Thursday, September 30, 2010

Homespun Harvest

Author: Robert Elmer
Publisher: Guidepost Books
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Thanksgiving is drawing near, and Charlotte is beginning to feel the pinch. The kids all want things Bob and Charlotte can’t afford for Christmas, so when Charlotte’s friend suggests that they go into the pie making business for Charlotte’s famous pies, Charlotte is quick to agree. It’d be good for the kids to learn some skills working together.

But things quickly escalate out of control, when Charlotte finds out that she has to have a separate kitchen for baking commercially. But not only that—but when the orders have already started piling in, and a news reporter says she’s going to be in the area and wants to spotlight Charlotte’s pies.

When a tragedy threatens to ruin the holidays, will they be able to rally enough to celebrate?

HOMESPUN HARVEST is one of the books in the Home to Heather Creek series. I read almost all the books in this series (not necessarily in order) and enjoyed every single one. I have to really admire how the different authors managed to give the characters the same voice, and keep up with the story line in this continuing series.

Even though I read the books out of order, I had no problem catching up with what was happening and to get into the story. Fans will probably want to read them all the way through, but with Thanksgiving quickly approaching, then HOMESPUN HARVEST will be an excellent book to put you into the holiday spirit. Available from Guidepost Books at or at 262 pages.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Way to a Man's Heart

Author: Mary Ellis
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
July 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7369-2734-5
Genre: Inspirational/Amish

Leah Miller makes the best pies in her district and has been selling them at auction and at a grocery store for awhile. She had her eyes on a pair of abandoned train cars for years, and when she notices activity there, she stops and investigates. The owner is there and instead of being annoyed at Leah snooping, instead she offers her a job as a waitress/cook.

Leah is thrilled at her new opportunity, and she is introduced to many English and Amish patrons. All of them love Leah’s pies, and Leah is flattered when the owner changes the name to “Leah’s Home Cooking” and offers Leah a partnership.

Leah soon finds several Amish men vying for her attention, and she isn’t quite sure how to handle all the attention. Will she be able to discern God’s will, both for her future husband and career? Especially when things start falling down around her?

THE WAY TO A MAN’S HEART is book three in Ms. Ellis’ The Miller Family Series but it easily stands alone. I didn’t have the privilege of reading book one in the series, but started with book 2, and I have to say that I totally loved this last book in the series (not because it concludes the series).

Leah is a very realistic heroine, young and confused, and trying to live out her dream yet maintain her Amish upbringing. All the characters in this book are very well-developed, making me care for them, and what happens to them.

There’s a lot of food referred to in this book, so the author includes some yummy sounding recipes at the end of the book, some of which I might be forced to try. Discussion questions are also included, making this idea for a book club. Don’t miss THE WAY TO A MAN’S HEART. $13.99. 297 pages.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Be Available

Author: Warren W. Wiersbe
Publisher: David C. Cook
September 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4347-0048-3
Genre: Inspirational/Bible studies/commentary/Old Testament

We live in a time similar to the period described in the book of Judges. People are living according to their own values, we can’t seem to work together or agree on anything, etc. Also, as Dr. Wiersbe points out, there is no king in Israel, and people are in bondage to various enemies. The book of Judges reminds us, that as He did back then, He is currently raising of men and women who believe Him, confront the enemy, and win the victory.

The theme of Judges, according to Dr. Wiersbe, is BE AVAILABLE, and we are reminded that: Obedience brings God’s blessings; disobedience brings God’s discipline.

BE AVAILABLE starts with a suggested outline for the book of Judges, and also includes a key verse. This study guide is excellent for use with small groups, and individual studies. Like for instance, chapter one includes Judges 1 and 2, and it starts with what could be current day newspaper headings (though actually, they were all taken from Judges). It goes on to include an in-depth study of Judges, with verses to look up (some are printed, but not all.) Then at the end of the chapter is a page (front and back) of discussion questions.

Dr. Wiersbe is a name that I grew up with, as my parents had his entire collection of commentaries and study guides. I was thrilled when, as a young adult, I actually attended the same church as Dr. Wiersbe while my husband attended seminary. We might have spoken once or twice, but I was very much in awe of the man and still am today.

These books were previously published, and are enjoying being reprinted to make them more readily available to today’s scholars. If you are interested in a deep Bible study by a respected Bible scholar, then I highly recommend BE AVAILABLE, or any of the other books in the Be series. These are not to be missed. $12.99. 199 pages.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico

Author: Lena Nelson Dooley
Publisher: Summerside Press
May 2010
ISBN: 978-0-935416-74-6
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Philip Smith is old and decrepit, needing help from his mining friend, Jeremiah, to take care of things. But Jeremiah is flabbergasted when Philip decided to write for a mail order bride. Jeremiah is determined to send the woman right back home on the train. What use does Philip have for a woman? She’d only be a gold digger, out for the wealthy man’s money.

Madeline Mercer came from old Boston money, but when her father dies, then his business partner starts trying to force her to marry him. When Maddy’s friend dies and leaves Maddy to care for her newborn daughter, Maddy knows she must flee Boston to keep her adopted daughter alive. But her father’s business partner makes it sound as if Maddy is penniless. Where can Maddy go?

When Maddy’s trusted servant comes home with an ad for a mail order bride in Golden, New Mexico, Maddy is doubtful that this is the answer. But with the threats from the business partner growing, fear for her safety encourages her to flee. But what will she find in Golden? And will she even be allowed to stay?

LOVE FINDS YOU IN GOLDEN, NEW MEXICO is a very good read by Ms. Dooley. I think this is the best book I’ve ever read by this author. I loved getting to know Maddy, her servants, Philip and Jeremiah, and the situations that dictated their decisions.

Golden, New Mexico is a real town that prospered during the gold rush days, but nowadays there is little more than a church there. It was interesting to read about this town and the people that might have inhabited it. The characters are very realistically developed and the story line compelling. If you enjoy historical romances then pick up a copy of LOVE FINDS YOU IN GOLDEN, NEW MEXICO. $12.99. 349 pages.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Memory Between Us - and contest!!!

