Thursday, January 31, 2013

What You Need to Know about Healing


Title: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HEALING
Author: Harold J. Sala
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
January 2013
ISBN 978-1-4336-7889-9
Spiritual Healing \ Healing \ Christian Life

Is God still in the healing business?  That’s a question many people, maybe most people if we are honest with ourselves, find ourselves asking at various times throughout our brief span which we call “our life.”  That is also one of the questions that Harold J. Sala addresses in his book, WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HEALING.  And thankfully, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” 

The author first addresses the issue of the extremes; some refuse to believe that God is still in the healing business because “God just doesn’t work that way in this dispensation.”  Others firmly believe that God’s will is that everyone be made whole.  If you are still broken, then obviously there is something wrong with your relationship with God.  In an effort to stop the wildly swinging pendulum, Mr. Sala investigates the theology of healing from a Scriptural point of view.  He looks at healing in the Old Testament, in the ministry of Jesus Christ, in the ministry of the apostles, and on into the current time frame.  Throughout the book, one note keeps tolling its message over and over:  God is sovereign!  God can and will do whatever he desires to do, and his character and attributes remain fully intact regardless of how we, in our finite understanding, see the outcomes.

Of course, healing is in the eyes of the beholder.  Our notions of healing, and how it is supposed to work, may differ widely from the way in which The Great Physician practices.  But you cannot deny His love, you cannot deny His compassion, you cannot deny His heart that breaks for each and every one of us.

Peppered throughout WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HEALING are real life accounts of miraculous healings that have taken place instantaneously; healings that have taken place over periods of time, and instances where healing, as we consider it, did not take place at all.  And yet through it all (to paraphrase theologian Francis Schaeffer) “God was there, and he was not silent.”

Excellent book, very interesting and theologically sound without being preachy.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HEALING is an informative, engrossing, transforming read, for those who have an ear to hear.  I highly recommend it.

5 stars. 230 pages. $14.99.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter

 Book Info

About The Tutor's Daughter
Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor's Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast-a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions-where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.
Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementoes?
The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems-and secrets-of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her...
When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart? 
Link to buy the book: http://ow.ly/gI7qC    

Meet Julie:  
  
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. 
Find out more about Julie at http://www.julieklassen.com/


 Blog Tour Schedule


My review:


I have read a couple of Ms. Klassen’s books, but not all of them. I enjoyed getting to know Emma, she seemed like a sweet romantic girl at first. The book did start very slow, and there were some things that were very weak—such as Emma, at times. I enjoyed the mystery in this book and wondered who was doing these things. I had my ideas… but won’t give away any spoilers.

I loved the ending of this book. It is so sweet. If you like historical romances then you’ll love THE TUTOR’S DAUGHTER. It is written in the same style as other well-known historical/regency writers.  I absolutely loved the cover too. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book.  3.5 stars 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Runner


Title: THE RUNNER
Author:  A. Wayne Gill
Publisher: Iron Pillar Media Group
2011
ISBN 978-0- 9797856-1-0
Fiction \ Christian Suspense \ Legal Thriller


Michael Knight, the son of a preacher man who was the son of a preacher man, received a vision for his life in a Manhattan hotel room.  And it had nothing to do with preaching.  Michael was called to be a warrior in an entirely different arena.  And God would not let him off the hook.

Weathering the storms of familial shock and disappointment, Michael makes the necessary steps to prepare himself for a lifelong war with evil in the courtrooms of the United States.  Along the way, he must count the cost of his decisions, which mount ever higher as his goal comes in sight.  And then there were deeper, darker issues which must be confronted as well.  Issues that require the services of a warrior.

THE RUNNER is the first in a 7-part series in the life of Michael Knight.  A deeply caring heart for God rests securely in the body of a young man who has feasted on competition his whole life.  And the reader of this series will be able to watch the transformation of God’s grace and the administration of God’s justice as the series progresses.  What a great combination! 

I highly recommend THE RUNNER to readers who have a desire to truly see God at work in the life of a man wholly committed to Him. 5 stars. 280 pages. $8.45.


About the Book
The Runner by A. Wayne Gill
 
What happens when a brilliant attorney combines his legal knowledge with his insight into relationship? Well, imagine Nicholas Sparks and John Grisham got together and decided to write a novel. Wayne Gill's The Runner is the story of a preacher's son who foregoes a path to the pulpit for law school in the city. 
 
