Wednesday, September 30, 2009

When the Good News Gets Even Better

Walk through the gospel narratives in Hebrew sandals.

Time. Place. Customs. Any historian will tell you that those are three very important words for understanding the story of mankind. But what if we’re trying to understand the Savior of mankind, born a Hebrew, who lived, preached, taught and healed in the first century?

Author Neb Hayden says looking at the Gospels through the windows of Jewish culture and customs makes all the difference. The biographies of Jesus were intended to be read a certain way. The places, people, and emotions specific to that age provide a unique view.

This study provides just such a window, a way to see the gospels as the original audience did, bringing a fresh and thoroughly relevant context to the life of Jesus. Using a twelve-week format, this study combines all four gospels into one comprehensive and chronological narrative, allowing for personal or small-group use.

Come and experience the good news as it gets even better!

When the Good News Gets Even Better: Rediscovering the Gospels Through First-Century Jewish Eyes by Neb Hayden

David C Cook/June 2009/ISBN: 978-1-434767-00-4/240 pages/softcover/$16.99

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Bossy Bridegroom; A Promise Kept; Captive Dreams

Three Heartsongs to consider

Author: Mary Connealy
Publisher: Heartsong Presents
ISBN: 978-1-60260-339-4
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Michael Davidson was a verbally abusive husband, destroying his wife’s self-esteem, and ruining their marriage. Now, he is a new Christian and he wants a second chance. Unfortunately, when he tries to discover where his wife is, he learns that she has given their daughter up for adoption. Michael flies into a rage and storms to his ex-wife’s house demanding answers.

Jeanie Davidson tried to contact Michael when she found she could no longer care for their daughter, but Michael never answered any of her letters. Now he is demanding answers by bullying her and expecting her to drop everything and take him back when he claims he’s changed. Jeanie sees no change. She sees the same angry, demanding Michael.

But Michael is not taking no for an answer. And worse yet, Jeanie’s pastor is siding with Michael, insisting that they live together to try to work out their marital problems. Problems Jeanie doesn’t want to work out. She wants Michael out of her life. Will Jeanie learn to trust her ex-husband again?

THE BOSSY BRIDEGROOM is a different sort of Heartsong Presents than others I’ve read, and to be honest, I didn’t like it nearly as well as the traditional ones. To be honest, if I were Jeanie, I would have told Michael to get lost, called the police and even changed churches if the pastor tried to involve himself. But this is fiction, and my approach would have had no happily-ever-after in the romance department.

I know some people have contacted Heartsong Presents in the past asking for romances involving married couples, so if you were one of these individuals, then THE BOSSY BRIDEGROOM will be one that you’ll want to read. It is certainly different than the rest. And it was interesting to see how Michael and Jeanie worked out their many problems. Available at,, or $4.95. 170 pages.


Author: Cara C. Putman
Publisher: Heartsong Presents
ISBN: 978-1-60260-503-9
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Josie begins her married life with Art Wilson with excitement. Only one thing mars her happiness; she’d hoped to begin her married life close to home and the guidance of her mother. Instead, she is beginning across the state, in a city she is unfamiliar with, with no close family.

Still, marriage is everything Josie hopes it would be. Art is supportive of her fledgling cooking abilities, and patient when two months into the marriage she starts developing stomach problems. But when those stomach problems turn into a hoped for pregnancy, the excitement level skyrockets.

Still, when an unexpected loss rocks their world, Josie cocoons herself, and Art struggles to know how to reach out to her. World War II is in its beginning years, and when a distant cousin comes to America seeking refuge from the London bombings, their relationship is compounded. Will Art and Josie be able to work through the difficulties and develop a lasting love?

I was just thinking as I finished reading the Heartsong Presents before this one that it is a shame there isn’t too many of these little books out there on the relationship of a husband and wife inside a loving relationship when troubles occur and they have to go through “for worst” part of a marriage. A PROMISE KEPT is this sort of book. I know several of my friends were wanting Heartsong Presents dealing with a marital relationship, and this book should be one that will meet their needs.

I enjoyed reading A PROMISE KEPT, and am looking forward to reading many more books by this author. World War II is my favorite historical period to read about and it was neat to know that my favorite World War II author, Tricia Goyer, helped Ms. Putman with parts of this story. Readers of Heartsong Presents, fans of World War II romance, and historical fiction shouldn’t miss A PROMISE KEPT. Available at,, and $4.95. 169 pages.


Title: CAPTIVE DREAMS Book 3 of CORNHUSKER DREAMS, releasing Nov. 1....
Author: Cara C. Putman
Publisher: Heartsong Presents
ISBN: 978-1-60260-078-2
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Anna Goodman is drowning in a sea of despair. Her beloved mother is dead, her brother, Brent, is Missing in Action in World War II, and her father is turning into a grouchy drunk. Anna’s only escape from the unpleasant place home has become is the factory job where she works assembling parachutes.

Still, Anna is upset when she goes home to the family farm to find out that her father has hired German prisoners of war to work in their fields. Anna is quick to throw them off the farm, but she has no idea how she’ll get the farm work done on weekends when she has a house and her father to take care of.

Specialist Sid Chance overseas the prisoners work, and he is instantly attracted to the spunky girl who reminds him of his sister. But Anna doesn’t seem to want anything to do with him, or the prisoners. Still, he tries to time his visits to when he knows that Anna will be on the farm. Will Anna be able to learn to trust him?

CAPTIVE DREAMS is one of the newer Heartsong Presents to come out. I’m not sure how they are marketing it – as historical or contemporary – but since the story happens when my mother was young and before I was born, I’m going to classify it as historical. Set during World War II, this period is one of my favorite war time periods to read about.

This story has an air of depression about it at first, as Anna is dragged down by the life situations around her. Still, I hoped that everything would work out for Anna and her family, that her brother would be found alive, her dad would come out of his depression, and that Anna might find that there is a silver lining in the clouds after all. If you enjoy WWII fiction, this would be a good book to read. There is a lot of real life in it. Available at,, and $4.95. 170 pages.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Three Weddings and a Bar Mitzvah

Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: David C. Cook
September 2009
ISBN: 978-1-58919-108-2
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Lelani and Gil are finally planning their wedding while balancing medical school for Lelani and childcare for her almost one year old baby Emma. Except they are having trouble deciding the when and where. Lelani’s dream wedding has always been the beach in Hawaii, and Gil seems prepared to give it to her, but Lelani worries about upsetting her soon to be mother-in-law, and her roommates may not be able to attend if she marries in Hawaii.

Kendall has also received a proposal from her Hawaiian boyfriend, and she is excitedly trying to plan her wedding for the same day as Lelani’s, less than two months away. But that weekend is shaping up to be pretty busy as there is another wedding planned that same weekend, plus a bar mitzvah.

Anna is worried because her boyfriend seems to have been wowed by a flirty co-worker, plus she needs to find a new place to live. And Megan is uncertain about the future of her relationship with Marcus as he plans a mission trip to Africa. The pressure is on. Is their friendship strong enough to weather the hassle and heartbreaks?

THREE WEDDINGS & A BAR MITZVAH is the final installment in the 86 Bloomberg Place series. I had the privilege of reading the first two books in the series, but not the third book and I really feel that I missed out on a lot by not reading Spring Broke. As a result I recommend reading all four books in order, so you don’t miss one part of the fascinating journey these roommates traveled.

Three Weddings and a Bar Mitzvah

In the final installment of the 86 Bloomberg Place series, a crazed competition

for bridesmaids, wedding locations, and showers takes center stage

In a wild combination of Desperate Housewives, Sex and the City, and Gilmore Girls—with all of the drama but none of the taboo—beloved author Melody Carlson offers readers her final installment in the 86 Bloomberg Place series, Three Weddings and a Bar Mitzvah (David C Cook, September 2009). Written in her well-known conversational, colloquial style, Carlson’s latest novel continues to follow four diverse young women, with varying levels of faith, differing interests, and unique personal issues, through the high dramas of their romantic lives.

The four-book 86 Bloomberg Place series offers an emotionally engaging look at the individual dilemmas of four unlikely female friends—Kendall, Lelani, Anna, and Megan—who share a small bungalow while launching their careers and maturing through difficult family situations and romantic relationships. Carlson’s unique ability to capture young women’s attitudes, voices, and heartfelt desires with meaningful storytelling keeps pace with the lives of her readers as she weaves varying perspectives and voices together with both humorous and poignant threads.