Author: Sarah Sundin
Publisher: Revell
September 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3422-0
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty doesn’t date. And she can keep the men in her ward at bay, despite many attempts to win her affection. But when Major Jack Novak lands in the hospital after a plane crash, he is determined to win the challenge. Ruth might not date—but she will go out with him.

Jack and his friend Charlie are adept at coming up with excuses to be around Ruth and her roommate May, and Charlie and May are even forming a relationship. But Ruth seems to be only focused on her career—in order to support her younger brothers and sisters back home. A relationship won’t hamper that, but Ruth is determined that no man will get her heart.

Jack can’t bear to lose this challenge, even though his friend Charlie warns him off. But it soon is apparent that Jack’s pride is holding him back in many areas. Can Jack be man enough to let Ruth go?

A MEMORY BETWEEN US is the second book in Ms. Sundin’s Wings of Glory series. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Jack, and I felt for Ruth, even though I wanted her to rise above her challenges. I loved Ms. Sundin’s first book, A Distant Melody, but I think this book was even better.

If you like to read historical romances then this World War II romance is a book you’ll want to read. Ms. Sundin’s writing talent takes you up in the cockpit of fighter planes flying over Germany, and you can almost feel the turbulence. And I especially loved the “sight-seeing tours” of Great Britain.
Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 439 pages.

Sarah Sundin presents The Movies and Memories Giveaway in honor of book 2 in the Wings of Glory series. A Memory Between Us is available for purchase wherever fine books are sold. From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.


To celebrate Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Movie and Memory Prize Package! One grand prize winner will receive:

* Make-your-own-photo book from (Capture your own Memories)

* Netflix Subscription (New or Nostalgic Movies delivered right to your house)

* Starbucks gift card (To keep your engine revvin’)

*Gourmet chocolate (A favorite in the 1940’s and now)

* British specialty teas in carved wooden box (Timeless tradition)

* Miniature model of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber & C-47 cargo plane (Everyone needs a few toy planes)

*Big Band music CD (Break out your dancing shoes)

* WWII authentic poster playing cards (Cards – a perfect game for two)

* Keep Calm and Carry On (Uplifting sayings WWII, a boost for troubled times)

To enter simple click on the icons below (contest runs 9/27 - 10/17!)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Husband Tree

Author: Mary Connealy
Publisher: Barbour Books
January 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60260-143-7
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Belle Tanner has just buried her third husband, and this time, her resolve is – no more husbands. After all, men are all no-accounts, worthless things, that just eat food and take up valuable space.

When Belle goes to check the cattle in the upper pasture, she finds she has more cattle than she expected. A lot more. And she is forced to either drive over a thousand head of cattle into Helena for auction, or kill out her entire herd due to lack of grazing ground.

Unfortunately, Belle only has four children—all girls, and one of them not walking. She needs to hire help to make the cattle drive. She figures that with the girls to help, she’ll need six men. But even more unfortunately, she can only find one—and a half promise from another. But those two men will change Belle’s whole life.

THE HUSBAND TREE is the second book in Ms. Connealy’s Montana Marriages Series, but it easily stands alone. I enjoyed getting to know Belle better in the pages of this book, and getting to know her girls and Silas.

Belle is a strong woman, used to running things her way, and not many men could put up with that. Silas is strong, and even better knows when to do things her way, so he was perfect as a hero. This book is a great cool weather read. Don’t miss THE HUSBAND TREE. $10.99. 315 pages.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Friend in the Storm and Contest!!!!

Author: Cheryl Ricker
Publisher: Zondervan
August 2010
ISBN: 978-0-310-51993-5
Genre: Inspirational/giftbook

A FRIEND IN THE STORM is a healing treasury of poetry, quotes, & scripture. This elegant gift book lightens the heart and soul of anyone facing difficult circumstances, or just wanting encouragement.

Each two-page spread includes a poem, an inspirational statement by Christian leaders, along with a verse from the Bible.

Readers of A FRIEND IN THE STORM will:

> Ponder truth distilled from over forty hope-related topics
> Be at peace that God is helping their suffering loved oves
> Learn to trust God and find inner healing
> Be softened by Christs compelling explanation of life
> Desire heaven, and know with certainty its their eternal home
> Enjoy a non-threatening gift they can share with others

I enjoyed reading through this attractively bound gift book, and the beautifully written poems that are included in it. Some of the quotes are very inspiring, and the verses are always appropriate.

If you are looking for the perfect gift to give someone who needs a pick-up then A FRIEND IN THE STORM is the perfect book to consider. It will be referred to over and over. $12.99 hardcover. 96 pages.

About Cheryl Ricker: Cheryl Ricker has a degree in creative writing and has written columns and articles for various magazines and newspapers. She's been writing poetry all her life and her poems have won awards in fine arts and literary magazines. Cheryl lives with her husband and two sons in Rochester , Minnesota

Please check out Cheryl's amazing website for more information.

Link to buy the book:

Blog tour schedule:

Share Your Storm Kindle Giveaway
Share Your Storm Kindle Giveaway

Thursday, September 23, 2010

You Changed My Life

Author: Max Lucado
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
September 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4041-8783-2
Genre: Inspirational/gift book

Kind people not only say good morning, they make the coffee.

YOU CHANGED MY LIFE is written for the kind people in your life. The one that stepped in when you were down and out and said or did something that was unselfish, generous, sacrificing, and very kind.

The book is divided up into eight parts:

1. Love
2. Kindness
3. Commitment
4. Compassion
5. Hope
6. Courage
7. Wisdom
8. Friendship.

Each section has a collection of short stores that goes with it that beautifully illustrates the point. Some of the stories made me cry, and others were very sweet, but they all focused on someone helping someone in need out.