----
 
Michael Knight has the perfect life - a perfect family, a perfect relationship and a perfect future. Groomed to follow in his father's footsteps, Michael's career as a preacher is laid out before him. But he has a secret that will take him from being a small town preacher's kid to the heart of the big city, where everything seems golden, glittery and glamorous. When he gets the opportunity of a lifetime, Michael glimpses a future of power, influence and wealth. The whole world is his for the taking, but at what cost? Will he trade in all he has been for all he could become?
About the Author
Add caption
When he isn't crafting legal dramas, Wayne Gill serves as CEO and Managing Partner of Gill Dion & Forsyth P.A., a law firm with offices in Florida and Georgia that serves some of the top companies in the world, including AT&T, Hilton Hotels Corporation, SunTrust Bank, and American Express.
 
This husband and father earned his B.A. in English from Trinity College and law degree from George Washington University. His first book, Tales My Grandma Told Me - a Business Diversity Fable, has been referred to as the "Bible" of supplier diversity.

Wayne has been recognized among the 50 Most Powerful Black Professionals in South Florida and the Who's Who in Black South Florida. He's received Macy's Crystal Award for Outstanding Minority Business Advocacy, and he's received several honors from NMSDC affiliates and the local Bar Associations. In 2002, he received Northwood University's Arthur E. Turner Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Betterment of Mankind. He is a board member of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County and Secretary of the Board for The Southern Florida Minority Supplier Development Council.

While practicing law, running a successful law firm, and writing novels keeps him super busy, Wayne is also a passionate, committed co-founder and legal advisor to Oasis Compassion Agency, a non-profit empowerment agency for the disadvantaged. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Power to Choose







The Power to Choose
By Wayne Nance

Permission is granted to reprint or post this article provided acknowledgment is given to
Wayne Nance, author of The 3 Minute Difference.
Please send links to rroberson@tbbmedia.com


How many choices have you made today, or just in the first hour of waking up?  The first choice was to press the "snooze" button on the alarm clock (should be called an opportunity clock).

Forgetting about the additional presses of the snooze button, consider what your next choice was...should I call in sick or go ahead and get up?  Next will probably be similar to most people and that is do I make fresh coffee now or just drink the leftover coffee from yesterday morning, after a quick nuke in the microwave?

I think you are getting the message that we all make an enormous amount of choices daily.  The most important one is the choice to make this a great day of opportunities or just to exist and go through the motions of another day of life.

I want you to stop reading for a moment and just do a little introspection (I know.. another big word).  Examine your yesterday and try and count the missed opportunities to make a positive impact on another person's life that you came in contact with.  Now, stop reading and think about it for a minute............

What could you have done differently to share some good news with someone?  Could it have been a small compliment or hey, could it have been an action such as not racing to the closest parking spot at the local department store?  Let someone else have that spot, you just might benefit from the exercise.

Make it a priority daily to improve someone's life in just a small way - a smile always helps.  More importantly, you could share the 3 Minute Survey with a friend and start to counsel with him/her to make that person's existence have more value.  Who knows, you may just be the answer that is needed at that time, but you won't know if you don't CHOOSE to take action.

Remember that you have the power to choose... so choose wisely.










The 3-Minute Difference

by
Wayne E. Nance

Mission Books
an imprint of eChristian Publishing 
Trade Paper Format
ISBN 978-1-61843-118-9/$16.98

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Reckless Heart


Title: RECKLESS HEART
Author: Amy Clipston
Publisher: Zondervan
April 2012
ISBN: 978-0310719847
Genre: Amish

Slipping.

Lydia Bontrager's youngest sister is frighteningly ill, and as a good Amish daughter, it falls to Lydia to care for her siblings and keep the household running, in addition to working as a teacher's assistant and helping part time at her grandmother's bakery. Succumbing to stress, Lydia gives in to one wild night and returns home drunk.

The secret of that mistake leaves Lydia feeling even more restless and confused, especially when Joshua, the only boy she's ever loved, becomes increasingly distant. When a non-Amish boy moves in nearby, Lydia finds someone who understands her, but the community is convinced Lydia is becoming too reckless. With the pressures at home and her sister's worsening condition, a splintering relationship with Joshua, and her own growing questions over what is right, Lydia could lose everything that she's ever held close.

