Monday, October 31, 2011

The Baker's Wife and Interview with author


Title: THE BAKER’S WIFE
Author: Erin Healy
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
October 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59554-752-1
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Audrey was the pastor’s wife. But then false accusations took away her husband’s career, and suddenly their hobby had become their life and she was now the baker’s wife.

Audrey is driving the car to the bakery when her she drives through some fog. She is slowing down, but runs through an intersection and her car hits something. The motor scooter half under her car belongs to the local math teacher. Blood is everywhere. But…there’s no body.

Jack Manfield is the local police detective. And the man who ruined Audrey’s husband’s life. He is also the husband of the woman who owns the motor scooter. And he is positive that Audrey is behind Julie’s disappearance.

THE BAKER’S WIFE is the first book I’ve read by Erin Healy, but it probably won’t be the last. The story seems to have some paranormal beings in it, a spiritual warfare going on. And Audrey is at the center of it. I knew some how the story would play out. There were things mentioned in the book that would apparently have no bearing, no importance, yet they showed up—again—and again, providing clues.

I have to admire the way Ms. Healy wove together a story, from start to finish, with all the intricate details included in such a fascinating way. I can’t imagine the planning that must go into a novel like this. If you are looking for a good suspense, then THE BAKER’S WIFE is a book that you’ll want to read. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $15.99. 345 pages.

***

I received this book from the publicist for purpose of review.

What's been some of your favorite feedback from readers?

This week I got a phone call from a long-distance acquaintance who was reading The Baker's Wife. We are friends, but the distance prevents us from frequent contact. She said, "I could really use an Audrey to talk to right now." (Audrey is The Baker's Wife's protagonist, an unusually compassionate woman.) My friend had just lost a beloved pet rabbit to a brain tumor and didn't know I'd also lost a pet rabbit years ago, as well as other dear animals. I was in a unique position to comfort her and couldn't help but feel like this was a divine appointment. Since writing The Baker's Wife I've become more aware of opportunities to comfort people, opportunities I might have missed before. It was meaningful to have a reader want the kind of connection a character like Audrey has to offer.

· What advice can you give to aspiring authors?

Succeeding as a novelist isn't only about writing a great story. These days you must also have business savvy--an understanding of the industry, of the marketplace, of your responsibility to the successful marketing of the book. The publisher's role is changing as traditional methods of distribution and retail models shift. Audiences are fragmenting and target readers are harder to find. Authors carry a heavier and heavier workload in this Facebook age where they are expected to be accessible and transparent. So while you master the craft of storytelling, master the business too.

· How do we see evidence of the supernatural in daily life?

In his wonderful book Rumors of Another World, Philip Yancey writes: "For the Christian, the greatest disorder of the planet is that it disguises the true nature of things. The natural world, so evident to our senses, draws a curtain across spiritual reality. Those who believe in another world keep pointing ... and still skeptics cannot see past the surface." And later: "It does not surprise me ... that some disbelieve the reality of an unseen world, especially in an age that excels at mastering the visible world, an age dominated by images. For many, God cannot possibly exist unless he makes himself visible--and God does not perform on our terms." I see evidence of the supernatural world in my daily life because I believe it exists. I believe this because the Bible is saturated with awareness of God's active role in the world, and I believe the Bible is not merely a piece of ancient literature. I also believe the spiritual world exists because trying to understand my own humanity, my own human experience, without a spiritual component is impossible for me. It makes no sense. I believe God is still active in our world today, and in my life, and so I look for Him in it. I interpret events in light of the possibility that there might be a supernatural component to them. "Seek and you will find," Jesus said. My sightings of the supernatural might not measure up as "evidence" in the legal forensic sense that we use today. And it might look different from someone else's experience with the spiritual world, but for me, none of these things negate its reality.
Talk about “thin places” and how that concept works itself out in The Baker’s Wife.

Thin places is a Celtic Christian idea that there are actual locations in the world where the veil between the physical and spiritual worlds is so thin that you can see through it. So far in my novels, thin places are metaphors rather than locations. (But in my next novel, House of Mercy, I explore a fictional place that might be described as "thin.") In The Baker's Wife, the thin place is Audrey's capacity to help another person through suffering by sharing that suffering. In Christian circles we talk about these kinds of things almost glibly, as though we're waxing poetic about helping each other out. For Audrey, however, she actually physically experiences the suffering of another person. It's hyper-empathy, and it's pretty frightening. But it's a powerful gift that ultimately saves lives.


How do the principles in this plot ring true for you? What lessons can we take away from The Baker’s Wife?

My amazing editor, Ami McConnell, stated the takeaway value of this novel best: “Empathy is a gift; we ignore it at our own peril. We follow it at a cost to ourselves.” I hope readers will find The Baker’s Wife to be a memorable exploration of what it means to love your enemies by sharing in their suffering and experiencing it as your own. In this story, the protagonists avert tragedy and save lives because they are motivated by compassion rather than by the need to be justified. This is a terrific challenge to me. Sometimes I am guilty of "compassion exhaustion" and fail to actively lift the burdens of friends and strangers--they don't even have to be enemies for me to fail them! So I was writing about compassion that I have often received but have been stingy in giving. I hope my capacity for compassion will only expand.


How do your novels differ from others in this genre?

Many of the supernatural suspense novels today are authored by men, and I hope I bring a feminine intuition to my works that these might not have. I'm interested in layering the exciting elements of adventure, mystery, and paranormal with themes that soften the hard edges: compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and so on.



Your novels tend to have strong female protagonists. Why is that important to you?

I suppose I am working out through my protagonists some aspirations about the person I would like to become: flawed but strong, wounded but resilient, capable of maturing. I think male and female readers alike admire strong women who are transparent about their flaws. Somehow this makes them more godly, more inspirational.

***

About the book:

To save her husband and son, Audrey Bofinger must rescue her enemy.

The Bofinger family has lost their church ministry in a scandal exposed by Officer Jack Mansfield. Hoping to heal and to restore their reputation, Audrey, Geoff, and their son Ed take over a failing bakery in the small community.

Driving to the bakery one morning, blinded by fog, Audrey hits a motor scooter owned by Jack’s wife, Julie. The mangled scooter is crushed and bloody. But Julie is nowhere to be found. Her disappearance coincides with a sudden illness that nearly cripples Audrey.

Jack believes the Bofingers have hurt Julie to take revenge on him, but the evidence dries up and her trail goes cold. At a breaking point, Jack takes the tiny bakery and its patrons hostage, issuing only one demand: Audrey has six hours to return Julie to him, or lose Geoff and Ed forever.

With only an excruciating and intuitive gift, an ex-con, and Julie’s estranged daughter to help search for clues, Audrey starts the search of her life for a woman who has vanished like the fog.


About Erin :

Well-known to critics and reviewers, Erin Healy has established herself as an award-winning editor and a best-selling co-author with Ted Dekker. Healy received wide acclaim for her two debut novels Never Let You Go and The Promises She Keeps. Her work focuses on the psychological and spiritual, driven by high moral stakes. She lives and writes in Colorado with her family.

For more information please visit www.erinhealy.com.