YOU CHANGED MY LIFE is a gift book to give to anyone who made a difference in your life, for any reason. A just because book. And because we all know such a person who made your life better, let’s take a moment to say thank you. $15.99 hardcover. 188 pages.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Katy's New World

Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: Zondervan
ISBN: 978-0-310-71924-3
January 2010
Genre: Inspirational/young adult

Katy Lambright is Mennonite, and her schooling is supposed to end when she finishes ninth grade, but Katy has special permission from the Elders to attend a public high school in Salina, Kansas, to finish her high school education.

Many of the community is unsure about this decision, after all, Katy’s mother abandoned her to the world and they are worried that Katy might be drawn away too.

As Katy begins to make friends with girls in school, her friendship with her best friend Annika becomes strained. Will Katy be able to mend that relationship, or will Annika become a former best friend?

KATY’S NEW WORLD is the first in Ms. Sawyer’s new series for girls, and this is a winner. I instantly related with Katy, with her unsureness in a strange world, and yet not fitting in with her old world. Like all teenagers (and some adults) Katy longed for a place where she belonged.

I enjoyed reading this book and hope to read the rest of the books in this series. If your favorite girl is between the ages of 12 – 16, she will enjoy reading KATY’S NEW WORLD. Don’t miss this book. $9.99. 203 pages.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sarah's Christmas Miracle

Author: Mary Ellis
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
August 2010
ISBN: 97-0-7369-2968-4
Genre: Inspirational/Amish/Christmas

Sarah Beachy has much to be thankful for. She has a job she loves at an English bed and breakfast, a beau who is thinking marriage, and a family that loves her. But as she begins to expect that Adam will ask her to marry her, Sarah begins to worry. She has a brother who has left the Amish years ago during his rumspringe and she wants to know why, and the bigger question, will she regret having children?

As Sarah begins to search for answers, she questions her boss who has two children she never sees, and her mother, who mourns for Caleb, years later. When none of them hold the answers, she decides to look for Caleb and find the answers for herself. Will Sarah ultimately decide to leave the Amish behind, or will she return home to a steady man and marriage?

SARAH’S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE is the sweetest story I’ve read in a long time. I totally loved it. Ms. Ellis is a very talented story teller who not only introduced me to the kitchen of a cozy bed and breakfast (and made me hungry with all the talk of food) to the insides of an Amish farmhouse.

Sarah is a very real heroine, one I couldn’t help but fall in love with and sympathize with as she looked for answers. The story also included the point of view of Sarah’s mother, Elisabeth, her beau, Adam, and her brother, Caleb, giving each of these a distinct personality, and helping the reader to fall in love with each of them. The ending of the book caused me to reach for a tissue.

Don’t miss SARAH’S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE for a holiday story that will stay with you long after you close the pages of the book. Some delicious sounding recipes are included at the end of the book. $10.99. 134 pages.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa

Author: Melanie Dobson
Publisher: Summerside Press
March 2010
ISBN: 978-1-935416-66-1
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Jacob Hirsch worked as a banker in Chicago, but when the banks started being run broke by depositors demanding their money, Jacob lost his job. With nothing but $1.95 to his name and the Pullman cars under strike, Jacob is forced to hop onboard a freight train with his four year old daughter, Cassie, in hopes of finding a job out west.

Cassie is getting sick though, and a fellow hobo on the train booted Jacob and Cassie off the train in Homestead, Iowa to find a doctor. There they find beautiful Liesel, a member of the Amana Communities, who took them to the local doctor. When Cassie is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, the doctor puts Jacob, Cassie and Liesel under quarantine.

But worries still plague Jacob. How will he pay the mounting doctor bills? What will become of him and Cassie? And where will he go from Homestead? Or could he, an outsider, possibly be welcomed there?

I enjoy reading the Love Finds You series, and LOVE FINDS YOU IN HOMESTEAD, IOWA is no different. I enjoyed reading about this very real community, a religious group that worked together to survive.

Liesel is a very sweet heroine, kind and sweet, though the world outside the communities frightens her. Jacob is desperate for a place to belong, both to work and live, so he can provide for his daughter. I couldn’t help but fall in love with these characters.

If you enjoy reading historical romances, then LOVE FINDS YOU IN HOMESTEAD, IOWA is a book to consider. Included in the book are a couple pages about the Amana Communities. $12.99. 345 pages.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Hope Undaunted and contest

Author: Julie Lessman
Publisher: Revell
September 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3415-2
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Katie O’Connor is the spoiled youngest daughter, used to getting whatever she wants. She dreams of becoming a lawyer, after all, she is a woman and women were rising above the beaten down, worthless lot that she believes her ancestors were, and becoming self sufficient, and campaigning for the right to vote.

While out with her friends, they go into a diner where Katie’s friends proceed to torment the “soda jerk.” Katie does make a token effort to make things right, but her boyfriend carries her out to the car, kicking and screaming. The “soda jerk” follows them out, demanding payment for services, and the items he accused Katie of stealing. As a result, Katie ends up grounded and forced to work in a home for orphans—where, as luck may have it, the “Soda Jerk”, Luke McGee is king.

Sparks fly when Luke tries to boss her around, and Katie tries to continue dating her dream husband, Jack, who is everything she ever wanted—wealthy, good-looking, well-connected, and eating out of her hand. Will Katie chose Jack? Or the man she has sworn to despise forever?

A HOPE UNDAUNTED is the first book in Ms. Lessman’s newest series, Winds of Change. Ms. Lessman is very talented with dialog, and bringing the reader into the moment to the point they can even hear the clink of silverware, but unfortunately, I didn’t care much for the characters. Katie is extremely forward, sassy, and disrespectful—though for her dreams, and with her background, that is to be expected.

If you like historical fiction and go-getter heroine then A HOPE UNDAUNTED is definitely a book to consider. Ms. Lessman is a talented author who is sure to bring you into the moment. $14.99. 505 pages.


