Sunday, July 31, 2011

Amy Inspired

Author: Bethany Pierce
Publisher: Bethany House
October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0850-4
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary

Amy Gallagher is a freelance writer and a college professor. As an English major, she has an obsession with words. But it seems no one wants her articles or short stories. Rejections are piling up, and not just the written kind from publications. Even her boyfriend rejects her.

When it seems Amy’s friends and family are moving on and leaving her behind, Amy meets Eli—mysterious, attractive, and unavailable. But as the fine line between friendship and something more with Eli becomes more and more smudged, Amy has to make a decision: play it safe or find the courage to follow her dreams.

AMY INSPIRED is the first book I’ve ever read by Bethany Pierce. Written in first person, it is very cleanly written, but I struggled my way through it. While I did laugh out loud at something in the prologue, the rest of the book seemed to drag.

There were instances in the book where I wondered at the inspirational status of this book. In fact, I went and checked the publisher, and was surprised they actually published something so… not inspirational. But perhaps this book isn’t meant for someone like me, perhaps someone more… progressive, free-thinking, and not so old-fashion is someone this book is intended for. Discussion questions are included at the back. $14.99. 320 pages.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Power of a Praying Wife Devotional

Author: Stormie Omartian
Publisher: Harvest House
August 2011
ISBN: 978-0736926928
Genre: Inspirational/devotional

The power of a believing praying wife can’t be overestimated. When you bring yourself, your husband, and your marriage to the Lord, you open your life to all the love, mercy, and provision God wants to pour on you. Blessings you never even imagined for your home and family can be yours as you lift up your marriage in prayer.

In one hundred devotions, Ms. Omartian provides the reader with:

. Easy-to-read, soul inspiring insights that will increase your inner strength and peace.

. Fresh perspective on the situations and challenges you face each day.

. New prayers that will help both husbands and wives be more attuned to the Holy Spirit so they don’t let negative emotions or unclear thinking get in the way.

Each devotional starts out with a verse, a devotional that includes guides on how to pray for your husband, and a prayer.

I am using this devotional daily, and really like how it is set up. The devotionals aren’t overlong, but aren’t too short, there is some real meat in the devotional part, and the verses and the prayers relate. The devotionals are titled and numbered, so you can either go through them in order as I’m doing, or you can go to the index and search by topic, such as:

> When he must make the right decision
> When he needs a better attitude
> When I have to confess something to my husband

and many many more. Almost any topic you can imagine is addressed here.

If you are looking for a good devotional, then pick up THE POWER OF A PRAYING WIFE DEVOTIONAL. It will minister to you and allow God to work in your marriage. $14.99. 316 pages.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Perfectly Invisible

Author: Kristin Billerbeck
Publisher: Revell
July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1973-0
Genre: Inspirational/young adult/teens

Daisy Crispin is now in her final semester of high school and now, instead of stressing over who to date for the prom, she has other drama in her life. Max, who danced an amazingly wonderful tango with her at the prom is no longer speaking to her, let alone looking at her. Worse, Daisy’s best friend, Claire, is forcing Daisy to sell trings (to hold fingers in Spock’s position—Star Trek) and seems to be chasing after Max for herself—and bragging to Daisy that she’ll get to kiss Max in the school play.

Daisy has about enough of Claire and almost decides to avoid her, but then Claire discovers a half-brother she never knew existed and she wants Daisy by her side. Daisy can’t avoid Claire in her time of need (never mind that Claire has ditched Daisy time and again) so she goes.

As things progress from bad to worse, Daisy wonders if she’ll survive the drama long enough to graduate. She can’t wait to get out of there and go to college. But then even that seems lost…

PERFECTLY INVISIBLE is the second book in Ms. Billerbeck’s A Universally Misunderstood series, and it follows the same character as Perfectly Dateless, the first book in the series. Daisy is sarcastic and funny, and her life has drama enough to give those of us with calm lives a headache.