In Three Weddings and a Bar Mitzvah, Lelani has returned from Maui to Bloomberg Place with her toddler Emma and is trying to book her wedding date. Unfortunately, there are scheduling conflicts for that same weekend. For starters, Megan and Marcus have a family wedding commitment. Anna and Edmond have promised to attend his stepbrother’s Bar Mitzvah and, to everyone’s surprise, Kendall has just accepted her “Maui Man’s” proposal of marriage and also wants to be wed on that same weekend in June. Let the games begin!

To complicate matters, Lelani wants to keep her wedding simple, but Gil (the groom) has a Latina mama with other ideas. Meanwhile Kendall (the pregnant bride) wants to pull out all the stops on her wedding—and suddenly her absentee parents are on the scene. A crazed competition for bridesmaids, wedding locations, showers, attention, and a little peace and quiet takes over 86 Bloomberg Place. Yet at the same time, friendships are being forged that will last a lifetime.

With only two months to pull off both weddings (on the same day), the pressure is on, and the stress just might kill all promise of happily ever after. Are their friendships strong enough to weather the hassles and heartaches?

Three Weddings and a Bar Mitzvah by Melody Carlson

David C Cook/September 2009

ISBN: 978-1-5891-9108-2/softcover/320 pages/$14.99

I enjoyed getting to know these characters, and traveling with them as they worked out the tangle of their lives. I am going to miss them. Discussion questions and an interview with Melody Carlson are included at the end of the book. Don’t miss THREE WEDDINGS & A BAR MITZVAH. $14.99. 294 pages.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Get Outta My Face!

Author: Rick Horne
Publisher: Shepherd Press
ISBN: 978-0-9815400-7-8
Genre: Inspirational/parenting

Dr. Rick Horne is somewhat an expert in dealing with teens, as the father of six children, and a guidance counselor of a school. So one would be able to assume he knows what he talking about.

The facts that Dr. Horne presents in this book are undisputed. Such as:

1. Angry, unmotivated, and disinterested teens….are confused., insecure, and blind to everything except what they want right now.
2. Angry, unmotivated, and disinterested teens….are made in the image of God.

There are three parts in the book.

Part 1 – What you must understand to connect with your teen.
Part 2 – What you must do to help your teen.
Part 3 – How to make the changes stick.

GET OUTTA MY FACE is kind of a timely book for me right now as I have three children in the teen years right now. Of course, one has already survived the worst of it, he is almost twenty. Still this book is a God-send when I consider that sometimes he does act like an angry, unmotivated teen and this offers practical Biblical counsel in reaching them (while, hopefully, diffusing the anger.) I haven’t had a chance to put the principles into play yet, so whether it will work with my teens yet remains to be seen. Still, I feel confident that Dr. Horne knows his stuff.

If you work with teens in any capacity, such as youth leader, teacher, parent… you will want to read GET OUTTA MY FACE. This book will help you reach their hearts. 176 pages.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Great Christmas Bowl

Leave a comment to possibly win a copy of this book. Void where prohibited by law. USA only.

Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale Fiction
September 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4143-2678-8
Genre: Inspirational/holiday

Marianne Wallace has always celebrated Christmas with her family gathered around her. It was the big deal of the year with lots of family traditions and togetherness. Marianne was just as determined to make this year rival the other years. After all, her youngest child, Kevin, was a star football player, and since her family wouldn’t make it home for Thanksgiving, she would go all out for Christmas.

But things have a way of changing. A heart attack leaves the school mascot grounded, and Marianne steps in to fill in the need. Then she somehow finds herself on the church hospitality committee in charge of planning the Christmas tea, a tea she doesn’t even attend! And one by one, all Marianne’s plans come unraveled, leaving a Christmas that will change the Wallace family—and the community—forever.

I couldn’t wait to read THE GREAT CHRISTMAS BOWL. Susan May Warren is probably toward the top of my favorite author’s list, and Christmas is my absolute favorite season. I was thrilled when I heard she was writing a Christmas story, and when the chance came to review Susan’s book, I couldn’t pass it up.

THE GREAT CHRISTMAS BOWL did start out a tad slow, but I was soon hooked in the story, living Marianne’s life along with her. I could sympathize with a lot of her story as I too have five children and am facing the day when our family Christmas will be a thing of the past. I thoroughly enjoyed this story—my only complaint is that it came to an end. If you pick up one holiday book this year, make sure it is THE GREAT CHRISTMAS BOWL. This story is a winner. Plus, a yummy sounding recipe is included at the end of the book. $9.99. 156 pages.

About The Great Christmas Bowl:
Marianne Wallace is focused on two things this holiday season:
planning the greatest family Christmas ever and cheering on her
youngest son’s team in their bid for the state championship.
Disaster strikes when the team loses their mascot-the Trout. Is it
going too far to ask her to don the costume? So what if her husband
has also volunteered her to organize the church Christmas tea.
When football playoffs start ramping up, the Christmas tea starts
falling apart. Then, one by one her children tell her they can’t come
home for Christmas.
As life starts to unravel, will Marianne remember the true meaning of
the holidays?

About Susan:
Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four
novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy
award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of
the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year.
Her larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim
with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and
retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences
around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook:
From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!.
She is also the founder of, a story-crafting
service that helps authors discover their voice. Susan makes her home
in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in
football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and
desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her
titles, reviews and awards can be found at:

Link to Buy the Book:

The Great Christmas Bowl website:
The website features a note from the author, fun updates from Big Lake
Gazette, info on how to host your own Great Christmas Bowl Tea to
benefit a local ministry or charity and a fun Recipe Exchange contest!

CONTEST: Be a part of the Great Christmas Bowl recipe exchange!
Susan loves getting recipes from friends, and sharing the delicious
cookies, soups, breads and other fun fixings that go with celebrating
the Christmas season. More than that, she loves the crazy stories
about favorite Christmases – serious, touching, funny…whatever. Find
the recipe contest here:

Will you share your story and recipe with Susan and the readers of the
Great Christmas Bowl? She will post your story and recipe on the FRONT
PAGE of the Great Christmas Bowl website, and send you a link when it
goes up so you can tell all your friends. Then, at the Great Christmas
Bowl party (December 5th, 10am, online! Details TBA) she’ll make the
entire cookbook available for download!

For every recipe/story you submit (up to 3), you will be entered in a
drawing to receive one of SMW’s collections (Noble Legacy, Team Hope,
Heirs of Anton, Deep Haven Series, Josey series, or THE ADVANCED COPY
of Sons of Thunder – Susie’s brand new epic World War 2 novel, due out
in January 2010!)

Go – run, get your recipe, then come back here and click on the link
below to share your Christmas memories!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Transformation Study Bible

Legendary Clarity

Acclaimed Pastor Brings Experience, Wisdom to Transformation Study Bible

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX—As pastors seek to make the Word of God more understandable in an age that is unfamiliar with the Bible, and as growing disciples seek to discover the truth of Scripture in a skeptical culture, there is a great need for guidance in both the preaching and study of God’s Word. Whether you’re a pastor, a seminary student, or a truth-seeking disciple, an understanding of the Bible can be made clear to you with the help of one of the most influential, in-depth, and practical Bible scholars in modern history.

For over thirty years, millions have come to rely on the timeless wisdom of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s “Be” Commentary series. Dr. Wiersbe’s commentary and insights on Scripture have helped readers understand and apply God’s Word with the goal of life transformation. According to Dr. Wiersbe, “It isn’t enough for us simply to read assigned portions of the Bible each day, as helpful as that is. A truly transforming experience involves meditating on what we read (Ps. 1:2), studying it carefully in the light of other verses, and then obeying what God tells us to do (Josh. 1:8).” Now available for the first time, The Transformation Study Bible offers the full text of the highly readable New Living Translation with accompanying notes and commentary from the 50 books in Dr. Wiersbe’s “Be” series.

“The Transformation Study Bible will better enable readers to appreciate, appropriate, and apply the Word of God, which will result in ‘purity, joy, right values, hope, comfort, freedom, new life, peace, guidance, wisdom, integrity, encouragement, and effective prayer,’” states Wiersbe. In other words, if you want to be a new person, knowing and obeying the will of God and becoming more like Jesus Christ, there is perhaps no finer tool to encourage that process than The Transformation Study Bible.