I have read a few of Ms. Clipston’s books, but not all of them. She writes kind of a family drama, some of the stories were women’s fiction, some romance. You don’t need to read the books in order as you won’t be lost if you don’t, but a family tree is included in the book so you can see the family lines. The books in the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series are:

#1 A Gift Of Grace
#2 A Promise Of Hope
#3 A Place Of Peace
#4 A Life Of Joy
#5 A Season Of Love

Novellas in the series:

A Plain And Simple Christmas
Naomi's Gift
A Kauffman Amish Christmas Collection

I enjoyed reading RECKLESS HEART and getting to know Lydia. I felt for her as she struggled with her sister’s illness and her guilt over getting drunk when her friends and want-to-be boyfriend didn’t go to a singing. I’d recommend this book for teens and anyone who loves Amish fiction. A recipe and discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $9.99. 272  pages. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Betrayal and two book giveaway

Leave a comment - include contact information - to be entered to win a copy of this book and the first one in the series, Belonging.   Review for Belonging is located here: http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/2013/01/belonging-and-two-book-giveaway.html.  Comments entered on both reviews will be entered. 


Title: BETRAYAL
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Publisher: Zondervan
November 2012
ISBN: 978-0310258094
Genre: Historical

Can two wounded hearts find a way to trust again?

Julia Grace has no desire to get married again. But with her dead husband’s half-brother threathening to take her Wyoming ranch, Julia realizes marriage may be the only way to keep what is rightfully hers.

Drifter Hugh Brennan is a man well acquainted with betrayal. Hugh is headed west to attempt to find his sisters, Diana and Felicia, since they were separated on an orphan train years ago. Hugh finds himself drawn to the attractive widow, Julia, yet when he looks into her eyes, he recognizes the same hurt that haunts him.

Is it possible God had a hand in bringing Hugh to her door?

BETRAYAL is the second book in Ms. Hatcher’s Where the Heart Lives series. Readers will be anxious to read about the brother in the family of three children separated on an orphan train, and anxious to see if they find each other—and what their lives turned out like.

I grew interested in the Orphan Train as a child when I read a YA book set about children who traveled west of them, looking for a forever home and love. But unfortunately, many were “adopted” only to be used as farm-hands or household help. Hugh promised his mother on her her deathbed he’d look after his sisters and he intents to keep his promise…even almost twenty years later. My heart went out to Hugh.

I enjoyed this series so far, and am looking forward to reading the third book in the series, Diana’s story, Beloved, when it releases. Recommend this series so far. Readers will want to read the first book, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be in order. Belonging released in 2011, but is still available at your favorite bookstore. $14.99. 272 pages. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hearts in Hiding / Marrying Miss Marshall


Title: HEARTS IN HIDING
Author: Patty Smith Hall
Publisher: Love Inspired Historical
July 2012
ISBN: 978-0373829262
Genre: Historical romance


Engineer Edie Michaels loves her life—she has a good job, close friends, even a chance at romance with former soldier Beau Daniels. But she could lose everything if her secret comes out…that she's the German daughter of a devoted Nazi.

And when her father sends spies to force her loyalty, everything Edie values is at risk.

Time in a Nazi POW camp changed army medic Beau Daniels. When he discovers a letter of Edie's written in German, he can't help his suspicions. Is she truly the woman he's started to love? Or has she been the enemy all along? With Nazis on Edie's trail, the pair must fight for truth, for survival—and for love.

HEARTS IN HIDING is kind of the sequel to Hearts in Flight. Edie is Maggie’s friend in that first book. This book does stand alone as it isn’t technically a series. Edie has the ability to think on her feet, quickly, so when Beau unexpectedly climbs through his aunt’s window to get inside after the family has gone to bed, Edie is quick to react with a fireplace poker and a jump rope and ask questions later.

If you enjoy historical romances with spunky brave heroines and brave heroes with heart-wrenching struggles, then HEARTS IN HIDING is a good book to read. With the obstacles in their path, I couldn’t help but wonder how Edie and Beau would overcome them. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $6.75. 288 pages.

***


Title: MARRYING MISS MARSHAL
Author: Lacy Williams
Publisher: Love Inspired Historical
August 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-82881-4
Genre: Historical romance

Danna Carpenter is trying to fill the shoes of her late husband as town marshal. A super woman, she fights criminals, and is even earning the grudging respect of the town. So when she sees a tenderfoot about to get trampled by a cattle stampede, she thinks nothing about riding her horse into the fray, scooping the man up with one hand and tossing him behind her on the horse.

Chas O’Grady is supposed to be hunting for cattle rustlers, but not being the brightest crayon in the box, Chas is unable to obey even the simplest of instructions. “Stay here.” means to step off into the pitch black darkness and fall off the cliff causing him to dislocate his shoulder. And forcing Danna into another rescue.