I was a little confused how someone who wasn’t allowed to watch TV could know so much about television shows—maybe from listening to friends talk, I wasn’t sure. And there were a few other things that didn’t make much sense to me. I had to ask a friend what something was, as I never heard of it before. But all in all, this is a good book. It held my attention all the way through – except the diary entries. They seemed over the top in most cases. I’m giving it 4.5 stars. $9.99. 267 pages.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wrangler in Petticoats

Author: Mary Connealy
Publisher: Barbour Books
October 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60260-147-5
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Sally McClellan heads to Montana to visit her sister Mandy. Mandy is due to have her third child, and Sally hopes to be there to help with the delivery and help with Mandy’s two other young children while Mandy is laid up. But as the train chugs into Montana, her traveling companions decide to leave the train and cut across country, wanting to see some of the beautiful scenery along the way. They promise they know a short-cut to Mandy’s ranch and will get Sally there.

Along the way, bandits lay in wait, shooting everyone in Sally’s party dead, and sending Sally over the cliff where she is rescued by an artist who is drawing pictures in the area. But the bandits decide to check to make sure Sally is dead. But in doing so, they discover she’s actually been rescued. They are determined to know that she doesn’t survive, so they take off after her and her rescuer.

Logan McKenzie is a Eastern man capturing the West in pictures that he sells back home in the East. He and his Indian housekeeper, Wise Sister, take good care of Sally, but Wise Sister knows the bad guys are coming. But can even Wise Sister’s plans keep Sally safe from those determined to kill her?

WRANGLER IN PETTICOATS is the second book in Ms. Connealy’s Sophie’s Daughters series. All three of the girls I’ve been introduced to thus far are just as tough as their mother in a previous book, larger than life. The heroes pale greatly in comparison, especially in the heroine’s eyes. The reader still cares for the poor misunderstood hero, hoping the heroine will come to see him for the treasure he is.

I enjoyed reading this series so far, and can’t wait to read the third book in the series, Sharpshooter in Petticoats, which is in my to-be-read pile. I do wish some things had been a little different about the ending and I felt the bad guys thread was left dangling, but it may be tied up in another story. All in all this was a great read. $12.99. 314 pages.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Safe From the Past

Author: Patricia Miller Mauro
Publisher: P3 Press
September 2010
ISBN: 978-1-933651-84-2
Genre: Self-help

Patricia Miller Mauro’s parents divorced when she was very young, and she was forced to go hungry when food stamps ran out. Used to the same and stigma of being poor, Patti could hardly imagine a better life. When her mother remarried, Patti’s step-dad and she didn’t get along. Patti was glad to leave home for college, but she worried about her sister and about how to pay for college.

SAFE FROM THE PAST is a remarkable story of courage and pluck. Patti had the courage to take her life by the horns and to do what it takes to survive. I don’t know of many in her situations that would do what she did.

While probably intended for the author’s family, the story is engaging, telling how one woman rose from poverty to become successful, happy, and have a family. This book will encourage anyone facing difficulties to carry on—that if you have a good attitude and are willing to work, you can survive—and not only survive, but thrive. $14.95. 140 pages.

About the Giveaway!

To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using #litfuse) about Safe From the Past or share about it on Facebook!

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TWEET THIS: Safe From the Past by Patricia Mauro - inspiring tale of perseverance in the face of unimaginable hardships. #litfuse

FACEBOOK THIS: Don’t miss Patricia Mauro’s Safe From the Past - inspiring, deeply personal tale of perseverance in the face of unimaginable hardships. Told in an open, honest voice with the deepest sincerity, the author's life story serves as a rousing inspiration to those with the desire to create a better life than the one they are currently living.

About Safe From the Past:

A kidnapping, the divorce of her parents, the loss of her father, temporary abandonment and extreme poverty are just some of the issues the author dealt with as a young child.

Her mother finally tells her she must go to college so she can break out of this cycle of poverty and hopelessness. But how can she when she has no money and absolutely no confidence or self esteem?

Read this true story to discover what hope, faith and determination can do to change a life.

A truly inspiring, deeply personal tale of perseverance in the face of unimaginable hardships, Safe from the Past makes clear the restorative power of an education.

Told in an open, honest voice with the deepest sincerity, the author's life story serves as a rousing inspiration to those with the desire to create a better life than the one they are currently living.