One of the most anticipated and comprehensive study Bibles of the year, The Transformation Study Bible has been a lifetime in the making by a man who is widely known as a prolific and trusted writer and theologian. The former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago, an internationally known Bible teacher, and someone who has given his life to a deep examination of the Word of God, Dr. Wiersbe lends his vast experience and scholarly insight to the most beloved and revered book of all time. This effort is to encourage believers of all levels to know and love the Bible and to experience the same transformation that has radically changed his life. The result is a Bible that is clear, understandable, and applicable to the lives of its readers.

Dr. Wiersbe writes, “The remedy for discouragement is the Word of God. When you feed your heart and mind with its truth, you regain your perspective and find renewed strength.” By providing a new set of tools for Bible students of all levels, David C Cook and Warren Wiersbe have partnered to provide an essential tool to help bring the “perspective” and “renewed strength” that comes from a life transforming study of God’s Word. This fantastic and long awaited resource will bring more clarity than ever before to the study of God’s Word.

Lollipops says: I would have appreciated this Bible more if it were in the King James Version, but it still has invaluable Bible study guides included in the scriptures. Some of the wording has been changed to genderless, which might bother some as well. This is NOT a Bible you would carry to curch, but rather a tome to be used for at home study.

The Transformation Study Bible with General Editor Warren Wiersbe

David C Cook September 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1434765307/2100 pages/$24.99

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How to Raise a Modern Day Joseph

Watch Linda Weddle’s introduction to How to Raise a Modern-Day Joseph on the Awana website.

Awana has launched a national campaign to help parents and churches work together to grow spiritually strong kids.

The Modern-Day Joseph campaign is modeled after Joseph of the Old Testament, who maintained his faith in spite of challenging circumstances. It features insights for growing kids spiritually, plotting out critical milestones from the toddler years through adolescence to raising a modern-day Joseph while allowing for the uniqueness of each child.

Introducing the latest resource in the Modern Day Joseph series – How to Raise a Modern-Day Joseph: A Practical Guide for Growing Great Kids by Linda Massey Weddle:

As parents, we strive to help our kids grow into their full potential. We help them with their homework, enroll them in activities, and invest for their college education. But while we may plan for their success, we can overlook a vital part of their personal development: nurturing and encouraging a solid foundation of faith.

We can easily assume our children are growing spiritually in church youth groups and programs, but the Bible calls us to guide them in their relationship with Jesus.

The life of Joseph offers parents a biblical standard for building children of character. Drawing from his story, this book will help you do just that. Inside, you’ll find a unique guide for creating a personalized plan for your child’s spiritual growth, from preschool through high school. This practical guide will help your child:

· Respect the awesomeness of God

· Acquire wisdom from the Bible

· Understand God’s grace

· Gain a sense of destiny and purpose

· Develop a life-perspective based on God’s perfect plan

The result: Children and teenagers who know, love, and serve the Lord.

So invest in their spiritual development. And create a legacy of faith that will last a lifetime.

Author Bio: Awana Senior Designer of U.S. Programs, Linda Massey Weddle is a gifted teacher, speaker, and prolific writer. A children’s author and regular contributor to publications, she has published twelve books and more than 2,500 articles, stories, devotionals, and radio scripts. Linda also develops Bible-based curriculum for young people and has been involved in children’s and youth ministry for the past forty years. She has two grown children and six grandchildren and resides in suburban Chicago.

How to Raise a Modern-Day Joseph by Linda Massey Weddle

David C Cook/June 2009/ISBN: 978-1-434765-31-4/240 pages/softcover/$16.99

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gingham Mountain

Author: Mary Connealy
Publisher: Barbour Books
February 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60260-141-3
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Grant used to be an orphan. Now his heart is set on adopting all the kids who are homeless. He’s had as many as twenty-five children pass through his home so far. Right now he has six kids living under his roof, but never has he has so much trouble as when the new school teacher decides he’s a child abuser and is determined to get the kids out of his care.

Hannah Cartwright knows what its like to be an orphan too, but her adoptive father was abusive, so she is convinced that Grant is as well. And when he adopts Hannah’s little sister off the orphan train, Hannah is determined to take her sister – and all the other kids – to safety. So she lands a job as the town school teacher, and has Grant in her sights.

When a couple criminals discover oil on Grant’s land, they are willing to go to any length to get it…including murder or forcing him into marriage. Will their plans succeed before the secret of oil is discovered?

GINGHAM MOUNTAIN is the third book in award winning author Mary Connealy’s Lassoed in Texas series, and it is excellent. Mary is an extremely talented author who knows how to weave in the unexpected and the hilarious into a well-written story that will hold your interest to the very end.

I loved Grant, he is a very real, very sweet hero that any woman wouldn’t help but love. Hannah had her prickly moments when I just wanted to slap her, but she definitely had good reasons for harassing Grant and his family. GINGHAM MOUNTAIN is definitely a book on the lighter side. It will make you laugh until you cry. $14.95. 285 pages.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

If God is Good

Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God--Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

As he did in his best-selling book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.

Author Bio:

Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspectives Ministries and a bestselling author. His novels include Deadline, Dominion, Edge of Eternity, Lord Foulgrin’s Letters, The Ishbane Conspiracy, and the Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home. He has written eighteen nonfiction books as well, including Heaven, The Treasure Principle, The Purity Principle, and The Grace and Truth Paradox. Randy and his wife, Nanci, live in Oregon and have two married daughters and four grandsons.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania

Author: Loree Lough
Publisher: Summerside Press
April 2009
ISBN: 978-1-934770-66-5
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Julia Spencer has always felt that Paradise has been home. Ever since her parents abandoned her to her elderly grandparents, then the state came in and removed her forcibly from the home of her loving grandparents, because they were too old to care for a young girl. Now as an adult, she is a successful lawyer, who has inherited her grandparents’ property and is struggling to make sense of her life.

Simon Thomas fell in love with Julia the moment he met her at the wolf preserve outside of Paradise. And knowing that she was good friends with the same Amish family as he, he didn’t hesitate to let his friends know how he feels. His relationship with Julia progresses rapidly, even though both try to warn themselves from a serious relationship.

Simon is ready to ask Julia to share his life when a tragic murder finds them on opposite sides of the courtroom. Will this highly-emotional legal battle rip their love apart?

I love the LOVE FINDS YOU series, and LOVE FINDS YOU IN PARADISE, PENNSYLVANIA has skyrocketed up into the top of my favorite list. This is a wonderful story, set in Amish country, and I loved that the main characters were English, or modern, but interacted very well with the Amish.

This story is a tear-jerker, so readers will need a box of tissues on hand for parts of the book. This is a wonderful, wonderful book, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good book. Set in the real town of Paradise, Pennsylvania the book contains a page telling readers about the town of Paradise. Don’t miss LOVE FINDS YOU IN PARADISE, PENNSYLVANIA. $12.99. 316 pages.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Renewal

Author: Terri Kraus
Publisher: David C. Cook
February 1, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7814-4890-1
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

Leslie Ruskin has just purchased an historic building. She plans to use one of the apartments for her and her daughter and rent out the other two, plus the storefront downstairs so pay the mortgage. Leslie and her daughter Ava are struggling to start over after Leslie’s husband divorced her.

Jack Kenyon is also starting over. He is a carpenter, and wants to make owning his own business a go. He is thrilled when Leslie hires him to do the remodeling on her apartments and the store. But, Jack is haunted by his lost relationships and his past failures and is finding it difficult to remain sober.

Leslie struggles to manage as a single mom and a find a job. But he’s thrilled when everything seems to be coming together. But with Jack’s problems, could the whole reconstruction project derail, or will they both find the renewal they so desperately need.

THE RENEWAL is the second book is Ms. Kraus’ A Project Restoration series, but it easily stands alone. I didn’t have the opportunity to read the first book in the series, but I was not lost at all. I enjoyed getting to know Leslie and Ava, and Jack. At times, Jack managed to get on my last nerve, getting drunk, etc. But Ms. Kraus managed to make his struggle realistic so even the most conservative of readers, while not approving, will sympathize with him.

I enjoyed reading THE RENEWAL and am definitely looking forward to reading the third book in this series, The Transformation which came out September 1, 2009. This is not a book to be missed. A truly poignant story that will stay with you. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 364 pages.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World

Authors: Ken Ham and Steve Ham
Publisher: Master Books
August 2008
ISBN: 978-0-89051-542-6
Genre: Inspirational/parenting

Ken and Steve Ham are siblings raised by a educator/missionary father in Queensland, Australia, a far from Christian environment. However, their parents were so on fire for the Lord, that Ken and Steve couldn’t help but soak up some of their teaching, even though they are first to admit that their parents were far from perfect.