It's a Giveaway Extravaganza! Kindle Giveaway, Facebook Party and Book Bomb - OH MY!

Visit the Roaring 20’s with Julie Lessman in the Technology and Romance KINDLE Giveaway! Julie’s latest series has just ‘shimmied’ it’s way onto the scene with book 1 in The Winds of Change series, A Hope Undaunted! 

Find out more about the book, Julie here.

Enter The Technology and Romance KINDLE Giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive a KINDLE preloaded with Julie Lessman's latest title. The Prize Pack (valued at over $150.00) includes:

* A brand new KINDLE, with Wi-Fi

* A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form and be sure to tell your friends about the contest.

Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on October 7th.

Not only is Julie hosting the fabulous KINDLE giveaway, but also a FACEBOOK  PARTY and a BOOK BOMB!!!

Are you ready for PRIZES GALORE??? Then come to the Facebook Party!

How does a gift certificate and a signed book given away EVERY 10 minutes during an hour-long Facebook party sound? (Yeah, we think it sounds pretty great too!) On October 7th at 5pm PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST, & 8:00 EST) Julie is inviting you to attend the A Hope Undaunted Facebook Party! She'll announce the winner of the KINDLE and in addition to the prizes every 10 minutes, she'll also be giving away great prize baskets filled with even more Romance and Technology (Netflix, Starbucks,, Champagne body Lotion, Pearls, & more!)!

BUT WAIT … there’s more (and no, this is not an infomercial … it’s WAY better!).  If you participate in the Book Bomb on October 7th you’ll be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to All you need to do to participate is buy a copy of A Hope Undaunted on October 7th and send your receipt (just transaction number from store, store name & date) to! Each book purchased equals one entry, buy 10 books get 10 entries!

All this fun begins with Revell’s blog tour SEPTEMBER 19-25, when 122 blogger/reviewers will post reviews about A Hope Undaunted, followed by the Book Bomb and Facebook Party!

So mark your calendars with these important dates:
September 19-25: A Hope Undaunted will be making an appearance on blogs across the country (and beyond!) in Revell's blog tour!

September 20th: The Technology and Romance KINDLE Giveaway launches (contest runs 9/20 - 10/6)

October 7th: Book Bomb Day (where everyone is encouraged to buy the book online at the same time!) and Facebook Party - meet and chat with Julie, win some great prizes & find out who won the KINDLE!

Want to help us spread the word about all this fun and be entered to win a $50 gift certificate?

Share Julie's Giveaway Extravaganza on Facebook, Twitter or your blog and we'll enter your name into our random drawing to win 50 smackers to!

Once you've tweeted, posted on Facebok or added the button to your blog/website - simple email Amy and let her know you helped spread the word. Easy.

Here is a sample post for both Twitter/Facebook:

Tweet This: @JulieLessman is giving away a KINDLE and tons more during her giveaway extravaganza! Details here: Pls RT

Share on Facebook: Julie Lessman is celebrating her new release, A Hope Undaunted by giving away a KINDLE, having a Book Bomb and a Facebook Party! Prizes Galore - don't miss the fun!

Or add this button to your blog or website! Simply copy and paste the code in the box into the HTML screen of your blog or website. Then email Amy and let her know you did!

A Hope Undaunted Facebook Party

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Narrow Path

Author: Gail Sattler
Publisher: Abingdon Press
May 2010
ISBN: 978-1-426-70237-2
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Miranda Klassen is a talented worship leader and song writer and she has written and directed many cantatas. When she is hired by a Mennonite church in Minnesota, she isn’t expecting or prepared for the snow when she arrives. Seattle gets little to no snow, and she only has open toed heels and a thin jacket with her.

Ted Wiebe is the music director at his Mennonite church and he is Old Order. He is not expecting a thoroughly modern girl, in jeans, and a tight t-shirt to be the Mennonite music director his church hired. Miranda seems to have every electronic gadget available. He doesn’t expect her to last a day in his community, let alone a whole year.

To Ted’s surprise, Miranda is welcomed, and she embraces the community with open arms even though she causes raised eyebrows. But while Ted grows to care for her, how can it possibly work when he is Old Order Mennonite and she is a thoroughly modern girl?

THE NARROW PATH is the first Abingdon Press novel Ms. Sattler has published, and it is good. Ted is a rather dull, drab hero, made even more so by the colorful heroine. Ted is steady, stable, and a smart business man, while Miranda is more flamboyant, stands-out in the crowd, and is not happy unless she’s going a thousand miles an hour.

The romance was kind of flat, without sizzle, and Ted’s dialog was very stilted, though I think Ms. Sattler did that on purpose. Still, it was fun seeing two people from very different worlds as they struggled to understand the other. $13.99. 275 pages.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Black Madonna

Author: Davis Bunn
Publisher: Howard Books
September 2010
ISBN 978-1-4165-5633-6
Genre: General Fiction/International

Prepare to be moved. Physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Your journey will begin once you open the pages of THE BLACK MADONNA. Author, lecturer and writer in residence (Regent’s Park College, Oxford University) Davis Bunn has once again demonstrated his mastery of the craft of writing as he literally propels his audience from the comfort of their reading rooms into a world of political intrigue, set against a backdrop of faith, hope and love.

Storm Syrrell is sole proprietor of an arts and antiquities establishment in West Palm Beach, Florida. Struggling to stay afloat amidst the aftermath of the Madoff scandal, Storm is miraculously snatched from a second bankruptcy by a mysterious deposit of a large sum of money into her business account. Minutes later, she receives equally mysterious instructions from an anonymous individual, who informs her what she is to do with the funds. Purchase one painting which is going on the auction block that very day. At any cost.

