-or-miss author for you, you still might want to give FACELIFT a chance. The writing is impeccable. $14.99. 320 pages.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Interview with Sherry Kyle

Welcome, Sherry. It's good to have you with us today. I'm going to ask you a few questions so we can get to know more about you and your writing. Why do you write the kind of books you do?

All of the books I currently write (nonfiction books for tween girls and contemporary romance) have a spiritual thread, whether it’s about what the Bible says about what we should wear (The Christian Girl’s Guide to Style) or searching for the writer of an old love letter (Delivered with Love). My hope is for the reader to take away an insight about our Heavenly Father.

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

Do I have to pick just one? God has given me many happy days, including when I married my college sweetheart, gave birth or adopted my children, and when I received ‘the call’ that one of my books was going to be contracted. I think the best days for me is when I spend time with family and friends.

How has being published changed your life?

The biggest way being published has changed my life is that I’ve met a big goal. It’s an accomplishment that not every writer is able to say they’ve achieved. I don’t say that to pat myself on the back. It’s more that I feel truly blessed that my work has been chosen.

What are you reading right now?

I just finished Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes. Wow, what an amazing book!

What is your current work in progress?

I’m currently working on another nonfiction book for girls titled The Christian Girl’s Guide to Your New Room all about planning, organizing, and decorating a girl’s space, as well as another novel for Abingdon Press currently titled The Heart Stone set to release in the spring of 2013.

What would be your dream vacation?

Someplace tropical where I can lay on a beach towel, feel the sun on my face and listen to the waves crashing against the shore! Before my husband and I had children, we went to Tahiti for a couple of weeks. It was paradise. Now I’d be happy to go to Hawaii. Do you know of anyone with a vacation rental? 

How do you choose your settings for each book?

So far I’ve chosen only California towns since that’s where I live and it’s easier to do research. My current book is set in the small coastal town of Capitola, California.

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

My husband! We’ve been married for twenty-two years and have four kids—three teenagers and one tween. Our children are a lot of fun, but it’s really nice to have some time with each other.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

I recently joined Zumba at my church and love it! Other things I enjoy are walking along the beach, grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend, going to movies or jazz concerts with my husband, and hanging out with my family.

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

The phone. And the laundry. (Stop laughing, I’m being serious!) Some days I’ll do anything from sitting at the computer. Most days, however, I look forward to writing.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Writing takes a lot of hard work. Go to writers conferences. Join a critique group. Find a mentor. Overall, learn the craft. I think writers are so eager to get published that they forget to hone their skills first. And remember to enjoy the journey!

Tell us about the book.

Delivered with Love is the story of a young woman who finds an old love letter in the glove compartment of her late mother’s VW Bug. After being fired from her job as a waitress and kicked out of her sister’s home, she leaves her life in Los Angeles to go to Capitola, California where her dream of finding the writer of the letter sends her on a journey that changes her life forever.

You can view the book trailer here:

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

For the most part, I hope readers are satisfied when they turn the last page. I love happy endings—at least hopeful ones. (I also like to leave some minor plot threads hanging so that the reader can decide for themselves which way they’d like the story to go.)

Delivered with Love is a story of trust, family, forgiveness—and love. The verse that came to mind as I wrote this story was Provers 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

Sherry Kyle is a graduate of Biola University with a degree in Communications, and a minor in Bible. Her book for tween girls,The Christian Girl's Guide to Style - all about beauty, fashion, and character - released in September 2010 (Legacy Press). Her debut contemporary novel, Delivered with Love, will be released on April 1, 2011 (Abingdon Press). Sherry lives in California with her husband and four children, three biological and one by adoption. You can find her on the web at:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Invisible World

The mystery of a spiritual world has intrigued us for ages. Is there a reality that exists beyond the senses? And can an invisible spiritual world actually become visible? Best-selling author Anthony DeStefano answers yes with certainty. The Invisible World: Understanding Angels, Demons, and the Spiritual Realities That Surround Us explores the existence and meaning of this unseen, yet very real world.

Though the pages of The Invisible World are rich in poignant stories and tangible applications, DeStefano eschews anecdotal evidence and offers instead a depth of theological and biblical evidence as he takes readers on a journey to an unseen world inhabited by God, angels, demons, Satan, Heaven, and Hell.