Link to buy the book:

http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=1595547525&title=The_Baker's_Wife&author=Erin_Healy

About the contest: Enter to win a KitchenAid Mixer and RSVP for Facebook Party on 11/10!


Let the flour fly! Beginning October 24th, Erin's celebrating the release of her latest page turner, The Baker's Wife, with an outstanding KitchenAid baking prize package giveaway that includes a brand new KitchenAid Mixer, cook books, and all you need to whip up some fabulous bread or sweets! Then and on November 10th she'll be wrapping up the release of The Baker's Wife with an Author Book Chat Party on Facebook! Don't miss a minute of the fun!


One grand prize winner will receive:
Empire Red 4.5 QT Ultra Power KitchenAid Stand Mixer
Black & White Kitschy Apron
Black Silicone Oven Mitt
Black OXO Rolling Pin
Wilton 9X5 loaf pan
At My Grandmother's Knee Cookbook by Faye Porter
Second Helpings with Johnnie Gabriel Cookbook
The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy

Enter today by clicking the icons on the sidebar. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 9th. Winner will be announced at The Baker's Wife Author Book Chat Facebook Party. Erin will be wrapping up the The Baker's Wife celebration with a book club chat and giving away a bunch of "sweet treats"! So grab your copy of The Baker's Wife (it's okay if you don't have one yet- you might win one!) and join Erin on the evening of November 10th for a book chat, some "baking" trivia and lots of "sweet" giveaways (books, and Amazon, iTunes & Starbucks gift certificates)!

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends. Hope to see you on the 10th!


Blog Tour Schedule: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13434589)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Letters to a Young Pastor


Title: LETTERS TO A YOUNG PASTOR
Author: Calvin Miller
Publisher: David C. Cook
September 2011
ISBN 978-0-7814-0577-5
Religion/Christian Ministry/General
Reviewed by Steve Hilton

God is love, and people are broken. Two truths that every pastor knows, but quite often forgets in the busy, often hectic, sometimes frantic business of doing ministry in the 21st Century. Calvin Miller, distinguished writer-in-residence at the Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, and a former pastor with 25 years under his belt, clearly, gently, often humorously reminds every young pastor of these fundamental truths in this book which was written with one intention: to encourage young pastors to fight the good fight for the faith, to stay the course, and to keep their eyes on the Author and Finisher of the faith. In these pages, Calvin Miller’s heart for the church, and for the undershepherds who lead them, can be clearly seen. And at 252 pages, it is clear that Calvin Miller has distilled his quarter-century of ministry-in-the-trenches into a work that can be easily read in a short time by those busy young pastors, and yet will linger in their hearts and minds for a lifetime. Well done, Pastor Miller. Well done, indeed!

252 pages
$14.99

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hurricanes in Paradise


Title: HURRICANES IN PARADISE
Author: Denise Hildreth
Publisher: Tyndale
May 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3557-6
Genre: contemporary women’s fiction

Riley Sinclair took her little girl and left her husband for a position on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Now, her husband is moving on with a wonderful new wife, and Riley is still struggling to get her life back together. But she is attracted to a Greek man who works on the same island.

But this particular week, a hurricane is churning in the Atlantic Ocean, and still guests are arriving at her five-star resort. She’s has three special guests to cater to. One is a demanding woman writer who expects to be catered to every moment. One is a beauty queen with a disease that’s taking over her life. And one is an older woman, a principle at an inner-city school, who is in mourning.

Desperate to get her daughter to safety with a hurricane approaching, Riley calls her ex-husband. He quickly comes for Gabby, but the weather is not all that Riley must deal with. Each of the women she has to care for comes with lurking demons, paralyzing secrets, and overwhelming fears. Together they embark on a journey of laughter, lunacy, heartache, and healing.

I have read Ms. Hildreth’s Savannah in Savannah series and loved them. The last book by Ms. Hildreth I didn’t care much for (too sad and depressing). So I was hoping this would be a book I loved. It started a bit slow, but by the time the quests started appearing on Paradise Island the story had begun to pick up. I struggled through the first several pages, but then read page after page after page without realizing how much time passed.

Riley is a character is could identify with. The elderly widow, Winnie, is a dear sweetheart. I loved her and her quirks. The writer had her baggage and is someone I could classify as high-maintenance, but in awhile I understood her, because I’m a writer—hopefully not one considered high-maintenance. The beauty queen I identified with the least, but she did tug at my heartstring. Discussion questions are included at the end. $13.99. 375 pages.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Refuge on Crescent Hill


Title: REFUGE ON CRESCENT HILL
Author: Melanie Dobson
Publisher: Kregel
March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8254-2590-5
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Camden Bristow is a free-lance photographer. Except, in today’s economy, the magazine who recently hired her has gone bankrupt, and now Camden is jobless, homeless, and broke. With no where to go, and no one to turn to, Camden decides to visit the grandmother she hasn’t seen in years. However, when Camden arrives, she discovers her grandmother has died—but she left Camden the estate on Crescent Hill.

Camden is thrilled to have someplace to live, but when she finds evidence she’s not the only occupant of the mansion, Camden remembers her grandmother talking about secret passageways and runaway slaves. But what really happened at Camden Hill? Where can she find answers?

When Alex Yates offers his help, she works to uncover the past and present mysteries. But the deep family secrets buried within the mansion’s walls could change her life—and the entire town—forever.

REFUGE ON CRESCENT HILL starts out really slow and it took awhile for me to get into it. I understand that Ms. Dobson had to set the stage for Camden to get to where she needed to be, but it did drag down the beginning of the book. Once Camden got to Crescent Hill the story picks up considerably.

I was glad there was a bit of a romance in the pages of this book, and a story set in a mansion with secret passageways was really fun. If you are looking for a unique suspense, then REFUGE ON CRESCENT HILL is a good book to consider. $13.99. 271 pages.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cherished


Title: CHERISHED
Author: Kim Cash Tate
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
August 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59554-855-9
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Kelli London grew up in St. Louis, and her dreams of becoming a songwriter took her to college in Texas where she majored in everything except music. Now, she’s home in St. Louis to attend her brother’s wedding, and her family is trying to talk her into moving back. Kelli wants to stay in Texas, but she allows her family to convince her.

Heather Anderson had an affair with a married man and then a one-night stand with a drummer in a popular Christian band. Now broken and alone, she searches for someone to help her, and for forgiveness for her mistakes.

Brian Howard seems to have it made, but his real love is biochemistry. He enjoys rapping for Jesus, but worse, his marketing director makes it seem all about money—not about God. Should he go back to school for his PhD or follow his marketing director’s advice to become full time as a rapper?

CHERISHED is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Tate. There are some good topics included in CHERISHED, messages we need to hear as Ms. Tate reminds us that if we ask God to forgive our sins, He is capable of forgiving even the worst mistake we make and not only forgiving them, but He can also still love us.