When the town realizes the pair has been in a “compromising position,” they force them to wed. But will they survive long enough to find love?

MARRYING MISS MARSHAL is Lacy William’s debut book. A super-strong heroine, a hero who is definitely the polar opposite, and a rugged Wyoming landscape come together to make this a western straight from the movies. And not a block-buster one.

Okay—I admit to some questions. There are men in town. Why didn’t one of them step forward as Marshal since they didn’t respect her? I won’t go into the other things that crossed my mind, except to say “It’s in the script” or “It’s fiction…” But to me, it was unbelievable.

If you like western historical romances, then you might be interested in MARRYING MISS MARSHAL. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $6.75. 279 pages.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Beyond the Storm


Title: BEYOND THE STORM
Author: Carolyn Zane
Publisher: Abingdon Press
October 2012
ISBN: 978-1426745973
Genre: Women’s fiction

When tragedy strikes a community, lives—and hearts—are changed forever.

Hairdresser, Abigail Durham has bitten off more than she can chew. Trying to run her hair styling business, and manage the booster club at the school, on top of staying out too late at a club laughing and dancing with friends, she’s beyond tired and more than a bit cranky. When she gets a call that the booth needed for some booster club sale has problems, she’s more than a little furious.

Justin Girad is relatively new in town. He volunteered his time to build the boost club booth, but hadn’t bargained on an angry woman who won’t listen when he tries to explain city ordinances and permits needed on the booth design she wants.

When a tornado warning is posted – the town has some complicity. How many storms have been warned and never materialized. The devastation and damage are extensive. So are the deaths and injuries. What kind of God would allow such tragedy?  Will the pain give way to the courage to love?

BEYOND THE STORM is the first book I’ve read by Carolyn Zane. It is written in three parts. Part one: The Edge of the Storm. Part two: The Eye of the Storm, and Part three: Beyond the Storm.

The first part is working up to the storm, the day to day life, going on as normal. Everyone in this small town knows everyone and their business, and there’s several different stories going on all at once. Jen’s baby is due in the next two weeks, Kaylee is getting married in seven days, Brooke is going to prom, Heather is unhappy in her forced teenage marriage, etc. The second part tells the story of when the storms hit. And the third part—I cried.

If you like books that will make you laugh, then really, BEYOND THE STORM is not that book. It is serious, warning about the danger of tornadoes that really need to be taken seriously. And it is super sad. If you like books that make you cry, then yes, you do need to read this book. Ms. Zane will take your emotions and leave you to hang them out to dry. Very well written with characters that you will absolutely love. $12.99. 272 pages. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sugar Fork


Title: SUGAR FORK
Author: Walt Larimore
Publisher: Howard Books
October 2012
ISBN:  978-1439141908
Genre: historical

Sixteen year old  Abbie Randolph and her family struggle to survive in the Great Smoky Mountain wilders during 1925-1926. Her mother has just died in childbirth, and her father is struggling to maintain a living, working in a mine and hunting for food, while trying to protect the family timber land from and evil lumber company manager.

Abbie falls in love for the first time, helps to run the farm, and then battles to preserve her faith when senseless murders threaten to destroy her family and way of life.
Will the Randolph family survive intact? Will the farm be saved? Only a miracle could make it happen.

SUGAR FORK is the first book I’ve read by Dr. Larimore. It started out with the prologue in first person (written by a doctor’s point of view) and then went to the historical part of the story.

Dr. Larimore writes in a style rich with description. It slows the story down, but I could see the mountain timberland during the harsh barrenness of winter and feel the cold wind coming over the ‘hills’.

Readers will grow to care for Abbie, mourn with her during the senseless murders, and applaud this teenage girl’s strength. If you like historical fiction, you won’t want to miss this one set in the Great Smoky Mountains, around the same time frame as Christy. $14.99. 386 pages. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cheaper, Better, Faster


Title: CHEAPER, BETTER, FASTER
Author: Mary Hunt
Publisher: Revell Books
January 2013
ISBN: 978-0800721442
Genre: helpful tips


What if there was one book that could help you do nearly everything in life cheaper, better, or faster?

Make gourmet coffee without the gourmet price. Remove hairspray baked onto a curling iron. Clean just about any stain off of just about any surface. Keep your cat out of your houseplants. Get the best deal on your next car. And thousands of other helpful tips and tricks.

Cheaper, Better, Faster is all the best advice you've ever heard (and plenty you've never heard) collected into one handy volume.