No matter how helpless you feel, everyone has the power to shape their own life.

Link to buy the book:

About the Patricia Miller Mauro:

Patricia worked in New York City's financial district for thirteen years in the field of securities operations. At that time, she went on to obtain an MBA from New York University . She and her husband moved to Dallas , TX in 2001 where they are raising their two children.

During her time in NY, Patricia wrote an article entitled "A Tribute To My Mother" which was published in "The Recovery Journal" in 1999. Her book is a continuation of that tribute and serves to spread the message to those in similar situations that good news is on its way to children considering a higher education but who are afraid to dream. For more information please visit,

Blog Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Love Finds You in Deadwood, South Dakota

Congratulations to wfnren for winning a copy of Janice Hanna Thompson's book - wfnren's choice.

Author: Tracey Cross (aka Tracey Bateman)
Publisher: Summerside Press
August 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60936-003-0
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Jane Albright has just buried her husband—not that there was any love lost. It was a marriage of convenience, and Jane has one five year old son and another baby on her way. However, she is horrified to learn that her husband has not paid a penny on a loan he’d signed, he was three months over due on the final payment, and the loan holder was collecting—everything she owned, including the land and soddy.

Jane has nothing to do but fight for what she wants. Determined to pay off every penny of her husband’s debt, she takes a job as a freighter, hauling supplies to the town of Deadwood. But her new boss is a crook and has other plans for Jane.

Franklin Lloyd is not the greedy moneylender Jane envisioned, instead, he’s quite the gentleman. But even Franklin’s patience is tried when he must rescue Jane every time he turns around. But how can he help her when he is her greatest enemy?

LOVE FINDS YOU IN DEADWOOD, SOUTH DAKOTA is a prairie romance that reminds me greatly of one of Janette Oke’s books in places, but yet has a few surprising twists and turns all it’s own. I absolutely loved Franklin, but I had to admire Jane’s pluck and strength. I don’t know if I would’ve been able to do most of what she did.

LOVE FINDS YOU IN DEADWOOD, SOUTH DAKOTA is a delightful mixture of western, prairie, and historical with grit. Fans will devour ever page of this book and be anxious for more. Plus there’s a page of information about the real Deadwood, South Dakota—then and now. $12.99. 316 pages.

Monday, July 25, 2011

To Win Her Heart

Author: Karen Witemeyer
Publisher: Bethany House
May 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0757-0
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Levi Grant has just finished serving his sentence for crimes committed when he was looking for fame and fortune. Now Levi wants to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas, as the town blacksmith. Levi learned the trade from his father, and he needs to start over where no one knows his past.

Eden Spencer is the town librarian, and she’s determined to have nothing to do with marriage—to anyone. Not the town sheriff who seems determined to marry her, nor the mountain-sized stranger who takes the job as blacksmith.

When Levi goes into the library to borrow a book, Levi and Eden begin to form a fledgling friendship. But as their friendship grows into something more, Levi’s history comes to light. What will it take for Eden to move past Levi’s tarnished past to find love?

TO WIN HER HEART is the latest book by Ms. Witemeyer. I’ve read all her books so far, and loved each one of them so far. Levi is a man with a past determined to move past it and make an honest life. Eden has been hurt and in trying to protect herself she comes across as a bit snobbish and judgmental.

I did enjoy TO WIN HER HEART and highly recommend it—or any of Ms. Witemeyer’s books—to anyone looking for a good historical romance. $14.99. 347 pages.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Art of Romance

Author: Kaye Dacus
Publisher: Barbour Books
May 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60260-990-7
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

The matchmakers are determined to have grandbabies before a certain member of their peers, but in order to do that, first they must get their grandchildren married off. Two of them have managed to get their grandchildren engaged, but are having a hard time getting them to the altar. So now Sassy Evans and Perty Bradley are trying their hands at matching up their grandchildren, both professors at a college in Nashville.

Caylor is thirty-four years old and teaches English at the college. She is also a published author and is juggling her writing career and her teaching career as well as caring for her widowed grandmother, Sassy. She doesn’t believe she’ll ever marry.