Not being either urban or black, there are some slang in this book I didn’t fully ‘get’, which detracted from my enjoyment of the book. There were also a lot of characters to keep track of. I really struggled through this book, and didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked to. At times, it kind of read like a fairytale. $15.99. 310 pages.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sunrise on the Battery


Title: SUNRISE ON THE BATTERY
Author: Beth Webb Hart
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
October 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59554-200-7
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary/women’s fiction

Mary Lynn Scoville is dogged by emptiness. Really, it shouldn’t. She has three accomplished, beautiful daughters, a financially successful husband, and has reached the pinnacle of financial success. Yet, the emptiness won’t go away. And it couldn’t be filled by shopping, a European vacation, or a full social calendar.

When Mary Lynn discovers a faith, she wants her husband to go with her to the town’s society-driven church. But Jackson resists. He wants nothing to do with God. At least until he has a Damascus Road type conversion. Suddenly, Jackson begins to take God and scripture more literal that Mary Lynn imagined, and instead of faith in God pulling them together, it’s pulling them apart—and ruining their social status—and destroying their perfect life.

Mary Lynn never wanted to be married to a Jesus Freak. She just wanted her husband to sit beside her in church. Now, she’s looking at divorce—or, is there another answer she hasn’t yet discovered?

SUNRISE ON THE BATTERY is the first book I read by Ms. Hart, though I do have one of her older books on my to-be-read pile. So, I went into this book with no expectations. The story is beautifully crafted, very well-written, and complete with descriptions that can draw the reader into the scene. Even though Mary Lynn was not anyone I could relate to, I did get to know her well through the pages of this book.

I did disagree with several theological statements, and found the story very slow and dragging, easy-to-put down. But it may be just because it isn’t my “cup of tea.”

If you are looking for a women’s fiction book full of controversy that literally tears a characters world to shreds, then SUNRISE ON THE BATTERY is a book that you might want to consider reading. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $15.99. 294 pages.

I received this book from the publicist in return for review.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Opposite of Art


Title: THE OPPOSITE OF ART
Author: Athol Dickson
Publisher: Howard Books
September 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4165-8348-6
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

Ridler loves one woman and one thing. The woman, Suzanna, is from Harlem, and knows she’s wrong being with Ridler, but she can’t stay away. Ridler loves painting and he is good at what he does. But he isn’t so good with money, so the man that shows his art is getting rich, robbing Ridler with every painting he sells.

It all falls apart when Suzanna decides she can’t live with herself anymore. She’s ashamed of her life when she’s with Ridler. So, she refuses to pose nude for him anymore. And then, she walks out. Ridler realizes what he’s lost the moment she leaves of course, so he goes after her. But, instead of finding her, he is hit by a hit and run driver, and presumed dead in the Harlem River.

Fifty years later, rumors begin to circulate that Ridler is still alive…and two people are hunting for him. One is the daughter he never knew existed. And the other is the man who wants him dead.

Althol Dickson writes like no one else. I wasn’t real sure what I’d think of this book, and opening the page to a scene with a stoned hero was kind of a slap in the face. But Mr. Dickson’s writing style is such that whether I liked Ridler or not, I HAD to keep reading. I was sucked into the story, and couldn’t put it down for anything.

Yes, there were a lot of things I didn’t like. Some things I found confusing. Other things disagreed with everything I believed. But Mr. Dickson had me firmly in the grips of this story and I read it start to finish in one day, neglecting my own work. (Don’t tell my husband or my agent.) If you have never read any books by Mr. Dickson, then you must read THE OPPOSITE OF ART or any of his other books. Discussion questions and an author question and answer are included at the end of the book. $15.99. 362 pages.

Monday, October 24, 2011

What are You Thinking?


Title: WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?
Author: Valerie Ackley
Illustrator: Lori Nawyn
Publisher: Thoughts Alive Books
August 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9816749-1-9
Genre: childrens

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? is a book that teaches children the power of thought. All inventions began with a thought—followed by action. And it shows pages of brilliant ideas that came to life because of someone thinking of it. Things such as the lightbulb, the telephone, the inside toilet, the airplane, etc.

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? also shows the power of negative thoughts. If you wake up early in the morning with a negative attitude, that bad attitude is going to affect your whole day. You’ll be grumpy and it seems that things will go wrong to make your day worse.

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? also shows the power of a positive attitude. You can achieve what you set your mind to. Want a new bike? Look for opportunities to win a giveaway—or start doing yardwork or other chores to earn money to buy your own.

Most of the message of this book is really good and it’s a very creative way to get the message across to people. But some of the message I disagree with. Bad things do happen to people who have rose-colored glasses on. Life happens and having a great attitude doesn’t stop those bad things. However, it does take into consideration that when bad things happen, it comes with a purpose, and sometimes better things follow… 3 stars. $16.95 hardcover. 30 pages.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hearts in Flight / A Family of Their Own

Two romances -- one historical, one contemporary for your reading pleasure.


Title: HEARTS IN FLIGHT
Author: Patty Smith Hall
Publisher: Love Inspired Historicals
July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-82878-4
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Maggie Daniels has long dreamed of flying in the Women’s Army Special Pilots, instead of just the family crop dusting business. She has a family emergency when a family member is killed in the war, but she is anxious to do her part—so when Captain Wesley Hicks shows up on at her crop duster she is quick to jump at his job offer.

Wesley is hesitant to take on a woman. He has all sorts of questions for her, questions that Maggie feels is unfair—no man would have to answer them. She knows she’ll have to prove herself.

Wesley recognizes that Maggie is a good pilot—but she is too dangerous. The war has already cost Wesley more than he wanted to pay. Can Wesley learn to trust God—and Maggie—to believe in a lifetime of love?

I had the pleasure of reading the first few chapters of this in a critique group and I always wondered how it turned out, so I was glad to see it come to print. It has changed considerably since the days of the first draft, and the final draft is much more polished.

Wesley is a dreamy hero. Strong. Courageous. And hurting. Maggie is a tomboy, bound and determined to get her way in life—a very strong heroine. Set during the days of World War II, this is a book that will tug your heart strings. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.75. 278 pages.

***


Title: A FAMILY OF THEIR OWN
Author: Gail Gaymer Martin
Publisher: Love Inspired
September 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-87694-5
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Kelsey Rhodes’ eleven year old daughter has a serious disease. She’s founded a support group for mothers with seriously ill children. Kelsey is blessed. Lucy is doing a lot better and is making friends and adjusting well. But a wedding introduces Kelsey to Ross, a single father with a seriously ill daughter. He wasn’t welcome in Kelsey’s support group and he wonders why.

Ross Salburg’s daughter, Peyton, is twelve, and she has the same disease that her mother died from. Peyton is bitter and unfriendly, willing only to spend her days in solitude and bitterness. But Ross isn’t satisfied with that. Despite not being allowed into Kelsey’s support group, he tries to befriend Kelsey, knowing he needs help with Peyton.

Ross and Kelsey are attracted, but her friends are warning her away. She’s stand-offish with Ross, not wanting to encourage a friendship, but she can’t help but feel more alive around Ross. Can these two hurting families find away to meld into one?

A FAMILY OF THEIR OWN is a very well-written story about two individuals with children that have serious diseases. I’ve never heard of the diseases that the girls had, but it was apparent that Ms. Martin has done her research on the topics as she put information into the book about them. The parents were smart enough to find support groups and had friends that loved them enough to warn them to be careful.

