Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blue Moon Promise


Title: BLUE MOON PROMISE
Author: Colleen Coble
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
February 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59554-9150
Genre: Inspirational/historical/romantic suspense

The sudden death of Lucy Marsh’s father is a shock, but it’s even more shocking when she learns that the death wasn’t an accident, Lucy decides it’d be safer to take her brother and sister and flee Indiana. She wants to be someplace where trouble will never find them. She accepts an offer of marriage by proxy to a man she never met in Texas.

Nate Stanton believes he’ll get married someday, but the right girl has yet to come along. But then Nate’s father deposits Lucy Marsh on his doorstep, proclaiming that Lucy will be Nate’s wife! While Nate’s decision about marriage is made for him, he is touched by Lucy’s determination and strength.

But despite Lucy’s fleeing her past and her sudden marriage to Nate, danger follows Lucy and her siblings. How much must Nate sacrifice to keep Lucy from harm? Who is after them? And why?

BLUE MOON PROMISE is the first book in Ms. Coble’s new series, Under Texas Stars. Full of Ms. Coble’s signature suspense mixed in with a heart-throbbing romance, readers will be kept enthralled to the very last page.

I enjoyed getting to know Lucy and Nate, and Lucy’s younger siblings, and hoped that Lucy would be able to get past the horror of her past and find a safer future. Lucy’s determination and grit was admirable. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $15.99. 304 pages.

***
About the book:
Book Number One in the Under Texas Stars series

A love like Lucy and Nate’s only comes along once in a blue moon . . .

Lucy Marsh's worldly resources are running out, but she's fiercely determined to care for her younger brother and sister. When she discovers that their father's recent death was no accident, Lucy is eager to leave town. She accepts a proxy marriage she believes will provide safe refuge. But trouble follows her to Texas where her new husband is surprised to suddenly have a wife and children to care for.

Nate Stanton always hoped he'd marry someday, but running the family ranch meant he had no time for romance. When his father deposits Lucy Marsh—a city girl—on his doorstep, with two siblings in the bargain, he expects ranch life will send her running on the first train out of town. But Lucy is made of tougher stuff than Nate imagined. When danger moves in, Nate finds he'd give anything to protect Lucy and the children he's grown to love. Even if it means giving up his ranch.

About Colleen:
Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA’s RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

For more about Colleen and her other books visit www.colleencoble.com

Link to buy the book: http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=1595549153&title=Under_Texas_Stars_#1__:_Blue_Moon_Promise

About the party:

Blue Moon Promise is a story of hope, romance, and suspense . . . immersing the reader in a rich historical tale set under Texas stars.

To celebrate Colleen is teaming up with her publisher Thomas Nelson for a "Blue Moon Promise" Facebook Chat party where she will giveaway a KINDLE Fire and a Texas-sized gift basket (fabulous Texas treats and fun Lucy-inspired housekeeping products)!

Click the banner, RSVP today for the Facebook Party and mark the date on your calendar!

Invite your friends and don't miss Colleen's evening of chat, trivia, prizes, and more.

Button Code:
Kindle Giveaway and More! Save the Date - 3/13!


Blog tour schedule: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13458569/bluemoonpromise)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Organized Grime


Title: ORGANIZED GRIME
Author: Christy Barritt
Publisher: Princeton Halls Press
December 2011
ISBN: 9781466480193
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Gabby St. Claire is a crime scene cleaner and college student, trying to earn her forensic investigator’s degree. Life is pretty calm at the moment—at least until FBI knocks on her door. It seems Gabby’s best friend and next door neighbor, Sierra, is presumed guilty of some crimes being committed in the area.

Sierra never seemed a violent type person, so Gabby is positive that she isn’t guilty of the crimes she’s accused of. But she was seen in the area—she was seen arguing with people that later were found dead, things that implicate her were found at crime scenes.

Desperate to find her friend innocent, Gabby disobeys FBI’s orders and starts doing some investigating on her own. But she must be getting too close for comfort because now someone seems to be targeting Gabby? Who is it? And why?

ORGANIZED GRIME is the long awaited third book in Ms. Barritt’s Squeaky Clean Mysteries series. I read the first two books in the series Hazardous Duty and Suspicious Minds and recommend reading both of them before reading ORGANIZED GRIME as events are referred to from the previous books. However, if you can’t get the first two, then enough is explained that you won’t be totally lost.

I totally loved reading ORGANIZED GRIME and was absolutely drawn into the story from page one. Some things hit me by surprise, others wasn’t so much. Gabby is a very realistic character, someone I could relate to, and I hoped she’d find her friend, alive and innocent. I highly recommend this book and the series. $12.99. 284 pages.

Monday, February 27, 2012

52 Things Wives Need from their Husbands


Title: 52 THINGS WIVES NEED FROM THEIR HUSBANDS
Author: Jay Payleitner
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
February 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7369-4471-7
Genre: Inspirational/marriage

Nobody knows your wife like you do. You’re the guy who can make her day or break her heart. The choice is yours.

If your husband technique needs a refresher course, then pick up 52 THINGS WIVES NEED FROM THEIR HUSBANDS. Mr. Payleitner offers 52 wonderful pieces of advice that men need to know, such as:

 To be sane on Valentine’s day
 To warehouse memories together
 To buy two jars of peanut butter
 To be the pastor of your home
 To only have eyes for her
 To trade the mustang for a minivan
 To do more than nod and smile
 And much more…

There is a takeaway included after each short chapter that gives a simple, easy assignment or piece of advice.

Okay, I admit it. I’m a woman. Married twenty-five years to my husband. Most of this stuff we learned by trial and error. Some, we’re still learning. In one section it’s entitled “to try this experiment” my husband could learn not to say “my mom did it this way.” Almost nothing upsets me faster.

This is a book that all married men, soon to be married men, and hope to eventually get married men could stand to read. Face it, no one is perfect. Do you still wait until the last minute to buy her flowers for Valentine’s day? Do you do sweet little things for your wife to “get her in the mood”? Are you willing to give things up for her comfort?

My nineteen year old son, who falls in the “hope to eventually get married” category, asked if he could read this book when I finish. I think when he finishes; it’ll go into the family library. This is an invaluable resource for men everywhere, from nineteen to ninety. Buy it. Seriously. $12.99. 170 pages.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tempest in a Teapot


Title: TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT
Author: Judy Baer
Publisher: Guideposts
2005
ASIN: B001NPSW2O
Genre: Women’s fiction

An out-of-state developer wants to drain Fairy Pond and build a gas station at the site. While the idea of destroying such an idyllic spot of protest in Acorn Hill, there are a few people that would like to see the town become more progressive, catering more to tourists and businessmen who travel through the town. The town is divided, and Mayor Lloyd Tynan is indisposed. Who will try to save the town and the pond?

Louise, Jane and Alice are siblings in their sixties who manage a bed-and-breakfast in Fairy Pond. They are noticing an increase in businessmen staying in their inn, but never think it might be related to the changes at the lake.

A recluse who lives near the pond is someone that Louise used to love, but time and other things broke them up. Is it possible that this hermit might have the answer to the towns problems?

TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT is the thirteenth book in the Tales from Grace Chapel Inn series. I never read any of the other books in the series and I picked this book up because I like Judy Baer’s romances. I didn’t realize it was women’s fiction until after I started reading it.

The story is cute, but it is obvious Ms. Baer isn’t at the level of writing she is now. There is a lot of telling, keeping the reader distant. I also got confused about whose point of view we were in at times. But that said, the three main characters were well developed, kind—even to difficult guests, and there are some witty moments that made me smile.

This story—and the collection—was recently repackaged, with new covers. If you are looking for one of Guideposts series written by different authors centered around the same people then TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT (and the other books in this series) would be a good collection. Available online at Amazon, or at Guideposts.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Beautiful Wife--book/mentor's guide/prayer journal (and two giveaways)



Title: THE BEAUTIFUL WIFE
Author: Sandy Ralya
Publisher: Kregel Publications
February 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4220-9
978-0-8254-4221-6 (Mentor’s Guide)
978-0-8254-4222-3 (Prayer Journal)
Genre: Marriage/Christian Life

Marriage is under attack. Unfortunately, more than half of all marriages end in divorce. Churches need to be proactive in safeguarding couples from relationship failure. THE BEAUTIFUL WIFE is a book designed to help women whose marriages are in trouble.