Every tip is short, to the point, and helps you make the most of your money and your time, making everyday life less hectic and more enjoyable. Collected over the years by financial expert and Debt-Proof Living founder Mary Hunt, these little nuggets of advice are sure to make your life easier, one tip at a time.

Originally published as Tipionary, CHEAPER, BETTER, FASTER has been updated with the latest and greatest in tips, with modern information. Organized by category, it covers everything from automobiles to vacations and everything in between. 

I enjoyed thumbing through this book, fascinating reading. Some of the tips I knew. Others contained new information. For instance, I didn’t know that if you rolled up a new package of bacon, before freezing it, it would make the bacon unstuck and you’d be able to peel them apart easier when they are frozen. And for instance, I did know that if you filled a child’s wading pool with ice, it’d be a great place to store canned drinks for your next outdoor party.

If you are interested in CHEAPER, BETTER, FASTER ways to do things, then don’t miss this awesome collection by Mary Hunt. It will be a book you refer to time and again. $14.99. 400 pages. 

***

About the Author
Mary Hunt is an award-winning and bestselling author and a sought-after motivational speaker who helps men and women battle debt. She is founder and publisher of the interactive website Debt-Proof Living, which features financial tools, resources, and information for her online members. Her books have sold more than a million copies and her daily newspaper column, Everyday Cheapskate, is nationally syndicated through Creators Syndicate and is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of readers. Hunt speaks widely on personal finance and has appeared on shows such asGood Morning AmericaOprahDr. Phil, and Focus on the Family. She and her husband live in California.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow


Title: THE DILEMMA OF CHARLOTTE FARROW
Author: Olivia Newport
Publisher: Revell
January 2013
ISBN: 978-0=8007-2039-1
Genre: historical


The whole world is coming to Chicago.
Charlotte's whole world is coming down around her.

While the rest of Chicago focuses on the enormous spectacle of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, Charlotte Farrow's attentions are entirely on one small boy--her boy--whom she has kept a secret from her wealthy employers for nearly a year.

When the woman who has been caring for her son abruptly returns him to the opulent Banning home, Charlotte must decide whether to come clean and face dismissal or keep her secret while the Bannings decide the child's fate. Can she face the truth of her past and open her heart to a future of her own? Or will life's struggles determine her path?

This compelling story of courage, strength, and tender romance captures the tension between the glittering wealthy class and the hardworking servants who made their lives comfortable.

THE DILEMMA OF CHARLOTTE FARROW is the second book in Ms. Newport’s Avenue of Dreams series, but it somewhat stands alone. Still, readers will want to read the first book in the series, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning to familiarize themselves with her and her story. It will help them not to be lost in certain parts of the book.

I enjoyed getting to know Charlotte as she worked as housekeeper in a Chicago mansion, and I felt her struggle when her son’s caregiver unexpectedly returned the boy to her, and she wasn’t allowed to care for it, wasn’t allowed to make any decisions for his care while he was in the home. A heart-wrenching tale at times. $14.99. 320 pages.


About the Author
Olivia Newport is the author of The Pursuit of Lucy Banning. Her novels twist through time to discover where faith and passions meet. Her husband and two adult children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Shadowed Onyx


Title: THE SHADOWED ONYX
Author: Nicole O’Dell
Publisher: Barbour Books
December 2012
ISBN: 978-1616265595
Genre: Young Adult/witchcraft

Teenager Joy Christianson always was the life of the party, but all that changed when her best friend committed suicide. Now all Joy wants is to reconnect with Melanie. She wants to know WHY. She needs closure. When some of her new friends tell her how she can find these answers using a Ouija board, Joy is torn between thinking it's a game and being creeped out, but she can't resist the lure.

She slips deeper into the occult as she seeks meaning in her life. The old answers from her parents and her church don't seem sufficient any more. As depression and oppression take hold, any sort of meaning slides further and further away.

What will it take to jolt Joy into a new path, one where she genuinely seeks help?

THE SHADOWED ONYX is the third and final book in Ms. O’Dell’s A Diamond Estate Series. I was able to read one book in the series, The Wishing Pearl, and enjoyed it. THE SHADOWED ONYX is hardcore stuff, addressing issues of witchcraft and the occult.

It’s a super scary spiritual world out there (but very real), and this book delves into it, teaching teens about the dangers of messing with the occult.  This is not a beach read. This is serious stuff.  I really have to admire Ms. O’Dell for addressing the issues teens need to know about.

If you are looking for a book for your teen daughter, this is one to consider. Detailed chapter by chapter discussion questions are included, as well as the plan of salvation. Recommended for teens and their parents. $10.99. 368 pages.