A FAMILY OF THEIR OWN is an excellent book for potential Love Inspired authors to study if they want to be published by that line as it is a perfect example of their contemporary romances. Cleanly written, hurting characters, children, and a relationship that is doomed—unless a miracle happens. Also perfect for romance lovers who prefer a sweet romance and not the more edgy fiction. $5.75. 216 pages.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Falls Like Lightning



Title: FALLS LIKE LIGHTNING
Author: Shawn Grady
Publisher: Bethany House
July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0597-2
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Smokejumper Silas Kent never expected to see pilot Elle Westmore again. Years ago, Silas had fallen in love with her—but then ran, not ready to commit. Elle had married another.

But now, Silas realizes the mistake he made. Before he has a chance to make amends, he’s called to lead a new crew into battle against a massive fire in the Sierra Nevadas.

But then things go wrong very quickly. And Silas faces a desperate race from more than just a raging forest fire…

FALLS LIKE LIGHTNING is the first book I’ve read by Shawn Grady, but it won’t be the last. I’ve always been interested in smokejumpers and so when I was offered this book for review I jumped at it. But this is more than just a smokejumping. There is a plot that is so sinister that people must die. Lots of action.

This book is a real page turner. I couldn’t put it down. Highly recommended. Five stars. $14.99. 300 pages.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dare to Live: Devotions for those over the hill and not under it!


Title: DARE TO LIVE: Devotions for Those over the Hill, Not Under It
Author: Elizabeth van Liere
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
May 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9833196-0-3
Genre: Inspirational/devotional/seniors

DARE TO LIVE is a book of devotional especially for seniors. Written in large print, it is very easy to read for those with poor eyesight. The writing is fresh and innovative, keeping the readers interest. It includes a prayer, scripture references to look up, an application (Building blocks to faith) and a question for you to either answer (there is room provided, if you want to write in a book) or ponder as you go about your day.

I read through this book in a day for review purposes, and feel this would be an excellent devotional for elderly friends that I know. Those in nursing homes who don’t regularly get to attend messages will probably greatly appreciate this devotional. Also good for shut-ins.

The message isn’t really deep, growing type devotionals where you read for Bible study, but this is great for a daily period in the Word. Recommended. $9.95. 172 pages.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The First Gardener


Title: THE FIRST GARDENER
Author: Denise Hildreth
Publisher: Tyndale
June 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3558-2
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

If Heaven had a backyard, it would look like the gardens of the Tenness governor’s mansion.

JEREMIAH Williams has been the head gardener for over twenty-five years. And this particular first family has stolen their heart.

Governor Gray London and his wife, Mackenzie have a five year old daughter, Maddie, who is soon to be starting kindergarten. Mackenzie thought one child would make her world complete, but Maddie is growing up so fast. She hopes to have another child to help fill the governor’s mansion with the childish laughter.

But then tragedy rips their world apart. Mackenzie falls into a deep grief that threatens to swallow her whole. And the gardener, Jeremiah realizes that gardening is about more than pulling weeds and planting flowers. It’s about tending hearts…

I loved Ms. Jones’s first book Savannah from Savannah and all of her subsequent books that I’ve read. So I looked forward to reading THE FIRST GARDENER. I have to say that this book is well-written, heart-stirring and poignant, full of all things southern, and it liked to have broke my heart.

I can’t really say anything more, because I don’t want to give spoilers away. But THE FIRST GARDENER is a book you’ll want to read with a box of Kleenex close by. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $13.99. 419 pages.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Knit with Love


Title: KNIT WITH LOVE: Stories to Warm a Knitter’s Heart
Author: Lisa Bogart
Publisher: Revell
October 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1970-8
Genre: Inspirational

Knitting is something that I long wanted to learn. My mother was an avid knitter. My attempts were pathetic, but under Mom’s gentle tutorage I kept on. And my projects did turn out to be what they were supposed to be, but they were full of uneven stitches and mistakes. So I’m not going to claim to be a knitting expert here.

KNIT WITH LOVE is full of warm, encouraging stories about knitters. It also shows how knitting can help to reduce stress and depression, and also can help with other illnesses. And not only that but the author uses verses and brief knitting stories to use as a short devotional, something for you to consider as you go about your day.

Not only that but it shares stories about how knitting projects can be used for charity. A hat for a cancer patient (thank you to those who knit them for me). A scarf for a homeless person. A sweater for a child. And on and on. Some of the ideas presented in the book are really unique.

If you love knitting then KNIT WITH LOVE is definitely a book you’ll want for yourself—and a copy for a knitting friend. There are also online resources included in the book for you to find help or inspiration for your next project. $12.99. 171 pages.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wings of Promise


Title: WINGS OF PROMISE
Author: Bonnie Leon
Publisher: Revell
August 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3360-5
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Kate Evans is still flying as a bush pilot over Alaska, but now she’s helping her fiancĂ© Paul Anderson as he becomes a bush doctor. She is spending lots of time with Paul, which she enjoys, but that means less time flying charters and other jobs that pay her, so she’s making less money.

Plus, fellow pilot Mike Conlin seems to still be holding a romantic interest in Kate and he doesn’t seem willing to step aside for Paul. Mike is a really nice man and she appreciates his friendship and his wisdom, but Kate doesn’t appreciate the complications of a romantic triangle.

Paul seems to be harboring secrets though, and Kate isn’t sure about their relationship. She longs for clarity. But when a terrible tragedy occurs her mind might be made up for her.

WINGS OF PROMISE is the second book in the Alaskan Skies series by Ms. Leon. I didn’t find it as spell-binding as the first book, though it did have its tense moments when one had to keep reading. I appreciated all the information about what a bush pilot and bush doctor had to do as part of their jobs. And I had to admire Kate’s courage as she was asked to do some unexpected duties.

If you are looking for a good historical romance set in Alaska, then you will love WINGS OF PROMISE. It is full of the adventure that one would expect in the Alaskan wilderness. $14.99. 320 pages.

Monday, October 17, 2011

40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health


Title: 40 DAYS TO BETTER LIVING: OPTIMAL HEALTH
Producers: Staff of the Church Health Center in Memphis, Tennessee
Publisher: Church Health Center of Memphis, Inc
July 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61626-264-8
Genre: Inspirational/health and fitness

40 DAYS TO BETTER LIVING: OPTIMAL HEALTH is a health guided book designed to help you begin to feel better about your health and to start taking control of it, in baby steps.

Each day’s readings include Bible readings, places to make notes about your work, your habits, your current exercise plan (or lack of one), and gives basic instructions.

For instance, one of the days in the beginning of the plan reminds you to call your doctor for a physical checkup, if its been more than a year since you had one. There are even spaces provided to record the time and day of your appointment.

One of the days asks you to list ten things about your faith life, positive and negative.

There are spaces to list things that you like or dislike about your job, and another space to list the things about which you have some control over to change.

Not only that, but in the book we’re introduced to people like Eddie, who walks five miles a day after surviving a serious accident and being told he’d never walk again. People like Iva who lost over 200 pounds and manages diabetes by making simple lifestyle changes.