Inspired by Titus 2:3-5, Ms. Ralya, founder of BEAUTIFUL WOMENHOOD offers seminars and resources to equip marriage mentors, encourage women in their role of wives, and help women build relationships with other wives.

THE BEAUTIFUL WIFE is best designed for use with a small group. It comes with a mentor’s guide for the leader, a book for each member of the group, and a prayer journal with plenty of spaces to write prayer requests, answer some questions regarding lessons, and more. There are free small-group starter kits available at www.beautifulwomanhood.com.

If you can’t be part of a group (as I wasn’t) when you read through the book, it can be used individually. After reading through each chapter, write down your thoughts/responses and take the First Steps listed. Also use the Prayer Journal while your working through this alone.

The mentor’s guide (for the small group leader) includes an introduction on what it means to be a mentor, gives instructions on creating a group, gives practical tips, a hostess guide, and a week-by-week leader’s guide that corresponds with each chapter of THE BEAUTIFUL WIFE.

I attend a church that is all about family/marriage and so I was interested in reading this book to see what Ms. Rayla has to say. I think that our church would benefit for starting a small group for women, especially young married women, who are interested in building a lasting relationship with the one they chose to wed.

I highly recommend this book, and will make sure a copy lands in the church library so it will be available when needed. I was sent two copies of these books, THE BEAUTIFUL WIFE, the Mentor’s Guide, and the Prayer Journal, so I will give one set away to a reader on this blog. $13.99. 240 pages.

Answer this question to win a set of these books: If you are married, what is the biggest struggle you had as a wife? Or, what do you wish you would have been told before you married? If you are unmarried, What do you want to know about marriage before you "tie the knot"?




About the book:

The Beautiful Wife uses these inspiring stories along with biblical principles to guide and encourage any wife looking for God's best in her marriage. The Beautiful Wife answers serious questions women have about their roles as wives. Discussing everything from romance and money to beauty, communication, and sex, Sandy challenges women to open up and share their journeys so that together they can see God's plan for their marriages. "It is my passion to help women discover God's heart for their marriage, just as the other women helped me," writes Sandy. "When women share with each other the details of their journeys with God as wives, it's a beautiful thing indeed." The Beautiful Wife has two companion resources - Prayer Journal and Mentor's Guide.


About Sandy Ralya:

Sandy Ralya is the founder and director of Beautiful Womanhood, a marriage mentoring ministry based near Grand Rapids, Mich. Her marriage testimony was the focus of a popular three-day interview on FamilyLife Today, TV's Walking by Faith, and Time Out for Women. Sandy is a sought-after speaker, presenting Beautiful Womanhood seminars to hundreds of women each year at MOPS groups, women's retreats, and church leadership conferences across the country and in Canada. Sandy and her husband Tom have been married since 1980, and have a growing number of grandchildren. www.beautifulwomanhood.com

Link to buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0825442206/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=sprightly-20&camp=0&creative=0&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=0825442206&adid=1W3K2YQ18448XYFD3ZQ8

About the giveaway and party:

Celebrate with Sandy by entering her Kindle Touch Giveaway!


One beautiful winner will receive:

A Brand new Kindle Touch with Wi-Fi
The Beautiful Wife by Sandy Ralya
The Beautiful Wife Prayer Journal and Mentor's Guide by Sandy Ralya
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/7/12. Winner will be announced at Sandy's "Beautiful Womanhood" Facebook Party on 3/8. Sandy will be hosting an evening of chat, laughter and encouragement - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, prayer journals, gift certificates and a live chat with Sandy for your Bible study or small group!

So grab your copy of The Beautiful Wife and join Sandy and friends on the evening of March 8th for an evening of fun.

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 8th!

Video Links:
1. Sandy’s Testimony. This is directed primarily at wives. Sandy speaks to the mentors for a few seconds near the end, but her testimony will be one that resonates with wives as well.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2F7GIhZZF0&feature=youtu.be

2. About BEAUTIFUL WOMANHOOD Ministry. This uses Sandy’s experience to speak directly to the marriage mentor to encourage and equip her role as a mentor.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HV3cJFyo1mI&feature=youtu.be

Blog tour schedule: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13457272/beautifulwife)

Friday, February 24, 2012

An Interview with June Foster

Be sure to answer June's question and leave a contact email to be entered into a drawing for a free copy of June's book!


Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I believe first because the Lord has placed it on my heart. Since I'm a Christian and have a master's in counseling, I love to hear "real life" stories about Christians who've conquered obstacles and sins in their lives to find freedom to live the way God intended. So now I have opportunity to write about fictional characters who do the same. I pray my stories will minister to Christians who suffer with the same issues.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Before I became a Christian, I don't think I had any really happy days although at the time I thought they were. Since then, I've had so many happy days I can't count them all or name one that is better than the rest. But here's some examples: when my husband gave his life to the Lord, the frequent times my husband and I visited many of our beautiful national parks, and the day I found out my first book, actually the entire trilogy, was to be published.

How has being published changed your life?
I'm busier now than ever taking care of the responsibilities attached to having a book published – edits, reviews, promotion of the book. I struggle some days to get back to what I love the most and that's writing my stories.

What are you reading right now?
I'm reading BJ Robinson's Southern Superstitions. I got a Kindle for my birthday last November and have been downloading some of the books from my colleagues at Desert Breeze to become acquainted with them.

What is your current work in progress?
I'm working on the first book in my next trilogy, the Almond Tree Series. The first book is called The Way Home and is about two people of very different religions who fall in love. The series is set in Chico, California where I was able to visit for a week to do research for the novels.

What would be your dream vacation?
I believe I'd have to say a trip to Israel.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
The four books I have contracts on and Ryan's Father are all set in the Seattle area of Washington. We lived in the area for 10 years so I'm familiar with the state. For the Almond Tree series – don't laugh – I looked at a map of the US and saw Chico, California and knew that was the place. I have another book planned to take place in El Paso, Texas where I lived for many years.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I think it would be Latayne Scott. Latayne is an ex-Mormon and a born again Christian writer. Since the love story in The Way Home is about a Christian woman and a Mormon man who fall in love, I'd love to ask her question after question.

What three things about you would surprise readers?
My great grandfather was a Catholic priest. (Now figure that one out.) I taught students from seven different language groups in Seattle in my English as a Second Language classes: Vietnamese, Russian, Ukrainian, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, and Croatian. I've traveled in Europe quite a bit.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Literally nothing. Writing takes up my entire day. Before I started writing, I used to scrapbook and make cards.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it
I'd have to say groping for the right words that express what I want to say. I close my eyes and ask the Lord to help me. Then I keep on trying.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Read the "how to" books, join Scribes of ACFW, and keep on writing. Don't ever give up for any reason.


Tell us about the book.

Jess Colton battles a dysfunctional personality. When he asks Jesus into his life, he gives up alcohol yet replaces it with a food addition. Though his weight soars past 300 pounds, he’s baffled when the beautiful Holly Harrison declares her affection.
Holly Harrison lives with the results of an ungodly past. What Christian man would want a woman who lost her leg and unborn baby all in the same night? She doesn’t plan on falling in love with Jess yet she sees past his bulk to the godly man inside. When Jess drives a wedge between them, Holly loses all hope of a future with him.
Only God has the power to restore a hopeless food addict to good health and teach a young woman how to forgive herself opening the door for an unlikely romance.


What do you want readers to take away from the book?
There is no obstacle in our lives that is too big for God. If we're willing to place it all in His hands, admit our faults, and turn from our past, God can bring us a life filled with joy and peace.

What one question would you like us to ask your readers?
How meaningful is a book like Give Us This Day to a reader? Even if you haven't read it yet, you can still answer the question by reading the blurb. Do you believe God can use a fictional character to speak to issues in a reader's life?