Dylan is only twenty-eight, and he’s recently come out of a worldly relationship that cost him his teaching job at another university. He’s attracted to the lovely Caylor, but keeps finding himself in uncomfortable positions around her.

Both Dylan and Caylor have secrets that could ruin any chance of happiness between them. What will it take for them to find the courage to face their pasts to open up the door to the future?

THE ART OF ROMANCE is the second book in Ms. Dacus’ Matchmakers series, but it easily stands alone. However, readers might want to read the first book to learn about Caylor’s friend, Zarah’s relationship.

Ms. Dacus writes about young professionals struggling to balance careers and relationships, a combination that isn’t always easy. If you are looking for a good contemporary romance then THE ART OF ROMANCE is a good book to consider. 320 pages. $12.99.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Ultimate Journey

Author: Jim Stovall
Publisher: David C. Cook
June 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4347-0314-9
Genre: Inspirational/general/fiction

I never read the first two books in this series, but I did see the movie The Ultimate Gift. I thought this book would be kind of similar to the movie, but it starts out with Jason and Alexia getting married in front of a judge, and then opening a wedding present of Red Steven’s diary and another DVD for them as they go on their wedding journey.

It talks about life lessons, that Red had learned and how he’d learned them, such as the lesson of giving, the lesson of work, the lesson of friends, etc.

I did enjoy reading through the book, though it seemed kind of telling and there are some inconsistencies through the book – one of which is that the book starts with Jason and Alexia getting married and ends with the same. Their wedding.

There are some valuable life lessons in the book, but this isn’t an entertaining fiction it’s a learning fiction and probably best to take in small doses, so you can consider the lessons. Photos from the movie, The Ultimate Gift, is included. $14.99.
162 pages.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Author: Booker T. Mattison
Publisher: Revell
May 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3396-4
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary/suspense

On the streets of Jersey City there is a simple code. You don’t talk to the cops. You don’t snitch. Period.

Andre Bolden is a college drop out. And a screw up. The best he has managed to do is a third-shift bus driving gig, which is enough to pay his rent and child support. But then trouble happens. Andre witnesses a crime on his route. And he is forced to make a choice. Keep quiet, and lose his job—if anyone finds out—or tell the police and lose his family or his life…

A player when Andre was in college, he manages to get a girl pregnant, and now he’s the parent of a 14 month old baby boy. He and his girlfriend have broken up, but now Andre realizes that Sandra was the best thing that ever happened to him. Jealous when she sees others, he causes her some very embarrassing moments. And Sandra has found ‘religion’ and Andre isn’t very sure how to take that.

Will Andre make the right decision—and what is the right decision?

SNITCH is the first book I’ve ever read by Booker T. Mattison, and it’s the first book I can ever recall reading in third person/present tense. I’m not sure I like that style combo; it kept me out of the story, and was like reading a screen script, minus the action cues.

However, the story was good, the action, the drama, and the soul-searching non-stop. Mr. Mattison is a very talented author. I was taken out of my rural environment and plucked down in the middle of a very urban area that I didn’t understand. Scenes are kept short and are in points of view ranging from our hero, Andre, to Sandra, to the bad guy, the police, etc. And some points of view are from the author’s point of view. And I absolutely do not get the last line of the book. $14.99. 290 pages.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Growing Up Amish

Author: Ira Wagler
Publisher: Tyndale
June 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3936-8
Genre: Inspirational/Amish/memoir

GROWING UP AMISH is one man’s story of his quest to fit into the Amish—something he was born into, but in his heart, didn’t belong to.

Ira Wagler was the 9th child of the famous David Wagler who was long time Editor of Family Life. But Ira never quite fit into his Amish family or community. Getting in with a wild crowd, Ira spend his free time hanging out with friends and partying and not spending too much worry on the family farm.

Ira left the Amish for the first time at seventeen. And during the next five or six years he left and returned multiple times. He traveled west to harvest wheat and work as a cowboy, he traveled south to Florida to the Amish vacation land of Sarasota, and he traveled north to Canada.