40 DAYS TO BETTER LIVING: OPTIMAL HEALTH will teach you how to:

. Eat better
. Exercise
. Enjoy family and friends
. Work with your doctor
. Connect with God

40 DAYS TO BETTER LIVING: OPTIMAL HEALTH is designed to look like a magazine, and it reads like one in a way. It is book-sized, but it reads easily, there isn’t a lot of clutter on a page, and it is arranged attractively. The text is also broken up by use of color, pictures, and plenty of space to record your thoughts, prayers, information, answers, and reminders. Highly recommended. $7.99. 176 pages.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Taste of Pinecraft


Title: TASTE OF PINECRAFT
Author: Sherry Gore
Publisher: Carlisle Printing
April 2010
ISBN 978-0-9844994-0-3
Genre: Cookbook/Amish culture

TASTE OF PINECRAFT is a unique Amish cookbook, in that it isn’t all cooking—it is also full of Amish history (particularly the Amish of Pinecraft history) and the fun folksy stories that friends would share around the dining room table or the front porch. The newsy tales are dated from different years in the 21st century, such as 2005, 2007, 2008, etc. and are full of community news and some humor. Some of them are laugh out loud funny.

Not only that but there are some cooking advice included, such as how to season a cast iron skillet, can size charts, fruit and vegetable equivalents, and other advice.

The recipes themselves include: Appetizers and Beverages, Breakfast, Breads and Rolls, Soups and Salads, Vegetables and Side Dishes, Meats and Meat Dishes, Seafood, Deserts, Cakes and Frostings, Pies, Cookies and Bars, Feeding the Multitudes, and This and That (which includes recipes for things such as pretzels, peanut butter, Caramel corn, yogurt, dressings, and other items.)

TASTE OF PINECRAFT is a full service cookbook that you’ll really want to sit down and read cover to cover. And you might even want to keep it handy when you’re stirring the sauce so you can reread the stories.

The recipes themselves are great. I tried several out – such as chocolate chip cookies (they were great) and beans and ham (which was a little different than my usual recipe; spicier.) and broccoli soup (it was like mine, really good.) Plus there are full color pictures included of some of the foods.

If you are looking for a new cookbook, then TASTE OF PINECRAFT is one that you’ll definitely want to get. It is worth every penny, and then some.

Check out Sherry Gore’s website for more information: www.SherryGoreBooks.com. 434 pages.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

52 Ways to WOW Your Husband


Title: 52 WAYS TO WOW YOUR HUSBAND
Author: Pam Farrel
Publisher: Harvest House Books
August 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7369-3780-1
Genre: Inspirational/nonfiction/love & marriage

Make this the best year of your husband’s life!

52 WAYS TO WOW YOUR HUSBAND has short, easy-to-do activities to add some spark to your marriage.

Each section begins with a short inspirational story and some godly advice, and then includes:

. Wow assignments: simple ways to support, love, and encourage your man
. Wow wisdom: Bible verses and wise words to cover your spouse in prayer
. Wow dates: creative ideas for everything from simple activities to weekend getaways

52 WAYS TO WOW YOUR HUSBAND is sure to add a bit of pizzazz to your marriage, whether you are newlywed, married with kids, or an empty nester. Ideal for one a week for a year, or do a few at a time.

I enjoyed reading through this short, easy to read book, and intend to incorporate a few of these ideas into my marriage—and give the book to someone at church for a wedding gift. I anticipate that we’ll both get some great ideas to wow our husbands. Highly recommended. $10.99. 160 pages.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Place to Belong


Title: A PLACE TO BELONG
Author: Lisa Troyer
Publisher: Barbour Books
September 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61626-505-2
Genre: Inspirational/nonfiction/women’s issues

Lisa Troyer is the president of the Circle of Friends Mission, a safe place of truth and love where women can develop lasting relationships and discover together the purposes of God for their lives.

A PLACE TO BELONG is so simply written, it is a joy to read, though some of the topics addressed are quite saddening. Lisa Troyer has a history of sexual abuse – not from loved ones, but from a high school teacher, and she was afraid to tell anyone, leaving that teacher to destroy other girls. Building up all this fear and tension inside did two things—1. It gave Lisa a spirit of depression and 2. It gave her a strong tenacity to raise above her circumstances and succeed. She says, “Living with a secret doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t change your heart. As well hidden as your secret is, that is how deeply lonely you will be. I’ve been there. I know it’s true.”

And we all have secrets. While we might not have been abused by someone in the corner of the basement, there are all things we’re hiding. Maybe it’s a history of physical abuse. Maybe it’s your unhealthy lifestyle habits. Maybe its your addiction to things that would damage your spiritual life. Or maybe you’re just afraid that if people get to know you they won’t like you.

Coupled with Ms. Troyer’s disclosures, are stories from other women, as well as related accounts in Scripture. She explores five principles that address the heart-needs of women today:

. Acceptance—embarking on adventures in relationship
. Authenticity—exchanging the familiar for the extraordinary
. Affirmation—enriching the lives of those around you
. Accountability—receiving the comfort of companionship
. Action—stepping into the journey and walking into the purpose

There are some song lyrics (penned by Lisa Troyer) and discussion questions, making this a great book for you to work through in your own “Circle of Friends.” There is also a one-year reading guide for your Bible and tips in leading your own small group.

This is a book that has the power to transform the way women view themselves, to make us feel more secure in who God made us, and to feel the overwhelming acceptance of God—in His love for us.

Pick up a copy of Ms. Troyer’s A PLACE TO BELONG today. You will be glad you did. $14.99. 255 pages.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Money Answer Book


Title: THE MONEY ANSWER BOOK
Author: Dave Ramsey
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
May 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4041-8779-5
Genre: Money/finances

Dave Ramsey has been the top financial advisor in the world for decades. Millions listened to his radio broadcasts or went to his organization to have help in getting out of debt.

In THE MONEY ANSWER BOOK, Mr. Ramsey has taken his most asked questions and addressed them. These include:

Debt, Credit and Bankruptcy
Relationships and Money
Budgeting
Saving & Investing
Stewardship
Retirement & Estate Planning
Automobiles
Real Estate & Mortgages
College & Student Loans
and more

This is a really helpful book that reads conversationally. I read through the book in a sitting, and found the advise is really common sense, but then—common sense isn’t so common anymore. Bottom line? Debt is bad. Savings is good. But how do you get there?

Buy a copy of THE MONEY ANSWER BOOK and start reading it today. It will answer your questions and teach you how to manage your money more effectively so that your money works for you instead of you working to pay off others. Highly recommended. $12.99. 170 pages.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Love Finds You in Calico, California


Title: LOVE FINDS YOU IN CALICO, CALIFORNIA
Author: Elizabeth Ludwig
Publisher: Summerside Press
October 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60936-001-6
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Abigail Watts is the only child of her mining father, and even though she’s scared of Calico, she stays with her father. She has nothing back East. When a mine explosion kills six miners and her father, Abigail is stunned. She is even more stunned when the owner of the mine refuses to give her the pay due, claiming her father caused the explosion. He also gives her three weeks to vacant the house.

Nathan Hawk is the local livery owner and he was with Abigail’s father when he died. But he is sympathetic when he learns of the blame placed on her father.