And so begins Storm’s modern-day odyssey, which transforms into a pilgrimage, as she is literally whisked around the world at break-neck speed, at the behest of the anonymous individual who increasingly pushes her boundaries, tasks her stamina, and tests her will at every turn. Along the way, Storm enlists the assistance of her best friend, Emma Webb, and the services of Harry Bennett, a self-proclaimed “treasure dog,” with world-wide contacts and a reckless disregard for his own safety. The greater the odds, the more desperate the circumstances, the more impossible the chances for success – the better! This was, in the words of Harry Bennet, “living large.”

As Storm’s relationship with her mysterious employer unfolds, and Emma begins to sort out her own feelings for Harry, the reason for the pilgrimage becomes clear. Poland’s only national treasure, The Black Madonna, has been stolen, and a forgery left in its place. The icon must be retrieved, both to avoid international scandal and to restore faith to a country that had already seen enough suffering.

If you are a fan of Limoges china, smoked salmon sandwiches, and chilled champagne at eight in the morning, this is the book for you. This is vicarious living at its best. You will experience sights, sounds and pleasures that make Donald Trump appear a panhandler. And you will begin to understand the importance – nay, the necessity – of faith, hope – and love. 313 pages. $14.99.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Wish You Enough

Author: Bob Perks
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
November 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4041-87634
Genre: Inspirational/giftbooks


Do you have enough? Sometimes, having too much is worse than having too little. So, in I WISH YOU ENOUGH, Bob Perks introduces us to a father saying a last goodbye to his daughter. He’s dying, and is realistic enough to know that her next flight home will be for his funeral. The author talks to them and asked about their farewell phase—I wish you enough.

The book starts out with a poem

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough “hellos” to get through the final “good-bye.”

This book is beautiful. Literally and figuratively. Not only does it have a lovely cover, but it also includes the above poem, divided up in sections, with short stories illustrating each one. Some of the stories are sweet, encouraging. Some of them are tear-jerkers. And some make you think. A quote and a Bible verse are also included in each section.

If you are looking for a perfect gift to give somebody, then I WISH YOU ENOUGH is exactly what you are looking for. Pick up your copy today. $12.99 hardcover. 128 pages.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

High-Stakes Inheritance

Author: Susan Sleeman
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
September 2010
ISBN: 978-0-373-44411-3
Genre: Inspirational/romantic suspense

“Leave Logan Lake now or you will pay!”

Mia Blackburn has inherited her uncle’s rustic resort property, but the stipulations of the will are that she has to live there for one year before she is allowed to sell. But Mia fled the town years earlier, both to mend from a broken heart, and to get away from her father, who blames Mia for the death of his wife.

But some one doesn’t want Mia in town! Soon after her arrival she receives a threatening warning, then she arrives at the resort to find the barn in flames. Mia isn’t sure whether her uncle had horses in the barn, but when she checks it out, she finds a girl in the loft. Mia is able to save the girl, but then she is pinned in the barn, unable to get out.

As luck would have it, her ex-boyfriend, Ryan is the firefighter who rescues her. But then she finds that the police are accusing her of starting the fire that almost took her life. When someone is murdered, Mia can’t help but wonder if she’ll be the next victim.

HIGH-STAKES INHERITANCE is the debut novel of Ms. Sleeman, and it is well-done. Mia is a hurting heroine, devastated by the death of her beloved uncle and the rejection of her father, yet a victim when she returns to her hometown. Ryan has grown up in the years he and Mia were apart, and now he is a kind and gentle hero, desperate to protect Mia, but yet erring due to wrong promises he made.

If you enjoy reading romantic suspense, then HIGH-STAKES INHERITANCE is a book that you should consider. The book starts with action and it doesn’t let up. Readers will sympathize with Mia, and want the person behind the crimes brought to justice, while hoping Mia will find the love and acceptance she craves. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.50. 216 pages.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Andrea Carter and the Trouble With Treasure

Author: Susan K. Marlow
Publisher: Kregel Publications
January 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8254-3352-8
Genre: Inspirational/youth

When innocent horseplay lands Andi and her friends in jail, they are horrified. But their stay is short-lived when the bank in town is robbed. Andi’s brother, Mitch, is planning on taking Andi and her friend Jenny up the mountain to visit a logging camp, and their friend, Chad, begs to go along and pan for gold.

The three friends can’t think of anything that will be better than two weeks of camping, horseback riding, and hopefully striking it rich with some forgotten gold diggings.

But instead of gold they find trouble. Mitch is gravely injured and Andi needs help fast. What good is an adventure when her brother lies near death in the wilderness?

ANDREA CARTER AND THE TROUBLE WITH TREASURE is the fifth book in the Circle C Adventure series. I started reading it around noon, and three hours later, turned the last page. This is an engaging read for tweeners (ages 8 – 12) or slightly older youth.

Ms. Marlow knows how to weave an interesting tale that will keep the reader engaged from page one. This is a perfect read for the favorite tweener in your life, and one that will not only entertain them, but also teach them a good lesson. $7.99. 144 pages.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Coffee House Conversations and give away

Authors: Dale Fincher & Jonalyn Fincher
Publisher: Zondervan
ISBN: 978-0-310-31887-3
April 2010
Genre: Inspirational/witnessing

The subtitle of this book is Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk, and in that respect, it is adequately named. COFFEE SHOP CONVERSATIONS is not for the sidewalk preacher, the zealous missionary, or even for you if you are brave about presenting Christ to an unsaved world. Instead, COFFEE SHOP CONVERSATIONS is for the timid to present the gospel in a non-confrontational way.

On page 14, the authors say “... We also believe the biblical idea that all humans, be they Christians, Buddhists, Mormons, atheists ... reflect God in varying degrees of clarity.” I was a bit uncomfortable with that statement, feeling that it has quite a bit of the “New Age I’m okay, you’re okay, lets just love one another” attitude in it.

On the other hand, this book will provide you with ideas about how to present the gospel in ways that will make the listener think, at least a little, about what you are saying, by gently working Christ into a conversation.