Tell us about the giveaway you’re offering.
I'm going to choose a winner from the answers to the above question. I will send you a free copy of my debut novel Give Us This Day if you leave your email address.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Interview with Babbie Mason


1. What inspired the book, Embraced By God?
The journey to writing Embraced By God is a very personal one. During the pastor’s sermon one Sunday, he said, “Turn to your neighbor and say, ‘I’m God’s favorite.’ That thought intrigued me. I wondered how I could be God’s favorite. How could I find a favored place in God’s heart in light of personal doubts, faults, and failures? I’ve never doubted God’s love for me. As a preacher’s kid and pastor’s daughter, I accepted Christ as Savior very early in life. I’ve known mostly all of my life that God loves me, but I don’t think I ever really considered or fully understood how deep and unconditional God’s love really is. I searched the scriptures and found a great promise in John chapter 17:23. Jesus is not only praying concerning us, He is praying for us. And He prays that we would know that God loves us as much as He loves His own Son Jesus.” That’s mind-boggling to me--that the God of the universe could love me this much. He loves me as much as He loves His favorite, beautiful, spotless, blameless Son, Who sits at His right hand. And because Christ gave His life for me, my sins are forgiven. My debts have been paid. He calls me His friend. I’m beautiful, spotless, and blameless before God, Who loves me as if I were an only child. In a few short months I’ll celebrate my Year of Jubilee, fifty years of knowing Christ as Savior and Lord. This revelation has altered the course of my life. I’ve determined that if I could be so profoundly changed by this wonderful truth, then I suppose that the lives of others could be impacted as well.

What do you mean when you say we are “God’s favorite”?
God’s great love, grace, and favor are not just for a chosen few. It’s for all of us. According to 2 Corinthians 5:21, “Christ had no sin, but God made him become sin so that in Christ we could become right with God”, (NCV). Jesus brings us into right standing with God. No longer are we separated, alienated or estranged from God, but joint heirs with Christ. He sees us without a single flaw, blemish, or imperfection. We are no longer rejected because of sin, but accepted in the Beloved. Often throughout the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament, people groups were identified by the land from which they came. The inhabitants of Canaan were known as Canaanites. The residents of Midian were called Midianites. The people of Moab were called Moabites and so on. I’d like to think that as people who inhabit the land of God’s great favor, we are therefore called, Favorites. If you are a child of God, through faith in Christ, you are no longer a stranger, a foreigner, or an outsider. You are an eternal resident in the land of God’s great favor and a member of His forever family. It’s time we stake our claim and receive our rightful inheritance as children of God.

What lies do we believe?
The lies the enemy uses against us are numerous. Satan finds an area of weakness in our lives and he uses it against us. He will use any means possible to keep us from believing the truth and enjoying the freedom that comes from personally knowing God’s great love. Our enemy will convince us that we are damaged goods and that we are of no use to God or His Kingdom. He will tell us we are hopeless, helpless, and we have nothing going for us. Our adversary will lead us to believe that we have no talents and nothing to contribute. He will tell us that no one loves us and that we are unlovely and unlovable and not worthy of God’s love or anyone else’s love for that matter. John 8:44 says Satan is ‘a liar and the father of it.’ It’s imperative that we know the truth of God’s Word so we can combat the fiery darts of the enemy’s assaults against us. The only way to dispel the lies of the enemy is with the truth of God’s Word. Hide it in your heart so you will not sin against God, according to Psalms 119:1

What is the Embrace Project?
As I began to incorporate God’s love into every area of my life, God began to affirm His love for me with music. One song came, then another, then another. Pretty soon I had an entire collection of songs. God impressed me to record these songs on a music CD then create a concert to lead women into worship. “Embrace, A Worship Celebration For Women” was born. Embrace is a 90-minute concert with a purpose. In an atmosphere of worship and an attitude of joy, I invite women to step away from life’s responsibilities, to breathe out, to let go of the challenges they face and receive the love, validation, and comfort that every women needs. At every Embrace concert, women experience awesome worship music, God-honoring testimonies, the fellowship of Christian sisterhood and a huge dose of encouragement, all in an atmosphere where women can encounter the unconditional love of God.

I’ve had the privilege of being a part of women’s ministry from the local church to the national stage for a long time now. And wherever I go, I meet women who are in desperate need of encouragement. Women are discouraged, depressed, and defeated and we really need to know that we matter to God, and that He has a great big plan and we’re all in it. “Embrace, A Worship Celebration For Women” was created to give women the opportunity to bask in the deep-end of God’s love and receive healing for our hearts. Embrace provides a worship experience where women can bring their mothers, daughters, girlfriends, and neighbors for a concert with one focus--that is, to remind women of how much we are loved by God. The event is packed with fun, excitement, and great worship music, while honoring friendships and celebrating Christian sisterhood. A unique ingredient in this event is the participation of women volunteers from the host church and community who may read a selected scripture or sing in the women’s mass choir. By the end of the worship celebration, women are invited to give their hearts, their lives, and their issues to Christ.

How does the book help us learn this lesson?
When I was a kid, I took piano lessons for many years. I committed time and application to the process of learning to play. Some days when I was studying difficult pieces written by Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven, I wanted to give up, quit, and go outside to play kickball with my friends. But I kept going (with some “positive” reinforcement from my mother, who would hear nothing of that!). Over time I started to realize progress. Our walk with Christ is no different. We learn these lessons by walking them out day by day. We put them into practice. Some days we want to give up and throw in the towel. But we must remember that quitting is not an option. As we learn to live loved, we allow the love of God to influence every facet of life--the good, the bad, the best, and all the rest. Some days it will feel awkward and unnatural. Other days, you experience great joy realizing God’s presence. Regardless of what’s going on, every day of this Embraced By God life, we trust what we know to be true. God loves us as much as He loves His own Son Jesus. As a matter of fact, He loves us as if we were the only one to love. There’s no doubt, the power of this truth can transform a life.

What's the difference between Who and Whose we are, and why is important to celebrate this?
Our world is in an identity crisis. When we don’t know who we are, we wander and meander aimlessly and go, as the proverbial phrase says, looking for love in all the wrong places. Oftentimes we stay longer than we intend to stay and pay more than we intend to pay. The woman at the well learned this personally. So did the woman caught in the act of adultery, and so many other people in the Bible. But their stories are great examples of lives that can be totally altered when one encounters Christ. No matter a person’s circumstances, God’s love is far-reaching and it can reach to wherever you are. When we know who we are in Christ, we’ll no longer be plagued with questions like, “Do I matter?” When you know Christ personally, you can know with confidence and assurance that God created you with a specific purpose in mind. The gifts and talents He gave you didn’t just happen randomly. Everything about you is intentionally planned. You are not an afterthought, an “oops” baby or illegitimate. You are a complete and miraculous expression of God’s great love here in the Earth, born on purpose and for a purpose.

Concerning Whose we are, Jesus gives us a place to belong. He brings us into the Family of God. We should resemble our Father in all that we do and say. I love using the term “God’s favorite.” Often throughout the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament, people groups were identified by the land from which they came. The inhabitants of Canaan were known as Canaanites. The residents of Midian were called Midianites. The people of Moab were called Moabites and so on. I’d like to think that as people who inhabit the land of God’s great favor, we are therefore called Favorites. If you are a child of God, through faith in Christ, you are no longer a stranger, a foreigner, or an outsider. We are eternal residents in the land of God’s great grace and favor and members of His forever family.

We know how much music is a strong influence in your relationship with Christ; how does writing a book affect your relationship with Christ?
I thoroughly enjoy the writing process. While writing books and writing songs may achieve the same end, to inform, inspire, or emotionally impact people, each takes on a slightly different process. A song is set to time and rhyme and is experienced in an average time of about 3-4 minutes. With a book, the reader can stop to laugh, ponder, and enjoy each colorful detail. That’s why music is so important, because it enhances and supports all the themes in the book Embraced By God. I consider the Bible as the definitive text. Writing Embraced By God has taught me so much about God’s great love for me. Through countless hours of study, research, and prayer, I have gained a greater confidence in God’s love for me. I’ll never again ask the question, “Does God love me? Or “Does my life matter?”