An interview with Anthony DeStefano, Author of The Invisible World

Q: The Invisible World is a book about understanding angels, demons, and the spiritual realities that surround us. In a world that is so visual, why tackle such a murky subject?

A: That’s really the whole point. What I tried to do in this book was attempt to render that spiritual world a bit less murky and a bit clearer for people. My hope is that, by doing this, these invisible realities won’t seem so unfamiliar in the future. And the more familiar they are, the easier it will be to understand them and to have absolute faith in their existence.

Q: What do you say to skeptics who believe the invisible spiritual world is just a superstition?

A: Quite the contrary. To me, the greatest superstition is what Deepak Chopra calls the “superstition of materialism.” That’s the superstition that says that everything in life—our ideas, our philosophies, our religions, our accomplishments, all our notions of honor and love and mercy and hope, all our art and music, all of the deepest mysteries of science and faith, all the longings of the human heart—is simply the result of the random dance of molecules in our brain! Now to me that is superstitious and a denial of logic!

One of the great things about the invisible realm is that you don’t have to be a “religious fanatic” or the follower of some cult to believe in it. You can be a level-headed pragmatist. You can be a realist. You can even be a cynic. You certainly don’t have to check your brains at the door before entering this world. And you don’t have to be afraid that deep thinking is going to nullify what you learn there. This book is not merely based on warm-hearted anecdotal evidence. Everything I talk about in this book is based on solid theology, informed by common sense and logic, and backed up by biblical scholarship and the universal teaching of the Christian church over the past two thousand years.

Q: Unseen spiritual realities are rarely analyzed from a Christian point of view. What is the reason?

A: I think there are some Christian books on the market that focus on invisible realities, but not many of them are written in a way that speaks to the general public. In other words, there are books on God, the angels, demons, grace, etc., but unfortunately, most of them are heavy theological works that are rather long and dull. I think the reason for this is that Christians sometimes forget that theology can be exciting and compelling and wonderfully interesting for everyone—not just scholars, academics, and theologians.

Q: You’re not a priest or pastor; in fact, you’re a writer and businessman. How did you get in touch with this topic?

A: I think it is precisely because I am a practical person that I wanted to write about these topics in a way that everyday people could understand. As a thinking human being, I’m naturally interested in the ultimate questions concerning life, death, and the spirit. I think everyone is. After all, we’re all headed in the same direction down the same river. So I think it’s a very practical subject to be interested in because it concerns all of us. But as a practical person—someone involved in business and running organizations and hard work—I’ve been frustrated by the lack of books on these kinds of spiritual topics written in a no-nonsense, understandable way. Basically, I try to write my books in order to fill what I perceive to be a void.

Q: If we are going to explore the invisible spiritual realm, how can we tell the phony from the authentically supernatural? Is there a way to be sure about what is real and what is superstition or even fraud?

A: It’s very difficult because the topic is so subjective. That’s why, in my book, I don’t indulge in wild speculation or relate hundreds of anecdotes and stories that may or may not be true. I stick to what has been revealed in Scripture and the authentic teaching of Christianity over twenty centuries. I feel strongly that, if I didn’t stay within these parameters, it would be too easy to drift into the worst kind of make-believe.

Q: The Invisible World explores the existence of angels. Angels have captured our imagination in a special way. Why do you think that is?

A: I think part of the fascination is that, while angels are completely different from us, i.e., they’re pure spiritual beings, they are also right here with us on Earth, helping us, guiding us, and protecting us. In other words, we are intrigued by angels because they are powerful and wonderful creatures, but also because part of their job is to really get involved in our lives—to really “get their hands dirty,’’ so to speak, in the affairs of human beings. Angels are mysterious and strange and invisible, but they’re also our fellow creatures—and they’re essentially living part of their lives on earth in order to help us. So although they’re very far away from us, they’re also very close. It’s the proximity that is fascinating, I think.

Q: You also explore the idea of the devil. “The devil made me do it” is a cliché that people often use with humor. Can it be true? How does the devil actually tempt us?