On the back cover of the book, it says, that you’ll discover how to:

> Gently invite others to share
> Cultivate an appropriate attitude of tolerance.
> Avoid the buzzwords that will stop a conversation cold
> Talk about Jesus as a unique spiritual leader.

If you are looking for a way to gently bring out the gospel, then COFFEE HOUSE CONVERSATION is a book to consider. I think of the parable of Jesus told where some seeds land on the path for the birds to eat. But others take root. Since you don’t know which seeds are landing where, this book maybe the perfect one to help someone begin to think about the gospel. $14.99. 233 pages.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Making Waves

Author: Lorna Seilstad
Publisher: Revell
September 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3445-9
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Marguerite Westing’s father has made the announcement that the lake is the place to see and be seen this summer. It is the hot spot for all the rich folk in the area. So the servants load up the tents, the beds, party clothes, and other miscellaneous items, and off they go.

Unfortunately, the man Marguerite’s mother plans that Marguerite will marry also makes routine appearances at the lake, and Marguerite doesn’t know how to tell him no, she won’t marry him. Instead, she flaunts convention and arranges to take sailing lessons by acting as her younger brother’s chaperone.

When Marguerite finds herself further intrigued by her brother’s sailing instructor, Trip Andrews, the summer of fun threatens to turn into a summer of turmoil.

MAKING WAVES is the debut novel by Lorna Seilstad, and it is a winner. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know spunky heroine, Marguerite, and her family. The action was nonstop from start to finish, making this a book I was able to read in two days.

I couldn’t believe how people camped back in the 1890’s. All the comforts of home, that would be enough to make even people who didn’t like camping want to go. Plus there were plenty of activities in the water, on the water, and on the dock, with dances nightly.

If you are looking for a good historical to read, then MAKING WAVES will be an excellent choice. $14.99. 359 pages.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cowboy for Keeps

Author: Debra Clopton
Publisher: Love Inspired
June 2010
ISBN: 978-0-373-87603-7
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Amanda Hathaway is a physical therapist. She used to work with children and teenagers until her fiancé dumped her and then she wanted a change of scenery to heal. Her boss sent her on a three-month assignment to Mule Hollow, Texas, (with some reluctance) to work with a rancher who was in a plane wreck.

Wyatt Tucker also works as a lawyer in addition to ranching and he is not at all impressed with the tiny girl who got out of the car claiming to be a physical therapist. He thinks that he is a victim of a practical joke, and angrily sends her away. Then his brothers find out, assure him that she is the real thing, and chase after her to bring her back.

Wyatt is still not real impressed with the therapist, especially when she comes out of the trailer while wild hogs were rooting around outside. From the beginning sparks fly. Will Amanda be able to help Wyatt walk again?

I have read almost all of Debra Clopton’s books (I might have missed two or three) and this one is kind of a spin-off of Ms. Cloptons’ original Mule Hollow series. COWBOY FOR KEEPS is the first book in her new Men of Mule Hollow series.

I have had some experience with physical therapists and found that Amanda didn’t act at all like the therapists I’m familiar with. She was nervous, unsure, and seemed to focus more on massages than on exercises. But this is a romance, and I concur that the romance is the main thing, not the accuracy of her job.

Amanda is an amazing woman who overcame great obstacles to get her degree as a physical therapist, and Wyatt is a workaholic who can’t (or won’t) stop work for anything—not even therapy. Still it is an easy read, and it was nice to revisit with some of the quirky characters from previous books. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.50. 213 pages.

Friday, September 10, 2010

For Time and Eternity

Author: Allison Pittman
Publisher: Tyndale
August 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3596-4
Genre: Inspirational/historical

A group of Mormons are camping near Camilla Deardon’s family’s farm, and the whole town is in an uproar. They want this group of thieving cult members to move on, and the Mormons agree…soon. They are on their way to Salt Lake City, Utah.

When Camilla is on her way to school one day, she meets Nathan Fox and she is smitten. He walks her to school—but steals the cheese wheel she carries. Still Nathan shows up to walk her to school every day. Camilla sees nothing dangerous about the Mormons and doesn’t know what all the objects are about. Especially after Nathan invites her to come out to the camp and observe.

Everyone is so friendly, and she sees nothing wrong with them. They seem to know the Bible. In the meantime, Camilla’s father seems to be growing more and more stern. When Nathan invites Camilla to go west with him as his bride, will she accept? Or will she see the errors of their ways before they leave?

FOR TIME AND ETERNITY is not the first book I’ve read by Allison Pittman (but it is the best one so far) and it certainly won’t be the last. I was kind of hesitant about this book, as I’m not Mormon and I wasn’t sure what the focus would be, but as the story went on, I grew to care deeply for Camilla.

Written in first person, I was able to see and understand exactly what Camilla did and I related to her on a deeper level. Some of the secondary characters were also quite real to me. I cared enough that I even read the first chapter preview of the second book which included at the end of this one, and the author interview. Discussion questions are also included. FOR TIME AND ETERNITY is one book you won’t want to miss. $13.99. 363 pages.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

It's No Secret

Author: Rachel Olsen
Publisher: David C. Cook
September 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6537-6
Genre: Nonfiction/Christian living/women’s issues

Are you tired of life as usual?

Rachel Olsen likes bling. She likes it even better when it looks like the real thing, but it’s a counterfeit. And the bigger, the glitterier, the better. Now Ms. Olsen wants to introduce us to biblical bling—and help us get past feeling exhausted or bored with our religion, and help us to find fulfillment and greater intimacy with God.