Now, both Ken and Steve are parents of grown children, and grandparents to a whole new generation of Hams. And they feel they’ve learned something about raising children that love the Lord. Now the United States is extremely hostile toward Christian values, and parents are searching for answers and strategies to be more effective. Young people are leaving the church in droves, and parents want their children to have a strong biblical faith and understanding.

Inside the pages of RAISING GODLY CHILDREN IN AN UNGODLY WORLD, Ken and Steve Ham will address questions as:

1. Why is the family disintegrating?
2. What is a godly legacy and why is it vital to our families and our society?
3. How do we know God’s word is an all-sufficient parenting guide?
4. How do you create a family environment for spiritual growth?
5. Are Christian children meant to be salt and light in the public schools?
6. How are we to implement godly discipline and teach our children discernment

And many more questions will be answered.

Punctuated with pictures of the Ham family from infanthood to adulthood, this book is a pleasure to read. Plus, each chapter contains sections entitled: Key thoughts from this chapter, Building blocks, and Questions to consider, making this book ideal to study as a group or individual. Plus, to make this book a keepsake, there is a space in the back for your faith family tree and faith memories. This book in a “intensely personal and practical guide” for parents. $12.99. 236 pages.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Who Do I Talk To?

Author: Neta Jackson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
September 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59554-524-4
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Gabby Fairbanks isn’t real sure where to turn when she returns home from resigning her job, at her husband’s request, to find out that her husband has changed the lock on the apartment, put her and her mother’s belongings outside, and took her boys off to parts unknown. Gabby is a basket case, and with no where to turn, she goes back to the homeless shelter where she used to work, but this time as a resident.

The next morning, Gabby meets with her former boss, who graciously helps Gabby out by giving her back her job and a game plan to follow to start getting her life back into order. Under her boss’s directive, Gabby visits a lawyer to see if she can get her boys back. The lawyer does much more than that, he helps Gabby to come up with a bit more of a game plan to make her case more appealing to the courts. Like first, she’ll have to find someplace to live. No court will look favorably on a homeless person.

But a midnight intruder at the shelter brings unwanted media attention to Gabby, and threatens to undermine all her chances to get her sons back.

WHO DO I TALK TO is an apply named book that stresses the importance of talking to God, in good times and bad. After reading the first book, Where Do I Go, I couldn’t wait to see what happened to Gabby, and I was so glad when the second book in the series came my way. Gabby (as well as the cast of Yada Yada Prayer warriors) are very well developed characters who become real on the pages of this book. So real, I feel I could go to Chicago and find these wonderful people.

I totally love Neta Jackson’s writing, and the way the story comes to life. I couldn’t put this book down, and am anxiously waiting for the next book in the series. Don’t miss Ms. Jackson’s newest book. Gabby is sure to find a place in your heart, as well as the rest of the residents (and employees) of the homeless shelter. $14.99. 416 pages

Thursday, September 17, 2009

She Did What She Could: Five words of Jesus that will change your life

Author: Elisa Morgan
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
September 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3378-6
Genre: Inspirational/Christian living

SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD is based on the Bible story when the woman came in and anointed Jesus with perfume, and the others with Jesus ridiculed her but Jesus defended her and said she was anointing him for his burial. And he said these five words. SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD.

And that made the author start thinking. What if we did what we could? Okay, maybe we won’t help everyone in the world, but we can start making a small difference where we are. We could leave a larger than usual tip for a waitress. We could let someone cut in front of us in traffic. We could buy the food for the people behind us in a drive-through.

Some people would call this by various names, such as “paying it forward,” doing a “good deed,” or “benevolent acts,” or even “random acts of kindness,” or the more recent “What Would Jesus Do?” This is all pretty much the same theory, that we need to go out and do what we can. Help people if we can. Do random acts of kindness.

SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD is a very easy to read book, I read it through in the hour I sat at the Ford Garage today, and that was with visiting with some of other people hanging out in the waiting room, so it isn’t a very large or “heavy” book filled with deep thoughts that you need to spend hours digesting. The message is simple and straightforward. No big explanations needed. Just simply, SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD, as well as encouraging us to do the same.

Wanting to do more to make a difference for Christ? Want to be a silent witness? Then SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD is definitely a book to read. It will give you great ideas to reach out to others as well as reminding you of this oft told Bible story. $9.99 99 pages.

She Did What She Could: Five words of Jesus that will change your life by Elisa Morgan (Tyndale House Publishers)

Most of us care. We really do. We care about poverty and injustice, about orphans and the sick. And yet, weighed down by the everyday load of bringing home a paycheck, putting food on the table, and taking care of our family demands, we question our ability to make a difference. Bombarded by one celebrity help-the-world-athon after another, we shrug our shoulders in futility and do absolutely nothing. Enter SDWSC. Based on the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume in Mark 14, SDWSC provides overwhelmed, yet service-seeking, significance-starved readers a realistic response to the seemingly unmeetable needs around us.

Five letters. Unthinkable power.

Most of us care. We really do. We care about poverty and injustice, about orphans and the sick. And yet, weighed down by the everyday tasks of bringing home a paycheck, putting food on the table, and shuttling kids around, we question our ability to make a difference. Bombarded by one celebrity help-the-world-athon after another, we shrug our shoulders in futility and do absolutely nothing.
But what if we did . . .
Just one thing.
The thing that matters more than anything else in that one solitary moment.

What if we did just that?
What if?
Five letters that have the power to change your life, free your spirit, and transform your world!

About the Author

Elisa Morgan is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of more than fifteen books, including the best–selling What Every Mom Needs and Mom's Devotional Bible. Elisa has served as CEO of MOPS International since 1989. She is also the publisher of MomSense and FullFill magazines and is a frequent contributor to Christianity Today. Elisa is married to Evan (vice president of strategic development for RBC Ministries, known internationally for Our Daily Bread, and founder of They have two grown children and one grandchild and live in Centennial, Colorado.

What is the premise behind your new book, She Did What She Could?

Most of us care deeply about the needs around us – poverty, injustice, everyday concerns of those in our families and in our offices and in our neighborhoods. But faced with the challenges of getting food on the table and children to and from activities and keeping up with our jobs etc, we feel more than a little overwhelmed. Who has the time or the energy to start another nonprofit or to participate in yet another celebrity-help-the-world-athon? We conclude we have to do something BIG to make a difference. Not true. We don’t have to do something BIG to make a difference. In a Bible story where Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus with a beautiful gift of perfume before his death, Jesus applauds her action saying, “She did what she could.” We can make a difference every day by simply doing what we could in the given moment before us.

When did the idea for this book/movement come to you?

I’d been reading what I call the “Girl Stories” in the gospels – stories where a woman is the main character. I was stopped in my tracks by Mary’s acting out her love for Jesus and by his pairing her action with the gospel. Mary lived loved. She acted out her faith by doing something with who she was and what she had in a moment that mattered. At the same time I was reading that story, I was suddenly overwhelmed by issues in our world like the HIV-AIDS pandemic and poverty and needs everywhere I turned. I began to think about the power of one of us acting and then another and another. I began to prayerfully wonder – what if I did what I could – just like Mary did? And then each of us did what we could? The whole world could be changed!

What percentage of church members are active in ministry?

It’s reported that 20% of the people do 80% of the work.

What reasons do you think members have for not serving?

Lots of folks don’t participate due to the busyness of life and the perception that unless we do something BIG it won’t make a difference. We feel guilty that we can’t do MORE. We feel inadequate because we aren’t more godly - or because of something hidden in our past. We feel incompetent because we aren’t trained. We’re tired and overwhelmed. And then there’s the fact that lots of us aren’t even “members” of a church. We’re not sure what to do with church – even though we love Jesus. We have a million struggles that keep us from “doing”. SDWSC gives a bite-size offering to everyone to participate in living out our faith and making a difference.

Do you feel that many church members are intimidated by those who are very involved at church?
You bet. If you’re not in the “in crowd” or gifted with public gifs like teaching or are marginalized in some way, it’s WAY intimidating to step up and say, ”Hey, I’d like to help.” SDWSC welcomes ALL to join in and act. It refreshes those who are weary in well-doing as well.

In the book, you point out that this message of everyone doing what they can is Biblical. What story are you referring to specifically?