Bio: Nicole O'Dell, founder of Choose NOW Ministries and host of Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk, is a youth culture expert who writes and speaks to preteens, teenagers, and parents on preparing for life's tough choices. The mother of six, including toddler triplets, she’s author of YA fiction, including the popular Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series and the Diamond Estates Series, and non-fiction for teens including Girl Talk, 2/1/12, based on the popular advice column she writes with her two daughters. Hot Buttons, O’Dell’s non-fiction series for parents, pre-empts peer pressure by tackling tough issues and was recently endorsed by Focus on the Family. Visit www.nicoleodell.com for access to her bustling blog network and other resources.

Book Blurb: At age seventeen, Joy Christianson is the life of the party. That is, until her best friend commits suicide. Joy’s already wavering faith slips completely out of her reach; darkness sets in, and her smile fades. Her “friends” lead her to the Onxy, meant to help her let go of the past and bring her into harmony with reality. Joy embarks on a dark journey of witchcraft. Eventually, afraid of letting the depression and evil take root, Joy decides to seek help in the haven of Diamond Estates—and try to reclaim the Joy she once knew.

Series Description:
Diamond Estates. Three girls are on a journey to find hope and healing. Each coming to Diamond Estates seeking solace… Each with her own unique set of struggles… And each capturing hearts and challenging the faith of teen girls.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Belonging and two book giveaway


Leave a comment - include contact information - to be entered to win a copy of this book and the second one in the series, Betrayal. 

Title: BELONGING
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Publisher: Zondervan
August 2011
ISBN:  978-0310258087
Genre: Historical

Can two bitter pasts make one sweet future?

In the high desert town of Frenchman's Bluff, Idaho, Felicia Kristoffersen has set out to create a future for herself that is better than her painful past. Alone in the world with only her faith to sustain her, she must prove herself as this tiny community's new school teacher. She cannot, must not, fail. But, there are those who never wanted her there to begin with.

Five years after the death of his wife, local merchant Colin Murphy cares about just one thing: raising his daughter, Charity. Colin wants to give her the educational advantages he never had. The new schoolmarm's inexperience doesn't sit well with him, and if this teacher up and marries like the last one did, Charity's heart will be broken once again.

A woman who hasn't known love. A man who lost the love he had.

In the midst of the wide, sage-covered plains, each is about to discover that life's bitterest circumstances truly can work together for good.

BELONGING is the first book in Ms. Hatcher’s series Where the Heart Lives. Felicia had a good life in her home after she went west on the Orphan Train, but she lacked for love. Now all grown up, she still hungers for love and friendship. Colin loved his wife though they had their differences, and he’s tired of having women schoolteachers come just to find a husband and quit. He thinks it’s be better to hire a man. Still, when Felicia and Colin meet, they can’t help but notice each other. Felicia might not be beautiful, but Colin develops cautious feelings for her.  I hoped that these two would let go of their distrust and learn to love each other.

The book is well-written and held my interest. I enjoyed getting to know Colin and Felicia as well as the secondary characters. I’m looking forward to reading the second book in this series, Betrayal, which is already out. $14.99. 288 pages.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Still Life in the Shadows


Title: STILL LIFE IN THE SHADOWS
Author: Alice Wisler
Publisher: River North
July 2012
ISBN:  978-0-8024-0626-2
Genre: Contemporary/ex-Amish

It's been fifteen years since Gideon Miller ran away from his Amish community in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He left when he was fifteen.  Gideon arrives in the Smoky Mountains town of Twin Branches and settles in at the local auto mechanic's garage. He meets a host of interesting characters -the most recent acquaintances are Kiki, an autistic teen, and her sister Mari. Known as the "Getaway Savior" he helps other Amish boys and girls relocate to life in modern America

One day the phone rings. On the other end is his brother Moriah calling from Florida. Of course Gideon welcomes his brother to stay with him and offers him a job. But Moriah is caught in a web which ends in his death and forces Gideon to return to the town of his youth, with his brother's body in the back of a hearse and Mari and Kiki at his side. He must face not only the community he ran away from years ago but also his own web of bitterness. Will he be able to give his anger over to God and forgive his father? 

STILL LIFE IN THE SHADOWS is inspired by the TV series Mose Gingerich of  the TV series, Amish: Out of Order, STILL LIFE IN THE SHADOWS is a story that depicts the other side, the negative side, of Amish life.