Tell us about a time when you did not feel embraced by God and how you overcame that.
I can honestly say, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know God loved me. But often in my Christian experience as a young child, my relationship with God was driven more by a dreadful fear than by love. There have been numerous times when I felt I didn’t qualify, that I wasn’t worthy, or that I fell hopelessly short. One time in particular, when I was in college, I hung out with kids that were not Christians. When I was with them, in order to feel accepted, I went to bars and experimented with alcohol, trying to find a place to belong. Then on Sundays I fulfilled my duties as the pianist and choir director in my father’s church. Peer pressure led me to compromise my walk with Christ. One day in the college cafeteria where I was enjoying a cup of hot soup, my lunch hour was interrupted by conversation with a friend. When I came back to my soup, it had begun to turn lukewarm. The oil in the soup rose to the top, forming little globules of grease. My stomach started to turn queasy as the plastic spoon surface turned oily and an orange ring of grease formed around the styro-foam cup’s surface. Right there at the lunch table the Lord used this lukewarm cup of soup to show me what a life of compromise looked like. I was reminded of Revelation 3:14-15. “I know thy works, that thou are neither cold nor hot: I would that thou wert cold or not. So then because thou are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.” God got my attention that day. I decided to quit playing games and get serious about my walk with Christ.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading Embraced by God?
Through the truths found in the Word of God and my own personal experience, I hope to help the reader gain a deeper assurance of God’s love. Some might find it easy to conclude that God loves the next person more. But the word of God assures us that His love is not just for the next person. It’s for all of us. It’s for the woman who is stuck in a loveless marriage. It’s for the single mom trying to make ends meet. It’s for the teenager who wonders what life is all about. It’s for the man who wonders if he matters. The book gives the reader the opportunity to sit down each day over the course of 21 days to celebrate God’s amazing love. At the close of each day’s reading session, there’s a nugget to think about, something to pray about, a scripture to meditate upon, and an application to practice. In a few months I’ll celebrate 50 years of knowing Christ, and this love revelation has caused a love revolution in my own life. I’m hopeful the same thing will happen for people as they engage in this 21 day encounter.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

PowerPoint Slides Available for Lenten Bible Readings



Leave a comment to win a copy of the Common English Bible (and email)

PowerPoint® Slides Available for Lenten Bible Readings
from the Common English Bible

NASHVILLE, TN (February 8, 2012) – In time for the beginning of the centuries-old tradition of Lent on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 22), churches, bloggers, and others can now share the season’s official and coordinated Bible readings in a free PowerPoint® presentation consisting of vivid color photography of nature scenes combined with Scripture verses from the new bestselling Bible translation Common English Bible (http://CommonEnglishBible.com).



The presentation (http://CommonEnglishBible.com/CEB/LentDownloads and http://slideshare.com/CommonEnglishBible) is comprised of nine Bible readings to observe Ash Wednesday, each Sunday of Lent, Good Friday, and Easter. It’s flexible enough to display only portions from it or all the slides, and to present them prior to or during church services, embed in blogs and other websites, or email to friends. Verses are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year B).
On the church liturgical calendar, Lent is the Christian season of preparation 40 days before Easter,” says Paul Franklin, PhD, associate publisher of the Common English Bible (Twitter @CommonEngBible – http://twitter.com/CommonEngBible). “This presentation beautifully helps church leaders and others guide viewers into scripture verses they can quickly comprehend in 21st century English so they can enjoy a time of personal reflection, prayer, and a change of heart and life.”

An example is from the readings for Ash Wednesday: “Purify me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and celebration again; let the bones you crushed rejoice once more. Hide your face from my sins; wipe away all my guilty deeds! Create a clean heart for me, God; put a new, faithful spirit deep inside me!” Psalm 51:7-10 (CEB).

In addition to the PowerPoint presentation, a Lenten blog tour is being planned and a Lenten Bible reading marathon is being coordinated with churches, schools, and civic organizations (to participate, email jpetersen@somersaultgroup.com). Along with embedding the presentation, bloggers can also embed a new 60-second video (http://vimeo.com/CommonEnglishBible), showing how the Common English Bible is an uncommon translation that clearly communicates in today’s terms God’s message of love to everyone, no matter what age, gender, station in life, or other personal outlook.

The Common English Bible’s popularity has soared since it was first released last September. It’s a bestseller in Christian retail stores; people are printing its verses in calligraphy when they LIKE the Facebook page http://facebook.com/LiveTheBible; and churches are using it to read through the Bible in a year (e.g. http://www.fourthchurch.org/bibleyear.html).

The Common English Bible text, including the Apocrypha, is available to search for free online at Bible Gateway (http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Common-English-Bible-CEB/), YouVersion.com, and the translation’s website.

The Common English Bible is a collaboration of 120 Bible scholars and editors, 77 reading group leaders, and more than 500 average readers from around the world. The translators – from 24 denominations in American, African, Asian, European, and Latino communities – represent such academic institutions as Asbury Theological Seminary, Azusa Pacific University, Bethel Seminary, Denver Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Seattle Pacific University, Wheaton College, Yale University, and many others.

The Common English Bible is written in contemporary idiom at the same reading level as the newspaper USA TODAY—using language that’s comfortable and accessible for today’s English readers. More than half-a-million copies of the Bible are already in print, including an edition with the Apocrypha. The Common English Bible is available for purchase online and in 20 digital formats. A Reference Bible edition and a Daily Companion devotional edition are now also available. Additionally, in the coming year, Church/Pew Bibles, Gift and Award Bibles, Large Print Bibles, and Children’s Bible editions will be in stores, joining the existing Thinline Bibles, Compact Thin Bibles, and Pocket-Size Bibles, bringing the total variety of Common English Bible stock-keeping units (SKUs) to more than 40.

Visit CommonEnglishBible.com to see comparison translations, learn about the translators, get free downloads, and more.

The Common English Bible is sponsored by the Common English Bible Committee, an alliance of five publishers that serve the general market, as well as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (Chalice Press), Presbyterian Church (USA) (Westminster John Knox Press), Episcopal Church (Church Publishing, Inc.), United Church of Christ (The Pilgrim Press), and The United Methodist Church (Abingdon Press).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gabby's Stick-To-It Day


Title: GABBY’S STICK-TO-IT DAY
Author: Sheila Walsh
Illustrator: Natasha Kuricheva
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
March 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4003-1805-6
Genre: Inspirational/childrens

How do you get little girls to stick to it and finish what they started?

Sophie wants to do good, and she tries very hard to be good. But when things get hard to do, Sophie quits every time! Gabby, her guardian angel, is frustrated by how Sophie quits time after time, and the senior angel tells Gabby that her mission is to teach Sophie not to quit!

So, Gabby heads down to Earth where Sophie is giving the dog a bath. But the dog won’t stay in the tub! When Sophie and Gabby end up getting soaked and Sophie yells, “I quit!” what is a little angel to do?

My daughters (ages nine and six) love Sheila Walsh’s books so much that they recognize Sheila’s name and ask for me to please review her books. GABBY’S STICK-TO-IT DAY is another winner for my two girls. Both of them sat down and read it without waiting for me to read it first, and then sat in my lap so I could read it out loud to them.

The pictures are engaging, the words attention grabbing, and the lesson is valuable. I highly recommend this book, the second one in Sheila’s Gabby, God’s Little Angel series. (The book easily stands alone.) For ages three and up. $14.99 hardcover. 32 pages.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Qur'an Dilemma


Title: The Qur'an Dilemma
Author: Al Fadi and other former Muslims
Publisher: Water Life Publishing
2011
ISBN: 978-1935577034
Genre: Religions

Islam is one of the fastest growing religions of the world, and The Qur'an is the foundation of Islam. It is the source of all Islamic laws and practices, religious or otherwise. The current Qur'an is divided into 114 chapters or suras of different lengths. This first volume of The Qur'an Dilemma investigates the first nine of these suras.