A: Of course it’s true. The devil does tempt us. And the devil really exists. He is spoken about many times in Scripture. He’s not a “theological construct,” as some academics have theorized. He’s a real being. As far as how he goes about tempting us, as the movie The Exorcist correctly says, “The attack is psychological.” And moreover, it usually involves deception. Satan, says Scripture, is a liar and the father of all lies. Understanding lying is the key to understanding the nature of the Evil One and the nature of spiritual warfare. Think about it. If God is Truth, and the devil hates everything about God, then naturally the devil is going to want to mess with the truth. What could be more offensive to God than to get us to act in a way that completely contradicts God’s identity? What could be more insulting than for us to be persuaded to act in a way that is diametrically opposed to everything God stands for? That’s why the devil is always trying to deceive us. Not only is it an extremely effective tactic for trapping us, but it also mocks God at the same time. So deception is the foundation of all demonic strategy—it’s the devil’s modus operandi.

Q: If the devil and the demons are so powerful, how can we ever hope to combat them?

A: It’s very simple. In order to protect yourself from spiritual realities that are harmful or evil, all you have to do is unite yourself to God. Union with God is the ultimate and absolute defense mechanism against all spiritual attacks. In the presence of grace, evil runs, hides, flees. That’s a fundamental spiritual law.

Q: And how can we invite positive spiritual forces into our lives?

A: One of the very best ways is to pray. Prayer puts you in direct contact with the creator of everything, including the whole spiritual realm. It’s like being plugged into an electrical generator. Prayer is the great spiritual conduit. A super-highway to Heaven! Prayers go up to God, and he sends spiritual graces of all kinds down to us. The best thing he sends to us, of course, is himself!

Q: What was the biggest insight you had during your research for The Invisible World?

A: The biggest insight for me was that when you look at the invisible world from the Christian perspective, it’s actually much more interesting and provocative than when you look at it from all the fictional and new-age perspectives you see in the majority of books being published. As everyone knows, there are many books out there on paranormal activity and ghosts and goblins and all the subjects Hollywood makes scary movies about. But the simple, age-old Christian teaching on angels, demons, the devil, grace, God, and what’s going to happen at the end of the world are so much more exciting and eerie. And what’s more—they are true. They are not make-believe. And you can really believe them.

Q: How can faith in the invisible world help us live our day-to-day lives in the visible world?

A: If you only pay attention to visible realities, i.e., the world of the senses—then you are doomed to live only half a life. And the half you do lead is bound to be shallow and meaningless. Why? Because the most important things in life are invisible: love, honor, trust, faith, emotion, passion, philosophy, God. The hidden realities of life affect everything you do—whether you know it or not. They affect how you conduct your business, what kind of person you decide to marry, how you raise your children, how you look at suffering, how you face death. The invisible is the lens through which you filter all the experiences of your life. By learning about the invisible world, your life will become much fuller and richer and more balanced. Also, if you have a strong faith in the invisible world, then no amount of suffering—physical, mental, or emotional—will ever be able to destroy the profound inner sense of peace that you’ll experience on a daily basis.

The Invisible World: Understanding Angels, Demons, and the Spiritual Realities That Surround Us by Anthony DeStefano
Doubleday Religion ~ March 15, 2011
Hardcover/208 pages/ISBN 978-0-385-52223-6/$19.99


my review:

Genesis 11 recounts the story of Babel, when all of mankind had one language. Man was in charge of his own destiny, and began to build a huge ziggurat with which to ascend into the heavens, and be as God. When God observed this, he said “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” (Genesis 11:6)
In this book, Anthony Destefano seems to be working from the same premise; we are all human, and because we are all human we all have this innate ability to sense the spiritual realm, distinguish angels from demons, receive the angels and rebuff the demons, and thereby control our own respective destinies.
Therein lies the issues I have with this book. This book completely takes the focus off of God, off of studying God’s revealed word, off of listening for the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, and places it into an endless “oooh, is that my angel speaking to me?” kind of reality. And when the mind is distracted from God, and his Word, the results can be devastating.
The author has collected some powerful, often disconcerting examples of instances when the spiritual realm invaded our physical realm with remarkable results. But the foundation of this work is faulty at best, and has dire implications for those who choose to practice the principles of this book. The author quoted The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, in Chapter One. I’d like to conclude this review by doing the same:

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”

Author Anthony Destefano seems to have taken the next step down this very dangerous road. It appears that in his world, we are all not only aware of the spiritual realm – we also have the ability to control it. We have become as gods, “and now nothing will be restrained from [us], which [we] have imagined to do.”

I was given a copy of this book for review purpuses only and am not required to write a positive review.