The Amish vary widely from state to state and district to district, and each area posed it’s own set of difficulties. Ira tried to fit into districts in Canada, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Missouri, and other areas, but never quite managed it, even though he joined the church once, and then went through the not-at-all-pleasant excommunication process after he left yet again.

If you are at all interested in the Amish, at a look at the hard-core, beyond the simplicity and ‘glamour’ of their life, then GROWING UP AMISH will be a great book to read and learn from. This book shows the truth behind the culture, the great support and poor communication, the heartbreak when a child strays, and the struggle to do what one’s been raised to do and believe. $14.99. 271 pages.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Roadside Assistance

Author: Amy Clipston
Publisher: Zondervan
April 2011
ISBN: 978-0-310-71981-6
Genre: Inspirational/youth

Emily Curtis is struggling. Her mother has recently died from cancer, wiping the family out financially. Her dad was forced to lose both his home and his business, leaving them homeless. So, Emily and her dad moves in with his sister, Aunt Darlene and her perfect, rich family.

But Aunt Darlene seems to be unhappy with Emily. Em likes working on cars, and her aunt believes she should be a girly-girl, into manicures, shopping, and pink. Emily is everything but. In fact one of her first friends is another mechanic wannabe, Zander Stewart, who lives next door.

As Emily gets used to living with her aunt, things begin to bug her. Her dad seems to be shutting her out, and her aunt keeps embarrassing her by giving her hand-me-downs. How can Emily ever find her way back to the Lord, when she feels she keeps getting slapped down?

ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE is Ms. Clipston’s first nonAmish novel. It is a very well-written young adult book, a bit melancholy at times, perhaps, bringing tears to my eyes, especially with Emily’s journal entries. But it is a great book that any teenage girl will love to read.

Emily is a nontraditional young adult heroine with a hobby that is different than most teen girls, still, I enjoyed getting to know her, and I know that girls will relate to her especially with her feelings about being accepted and loved for who she is and not who they want her to be. If you are looking for a great young adult book, then ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE is a book you’ll want to read. $9.99. 282 pages.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Waiting Place

Author: Eileen Dutton
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
June 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8499-4625-7
Genre: Essays

We all spend time just waiting. We wait in traffic, grocery store lines and carpool circles. We wait to grow up, for true love, and for our children to be born. We even wait to die. But while we work at the business of living, sometime life feels like one long, boring meeting. We just can’t escape the waiting place, so what do we do while we are there?

Eileen Button has written a bunch of well-written, humorous essays that address the waiting place. Filled with adorable stories and antidotes, this book is sure to amuse you and even make you cry at times.

I requested this book from the publisher, as I am often in a waiting place—have been in one for years. Since this is a Christian publisher I expected there to be some mention of how God meets us in the waiting place, especially as the genre is listed as Christian living/spiritual life on the book. The only mention of God in the book is where the author mentions she was punished for using God’s name in vain. That is it. So while this book was an excellent read, it is not at all what it was promoted to be. I’m giving it 4 stars. $15.99. 229 pages.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Wedding Season

Authors: Deborah Hale and Louise Gouge
Publisher: Love Inspired Historical
June 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-82873-9
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Wedding bells will ring in these romantic Regency stories…

THE WEDDING SEASON is a set of two stories set in England, during the Regency period.

Much Ado About Nuptials by Deborah Hale – Sebastian Stanhope is plagued with a jaded heart due to an unfortunate error he made when he was younger. He’s determined not to let his brother, Claude make the same mistake—and so he tries to break up the marriage Claude seems to be rushing into. He tries to convince the brides companion, Rebecca Beaton, into helping him in his plans, but she seems determined to encourage the pair—and show Sebastian the meaning of love.

The Gentleman Takes a Bride by Louise M. Gouge – Elizabeth Moberly is determined to marry a peer, and so she can’t possibly be attracted to the stranger who rode in to break up her cousin’s marriage. Yet, Philip Lindsey seems to have a tender heart and a strong faith. Will Philip be able to convince Elizabeth that the only title she needs is Mrs. Lindsey?