Abigail decides to stay on in Calico, dangerous though it is, and work as a seamstress, while she tries to clear her dad’s good name. But who is really behind the explosion? Why are they hiding it? And will the truth really set her free?

LOVE FINDS YOU IN CALICO, CALIFORNIA is another historical romance set in a real life historical town of Calico. Now a ghost town, Calico has been restored as a tourist attraction by the owner of Knot’s Berry Farms. I love these bits of information included in these books.

The story, true to most books in the historical genre, starts out with death—and a lot of it—but Abigail is a sweet, compassionate heroine even as her world collapses around her feet. Nathan also is a wonderful hero, kind and considerate, and typically male as he tries to fix problems that arise.

If you enjoy historical romances, then you will want to read LOVE FINDS YOU IN CALICO, CALIFORNIA. A fascinating note from the author is also included. $12.99. 350 pages.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Diary of a Teenage Girl: Becoming Me


Title: DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL: Becoming Me
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Multnomah Books
August 2000
ISBN: 978-1-57673-733-4
Genre: Inspirational/young adult

Caitlin O’Conner is a sixteen year old Junior in highschool. Her best friend is Beanie, and other than her dad being really strict, and hanging out at work a lot more than usual, everything is fine. But then she becomes friends with a cheerleader, Jenny, and starts being included in the in-crowd. That totally destroys her friendship with Beanie, but things in the in-crowd aren’t all that great either.

Caitlin finds that she has to behave a certain way or she’d be kicked out, and since now that she’s in she wants to stay in, she tries to toe the line. But then some of the popular boys start noticing her, life at home starts falling apart, and well, for that matter, so does everything else…

All I can say is – oh the drama! My word, it makes me glad I’m not a teenager anymore! And that my sixteen daughter is homeschooled. I really don’t think I could handle this in person even second hand. Caitlyn is a very self-centered young lady, but she does grow and mature a whole lot in this book, which is good. And there are a LOT of valuable lessons included in it, such as teenage sex, drinking, etc.

I recommend this book to teenagers (and their parents and suggest they talk about it afterwards, such as why… and why not… topics. Ms. Carlson is really a very talented author and she can really write the ups and downs of being a teenager super well. $12.99. 250 pages.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Measure of Katie Calloway


Title: THE MEASURE OF KATIE CALLOWAY
Author: Serena Miller
Publisher: Revell
October 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1998-2
Genre: Inspirational/historical

The Civil War has ended—but Harlan Calloway has returned to his southern mansion to find it leveled, his slaves gone, and his wife living in a hut. Katie has suffered enough at her husband’s hands, and he seems to blame her for the war—at least for allowing Sherman to burn his home—and now he’s trying to kill Katie.

Desperate to live, Katie and her young brother flee to the last place Harlan would look. Michigan. She lands a job as a cook for a logging company, changes her name, and prepares to live in the deep woods. Katie isn’t afraid of hard work, but she’s not about to let a man bully her, so when the old camp cook develops a dislike to her and tries to get her fired, she fights back.

But it’s far from over. Katie is falling for the camp owner, a kind man, but she’s not free to marry, still being wed to Harlan. And Harlan is still blaming Katie for his losses…and he’s determined to find her and kill her so he can marry a rich widow woman in Georgia and use her money to rebuild his plantation. Is Katie so well hidden that Harlan won’t find her? Or could she have reached the end of the line?

Okay, I’ll admit when I picked up the next book in my review pile, THE MEASURE OF KATIE CALLOWAY, my first thoughts were ‘it’s just another historical.’ But then I noticed the pile of timber at the bottom and it piqued my interest. And I read that the book is set in Michigan (my home state!). I remember seeing the museum that Serena mentioned in her story, the one that started her story wheels turning. So that was an instant bond.

I absolutely loved this story! It is so fresh and well-written that I had to keep reading. I enjoyed all the historical accounts of the logging industry (and I researched all that myself to teach Michigan history to my children when we still lived there). The characters were so well developed that I felt that even the crusty old cook and the crew of loggers were my friends. They all had distinctive personalities.

I highly recommend THE MEASURE OF KATIE CALLOWAY. If I could give more than five stars, I would. This is a really great book. $14.99. 316 pages.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Interview with Susan Page Davis - and giveaway of The Lady's Maid


Answer Susan's question to be entered into a chance to win The Lady's Maid. Be sure to include a way to contact you.


What kind of research did you do for The Lady’s Maid?

Starting with the opening scene, I had to do a lot of research on the British aristocracy, and the most critical plot point, the peerage. Anne’s father was an earl, and his title and estate are to be passed on. I THOUGHT I knew how that worked, but after emailing with a couple of very nice and knowledgeable people in England, I saw that I had it all wrong! So I had to adjust my story a little to make it authentic.

I also did a lot of new research on the Oregon Trail, although I’ve done other stories set along the trail. Things changed so rapidly back then, that it’s sometimes hard to keep up with “what was where when.”

How did you come up with the plot for The Lady’s Maid?

I knew my editor wanted a prairie setting. I had just researched a lot of information about royalty and aristocracy for my book Love Finds You in Prince Edward Island, and I thought, what if an aristocrat joined a wagon train? I put two English ladies—or, more accurately, a lady and her maid—on the frontier, and it made for a fun story.

Share a brief blurb about the book.

The Lady’s Maid is the first book in my new Prairie Dreams historical romance series. Elise Finster accompanies her young British mistress, Lady Anne Stone, on a voyage to America in 1855. Lady Anne’s father has died, and her Uncle David is the new Earl of Stoneford—if he steps forward and claims the title. But David disappeared into the American West when Anne was a baby. Now it’s up to her and Elise to find him. They join a wagon train in Independence, Missouri, not realizing they’re leading a killer straight to David.

What role have your life experiences played in the characters and/or the situations you develop in your books?

A few things in my books bear similarities to things that have happened to me or to people I know, but most of them are purely fictional. For instance, I once had a horse get stuck in a snow bank. That’s a very small thing, but it might find its way into a story. My sisters and I are quite close, and I tried to bring this feeling into my suspense novel, Witness, but the story itself has nothing to do with real life. My major plot points are not autobiographical.

Do you see parallels or do you try to avoid using your own personal life as a source of inspiration?

I don’t exactly avoid it, but usually I can think up things that are a lot more interesting.

What are your own favorite authors? Genres?

I’m an eclectic reader. For true history, I like Nathaniel Philbrick’s books. For mystery, I love Dick Francis and Ellis Peters. In my “to be read” stack right now are books by Christian authors Tracie Peterson, Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould, M. L. Tyndall, and Austin Boyd. I also like to read classics now and then. I love discovering a “new” old writer. And I like to read authors who were a generation or two ahead of me, like Janice Holt Giles, Dorothy Sayers, or Elizabeth Cadell.

How has your passion for reading impacted your writing?

All writers should read widely. I don’t think I’d have a lot to say if I’d never read books.

Describe how you write a book – with your other responsibilities, does it tend to be something you work into your every day, or do you have to “set apart” time to write with open, undesignated blocks of time?