Inside IT’S NO SECRET you will uncover truths which will help you

> Overcome the comparisons and competitive urges that leave you lonely
> Accept help from others
> Discover God’s surprising source of spiritual beauty and strength
> Embrace your need for rest
> Find adventure as you yield wholeheartedly to God
> Dig into the Bible for yourself and understand what you find there
and more

Ms. Olsen starts each chapter with a story, well punctuated with verses, then shares a biblical story, and each chapter ends with discussion questions and plenty of room to write the answers. Ms. Olsen suggests that this book would be good to work through with a girl friend—maybe one on one would work, but I can’t imagine it being a good small group bible study. (though someone with more imagination than me might be able to work it into one)

IT’S NO SECRET is definitely a book that leaves you with plenty to think about, and she has some great spiritual truths included. One of the endorsers commented that she used it as a devotional. This is definitely a lot more than a verse, a story, and an application. This is an immerse yourself into God’s word type study, and you will reap the benefits from it. $14.99. 236 pages.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Time to Love

Author: Barbara Cameron
Publisher: Abingdon Press
September 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4267-0763-6
Genre: Inspirational/Amish

Jennie King has been injured while on an assignment in a foreign country. A car bomb exploded, and she suffered from devastating injuries that may even leave her without her job as a war correspondent for a news station. Sent to her Amish grandmother’s house to recover, Jennie struggles with even the most basic of tasks, such as walking, talking, or eating.

Matthew Bontrager used to be Jennie’s friend when they were younger, even though she was Englisch and he Amish. But over the years, he married and has three children. When his wife dies, Matthew is crushed, but doesn’t hole up in his grief. He has to keep going.

When Jennie renews her acquaintance with Matthew, she wonders if God has a different plan for her life. But … with him Amish and she Englisch, what will it take to bridge the gap?

A TIME TO LOVE is the first full length Amish book I’ve read by Ms. Cameron, though I have read two of her novellas in Amish books published by Thomas Nelson.

Jennie is struggling to find her place as she heals from her injuries, and even scared about going out into public with the scars on her face. She also suffers from nightmares caused by her experience. Matthew is a sweet, kind hero who goes above and beyond in trying to help Jennie out.

The story is written well, but the characters fall a bit flat to me. I think she does better on her shorter stories than with this one, but it is still a good read. If you love Amish fiction then A TIME TO LOVE would be a good one to consider. Discussion questions, a preview of Ms. Cameron’s second Amish book, and a glossary are included at the end of the book. Also included is a yummy Amish recipes are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 283 pages.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

An Amish Gathering

Authors: Beth Wiseman, Barbara Cameron, and Kathleen Fuller
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
December 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59554-822-1
Genre: Inspirational/Amish

Three heartwarming tales of old friends and new beginnings that span one year in an Amish community

A Change of Heart by Beth Wiseman—Leah doesn’t care anything about the usual domestic work that an Amish woman does. She only cares about writing. Her daed is at his wits end what to do with her, when an ex-Amish Angel comes into Leah’s life. What will it take for Leah to find her way?

When Winter Comes by Barbara Cameron—Rebecca has loved to ice skate, and she was good at it, until a winter accident takes her twin sister, Lizzie. A young man has been waiting for Rebecca to grow up, and waited longer for her grieving to end. Has too much time passed for her to find love?

A Place of His Own by Kathleen Fuller—Josiah has left his Amish community long ago, after his mother died. Now he’s back, but only long enough to put the family farm up for sale. He has no desire to face the demons of the past. But his next door neighbor, his former best friend, Amanda, seems to have him in her sights. Amanda can’t seem to penetrate the walls Josiah has erected, but will she be able to watch him walk away again.

AN AMISH GATHERING is a collection of three Amish novellas by three popular Amish authors. I enjoyed reading When Winter Comes the most, but the other two were good as well.

I love reading Amish fiction, so it was a nice treat to be able to pick up this book. The stories were well-paced and a quick read, I finished two in one sitting. If you love Amish fiction, you won’t want to miss AN AMISH GATHERING. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 388 pages.

Monday, September 6, 2010

God Knows My Name

Author: Beth Redman
Publisher: David C. Cook
July 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7814-0365-8
Genre: Inspirational/Women’s issues

Do You Know How Much You Matter to God?

Beth Redman knows what extreme hurt is from her earthly father, but she has managed to rise above it to discover a Heavenly Father who cares so much about her that it is virtually impossible, in our human knowledge, to comprehend.

He understands us intimately, and proclaims our worth by naming us and calling our name. He hears our cries, and saves our tears in a bottle, and then reaches out to help us and fight for us. And even though he knows all the deep dark secrets of our past, he is still at work shaping our future. And he will never leave us or forsake us.

Beth Redman uses a lot of scripture references and her own true life experiences to help us explore the implications of being loved by God—one who knows our name. And she invites us to call on His name as well.

GOD KNOWS MY NAME is a timely book for me to read. Because sometimes it feels as though God has forgotten about me. It was a good reminder that God does love me, that he will never forget me, and will be with me through eternity.

If you are struggling with life, and trying to imagine that its possible that God loves you then GOD KNOWS MY NAME is a great book to pick up. The end of the book contains discussion questions for each chapter, plus a prayer. $12.99. 188 pages.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Always the Baker Never the Bride

Author: Sandra D. Bricker
Publisher: Abingdon Press
September 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4267-0762-9
Genre: Inspirational/romantic comedy

They say you can’t have your cake and eat it too. But who would want a cake they couldn’t eat? (from the back cover)

Emma Rae Travis is a diabetic, the type that must have insulin shot every day. But she is also a talented baker, making delectable treats that have earned her top recognition. She works at Backstreet Bakery and has put that establishment on the map.

Jackson Drake is trying to fulfill his late wife’s dream of owning a wedding destination hotel. When he hears about Emma Rae, his hiring team is quick to offer her a position and a raise if she’ll leave Backstreet Bakery. Emma agrees, because running her own kitchen has always been her dream.

When Emma and Jackson meet sparks fly. He thinks she is addicted to hazelnut and she thinks he is a bit rude and crabby. But his is a job offer she can’t refuse…and she is a handful that is making him rethink life. But can the two of them co-exist in the same hotel?

ALWAYS THE BAKER NEVER THE BRIDE is another adorable romantic comedy from Sandra Bricker. I have read almost all of Sandra’s books and I love her voice. I laughed out loud several times while reading this book and couldn’t put it down.