The characters are kind of flat, not really developed well, and the romance in this story flat-lined. But the story is very vividly described. Readers can see the fried vegetables that is the only meal Mari makes, and see the longing of the young girl, Kiki, to eat something else. (But yet—Mari knows how to bake pies… I’m curious why she can read a recipe for pies, but can’t for anything else.)

 Fans of the romanticized Amish life might not enjoy this book as much as those who are very much anti-Amish. If you are looking for a different sort of Amish book, or a book talking about the bad side of Amish life, then STILL LIFE IN THE SHADOWS is a book to consider. $14.99. 304 pages. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kingdom Racing Expands in 2013



KINGDOM RACING EXPANDS IN 2013


Houston, TX. -  While serving as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, Kingdom Racing completed the 2012 season by finishing fifth in the INDYCAR point standings. As they prepare to build upon this success in 2013, significant strides are being made. With new key personnel, partnerships, and assets, they are poised to further extend His Kingdom as they continue their mission of delivering God’s Word through Motorsports. To this end, the team has made the following new commitments for 2013.

In December, Kingdom Racing contracted with The B&B Media Group, a leading public relations agency in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, for the purpose of increasing national awareness of the team’s unique ministry. “A partnership with B&B is a natural fit for the organization and will help raise our platform to the next level by utilizing the media and various Christian organizations”, said founder George Del Canto.

Contingent upon adequate funding and donor contributions, Kingdom Racing plans to broaden their ministry outreach in 2013, targeting a total of ten VIP Miles of Smiles experiences across the country and as many as four Fan Festivals at locations yet to be determined. These ministry events will be supported by a recently purchased custom Trackside Hospitality Unit. This unit will serve several purposes, including the hosting of corporate and ministry events across America during the season.


To lead the contributions campaign, Alan Litvak has been named as the National Contributions Manager. “Alan has been involved since the birth of the Kingdom Racing dream, and we are confident he will successfully guide the funding effort that is critical to reaching our bold ministry objectives”, said Del Canto.

Litvak added, “I was blessed to be part of the launch of Kingdom Racing, and it is amazing to be able to officially rejoin the team at this time.  I am overjoyed to see the quality of people and the resources we have in place that will allow us to continue to grow God’s influence at the tracks and beyond. We look forward to empowering many new partners to join us for the 2013 season as Kingdom Racing continues to win on and off the track.”

The 2013 INDYCAR season is drawing near with the opening round set for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida on March 24, 2013



About Kingdom Racing:

In 2008, Kingdom Racing made history as the first faith-based racing team to compete in the Indianapolis 500. To date, they have five years of proven race performance with IZOD INDYCAR drivers Davey Hamilton, Martin Plowman and 2012 INDYCAR Rookie of the Year Simon Pagenaud. The 2012 season was a turning point for Kingdom Racing as the first full season of participation in the IZOD INDYCAR Series was completed. Their unique approach combines motorsports with Christian ministry and outreach with the goal of using INDYCAR racing as a platform to reach millions for Christ. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 6:23 – NKJV). For more information, visit www.KingdomRacing.net or join their fan communities at KingdomRacing on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Questions of Life


Title: QUESTIONS OF LIFE
Author: Nicky Gumbel
Publisher: Alpha International Press
2010
ISBN: 978-1-934564-66-0
Genre: Christian Life

The Alpha Course – in book form. That pretty much says it all. Nicky Gumbel shares his own personal journey from atheist, to agnostic, to acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Nicky is the pioneer of the Alpha Course, which ( in Nicky’s own words ) “is designed for non-churchgoers  those seeking to find out more about Christianity, and those who have recently come to faith in Jesus Christ.”

QUESTIONS OF LIFE contemplates fifteen crucial questions that need answers if one is to be an authentic follower of Jesus. Questions like: “Is There More To Life Than This?”, “Why Did Jesus Die?”, and “How Can I Make The Most Of The Rest Of My Life?” In this book, Nicky covers topics such as faith, prayer, the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and the Church. He also tackles some sticky questions such as “How Can I Be Filled With The Holy Spirit?”, and “Does God Heal Today?” And he does so in a careful, candid, and clear manner, anticipating and responding to side questions that are sure to pop up.

QUESTIONS OF LIFE is a warm-hearted conversation from one believer to those who may be sitting on the fence, dipping a toe in the water, or taking the plunge into Christianity for the first time. I’m reminded of an illustration that fits this book: “Christianity is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” Are you hungry? 5 stars. 213 pages. $11.86.