The story is told in Mark 14 but is also told in Matthew and John as well. Just before Jesus’ death on the cross for the sins of all humankind, Mary of Bethany took a jar of nard, a very expensive perfume, and poured it on Jesus – as a symbol of anointing his body before his death. In a moment when the gesture would mean the most to him. You get the impression that Mary hadn’t really planned out this action. It seems more spontaneous. And while the nard was expensive, that wasn’t the main point. Mary acted out of her understanding that Jesus really was the Christ and he really loved her. She wanted to give back. She took what she had – nard – and acted with it in a moment that mattered to Jesus and to the world. She did what she could.

You’ve shared your message with the MOPS organization. What has the response been so far to the SDWSC (She Did What She Could) movement?

Moms are passionate about being the best moms they can be. They’re also passionate to make a difference in their world. They know that they may not be able to do something GIANT in the day to day of raising children. SDWSC gives them a methodology for acting in a way that matters in their daily lives. With a neighbor or a coworker. With a child. To care for the earth. To reach out to someone who has less and needs more. Moms have pasted the SDWSC flare on their Facebook pages and are telling the SDWSC stories, encouraging others to do what they can as well.

How do you hope churches and ministries will use your message to mobilize their members?

Those who’ve never served can be invited to join in with the practical – doable – message of SDWSC. And those who are weary in well-doing can be encouraged that Jesus doesn’t ask us to do EVERYTHING or ALL we could but rather WHAT we could do.

How do you hope readers can change their lives with your message?

She did what she could (SDWSC) is a mantra that rules my days as opportunities come before me. I run each through the grid of SDWSC. Is it something that I can uniquely handle? Is it a moment that matters NOW? Will I make a difference if I do WHAT I could – not ALL or EVERYTHING I could? I hope and pray that readers will do the same. She did what she could. When I do what I could and you do what you could and we do what we could – we can change the world. We can be the body of Christ in action, on the earth, demonstrating individually and together what it means to live loved.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mommy Grace

Author: Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman
Publisher: Faith Words
April 2009
ISBN: 978-0-446-54541-9
Genre: Inspirational/parenting

Most mothers struggle with feelings of inadequacy. We have guilt because we have a long list of things we should have or should not have done. Some moms even feel that they are harming their children by not being practically perfect.

Inside the pages of MOMMY GRACE, Dr. Coleman shares short, sometimes funny, and moving stories about her parenting mistakes, and shows how God can extent grace to us during these moments and helps us to embrace the reassurance that God offers.

Each chapter is very short, and begins with a story from Dr. Coleman’s extensive file, an inspirational quote, a Bible verse, and then a poem-like prayer. The chapters will not take long to read, maybe five minutes tops, so even if you don’t have time to sit down and read for long periods of time, you can still fit in small bits of this book, a chapter at a time.

MOMMY GRACE came out in hardcover in time for Mother’s Day, but I didn’t get to it early enough for that holiday. Still, the Christmas season is approaching, and this book will be a delightful gift for your favorite mother to find under the tree. Or a gift for anytime, for no reason at all.

MOMMY GRACE will be sure to help overwhelmed mothers everywhere, whether you are the first time mother of a newborn, or your children are kindergartners and headed to school for the very first time. $14.99 hardcover. 160 pages.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Boy-sterous Living, Interview - and contest!

Author: Jean Blackmer
Publisher: Beacon Hill Press
ISBN: 978-0-8341-2290-8
Genre: Inspirational/parenting

Jean Blackmer is the only female in the house with three sons, a husband, and two male dogs, and she knows that life is loud. If its not, you need to go see what their up to.

BOY-STEROUS LIVING is a book I needed to read nineteen years ago when my first son was born. As it is, I learned the lessons in this book the hard way, first hand, although I admit that my kids never did some of the funny things that Mrs. Blackmer shares about her husband and sons. BOY-STEROUS LIVING is laugh out loud funny, while being a survival guide for mothers.

In BOY-STEROUS LIVING, you will get a mom’s view of what it is like to live in a male world where safety is an afterthought and men believe they are cavemen and communicate in grunts.

There are some things I couldn’t relate to real well in this book. Out of the males in my family, for instance, only one communicates in grunts, and then only rarely. The other two are talkers and you can hardly shut them up. I think they talk more than I do. But I do identify with the noise level and some of the other entertaining stories that Mrs. Blackmer shares in her book.

If you are a parent of young boys, male babies, or are thinking of having babies, then BOY-STEROUS LIVING is a book you need to read. If you are a parent of males who are graduated from high school (or soon to graduate) then the only point of reading this would be to remember the days when your family was little and some of the mischievous things they got into. All in all, BOY-STEROUS LIVING is a great books for moms and I highly recommend it. The end of the book contains some absolutely hilarious bloppers. 182 pages.

About the book: Raising boys isn't easy. Life with them is loud. If it's quiet, they're probably up to something. Boys are messy, competitive, fearless, and proud. Living with them pretty much guarantees that you're in for an adventure.

In Boy-sterous Living, Jean shares a few of the priceless stories and laugh-out-loud lessons that she and her boys have experienced over the years. With humorous insight and practical advice, she offers encouragement and ideas to help both mothers and fathers impact and shape the lives of their sons. From understanding their love of sports to overcoming the superman complex, Jean shows moms how to find joy and contentment in everyday life by celebrating the laughter, passion, noise, and endless energy boys bring to our lives.

About the author: Jean is currently the Publishing Manager for MOPS International and she's been free-lance writing for 16 years. She has been published in a variety of local and national publications, including: Guideposts, MomSense, Today's Christian Woman, Christian Parenting Today, American Girl, Proverbs 31 Woman, Chicken Soup for the Mother and Son Soul, Chicken Soup Cookbook for the Busy Mom's Soul, Focus on the Family's Teen Phases, Guideposts Miracle Series, and others.

She also co-authored her first book, Where Women Walked: Powerful True Stories of Women's Perseverance and God's Provision. (Tyndale/Focus on the Family, 2004) This book was nominated for a Gold Medallion Award.

Jean graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder with a Bachelor's (1987) and a Master's (1992) degree in Journalism. She lives in Boulder with her husband Zane; three boys, Josh , Jordan , and Jake.

Find out more about Jean here!

Link to purchase the book:

Blog tour schedule! Please post link in your blog tour post!

Author website:

CONTEST: Enter your grossest or funniest moment as a mom of a boy (No boys? That’s okay – we still want to hear your story!) and you could win movie tickets and a snack for you and a friend to escape! Share your story by emailing your entry to or posting it on the Moms of Boys facebook page!

What are you working on now? As the publishing manager for MOPS International I am working with an author on the 2010 MOPS theme book which is going to be great and is going to be given to 100,000 moms! I am also writing another book for moms which will be humorous and encouraging, helping moms deal with those unplanned moments of mothering.

What are some of your hobbies, besides writing? I love the outdoors, hiking, biking, running, and skiing. I also enjoy cooking, but I’m not very good at it. My boys tease that I am a great Cajun cook because so many things I make turn out “blackened.” And of course I love to read.

Who are your favorite authors? C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien, George McDonald, and Virginia Wolf are some of my favorite classic authors. An author I’ve read recently and enjoyed is Marisa de los Santos, Love Walked In and Belong to Me. I also like Ted Dekker, especially his book, Blink. I’m not the kind of person who just has one or two favorite authors because there are many, many good books and writers who I love to read.

What is your favorite genre to read? I love reading fiction, compelling stories about women and issues such as The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, and The Help (which I just finished and would highly recommend) . I also enjoy non-fiction, especially inspirational, story-oriented books such as The Zoo Keepers Wife or Three Cups of Tea.

What sparked the idea for your last story? Real-life is truly great writing material. I recently wrote a story for Angels Magazine, a division of Guideposts, about a woman who was lost hiking and found her way out thanks to a little help from some unusual people who unexpectedly appeared.

Who or what inspired you to write? When I went to college I couldn’t pass the math classes  so I went into journalism and loved it. I love writing stories because I think people really remember your message and it’s a way I can impact someone’s life positively. What keeps me inspired is when I hear back from readers and how something I wrote encouraged them or helped them make a change in their own life.

What is your favorite verse, and why? “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. I love this verse because it reminds me to look at life with a positive, grateful attitude and to remember to pray about everything.

How can reading your book have an impact on the reader’s life? I hope this book will help moms love their life with boys, to engage in their boy’s worlds and enjoy the adventure rather than sit on the sidelines.