Each sura contains the text of the Qur'an, complemented with the following elements:

. Sura Introduction
. Critical analysis of key verses
. Variant readings of certain verses
. Abrogated verses with analytical comments

The Qur'an Dilemma also has articles of different subjects that will interest the reader such as the status of "women in Islam", the treatment of "people of other faiths", and others.

The Qur'an Dilemma also contains a glossary to help support the reader and a Who's Who section that provides a bibliographical synopsis of some Islamic scholars and historical figures.

I was interested in reviewing this book not because I am interested in the Islamic religion, but because my sons, both in different state colleges/universities in Arkansas are being taught Islam in their college career, in some of their required classes. I am upset by this, as I feel it goes against the separation of Church and State and the Muslims (and other religions) would be upset and crying intolerance if Christianity was being shoved down the throats of their students the way Muslim is being shoved down the throats of the Christian students.

This is a book that would need to be studied in detail to gain all the benefit from it that one could. I did get confused some, and decided that since I am not a student of religions that maybe this book is meant for more of a scholar of religions such as pastors, or one who is more familiar with the Islamic religion and wants to reach Muslims with the truth. I also want my sons to read it, so they will understand that it is not all that they are taught in University.

This is not a critical review of the book as I am not intelligent enough in this matter to write the review as some of the reviewers on Amazon did. But this is my thoughts as a plain ole Mom in Arkansas. $39.95 hardcover.

Steve's review, following:


This is Volume 1 of a two-volume set that will, essentially, provide an introduction and primer to the Qur’ān for those who know little to nothing about the Qur’ān. The book is introduced with the subtitle, “Former Muslims Analyze Islām’s Holiest Book,” and comes across as a text-critical introduction with easy-to-understand explanations of the critical arguments. This first volume covers the first nine chapters (referred to as suras) with an introduction, analysis, variant readings, and verses that have been officially removed from the text, with explanations as to why they were removed. Volume Two will cover the remainder of the suras. In addition, there are nine articles which will provide the reader with a crash course on the world behind the Quran, addressing such topics as “Compilation of The Qur’ān,” “Women in the Qur’ān,” and “The Qur’ān and People Of Other Faiths.” The last section of this book contains a comprehensive collection of resources and references for further study.

All in all, this book on The Qur’ān will satisfy the most able scholar, as well as the most devout layman. This reviewer is looking forward to completing the collection when Volume Two comes to press.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Words Spoken True


Title: WORDS SPOKEN TRUE
Author: Ann H. Gabhart
Publisher: Revell
February 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8007-0245-2
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

One woman stands ready to defend her newspaper—even if it means losing out on love.

Adriane Darcy’s father owns the Tribune, the leading newspaper in Louisville in 1855. Adriane was practically raised in her father’s office, and she can’t imagine life without the clatter of the press and the push to be first to get the important news. Adriane’s father has just promised her hand to a wealthy young man, and their engagement is going to be announced. Adriane cares for Stanley, but she doesn’t want to marry him…

Blake Garrett is newly relocated to Louisville from New York, and he owns a competing newspaper, and he’s determined to win the battle of the papers. Unfortunately for Adriane, he’s coming out ahead. He’s always first to get the news, sometimes seeming to know in advance when something newsworthy is going to happen. When Blake and Adriane meet, sparks fly. After all, they are each other’s enemy. But the mutual attraction is hard to ignore. But Blake will stop at nothing to get the news—and the girl.

Someone is killing Irish girls down by the river and both Adriane and Blake need to get the stories first. Not only for the sensational news stories, but in hopes of solving the mystery. Who is killing these girls? And why? Will the killer confine the killing to the Irish inhabiting that area? Or will some of the elite—possibly even Adriane, be a target?

WORDS SPOKEN TRUE is loosely based on real events that happened in Louisville in 1855. The characters are fiction, but the setting and backdrop is not. I had to admire Adriane’s courage, wits and wisdom, and her unconventional approach to getting the job done. Blake also was admirable. I couldn’t help but fall in love with him. I wanted Adriane to dump the wimpy pushover Stanley for a real man.

I like that the mandatory death in this historical wasn’t someone directly related to the heroine. And I liked that both main characters were strong-willed, with sparks. A major plus! And I liked the suspense that is worked into the plot. I didn’t even guess who the killer was until the end. Great book! $14.99. 356 pages.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A New Line of Mysteries for your eReader


A NEW LINE OF MYSTERIES FOR YOUR E-READER

Susan Sleeman here. Do you have an e-reader or maybe an iPad? Then I'd like to tell you about a line of cozy mysteries that has recently released with most books retailing for only .99 for a limited time.

Spyglass Lane Mysteries
are published by a group of cozy mystery authors who have joined together to bring you a new cozy mystery every week. Currently, there are over 25 wonderful mysteries in this line.

Stop by the website to view all of the available books and while you're there, be sure to sign up for our email newsletter where we announce each new book that releases and our authors share behind the scenes stories about the books.

I'd also like to share a little bit about my Garden Gate Mystery Series that is releasing as part of this line. The first book, Nipped in the Bud has already released and book two, Read Between the Tines will release in February 23rd. Here's a little bit about both books.


NIPPED IN THE BUD

WHEN YOU FIND YOUR BOSS PUSHING UP DAISIES. . .

Life in full bloom, landscape designer, Paige Turner, scores her first landscaping contract to spruce up the park, her radio talk show shoots to number one, and her retail shop is simply blossoming. Yes, her life is a bed of roses. Until she finds the city manager served up on the blade of her favorite shovel mere hours after she’s threatened to have his head on a platter, then the thorns come out. And there is none thornier than the local police chief declaring Paige the one and only suspect and threatening to plow her under.


YOU’VE GOT TO FORMULATE A PLANT OF ATTACK . . .

Paige teams up with dashing attorney, Adam Hayes to weed through the list of suspects, and clear her soiled reputation. And along the way, discovers that Adam just may be the man of her dreams.

» Read an Excerpt          »Order It Now




READ BETWEEN THE TINES

IF YOUR LIFE IS A BED OF ROSES. . .

Recovered from her near death at the hand of a killer, landscape designer Paige Turner is certain her life will soon be a bed of roses. That is, until her employee, Daisy Rose Plante, finds a dead body, and the thorny police chief looks no further than Daisy for a suspect. Paige digs in and weeds through the list of potential killers, and before long, her sweet smelling rose of a life is soundly trampled.


YOU’LL HAVE TO SURVIVE THE THORNS. . .

Paige would be much happier working over-thyme on her budding relationship with handsome attorney, Adam Hayes, but it soon becomes clear she’ll be in a hoe lot of trouble with him if she continues digging for the killer. Does Paige risk all and try to unearth the killer? Or does she settle down in peaceful bliss with the man of her dreams?


» Read an Excerpt



SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational romantic suspense and mystery novels. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town where she spent her summers reading Nancy Drew and developing a love of mystery and suspense books. Today, she channels this enthusiasm into writing romantic suspense and mystery novels and hosting the popular internet website TheSuspenseZone.com.

Susan currently lives in Florida, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson.

To learn more about Susan visit: Website, her Facebook page, or on Twitter

Friday, February 17, 2012

When the Smoke Clears


Title: WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS
Author: Lynette Eason
Publisher: Revell
February 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2007-0
Genre: Inspirational/romantic suspense

Alexia Allen is suspended from her firefighting job due to equipment failure while trying to rescue some young children from a house fire. She makes a last-minute decision to head across the country to her mom’s house and attend a high school reunion. But trouble seems to follow her. Someone is in her mother’s house when she arrives and she discovers a dead body in the basement. Who killed her mother’s boarder, and why?

Hunter Graham is the responding officer. He harbored a crush on Alexia from way back in high school, but his partner has Alexia on the top of her suspect list. Hunter doesn’t believe the Alexia he knew is guilty of the crime—but then again, she did have unproved evidence against her for setting fire to her parents’ house in an attempt to kill her dad. Did that really happen? Or was that another instant of being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Everything seems to be going wrong. Someone is definitely trying to kill Alexia, but why? Hunter is pulling favors he doesn’t owe to try to keep her safe. But the killer is determined and will stop at nothing to succeed. Why are they targeting Alexia? Does she know something from her past that the killer wants?

WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS is the first book in the newest series by Lynette Eason. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, it held my attention to the very end, even though I figured out part of the mystery very quickly. There are some loose strings in this book, which will tie it into the next book, and probably the third book in the series.

I fell in love with Hunter, Alexia and some of the secondary characters in this book. I can’t wait to read more in the Deadly Reunion series by Lynette Eason. This book is a winner. Highly recommended. $14.99. 340 pages. 5 stars.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Glad Tidings: The First Twenty-five Years of Flanders Family Christmas Letters


Title: GLAD TIDINGS: The First Twenty-Five Years of Flanders Family Christmas Letters
Author: Jennifer Flanders
Publisher: Prescott Publishing Organization
December 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9826269-8-6
Genre: Christmas letters/memoirs

One man. One woman. Twelve children. Twenty-five years.

GLAD TIDINGS is the collection of Christmas letters from the first twenty-five years of Doug and Jennifer Flanders’ marriage. Okay – the first year of their marriage (in August of 1987) they didn’t send out any Christmas letters—they were too busy with other things (any newlywed can relate). But every year there-after is a fun, detailed, newsy letter filled with the Flanders’ life.

I don’t know the Flanders family personally, but I enjoyed reading the information about their life, about the birth of each of their children, Doug going through medical school, Jennifer dropping out of her masters program, and of the remodels, moves, and information about the family as it grew.

I read Jennifer’s other book Love Your Husband, Love Yourself and found it interesting, but this book was even more so. I felt like I got to know the Flanders family pretty well through these letters.

Jennifer shares in the book that she gets letters from complete strangers every year asking to be put on their Christmas letter mailing list, so at Doug’s urging she put the first twenty-five years of letters into book form. If you are a Flanders, related to the Flanders, or are one of those who want (or wanted) to be put on their mailing list, you’ll love this book. If you are someone like me who don’t have a clue who they are, you’ll still enjoy this book. It’s a great read, and recommended. $11.95. 170 pages.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February is Library Lovers Month


February is Library Lovers Month

At Home in the Library
By Gerry Wakeland

If you asked me to describe my dream home, without pause I'd respond, "My dream home would be an old vacant library where I would remove all the fixtures except the bathroom and the bookshelves and then I'd move my bed and desk into the center and start filling the shelves with my books." At which point you would stare at me quizzically.

My love affair with books and the library began as a child and continues to this very day. I remember as an elementary student begging my mother to take me to the library. She'd pull up to the curb in front and let me out, reminding me she would be back in an hour. Every time, I'd race up three sets of steps, fling open the double doors, run inside and stop. I would stand perfectly still and inhale the fragrance of the books. True love.

The library was my refuge. It provided a safe and silent haven from the noise and chaos of my home. But more than that, it opened doors for me, doors to the past, doors to the future, doors of adventure, and doors of romance, most importantly doors of wisdom.

I learned so much at the library. I learned that as a woman I could be brave and bold like Amelia Earhart or save lives like Florence Nightingale or Clara Barton. I could write poetry like Elizabeth Barrett Browning or books like Jane Austen. The library gave me hope!

Over the years I have continued to be a library patron. Sometimes I take my laptop and head to the library to work on a project. With the world at my fingertips, both digitally and in hard copy, I can research any topic to my heart’s content. Hardly a Saturday goes by that you cannot find me at some point in the day at the local library, perusing the new arrivals for the week.

Or sometimes I just sit quietly in one of the easy chairs wishing that the books could talk and wondering what they would say if they could tell the stories behind the stories.

I may never have the unusual, almost bizarre, home of my dreams. But the library is still my refuge, affording me a place that’s safe and silent, where dreams are born and hope exists.

Gerry Wakeland is the President and CEO of CLASSEMINARS, Inc. She loves helping Christian communicators identify their passion, clarify their vision and define their mission so that they can articulate God’s message effectively. Gerry is the mother of two grown daughters and grandmother to three precious grandsons. She makes her home in the land of enchantment, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her favorite pastime is reading and one of her favorite places is the public library. In March, the CLASS website will release news of the 2012 Christian Writers Conference: www.classeminars.org. Come meet Gerry and the rest of the CLASS faculty there!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Man to Trust


Title: A MAN TO TRUST
Author: Carrie Turansky
Publisher: Love Inspired
March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-373-87730-0
Genre: Inspirational/romance

Adrie Chandler is anxious to give her dream as a professional flutist a shot. She and her grandmother hire a new manager for their Christian bookstore, so Adrie and hopefully find a job in an orchestra, but can she really trust her grandmother’s choice for the position? The man is too handsome, too charming, and too much a reminder of another dream.

Ross Peterson owned a photography shop; it was dying in the bad economy. Now he is down to his last bit in his savings and he needs a job—any job. He is thrilled when he’s offered the position in a Christian bookstore even if he doesn’t know a lot about Christianity, and even less about books.

Ross is instantly attracted to Adrie, but Adrie doesn’t want anything to do with him other than what she has to. What will it take for Ross to break down her walls and get her to take a chance on a relationship? And will Adrie be willing to give up her dream for him?

A MAN TO TRUST is a book about two hurting characters. Adrie was engaged before, but found her fiancé in bed with her roommate, burning her on further relationships. Ross’ parents want him to have a stable, lucrative career as a CPA, but Ross is determined to follow his own dreams, not his parents. Thus the relationship between them is greatly strained, and even more so when his dream business fails.

Both Ross and Adrie need to learn to let go and let God handle their lives. A bunch of matchmaking senior citizens add sizzle and sass to the relationship. If you are looking for a good contemporary romance, consider A MAN TO TRUST. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.75. 217 pages.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Vanish in Plain Sight


Title: VANISH IN PLAIN SIGHT
Author: Marta Perry
Publisher: Harlequin
May 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-77576-7
Genre: Amish mystery

Marisa Angelo’s mother left when Marisa was only five years old. Marisa was told that her mother decided to go back to her Amish family, that she missed her faith too much. Marisa never questioned that, until she gets a phone call from the police, stating that her mother’s suitcase was found inside a house that was being renovated.

Marisa immediately drops everything and returns to her hometown to learn the truth—the situation was investigated all those years ago—who investigates a wife leaving her husband—but now, with limited evidence, the police grudgingly agree to look into it, though they doubt they’ll solve the case—if there is one.

Marisa is desperate for answers, but no one, not even Marisa’s Amish relatives can explain what happened to her mother. But someone will do anything to make sure the truth remains hidden.

VANISH IN PLAIN SIGHT is the second Amish mystery by Marta Perry I’ve read. It is full of detail, I could almost smell the dust as the men torn the drywall down in the house they were renovating, I could see the blood stains on the suitcase, and I could feel Marisa’s fear when she went to the house where the suitcase was found. It made me curious why Marisa felt as she did about the house. Had she witnessed something she was repressing?

I never did get a firm grasp on Marisa. She seemed distant in this story, like she didn’t want the reader to get too close. As a result I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I would have liked. I did solve the mystery fairly early on, even though there were plenty of red herrings planted. Maybe because I know how a writer’s mind works.

If you are looking for an Amish mystery to read, VANISH IN PLAIN SIGHT is a good choice. $7.99. 376 pages.

I purchased this book. No review was expected or required.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Accidental Bride


Title: THE ACCIDENTAL BRIDE
Author: Dennis Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
January 2012
ISBN: 9781595548023
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Shay Brandenberger is raising her twelve year old daughter in Moose Creek, Montana, on her childhood ranch, but that is soon to be a distant dream. She’s behind on all her bills, her husband—make that ex-husband—is dead and she has no hopes of hanging on to her home. She agrees to play the part of a bride in a reenactment the town is doing, but the groom is safe, the boyfriend of another woman in town.

Travis McCoy is Shay’s high school sweetheart. When they were eighteen they ran away to get married, but Travis lost his nerve and abandoned Shay on the courthouse steps. He went on to win numerous rodeo awards, but he never stopped loving Shay. He never returned home because he heard Shay married another man on the rebound. But now, she was free—and he was full of hope.