Emma Rae is an adorable Southern heroine, raised by a true Southern lady. She knows just how to act in every situation—except for when her mother and father happen to be in the same town at the same time. Then it is bad. Very very bad.

Jackson is a hurting hero, still reeling from the death of his much loved bride. He is desperate to keep her alive by living her dream for her. ALWAYS THE BAKER NEVER THE BRIDE is a fun read that is also filled with wedding tips, cake decorating tips, and some yummy (but rich) sounding recipes. Don’t miss this book. $13.99. 308 pages.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Mayan Apocalypse

Author: Mark Hitchcock with Alton Gansky
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
September 2010
ISBN 978-0-7369-3055-0
Genre: Fiction/Prophecy/Apocalypse

Reviewed by Steve Hilton

While intrigued by the title, and interested in the subject matter, I must say that this book leaves quite a lot to be desired. For it doesn’t do justice to either the title or the subject matter. Instead, what I found was a loosely connected series of mini-novels sandwiched between two paperback covers. The plot was pedantic, the story-line poorly written, and the characters were as flat as the sheet of paper they were written on.

The second-best part of the book was the prologue. We are introduced to a multi-millionaire who has managed not to make his money the focus of his life. He is one of the few who has managed to learn an important lesson: love people, and use money; not the other way around. In the wake of a personal tragedy, having lost his wife and teenage son in the suspicious crash of his personal corporate jet, Andrew Morgan has managed to continue functioning, although he would not consider it living. The deaths of his family has forced him to take stock of his life, and awakened him to the brevity of life, and the possibility of the hereafter. It even got him started talking to God again.

Sadly, the book goes downhill from there. Sprinkled throughout the book are his interactions with: a disenchanted reporter, a recovering alcoholic, a shyster masquerading as the last Mayan priest who is predicting the end of the world, and a young lady by the name of Candy who is completely fascinated with Morgan’s money and his body . . . in that order.

Throw in numerous flashbacks to Morgan’s investigation into the accident which robbed him of his family, and you basically have the story in a nutshell.

And the best part of the book was the last page. Fini. 300 pages. $13.99 softcover

Friday, September 3, 2010

Choosing to See: A Journey of Struggle and Hope

Title: CHOOSING TO SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope
Author: Mary Beth Chapman with Ellen Vaughn
Publisher: Revell
August 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1991-3
Genre: Inspirational/memoir

All of us in the Christian internet world remember the day that the news broke that Steve Curtis Chapman lost his five-year-old daughter, Maria, in a tragic accident. Some of us flocked over to their blog, reading the terrible story and crying tears of symphathy for this family. I remember telling my husband that I thought a book would come out about this. And now I’m holding it in my hand.

The story is poignant. Heartbreaking. I opened the book and started crying through the dedications. And then bawled like a baby as I read the first chapter. My heart broke all over again for this family.

But the story doesn’t end with the grief. The story shows the struggles of the family as they worked their way through the darkness of the valley of the shadow of death discovering answers to their questions, and CHOOSING TO SEE that the God of the mountain is the God of the valley.

Memoirs are not my favorite genre to read, but this one is better than most of them I’ve read recently. The story takes you into the private pain of this public family, and as it unfolds you’ll see them struggling to maintain normalicy, to go on with life despite the horrific loss, and the pain that the one boy will bear the rest of his life. Pictures are included in the center of the book. $21.99 hardcover. 279 pages.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Two Brides Too Many

Author: Mona Hodgson
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
May 2010
ISBN: 978-0-397-45890-2
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Kat and Nell Sinclair were separated from their family when their father took a job in Paris, forcing the two girls to become mail order brides in Colorado. Their prospective grooms sent money for their tickets, but then neither one showed up to meet their brides-to-be.

When Kat discovers her groom is a womanizing drunk, she is quick to put him in his place, but then the two sisters are left wondering what to do. They only had enough money to pay the rent on their small boarding room for a few more days.

With Nell’s groom absent, and Kat’s unsuitable, what will the women do to find their place in this small frontier town?

TWO BRIDES TOO MANY is Ms. Hodgson’s debut novel, though she does have lots of writing credits to her name. There are four Sinclair sisters, though I guess the other two will be featured in another book.

It was interesting following Kat and Nell to Colorado and watching these two well-bred women struggling to make sense of their situation when their intended didn’t show and they had to make a way of their own. The events they found themselves in were nothing less than an adventure. $13.99. 320 pages.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Raven Saint

Author: M. L. Tyndall
Publisher: Barbour Books
January 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60260-158-1
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Grace Westcott has spent her life serving the poor and telling them about God. But now it seems that the God she serves has abandoned her. While taking food to a poor family who allegedly had a sick child, Grace’s lady’s maid, Alice, sells her to a band of pirates who plan to make a fortune when they deliver to a rich plantation owner.

Captain Rafe Dubois expects to have his beautiful captive begging for her life, or fighting like a hissing cat. The last thing he expects is the woman acting like a refined lady, firm, yet kind, and winning over him and his crew, one at a time. But he has to deliver her to Columbia, which is what he was paid to do, despite Grace finding his weakness.

When Grace starts falling in love with her captive, she is forced to face her own fears and demons. Will she discover God’s purpose for this journey?

THE RAVEN SAINT is the third and final book in Ms. Tyndall’s Charles Towne Belles series, but it easily stands alone. Readers might want to read the first two books in the series though to get to know Grace’s sisters and read their romance on the high seas stories.

Grace is a judgemental heroine, yet faces difficulties with a refinement that is truly amazing. Rafe is a rakish hero that I couldn’t help but fall in love with, facing his demons with strength, and determined to do his job no matter what stands in his way. If you love pirate stories, you will not want to miss THE RAVEN SAINT or any of Ms. Tyndall’s books. $10.97. 320 pages.

While the City Sleeps (Women of Midtown)

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