How did you become a Christian? I became a Christian when I was in junior high school when I went through a confirmation class in my Episcopal church. The priest who conducted the ceremony asked our class beforehand if we had a relationship with Christ and then prayed for us. At that time I committed my life to Christ.

How has your book been received from its readers? So far readers have enjoyed my book. Many of the moms have mentioned it’s encouraged them to do more with their boys and to have more fun. They’ve also mentioned how they’ve read parts to their husbands and how they’ve laughed out loud about some of the stories. I think moms need laughter so I enjoy hearing that.

Can you tell us a little bit about your personal life? I live in Boulder, CO with my husband of 23 years, Zane, and our three boys, Josh, 18, Jordan, 15, and Jake 13. We also have a yellow lab, Mogul and a hedgehog, Bruno.

How can our readers purchase your book? Visit, my website,,, or visit your local bookstore.

Monday, September 14, 2009

You Were Born For This and giveaway

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this book
void where prohibited by law. USA only, please

Author: Bruce Wilkinson
Publisher: Multnomah
September 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60142-182-1
Genre: Inspirational/Christian Living

YOU WERE BORN FOR THIS is an inspiring book full of the way God has worked in Mr. Wilkinson’s life, and the lives of some of his acquaintances to work miracles. All they had to do was be open to the voice of God asking them to step outside the ordinary, and they followed.

Bruce Wilkerson says that he wrote this book to help us see that the land of personal, everyday miracles in your home turf. He also wants to help us believe that God will use us to deliver a necessary miracle to someone in need. YOU WERE BORN FOR THIS.

Many people believe that if God still works miracles He only performs them through a select group of people. But the truth is, that even us common people can be used of God to help accomplish His will, in sometimes miraculous ways.

Inside the pages of YOU WERE BORN FOR THIS, Bruce Wilkinson asks questions such as:

 Why are experiences of the miraculous so rare for must people?
 What if God wanted you to experience them on a regular basis?
 And what if ordinary people like you and me are invited to partner with God to deliver them to others?

If you believe that God can use you, inside the pages of this book you will learn how to make a life-style of predictable miracles you new normal. And you will see relationships change. Finances, families, and spiritual lives change. And God can use you.

YOU WERE BORN FOR THIS is an inspiring book that helped me believe that if only I am brave enough to act when God whispers, then maybe He can use me to perform His will. But sometimes, taking that step requires massive amounts of faith, and sometimes, the willingness to make a fool of yourself, as illustrated by some of the stories in this book. Still, this book is one to be read slowly, in small increments, so you can absorb all that Bruce Wilkerson is trying to teach us. I’m giving my copy to my pastor husband who told me he’s wanted this book. This is definitely a book you’ll want to read if you want to be used by God but aren’t sure how to go about it. $22.99 hardcover. 224 pages.


His New York Times phenomenon The Prayer of Jabez changed how millions pray. Now Bruce Wilkinson wants to change what they do next.

Anyone can do a good deed, but some good works can only happen by a direct intervention from God. Around the world these acts are called miracles—not that even religious people expect to see one any time soon. But what would happen if millions of ordinary people walked out each morning expecting God to deliver a miracle through them to a person in need? You Were Born for This starts with the dramatic premise that everyone at all times is in need of a miracle, and that God is ready to meet those needs supernaturally through ordinary people who are willing to learn how Heaven works.

In the straightforward, story-driven, highly motivating style for which he is known, Wilkinson describes how anyone can help others experience miracles in such universally significant arenas of life as finances, practical help, relationships, purpose, and spiritual growth.

You Were Born for This will change how readers see their world, and what they expect God can do through them to meet real needs. They will master seven simple tools of service, and come to say with confidence, “I want to deliver a supernatural gift from God to someone in need today—and now I know how!”

Author Bios:

One of the world’s foremost Christian teachers, Bruce Wilkinson is best known as the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller The Prayer of Jabez. He is also the author of numerous other bestsellers, including A Life God Rewards, Secrets of the Vine, and The Dream Giver. Over the past three decades, Wilkinson has founded several global initiatives, including organizations that recruited and trained thousands of Americans to address hunger, AIDS, and poverty in Africa . Bruce and his wife, Darlene, have three children and six grandchildren. They live outside Atlanta .

David Kopp has collaborated with Bruce Wilkinson on over a dozen bestselling books, including The Prayer of Jabez. He is an editor and writer living in Colorado .

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Just Between You and Me

Author: Jenny B. Jones
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
September 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59554-851-1
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

The only thing scarier than living on the edge is stepping off it. (from the back cover.)

Maggie Montgomery inherited her wanderlust from her mother. When she graduated from high school she packed her bags and didn’t look back. With her job as a cinematographer, she travels all over the world, but nothing would make her go home to Ivy, Texas.

Nothing, that is, except her sister.

So, when Maggie’s dad calls saying that Allison needs her, Maggie agrees to go home to Ivy for just three days. What she discovers there is that Allison’s daughter, Riley, has been dumped, and she is out of control. It seems that the only person who can control her is Connor, the local vet. But due to some unfortunate event in Maggie’s past, she and Connor are on each other’s bad sides. He’s suspicious of her, and she doesn’t rely on anyone except herself.

JUST BETWEEN YOU AND ME is the latest by Jenny B. Jones. I’ve loved her youth books, and looked forward to reading this story. Ms. Jones is a very talented author, able to make characters come to life on the page. Written in first person, the reader instantly gets to know Maggie and view the world as she sees it. I also enjoyed getting to know some of the secondary characters, such as Maggie’s stressed out dad, and her overwhelming niece. But the character that I couldn’t help but fall in love with, was the vet, Connor.

If you are looking for a good book, JUST BETWEEN YOU AND ME is definitely a book to consider. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book, making it ideal for discussion groups. $14.99. 312 pages.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Double Take; Trial by Fire; Guarded Secrets

Here are three great suspense from Love Inspired

Author: Jenness Walker
Love Inspired Suspense
October 2009
ISBN: 978-0-373-44360-4
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Cole Leighton had picked up the best seller for some light reading on his vacation. But he’s barely a few pages into the mystery when the story literally starts coming to life before his eyes. The heroine of the book boards the bus with Cole. And then Cole could almost follow the drama word for word as the story described the bus getting robbed and the woman abducted.

The only trouble is when Cole goes to the police with the book and where the book says that the woman would be found, he’s considered a suspect, and the police don’t seem to take his opinion of where the woman is seriously. So, Cole goes to investigate himself. He finds the woman, barely alive, but this only seems to cause more suspicion to land on his head.

Kenzie Jacobs is alive for now, but Cole is convinced that is about to change. Since Cole turned his copy of the book over to the police, he goes out and buys another copy of the book. He needs to know if Kenzie is truly safe or if there’s a mad-man after her.

DOUBLE TAKE starts out with action and doesn’t let up. Even though the hero is reading, I was instantly caught up in this story as I wondered what would happen next. Cole is a realistic heroine, kind and caring, and even willing to appear a fool to do what he knows is right. I didn’t relate as well to Kenzie, but as the book went on she did begin to grow on me.

DOUBLE TAKE is the first book I’ve read by Jenness Walker, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Ms. Walker is a very talented writer that brings the pages of a book to life. Parts of the story even had me scared to death. I had to put all the lights in the house on. Don’t miss DOUBLE TAKE. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. 207 pages.


Author: Cara Putman
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
October 2009
ISBN: 978-0-373-44359-8
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Prosecutor Tricia Jamison is facing a difficult trial case when the phone rings. Her mother’s house is on fire. When Tricia arrives at the scene, she discovers that its only the shed, but still. All evidence points to arson.

Firefighter Noel Brust has harbored hard feelings toward Tricia for the past year. Even though she won the case, his hero father was still raked over the coals and he feels that Tricia didn’t do her job. Now, he’s investigating the fire at her mother’s house. How can he keep the past from tarnishing their working together on this case?

When Tricia’s brother’s house is next on the arsonist’s list. Tricia is sure that someone is targeting her family and that she will be next. But who is after her family? And why does every fire seem to throw her in Noah Brust’s path?

TRIAL BY FIRE is the sequel to Deadly Evidence, the first Love Inspired Suspense by Cara Putman. I enjoyed getting to know Tricia and Noel, though I found both characters rather brusque in the beginning of the book.