Monday, January 14, 2013

The Bachelor Boss / Rodeo Hero / Lakeside Reunion

Three contemporary romances for your consideration.


Title: THE BACHELOR BOSS
Author: Judy Baer
Publisher: Love Inspired
August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-373-87763-4
Genre: Contemporary romance

Hannah St. James is not having a good day. She’s been fired from her job, her bills are behind, and her sister’s tuition for school is due. Not only that, but her son’s clothes were all too small, even though she’d just bought them a few months before. The day gets even worse when she goes to talk to a doctor about a job and gets into a car accident.

Tyler Matthews is getting worn out. He’s having to take too much time off his job to care for his elderly grandmother, and she doesn’t sleep much, instead wanting to stay up late playing Scrabble. When the doctor gently suggests live-in help, Tyler isn’t one hundred percent on board though. He would be, if his grandmother hadn’t already run off everyone he hired. But grandma promises she’ll only be good if he hires the woman who hit his car.

Tyler finally calls the number the doctor provided in desperation. To his surprise, the nurse is none other than the woman who’d caused the accident. But still Hannah is in no condition to pass up his live-in caregiver to his grandmother. Hannah adores his grandmother and her son’s new bedroom is every boy’s dream. But workaholic businessman hides behind ledgers and meetings. Will he find a life beyond work?

I have enjoyed many of Ms. Baer’s books, and was looking forward to this one. I did feel that the plot was a bit overdone—car accident, then the man hires the woman—I’ve read a lot of contemporary books with that theme, but otherwise, the writing is stellar, the characters interesting, and grandma is a real sweetie that adds a whole new dimension to the story. Discussion questions are included at the end. Recommended if you are looking for a sweet romance. 224 pages. $6.75.

I bought this book for cash. Nothing was expected from me.  

****

Title: RODEO HERO
Author: Shannon Taylor Vannatter
Publisher: Heartsong Presents
2012
ISBN: 978-0-373-48608-3
Genre: Contemporary romance


Kendra doesn't need to be rescued. — Kendra Maddox isn't thrilled when Stetson Wright steps in to help fend off her overanxious date at a wedding. A new Christian, she's struggling with a promiscuous past, and Stetson's firm belief that true love waits only makes his gallant attempt to defend her honor even more unwanted. Then her friends continually push her and Stetson together. . . but can't they see she'll never be good enough for him?

Stetson doesn't need any distractions. And Kendra Maddox is definitely a distraction. From his job as the new youth director at church to moonlighting as a rodeo clown, Stetson has other things to think about. Finding the perfect wife will have to wait.

When Stetson saves a prominent bull rider, he makes headline news, and Kendra's ad agency is hired to promote the rodeo hero. Attraction simmers, but will they be able to accept each other for who God sees?

RODEO HERO is maybe the second book of Ms. Vannater’s I’ve read, and I enjoyed getting to know Stetson and Kendra. Stetson is a true hero, stepping forward to help a woman in need and being kind and compassionate, even knowing her less than stellar past.

Kendra is fiercely independent and doesn’t always appreciate Stetson’s help, yet she recognizes quality when she sees it. She knows she’ll never be good enough, so why even try?

I had to cheer for Stetson and Kendra and hoped they would work their difficulties out. If you like contemporary romance, be sure to check out RODEO HERO. Available at select online bookstores. 190 pages. $3.99 

****

Title: LAKESIDE REUNION
Author: Lisa Jordan
Publisher: Love Inspired
November 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-81587-6
Genre: Contemporary romance


Bed-and-breakfast owner Lindsey Porter prays she won't run into Stephen Chase when she returns to Shelby Lake. Five years ago, the cop jilted her to marry another woman, and Lindsey fled town. But no sooner does she hit city limits than Stephen pulls her over for a broken taillight. Despite the past, he's still able to stir up Lindsey's old feelings for him. Now a widower and single dad, Stephen recognizes a second chance when he sees one. And he'll do anything to make Lindsey trust in God and take a risk for love—again.

Lisa Jordan has crafted a sweet romance in the pages of LAKESIDE REUNION. Two former lovers reunited—through a routine traffic stop. And then Lindsey and Stephen keep getting thrown together.

Stephen is a sweet hero, kind, and compassionate. Lindsey has a bit of a sarcasm problem and comes up with some witty comebacks. My men (husband and sons) wouldn’t take the sarcasm as well as Stephen did. I have to give him kudos there.

If you are looking for a good sweet romance, then LAKESIDE REUNION is one you might enjoy. It’s been out awhile, but still available online. $6.75. 288 pages.