These days, I am a full time writer. I have a home office, which is a major blessing. I am able to go in there every morning and start work whenever I want, usually six or seven a.m. By seven p.m., I’m ready to crash. Of course, I take some breaks in between.

I generally begin a new book with research and an outline. Then I make a writing calendar, roughing out what I expect I need to accomplish each day, each week, and so on, until the deadline. I like to write for several hours a day, but I also have a lot of writing-related tasks. Those go on my calendar too, so I make sure they are done on time.

What provides your inspirations during that time – i.e. do you go out in nature, do you seek to be in a busy place with people or in a quiet library, etc.?

I like to take breaks during the day to talk to my husband and my daughter, who is a college freshman this year and living at home. I also go out at least once a day, usually more. And I call or email with other writer friends. They and my sisters never fail to encourage me.

How have social networking sites, even including email, etc. impacted your writing? Do you find the internet to be a helpful or harmful resource in research, advertising, reviewing, etc. your books?

Email is huge. I get about 200 a day, and I have to be ruthless or it would take over my life. I’ve disconnected from a couple of “loops” because they ate my time. For this reason, I am very picky what organizations I join. I have a FaceBook page, but I don’t maintain it. My husband and my oldest daughter do. If someone posts a comment that I want to answer, I have to give my reply to them to post. I have no profile and cannot go on FB if I want to. That’s because I know that if I did, I would probably lose an hour or so a day, and I don’t have that kind of free time right now. The Internet is a blessing, but one that must be kept caged.

Do you use these tools such as facebook as a means of observing the behavior of others which could be the basis of a character, or are you of the ‘old school’ that relies more on personal relationships and “human” touches?

No, I really don’t use it for that. Of course, I notice things that happen in my online relationships. But that is not my focus for using the computer. I use email, online chat, etc., as a way to communicate efficiently. Period. If it stops being useful, I’ll stop doing that. One of the most difficult things for me now is guarding my work time.

Share a bio and pictures of the book and yourself as well.
Susan Page Davis is the author of thirty-seven published novels. Prairie Dreams is her new series from Barbour Publishing. A Maine native, Susan now lives in Kentucky with her husband, Jim. They have six children and eight grandchildren. She’s a past winner of the Carol Award and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest. Come visit at: www.susanpagedavis.com . Feel free to contact Susan through her site’s email.

Ask a question for the readers to answer to be entered into the giveaway
What is the most creative way you can of to use a hatpin?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Stained Glass Hearts


Title: STAINED GLASS HEARTS
Author: Patsy Clairmont
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
August 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8499-4826-8
Genre: Inspirational/women’s issues

People have glass hearts. They shatter. And in STAINED GLASS HEARTS, Patsy Clairmont explains how the power of God can restore and redeem that which seems devastated beyond repair.

STAINED GLASS HEARTS is more solemn and serious than most of the other books by Ms. Clairmont that I’ve read, but there is still some of her trade-mark humor.

The stories are personal, heartbreakingly real, and after the tales are told, Ms. Clairmont uses quotes, scripture readings, sample prayers, and recommended music or youtube videos to listen to or watch.

This book wasn’t quite what I expected. Not that I was disappointed in it. It is full of chances for us broken women to see potential for color, sparkle and purpose through the grace of God.

This is not a book designed for small groups, unless you feel comfortable letting it all hang out—and most of us don’t. STAINED GLASS HEARTS is a book that you will want to read slowly, on your own, and absorb everything that God is using Patsy Clairmont to show you. $16.99 hardcover. 192 pages.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Along Wooded Paths


Title: ALONG WOODED PATHS
Author: Tricia Goyer
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
October 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4336-6869-2
Genre: Inspirational/Amish Romance

Marianna Sommer has adjusted to life in Montana and she loves it there. She’s settled in, making new friends with both English and Amish, and she has a job with a great boss that she loves.

She’s also still struggling with her feelings for Ben—the English man who introduced her to God. Her parents fear that Ben will steal her heart, so without telling her Dat, Memm invites Aaron, Marianna’s “fiancĂ©” to visit. There’s an accident and Aaron ends up breaking his leg, and stranded at Marianna’s house. Marianne is upset and bothered by this, but she has no choice but to care for Aaron.

Will this enforced lengthy visit win her heart back to Aaron? Or will Ben win? Either answer means a heartbreak.

I read Ms. Goyer’s first Amish book Beside Still Waters and feel this book is ten thousand times better. While Beside Still Waters is etched with sadness, ALONG WOODED PATHS is full of hope, of encouragement, and even joy, despite the decisions that Marianna must make.

Both Aaron and Ben are good men and I didn’t really have a strong feeling which man should win Marianne’s affections until the end – then I knew who I wanted to win. I’m looking forward to reading the last book in this series to see if it will end the way I think it’ll end. There’s some yummy sounding recipes included at the end of the book as well as a preview for the third book, coming in April 2012.

If you like Amish fiction, don’t miss ALONG WOODED PATHS. $14.99. 306 pages.

***

About the book:
All she wanted was a simple Amish life . . . But now Marianna Sommer finds herself depending on Englisch neighbors. Although proud of living apart from the world, she and her newly relocated Amish family have discovered that life in the remote mountains of Montana requires working together.

As Marianna begins helping those different from herself—and receiving their help—her heart contemplates two directions. She’s torn between the Amish man from Indiana whom she has long planned on marrying and the friendly Englischer who models a closer walk with God than she’s ever seen before.

Who should have young Marianna’s heart? What is God asking her to sacrifice? Her traditions? Her community? The answer is found along the wooded paths.

Find out about book 1, Beside Still Waters, here: http://www.triciagoyer.com/contemporaryfiction.html#BesideStillWaters





About Tricia:

Tricia Goyer is the author of thirty books includingSongbird 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.

For more about Tricia and her other books visit www.triciagoyer.com

Link to buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1433668696/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=sprightly-20&camp=213381&creative=390973&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=1433668696&adid=1GWJQSEY88PNG6ERWGQP



Come to a Facebook Party and Live Author Chat!

Tricia is celebrating the release of Along Wooded Paths with a Fabulous Facebook party on October 18th. She'll be giving away prizes and a sneak peak at the next book in the Big Sky series.

Then during the second half of the party she'll be hosting a LIVE AUTHOR CHAT on her website and announcing something BIG! CLICK the button (below) to RSVP for the party - then go here to sign up for the Live Author Chat.



Blog tour schedule: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13430807)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

God Girl Bible


Title: GOD GIRL BIBLE
Publisher: Revell
July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2016-2
Bible

GOD GIRL BIBLE is more than just a Bible. It is a Bible, in every sense of the word, but it is also a study guide, a devotional, a prayer book, and includes notes, a glossary, quick relief, and reading plans.

Written in the God’s Word Translation, this is not the Bible that I grew up with. There are several wording differences in verses I memorized, making this more modern and contemporary.