When Travis is asked to play the part of the groom in the reenactment he agrees, but somehow the whole reenactment becomes very real when he gets the marriage license that he and Shay signed fourteen years ago in the mail and learns that is valid. Are the events orchestrated by God or is it just a preacher’s blunder? Will Shay learn to trust the man who’s already hurt her more than he knows?

THE ACCIDENTAL BRIDE is the second book in Ms. Hunter’s A Big Sky Romance series, but it easily stands alone. I wasn’t too sure what I thought of Shay in the first book A Cowboy’s Touch but I quickly fell in love with her in this book. I’m looking forward to the third book in this series.

Travis, oh my, he is a dream come true. No wonder Shay fell in love with him as a teenager. I would have too! He is very real, very giving, making it very plain from day one that he was still in love with her—even though she was less than forgiving. I highly recommend this book and this series. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $15.99. 320 pages.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Little Mercies


Title: LITTLE MERCIES
Author: Lynn Coulter
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
April 2011
ISBN: 978-08054-4935-8
Genre: Inspirational/Christian Living

Most Christians know the Psalm “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” But—how can we be happy when we are living in a broken, fallen world. Sometimes we have so much bad news (not necessarily all in the media) that we just want to stick our heads in the sand and hide.

In LITTLE MERCIES, Ms. Coulter answers that we can be glad in Jesus. Even if we’re sitting in the radiology department in the hospital and learn that there’s a suspicious tumor and you need a biopsy. Even if your son feels like arguing and makes you want to scream, you can choose to look for the little mercies that God has given you.

Ms. Coulter is an acclaimed essayist, and she has written sixteen thoroughly engaging essays with titles like “Fly Fishing”, “Singing Behind the Plow”, and “Making Biscuits.”
She uses humor and talent to remind us about the grace of God who is in the details. The one who appears when we ignore some of the clamor around us.

I read through most of LITTLE MERCIES when I was sitting at the hospital today, waiting for blood work and other tests. I finished the rest of the book after I got home. Normally, I drag my way through nonfiction, taking several days—sometimes weeks—to work my way through it. But I can say that I read and was engaged by LITTLE MERCIES enough to want to keep reading it.

If you are looking for a pick-me-up, a reminder that God is good, that He is in the details, and that He knows the plans He has for you, then pick up a copy of LITTLE MERCIES today. You will be glad you did. 192 pages. $14.99.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Interview with Fay Lamb and giveaway!


Why do you write the kind of books you do?

As far as writing goes, I like stories with twists, plots layered in to give a reader a surprise here and there. It keeps the writing exciting for me.

But I write because I want to glorify God, to provide stories that offer hope and light for individuals who don’t know God or who have walked away from Him. My hope is that someone reading one of my stories will say, “It’s never too late to live my life according to God’s plan for me.”

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The day I eloped with my husband and my sons to Kingsland, Georgia, and we began our wonderful journey of marriage together.

How has being published changed your life?
Oh, my goodness. I’m busier than I have ever been. My husband and I both work at home. He has an office on one side of the house and mine is on the other. We usually get started working right after breakfast around 8:00 a.m., and except for catching a meal mid-day, we barely see each other.

What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Medical Error by Dr. Richard Mabry, and I’m enjoying it very much.

What is your current work in progress?
Well, I’m actually going back to the drawing board on a contemporary romance called Charisse. A wonderful editor provided me some very good advice for the story, and I’m working my way through it so that I can get it into her hands again.

What would be your dream vacation?
Actually, my husband and I are talking about renewing our dream vacations and spending some quality time on one of our favorite island towns, Cedar Key. It’s a sleepy little fishing village on the Gulf of Mexico. We rent a condo on the Gulf and hang out by the pool reading or we walk into town or ride our bicycles out to the small airport. It’s just a place where we connect.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
My settings have to be somewhere of interest to me. Most of my locations are fictitious but they are all based upon real places whether it’s a small island town in the Gulf of Mexico or the mountains of Western North Carolina.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who
would it be and why?
The fellows behind the screenplays Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous. I love what they do. I love the fact that their movies touch so many lives, and well, I might have a story or two for them.

What three things about you would surprise readers?
Let’s see:
1. I’ve learned you really can grow out of shyness. I used to tell folks I’m shy—and I was, but I can’t honestly say that now. I’m pretty social, whether online or in person. That’s a God-thing and an answer to prayer.
2. I collect salt and pepper shakers. I have 500+ pairs throughout my house. At one point, after handing my dear mother-in-law a Morton salt box one night at dinner, she declared, “Let me get this right. All of these salt and pepper shakers in this house, and not one of them as salt in it?”
3. I love to pick on my husband. It’s my favorite pastime. Of course, anyone who follows my antics on Facebook knows that I live to torment him. He’s such a good sport about it, and one of the many reasons I love him so much.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Tatting. I love to create tatted lace. It was with great difficulty and the determination of a lovely-ninety-year-old woman that I learned this dying art. It’s very relaxing to me, something I can do when I just can’t think or write another word.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it
Time. I find myself pulled in a hundred different directions—wonderful directions, opportunities I wouldn’t miss for the world, but I sometimes forget that the opportunities have come to me because of my writing.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Don’t give up. Don’t let anyone take your dream away. However, don’t harden your heart to honest criticism of your work. Nine times out of ten, the person offering the advice wants only the best for you. Take the time to look at it objectively, and take what you can use, but always move forward. Never move backward.

Tell us about the book.

Because of Me was birthed when the hero, Michael Hayes, came onto the stage of my imagination and said, “There’s a young boy, Cole. I’m not his father, but he’s definitely on this earth because of me. I allowed something horrible to happen to his mother, but I still love her. I despise the kid, though. I’ve forgiven another for so much more, and Cole’s only fault is that his father is the man who took everything from me. How can I learn to love this child and protect his mother from the man who can again take her from me?”
Michael’s story captivated me, and when it was all said and done, I realized that Romans 8:28 permeates the pages of this story. All things, both the good and the bad, are used by God for our good.


What do you want readers to take away from the book?
That God is always in the details of our lives. No matter how far we walk from Him, no matter the mess we make, God is able, and He can create beauty out of the ugliest happenings in our life.

What one question would you like us to ask your readers?

Michael Hayes, the hero of Because of Me, holds Job 13:15 as his life verse: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him, but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” What does this verse say to you?

Tell us about the giveaway you’re offering.

The giveaway is for either an autographed print copy of Because of Me or an e-Book edition of the book, winner’s choice.



Because of Me:

Issie Putnam’s life took a detour the night she was raped at gunpoint in front of her fiancé, Michael Hayes. Instead of marrying Michael, a promising young investigative reporter, Michael, along with the man who attacked her, and the man who held the gun on Michael, are imprisoned for conspiracy to assassinate the local district attorney—a crime Michael was trying to expose but had no intention of committing. Issie’s name is ruined, she lost her perfectly-planned future, but she gained Cole, her son—born of that rape.
On the eve of her attacker’s parole, Michael, already released from prison, follows through on his plan to return to the small town of Amazing Grace and protect Issie from the madman who promised to seek revenge. There, he meets Issie’s seven-year-old son for the first time.
Can Michael learn to love the child Issie holds so close to her heart? Will Michael be able to protect the woman he loves from the man who will stop at nothing to destroy them all?
Purchase the book at: http://www.amazon.com/Because-of-Me-ebook/dp/B00722KIME/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327670357&sr=8-1

Fay Lamb works as an acquisition/copyeditor for Pelican Book Group (White Rose Publishing and Harbourlight Books), offers her services as a freelance editor, and is an author of Christian romance and romantic suspense. Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Because of Me, her debut romantic suspense novel is soon to be released by Treble Heart Books/Mountainview Publishing.
Fay has a passion for working with and encouraging fellow writers. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she co-moderates the large Scribes’ Critique Group and manages the smaller Scribes’ critique groups. For her efforts, she was the recipient of the ACFW Members Service Award in 2010.
In 2012, Fay was also elected to serve as secretary on ACFW’s Operating Board.
Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and five grandchildren.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

February 9th is "Read in the Bathtub" Day


February 9th is "Read in the Bathtub" Day

Take a Break
By Linda Gilden

I held the dripping book by one corner. Water poured from between its pages. How could that have happened? Until this moment I had never even gotten a cover wet.