Ms. Putman is a very talented author who obviously did her research into both the job of a prosecutor and firefighters. The story isn’t as fast paced as the other Love Inspired Suspense that I’ve read recently, but the story still held my attention and I couldn’t wait to see if my suspicions about the identity of the arsonist were correct. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. 210 pages.


Author: Leann Harris
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
October 2009
ISBN: 978-0-373-44358-1
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Lilly Burkstrom is plunged into a nightmare when her ex-husband dies from an apparent convenience store robbery gone wrong. When she goes to his apartment to collect his belongings, she finds the place ransacked and recalls her husband’s words. “If I die, it won’t be an accident.”

When Lilly returns home to find her own home to be ransacked, she calls the kind detective who came to notify her of her ex-husband’s death. But then she hears a noise, indicating that someone is still in her house.

Detective Jon Littledeer is quick to respond to the single mother and even goes above and beyond the call of duty to try to keep her safe while the police try to find out what really happened with the death of her ex-husband and what are the killers hoping to find?

GUARDED SECRETS is a fast read, a romantic suspense that grabbed me from page one and wouldn’t let go. I enjoyed getting to know Lilly and her young daughter, Penny, as well as Jon. There is also a cast of secondary characters that help to bring the story to life.

Leann Harris is a very talented author and I am looking forward to reading more books by her. Her dialog is realistic and not strained at all. There isn’t much sense of setting in this book, the story could be set in any more populated subdivision but the story is still very well told. I enjoyed reading GUARDED SECRETS. If you pick up any suspense this month, this would be a good book to consider. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. 209 pages.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Make Your Everyday Relationships Intentional

Community Chaplains of America help you care for others in crisis

Dallas/ Ft. Worth , TX —The overwhelming percentage of adults who come to Christ (as many as 80%) do so during a time of crisis. One study estimates that 15% of adults in America will face some crisis during any twelve-month period. We encounter these hurting people every day through our routine tasks and errands. Many won’t go to a church, but they still need someone with whom to talk. What if we could transform these everyday encounters into intentional, eternal opportunities?

With the help of a dynamic new program, you can claim your own community as your mission field. Community Chaplains of America training equips laypeople with the skills to minister to others during a time of crisis. Ordinary Christians with a heart for the lost and hurting can train to become a chaplain who will be present with people during times of crisis and gain permission to share the hope found in Christ. This “ministry of presence” is particularly crucial in reaching people who are not connected to a church or a member of the clergy.

Community Chaplains of America was developed by Mark Cress, founder of Corporate Chaplains of America, a company that has provided chaplains in the workplace since 1996. The training course is based on the ministry model developed by Corporate Chaplains of America and was written by their veteran Chaplains. The curriculum benefits from this experience, and will equip volunteers to reach people in their own areas of interest: on the little league field, in the neighborhood, at a child’s school, at work, etc.

“Our goal is to help Christians, as they come alongside others during the bumpy times of life, to gain the ability and confidence to share the life-changing news of Jesus Christ in a non-threatening manner,” says Cress. The results of Corporate Chaplains of America model speak for themselves; since 1996, more than 14,000 people have come to Christ, and that number grows daily.

In the short time since its inception, Community Chaplains of America has trained several hundred people in 35 different states. Commissioned chaplains receive credentials (which add credibility to your budding chaplain ministry), and ongoing support which includes access to a web portal that tracks their ministries and facilitates interaction with other chaplains.

In addition, Community Chaplains of America offers a Group Study Kit with enough materials to facilitate a 10 member small group. The Group Study Kit familiarizes participants with the principles of care giving and relationship building, along with the necessary tools to minister during times of crisis.

“The start of a new school year will introduce new relationships and opportunities for ministry for many of us,” says Community Chaplains General Manager Vicki Frye, recalling the needs of her own family and children brought on by a cross-country move. “Why not complete the Community Chaplains of America training over the summer and be prepared to start caring for people this fall. This is the perfect way to find the ministry you’ve always wanted.”

For more information visit

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Second Hand Jesus

In his new book, Secondhand Jesus: Trading Rumors of God for a Firsthand Faith (David C Cook, June 2009), author Glenn Packiam summons readers upon a passionate quest—a holy pursuit—to truly experience Christ’s power and love for themselves. “God wants us to know Him deeply and personally,” Packiam says. “But there are no shortcuts to God. The Bible tells us that ‘The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.’” (Matthew 7:14, The Message)

So often we too easily settle for someone else’s descriptions, the CliffsNotes from another’s spiritual journey. We are content to let “God experts” do the heavy lifting and then give us the bottom line. And after enough times through the grapevine, the truth about God deteriorates until crumbs and rumors are all that remain.

But when life derails, when things don’t go as we planned, our thin view of God is challenged. In those critical moments, we can choose to walk away from God… or let our questions lead us home. When you decide to wrestle with God, to engage Him for yourself, you—like Jacob and Job and David—will see rumors die and revelation come alive.

It’s time to hear the magnificent divine invitation. It’s time to take God up on His offer and embrace the mystery and majesty of knowing Him for yourself.

Author Bio: Glenn Packiam is an associate worship pastor at New Life Church and the director of New Life School of Worship in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was one of the founding worship leaders and songwriters for the Desperation Band. Glenn’s worship songs, like “Your Name,” “Everyone (Praises),” “My Savior Lives,” and “We Lift You Up,” are being sung in churches all over the world. Glenn is also the author of Butterfly in Brazil. He and his wife, Holly, and their two adorable daughters, Sophia and Norah, live in Colorado Springs.

Continuing throughout the month of July, the “Hear It First, Read It First” contest and promotion for Secondhand Jesus will be sponsored by David C Cook, Integrity Music,, and Gibson/Epiphone Guitars. By visiting, fans and readers will be able to win prizes, as well as download a free music video performance of Glenn Packiam (i.e., “Burning in Me”).

For more information about Glenn’s new debut solo CD, Rumors and Revelations, visit

Click here to watch Glenn’s introduction to Secondhand Jesus.

Secondhand Jesus by Glenn Packiam

David C Cook/June 2009/ISBN 978-1-434766-39-7/224 pages/softcover/$14.99 ~

win a signed Epiphone guitar as well as other great prizes!

Visit to enter the “Hear It First, Read It First” contest and promotion for Glenn Packiam’s book Secondhand Jesus and Brian Doerksen’s book, Make Love, Make War, sponsored by David C Cook, Integrity Music,, and Gibson/Epiphone Guitars. By visiting, fans and readers will be able to enter to win prizes, as well as download free music video performances of Glenn Packiam (i.e., “Burning in Me”) and Brian Doerksen (i.e., “It’s Time” and “Holy God”) and free sample chapters from their new books.

Prizes include a set of worship CDs from Integrity, an Epiphone guitar signed by Glenn Packiam or Brian Doerksen, and an Epiphone amplifier! Want to find out more about these worship leaders and authors? Download a sample chapter and videos at and!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Interview with Christina Berry

Christina, welcome to my blog. Please tell me about receiving The Call.

My agent, Sarah Van Diest, had been back and forth with me on the phone and over email for a few weeks as two houses were showing a lot of interest in what was then titled Undiscovered. House “A” had said they would be making an offer, but nothing concrete came in. House “B” was rushing the project through so they could compete. Being a compulsive email checker, I actually found out House B—Moody—had come through with an offer about three minutes before I answered The Call. Instead of breaking the news to a clueless author, Sarah had to listen to me shriek with excitement for a few moments before she could even speak!

Wow. How exciting. I can't wait til I receive The Call. Tell me about your novel.

The Familiar Stranger—formerly known as Undiscovered—is about a couple going through a really rough patch in their marriage. When an accident incapacitates the husband, their relationship must be redefined. Which would be a lot easier to do if BIG secrets from his past didn’t raise their ugly heads. Despite the upheaval, the choices they make involving forgiveness and trust might allow a new beginning. Or … they might not.

You can see the back cover copy and what other authors have said about The Familiar Stranger by going to

Sounds interesting. How did you come up with the story?

In the summer of 2006, two stories appeared in the newspaper. One was a huge, national story; the other a smaller, local-interest item. I wondered what it might look like if those two stories conceived a child. Boom! I had the entire plot for The Familiar Stranger. It will be interesting to see if readers can figure out which stories inspired the book.

What challenges do you face with your writing? What comes easy to you?

As a single mother of young children, and currently serving as a foster parent, time is my biggest challenge. I have to make sure my family knows they come first, but to balance that with treating writing as a career.