I liked the plain white cover with a tree branch design that is really classy and beautiful. My daughter liked that she was encouraged to decorate it with markers and stickers, which she did—with gusto. Here is her personalized Bible:

If you have a tween or teen daughter, she will love GOD GIRL BIBLE. It is a Bible that she will be encouraged to use on a daily basis, and one that will grow with her. $29.99 hardcover (also available in softcover) 1501 pages.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Raising Up a Little Girl


Title: RAISING UP A LITTLE GIRL
Text by: Janna Walkup
Paintings by: Sandra Kuck
Publisher: Harvest House
July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7369-3850-1
Genre: Inspirational/gift book/parenting

RAISING UP A LITTLE GIRL is a charming, and beautifully done gift book filled with absolutely gorgeous paintings of girls, quotations by famous individuals (including the Bible), and essays on different aspects of raising girls.

Essays are on a variety of subjects, including RAISING UP A LITTLE GIRL:

. to be courteous
. to be obedient
. to be honest
. to be grateful
. to be tidy
and many many more.

This book would be an awesome gift to a new mother of a little girl, as it includes advice on how to raise girls, but also the beautiful pictures. Recommended. $15.99 hardcover. 48 pages.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hello, Hollywood --- giveaway!!!



Leave a comment to be entered for a giveaway--be sure to include your email address.

Title: HELLO, HOLLYWOOD
Author: Janice Thompson
Publisher: Revell
September 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3346-9
Genre: Inspirational/romance

Athena Pappas is the head writer on Stars Collide, a sit-com on television. But ratings are going down, and the best ideas that she and her team of writers are coming up with are old reruns that have already been done somewhere else.

When Athena’s boss, Rex, decides to hire a new comic to work on the writing team none of the writers are quite sure what to think. Athena is afraid she’s being replaced and wonders if she should just plan to work at her parents’ restaurant.

When Athena’s great aunt (with the same name) dies, she leaves Athena a strange little Greek dog that wrecks havoc in Athena’s parents’ house. She promises to find a new home for the dog, never dreaming that Stephen would take it for his little girl, Brooke. Now the pooch is pampered and Athena feels her life is out of control. Why is Stephen there? Is he after her job? Or is he after her heart.

HELLO, HOLLYWOOD is the second book in Ms. Thompson’s Backstage Pass series, but it easily stands alone. Set in Hollywood, it is stock full of movie stars, blitz and bling, and plenty of drama.

If you like a good romance with plenty of comedy mixed in then HELLO, HOLLYWOOD is a book to consider. Not to mention there is a fun “special feature” included at the end of the book. $14.99. 280 pages.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Love Your Husband, Love Yourself


Title: LOVE YOUR HUSBAND LOVE YOURSELF
Author: Jennifer Flanders
Publisher: Prescott Publishing
February 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9826269-0-0
Genre: Inspirational/nonfiction/marriage

LOVE YOUR HUSBAND LOVE YOURSELF is not just another marriage book. Ms. Flanders practices what she “preaches” which became very clear in the reading of this book. Unlike most other books about marriage, this book starts out with “sex”, teaching women about the importance of loving your husband physically, and explaining about the different sexual needs that a man has than his wife. As she says in the book, “You can find someone else to do his laundry, cook his food, clean his house, and raise his children, but you are the only one who can rightfully love him.”

LOVE YOUR HUSBAND LOVE YOURSELF is divided up into two parts: Part One: Love Him Physically, and Part Two: Love Him Unconditionally. The first part is much longer than the second part and has several sections that explain how that loving your husband physically can do several things, such as:

1. Knit your hearts together
2. Protect against heart disease, cancer and other illnesses
3. Serve as an antidote for depression
4. Provides deeper sleep
5. Make you look and feel younger
6. Rid your home of stress and tension
7. Provide the couple with children
and more.

The book also stresses that in order for the husband to lead, the wife must be willing to follow. It also addresses learning how to control the tongue, the importance of building him up, and other such topics.

A lot of the subjects talked about in this book are common sense, but they are things that people (women) tend to not do. They are busy, husband does something they see as stupid, and they react accordingly. This is not appropriate, or Godly. Most of the book, as I said earlier, focuses on the importance of sex—to him. Which boils down to, do it, whether you feel like it or not.

If you are serious about improving your marriage, about making it stronger, and affirming the man you married, then LOVE YOUR HUSBAND LOVE YOURSELF is definitely a book to put on your must-read list. There are extensive end-notes and bibliographies included at the back of the book, in case you want to do more study on a certain area. $14.95. 328 pages.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Restless in Carolina



Title: RESTLESS IN CAROLINA
Author: Tamara Leigh
Publisher: Multnomah
July 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4-60142-168-5
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

Bridget Pickwick-Buchanan is a widow at thirty-three. It’s been four years since her husband died and she’s just not ready to move on. But after she terrorizes her five-year-old niece by telling her that there is no happy-ever-after, that the hero dies, she is forced to start coming to terms. First to go is the dreadlocks that she had in memory of her late husband who loved them.

Now, Bridget needs to find a buyer for her family’s estate—a Biltmore-inspired mansion surrounded by hundreds of acres of unspoiled forest. Bridget is hoping to find an eco-friendly developer to buy the land—one who won’t turn it into single-family homes or a cheesy theme park.

J. C. Dirk is a developer from Atlanta whose green property developments have earned him national acclaim. But he isn’t returning Bridget’s calls. Forced to act, she visits him in Atlanta. But J. C. is neither amused nor interested until she mentions her family name. But there are things Bridget doesn’t know about J. C. and it could mean the end of everything she worked for.

RESTLESS IN CAROLINA is a contemporary novel, written in first person, in kind of a chick-litty way. Bridget is still in mourning after her husband’s death four years earlier, but life has a way of going on, and now Bridget is getting everything dumped on her lap at once. Including babysitting her twin niece and nephew, approaching the developer about the family estate, babysitting her senile uncle, and chasing down a developer who may or may not be interested in the acreage, but seems to be interested in the widow.

Bridget is a rather pushy character, used to getting her way, and not used to being told no, or worse, ignored. It was rather amusing in parts watching her do whatever it takes to get the attention she requests and needs. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 352 pages.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Megan's Hero


Title: MEGAN’S HERO
Author: Sharon Gillenwater
Publisher: Revell
June 2011
ISBN: 978-1-8007-3355-1
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Megan Smith is pregnant and on the run. She’s not sure where she’s going, but she had to get out of her apartment, give up her job, and has been living in her van. But a tornado in West Texas blows the windows out of her van and she takes cover in a bar ditch, begging God to spare her baby.

Will Callahan finds her on the road, and he makes sure she gets taken to the hospital and checked out. Not only that, but he makes sure she is provided with a home and a job until the baby is born. Megan begins to fall in love with Will, but how does she know that he isn’t just looking at her as a stray? And how will Will be certain her past won’t get in the way of a future?

MEGAN’S HERO is the third book in the Callahan’s of Texas series, but it easily stands alone. I fell in love with Megan, who has innocence completely at odds with her past, and with Will, who is a true hero. I think this book was the best one out of the entire series (and yes, I read all three.)

I completely enjoyed reading about Megan, Will, and getting reacquainted with the characters from the previous books and seeing where they are in their lives. This is a very well written, realistic story, and it held my attention from the beginning when the tornado ripped across the pages of the book. If you are looking for a contemporary romance, you won’t want to miss MEGAN’S HERO. $14.99. 335 pages.