For years the bathtub has provided my favorite literary getaway. Preparation for bath time means gathering the essentials: a glass of cold water, one towel for drying, a small one for drying hands occasionally, a flashlight, eyeglasses (a fairly recent addition to the list), and a good book.

You may not be a bathtub reader but finding a daily time for yourself is important and reading enhances that special, individual time. Making the effort to have personal time each day has great benefits.

Keeps you grounded. The best way to start every day is with a personal time of devotion. Making a connection with God when you first get up gives you a solid foundation for the day. This time may include Bible reading, your favorite devotional book, and a time of meditation and prayer.

Recharges your “batteries.” We were not created to go and go and go. We need a break. Life is busy if not frantic for most of us and burnout lurks just around the corner. A few minutes away from the family, workplace, and the demands that go along with them gives you new strength, energy, and perspective to face your day.

Provides a time for enjoyment. Everyone needs to have a little fun every day. Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. So relaxing with a good book, whether in the bathtub, under a tree, or wrapped in a blanket in the recliner gives me a few minutes of enjoyment and entertainment.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Linda Gilden is an author, speaker, editor, and writing coach. She has written hundreds of articles as well as the Love Notes series, Mommy Pick-Me-Ups, and has ghostwritten or contributed to over three dozen books. Directing the CLASS Christian Writers Conference in Abiquiu, NM, she encourages others to clearly communicate God’s love to the world. Linda lives in SC with her family – a great source of speaking and writing material!

In March, the CLASS website will release news of the 2012 Christian Writers Conference: www.classeminars.org. Come meet Linda and the rest of the CLASS faculty there!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Lover and the Madman


Title: THE LOVER AND THE MADMAN: Memoirs of Joe K.
Author: Joe K.
Publisher: Sabre e-Books
November 2011
ISBN: 978-061554967-5
Genre: Memoir/Biography

Okay. Let me just preface this by saying I don’t like memoirs. I don’t care who the person is, I don’t care for them at all. So I probably was the wrong person to review the book. Second of all, I have no idea who Joe K. is. Someone in the music industry, I gather from reading the book. And third of all, I generally only read Christian books. So a book that includes drinking, smoking, cuss words, and other such things…

Joe K was named Kay William Klingersmith when he was born, but his dad fought hard and won with the result that his name was changed to Joel when he was a week old. Joe shares the memories of his life, his travels, his family, and his friends, well punctuated with pictures in the pages of this book. Some of the events were a bit interesting.

Joe K’s book is endorsed by his family members and friends, introducing their uncle, or their grandpa. This is a book that relatives of Joe K would love, friends would enjoy, and his fans will eat up. I’m none of the above.

That said—you might be one of the people who would love this book. If you have any foggy idea who Joe K (Klingersmith) was before I mentioned him in this review and want to know more about him, then look for a copy of THE LOVER AND THE MADMAN. If you are reading this review because you follow my blog and want the latest and greatest in Christian fiction/nonfiction… this is not it—although the book does end with Joe giving credit to his Creator, and offering gratitude to Him. $17.95. 352 pages.


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

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Katy's Debate


Title: KATY’S DEBATE
Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: Zondervan
May 2010
ISBN: 978-0-310-71923-6
Genre: Inspirational/teen

Katy Lambright has joined the debate club in her public high school, and she’s looking forward to her first debate. So far she’s learned how to keep score, and now she’s learning how to judge. Katy is keeping copious notes so she’ll succeed when it’s her turn.

Things are great, except that since Katy managed to get in trouble when she started attending public school, her dad and family believe that she needs a mother to keep her in line. So her dad has started courting a woman that Katy refuses to accept.

Katy must send this woman packing so she devises a plan to get her out of her life permanently. But who will she hurt in the process? Will Katy learn anything about life in this real-time debate?

KATY’S DEBATE is the second book in Ms. Sawyer’s Katy Lambright Series, set in a Mennonite community near Salina, Kansas. Katy is unlearning most of the traits of the Mennonites in this book, getting what some homeschoolers would call “the public school influence.” I didn’t think very highly of Katy’s actions in this book, she was quite hateful, disrespectful, and obnoxious at times. But she did learn a valuable lesson by the end of the book—not only about interfering in adult relationships, but also about her relationship with some of her peers.

If you are looking or a teen book (or series) for your teenager, then the Katy Lambright series would be a good set to pick up. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $9.99. 206 pages.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Interview with Regina Jennings



Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write the type of books that I like to read. My goal is that they would have a compelling conflict, a humorous voice, and that they would be blatantly romantic. I can’t imagine writing anything besides historical romance. There are so many eras and cultures out there that I’d hate to limit the stories to the here and now.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Since I’m a romance writer I should say my wedding day, but I tend to think of happiness in terms of moments. Some happy moments include sitting on the porch with my husband in the evenings and watching the bats swoop, singing hymns in Mexico while the rest of the congregation is singing in Spanish, and floating in inner-tubes down the Gasconade River with family members of all ages.

How has being published changed your life?
I’m busier than ever, I have a huge circle of new friends and co-workers who share my love for books, and now strangers know way too much about me.

What are you reading right now?
The Hunger Games books. Somehow I got the impression that the first book ended differently than it did. I don’t want to talk spoilers, but I was convinced I’d hate the book, only to find out that I’d misunderstood. I’m glad I gave it a chance.

What is your current work in progress?
We are staying in Caldwell County for the next book so we can watch as Molly Lovelace struggles against her parents’ expectations and her own misguided sense of adventure to find lasting love.

What would be your dream vacation?
A tour of the great libraries of the United Kingdom. I’d love to see the French, Italian, German, etc., but I couldn’t read the books so I’d be content to stay in Great Britain.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Sixty Acres and a Bride takes place in two actual Texas towns—Lockhart and Prairie Lea. The story needed a place along the Chisholm Trail and the name Prairie Lea caught my eye. It sounds idyllic and also contains my middle name—Lea, not Prairie. I started researching and found several events in Prairie Lea that made their way into the story—a fire that destroyed all 17 stores in town, a bustling sawmill and families that left to find a better life in Mexico after the Civil War. I’d struck gold. And when Rosa had to pay her property tax, she would’ve gone to the courthouse in Lockhart. Go ahead, Google “Caldwell County Courthouse.” Have you ever seen a prettier courthouse? True, it wasn’t built until a decade after this story, but Rosa and Weston went to the dedication service, I’m sure.

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

I’m not going to waste this wish on someone that I could see on any old day, so I’m going to say Princess Kate Middleton or the Duchess of Cambridge as she likes to be called. She seems nice. I would love to know what her life is really like and I could sell my story for lots of money to trashy gossip magazines. (Please don’t tell her that’s my plan.)

What three things about you would surprise readers?
I hate to shop. I’d rather go to the dentist than the mall. (Does that count as one or two?) In High School I was named “Best Rising Political Star”. It was a new category of Senior Favorites made up for an ambitious young man and they needed a girl to crown, too. I haven’t run for office yet. Third, my music of choice is usually Gilbert & Sullivan’s operettas, anything by Andrew Lloyd Weber, and bluegrass.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I relax by playing the piano and I like to travel.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Lack of time and an abundance of guilt are my obstacles. When I’m in a crunch I feel guilty that I’m short-changing my kids because I’m not spending enough time with them. Then I remind myself that as a home-schooling Mom my children spend more time with me than they want, and I stop pestering them and let them go outside and play.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Join a knowledgeable critique group. You might think you know all the rules of writing, but until someone carves up your manuscript, you don’t know if you’re applying them correctly.


Tell us about the book.
Sixty Acres and a Bride is a historical romance set in Texas in 1878. It’s about a good man trying to recover from a personal tragedy and a beautiful, Mexican widow who finds herself in a desperate situation. While Weston’s family welcomes Rosa, he isn’t prepared for his reaction to her. Rosa needs a hero. To what lengths will she go to catch one?