Strength-wise, while the idea of writing or editing may seem hard, I usually get quite a lot done in a short amount of time once I start. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. That applies to our writing. A little momentum can go a long way!

Time is a big issue for me too. Whose work do you admire and how has it influenced you as a writer?

Most of my favorite authors have voices I never dream to come close to: Nancy E. Turner, Jane Kirkpatrick, Leif Enger, Francine Rivers, or Randy Alcorn, to name a few. The writers that really influence my stories are ones that examine the real grittiness of life like Roxanne Henke, Bette Nordberg, and James Scott Bell.

What part does God play in your writing?

I believe He guides the story, adding layers I’m not even capable of comprehending while I write it. I’m not great at starting my writing time with prayer, but I try to stay open to where He might lead me.

I see writing as one of the tools He uses to form me into His image—a tool to teach me patience, self-control, determination, reliance on Him, and other life lessons. I also see writing as a gift that brings hope, fulfillment, and purpose when the rest of my life is falling apart.

What fun facts may surprise your readers about you?

I was the team captain and second answerer in the speed round for our family on Family Feud in 2000 … and we won! Also, I grew up in Nigeria, West Africa, while my parents were Southern Baptist missionaries. I remember being awed at the selection of toilet paper in the grocery store when we returned to the States.

How can we pray for you?

Behind every book is an author, but what I tend to forget is that the author is a real person with real struggles, doubts, and hardships. This happens to be a period of pain, growth, and change in my life. I would love to be held up with prayers for the following: grace and strength to show Christ’s love to everyone I come in contact with, the ability to find joy wherever possible, and financial, emotional, and spiritual safety for my family as we continue the transition to a single parent home.

Can you tell us a little bit about your personal life?

Though the plot of The Familiar Stranger came from news stories, I’d been looking for a fictional vehicle to express the lessons I’d learned regarding forgiveness in my own marriage. I knew no one was interested in reading my particular story, but I still felt God had given me something to say. My husband and I worked through a major issue six years ago and found a vibrant, completely renewed marriage on the other side.

However, seven months ago, that same issue broke our bond. Now as a newly-single woman, I’m in the midst of promoting a book that touches far closer to home than I would have ever dreamed. If no one else ever reads it, I’ve been convicted and encouraged by my own words. If that isn’t a gracious God at work, I don’t know what is!

How amazing. How can our readers purchase your book?

Here are two links:

You can also have any bookstore order copies for you if they don’t have any in stock.
Also, be sure to visit and

thanks for visiting us on this blog tour. Be sure to follow along with the blog tour at:

Thursday, 9/10
Dawn King

Friday, 9/11
Grace Bridges

Sunday, 9/13
Bette Bantz

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Author: Max Lucado
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
September 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8499-2139-1
Genre: inspirational/Christian life

Not too many of us will make the following statements:

My phobias put such a spring in my steps.
I’d be a rotten parent if it weren’t for my hypochondria.
Thank God for my pessimism. I’ve been such a better person since I lost hope.
My doctor says that if I don’t start fretting I will lose my health.

These statements are ridiculous, yet sometime we live as if they are the gospel truth. Popular author Max Lucado shares with us in his book, FEARLESS, that it is possible to trust in God to supply our needs. He shares with us in the book about how when his father was dying he couldn’t afford a plane ticket home to be with his parents. Yet God, in His mercy provided the means for Max Lucado to get home. All Max had to do was to reach out and accept the gift.

If God cares about things like that, then why do our “miracle meters” register nothing when we are faced with a bill that we don’t know how to pay, a health concern that may take our life, or empty cupboards with nothing to feed our children. Why do we worry about such things? Yet, we do. We forget everything God has done for us, we forget how He has provided for us, and we cry out to Him, “Don’t you care?”

FEARLESS has rung quite true to me, and I imagine it will for others too. We are living in an age where many are losing their jobs, their homes, and their cars. When the bank is knocking on our door with foreclosure notices, and we are getting shut off notices from the utilities, what can we do? We’re afraid to answer the phone, afraid to get the mail, and scared to be called into the boss’s office. Yet, Christ urges us to fear not. To trust Him.

FEARLESS will help show you all the miracles God has accomplished in Mr. Lucado’s life, and the lives of others around him. He reminds us of God’s provisions in the Bible, and shares scripture references to help build our faith and our trust that God will provide for our needs.

FEARLESS stomped on my toes, as I struggle with faith too. I’ll be putting this book on my shelf to pick up the next time I start stressing about where the money is going to come from to pay a bill that is due. Maybe it will help me remember that God has always provided so far, and that He will provide—somehow—again. Pick up your copy of FEARLESS today, and may we start living as Jesus intended. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $24.99 hardcover. 218 pages.

Be sure to check out these links:

And these Fearless videos:


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Monday, September 7, 2009

Stray Affections - free book give-away

Leave a comment to possibly win a copy of this book. Void where prohibited by law.

Book: Stray Affections

Author: Charlene Ann Baumbich
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
September 2009
ISBN: 978-0-307-4471-4
Genre: Inspirational/womens fiction

Cassandra Higgins is not exactly having a good week. She’s broiled a pan of cookies, turning them into a charred mess, and setting off the smoke alarm in the house, and knocked her toothbrush into the toilet. She ran a pair of red socks through with a load of white clothes. She broke her favorite mug. And she ran over her son’s favorite toy. When Cassandra’s friend called to cancel their annual trek to a Collector’s Convention, its just the last straw. At least until Cassandra’s husband suggests she go alone.

Even though Cassandra hated to go alone, she did, though she did miss out on the free cup of coffee they give to the first one hundred people through the gates. Still, Cassandra buys her own coffee, then turns the opposite direction from the usual way, where she discovers this amazing antique snowglobe—one with a little girl and three dogs. Charmed by the beautiful globe, Cassandra immediately purchases it, but almost instantly, it seems she is forced to deal with long-dormant memories and unfulfilled dreams, and soon she is swirled into a tumultuous journey…

STRAY AFFECTIONS is a book in Ms. Baumbich’s new series, A Snowglobe Connections. The book is more told than shown, so I really couldn’t connect well with the character. I also found the story rather disjointed and sometimes I had to go back and read things twice.

Still, STRAY AFFECTIONS was a delightful tale dealing with difficult relationships, and the need to forgive those that you love. This book will show you the power and the magic of second chances and unconditional love. Some recipes and a reader’s guide are included at the end of the book. The book does have a satisfying conclusion. $13.99. 303 pages.


In Stray Affections, the last thing that Cassandra expects out of her Sunday is to be mesmerized at a collectors’ convention by a snowglobe. She’s enjoying some shopping time, with husband Ken at home tending their brood of four young boys, when she’s utterly charmed by the one-of-a kind globe containing figures of three dogs and a little girl with hair the color of her own. She can’t resist taking the unique globe home—even if means wrestling another shopper for it!

The beautiful snowglobe sparks long-dormant memories for Cassie, of her beloved Grandpa Wonky, the stray she rescued as a child and the painful roots of her combative relationship with her mother, “Bad Betty” Kamrowski. Life in Wanonishaw , Minnesota is never dull, though, and Cassie keeps the recollections at bay, busy balancing her boys, her home daycare operation, and being a good friend to best pal Margret. But after a strange—flurrious, as Cassie deems it—moment happens with the remarkable snowglobe, Cassie and the people she loves are swirled into a tumultuous, yet grace-filled, and life-changing journey.

“As a believer, I know the power of forgiveness and new beginnings, and of a God, and family and friends, who love me the way I am,” Charlene Ann Baumbich says. “The heartbeat of change flows through those wonderful gifts.”

With the quirky, close-knit Midwestern small-town feel that made Charlene Ann Baumbich’s acclaimed Dearest Dorothy novels so popular, Stray Affections invites readers to experience the laughter and the healing of second chances.

Author Bio:

Charlene Ann Baumbich is a popular author and speaker and an award-winning journalist. In addition to her Dearest Dorothy series of novels, she has written seven nonfiction books of humor and inspiration. A bungee-jumping, once motorcycle-owning grandma and unabashed dog lover, Charlene lives with her husband and rescued dog Kornflake in Glen Ellyn , Illinois . She loves telling stories, laughing whenever possible, and considers herself a Wild Child of God.

We’re also including a video link of Charlene introducing the book to readers. The video is available on facebook and/or YouTube.

learn more about or purchase these books at

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