THE WEDDING SEASON is a charming story set during the Regency period, portraying two different couples finding love. Ms. Hale is a new debut author, and I’m looking forward to reading other books by this talented author. And Ms. Gouge is a talented author and I’ve read all her books to date. Ms. Gouge’s story is a continuance of her other stories set in America during the Revolutionary War, including characters (this time in the role of parents) who were in her previous books.

If you are looking for a great Regency, then THE WEDDING SEASON is a book that you’ll definitely want to read. And since it released during the month of June—the traditional wedding month—you’ll definitely want to read it soon. Discussion questions are included. $5.50. 285 pages.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Author: Ronie Kendig
Publisher: Barbour Books
July 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60260-784-2
Genre: Fiction/Christian/Suspense

What are your dirty little secrets? and how do they impact the world in which you live? In Book 3 of the Discarded Heroes Series, author Ronie Kendig explores the many lives of a lie, and shows in graphic detail Satan’s two most feared tactics: deception and destruction.

Danielle Roark, an Army Corps of Engineers demolitions expert, is the only survivor of a failed mission. After 6 months of captivity, she manages to escape and make her way back home. But, as the saying goes, you can never go home again. Upon her return, she finds herself charged with espionage, and faces certain court martial and potentially the death penalty.

Former Green Beret medic Canyon Metcalfe is drawn to Dani like a moth to a flame, and convinces the Nightshade team to “accompany” Ms. Roark on a return visit to the scene of the crime, in an effort to help clear her name and gather the information necessary to stop an audacious plan by a nefarious rebel leader who has nuclear warheads for sale to the highest bidder. However, Wolfsbane has his own dirty little secrets; secrets which threaten to destroy Nightshade from within.

And while Satan deals in deception and destruction, God is not silent. His justice is tempered with mercy, his judgments are wrapped in redemption, and his sovereignty is matched only by his immense love.

While Ronie writes skillfully, she doesn’t pull any punches. There are some “edgy” aspects to WOLFSBANE that the reader needs to be aware of as Team Nightshade locks and loads for another mission.

A female demolitions who unwittingly holds a lethal secret. . .
A former Green Beret grappling with terrifying memories of a mission gone bad. . .
And the jungle that threatens to swallow them whole.

In Venezuela, Danielle Roark and her Army Corps of Engineers team is captured. After six months of captivity, Dani escapes, only to end up charged with espionage and forced to return to the jungle to prove that a nuclear facility exists. On the mission, she is abandoned by God and country. Will she live long enough to make those responsible pay? Haunted by memories of a mission gone bad, former Green Beret Canyon Metcalfe wrestles with his developing feelings for the feisty senator’s daughter. Setting aside his misgivings, he and Nightshade take the mission to help Dani unravel her lethal secrets. Separated from the team leaves Dani and Canyon vulnerable—and captured. After he is rescued, Canyon discovers Dani has been left behind. Livid, he sacrifices everything—including his role with Nightshade—to find Dani. Can Dani and Canyon fight the nightmare armed with only forgiveness and raw courage? Or will they lose their lives, minds, and each other?



Wolfsbane, Discarded Heroes #3
The author’s military background shines through in vivid detail…Kendig pulls out all the stops with page-turning action, adventure and danger. Book three in the Discarded Heroes series can pretty much stand alone. ~~Romantic Times (Chandra McNeil)
Ronie Kendig serves up a mix of machinegun-fast action, touching romance, and more twists than a coil of a detonator wire. Get a good grip on the edge of your seat before you start reading! ~Rick Acker, author of When the Devil Whistles and Dead Man’s Rule
Non-stop, fast-paced, machine gun type action that will leave you exhausted--and yearning for more. Don't even try to put the book down because you'll find yourself drawn right back, unable to do or think about anything else until you reach the end. Kendig has created realistic, imperfect characters to cheer for and cry with as they struggle to find God and do the right thing. A definite keeper for your read-again shelf." ~Lynette Eason - best-selling author of Too Close to Home and Don't Look Back


In a book loaded with action, great characters, and high emotion, there are some beautiful reminders of God. From His plans for an individual’s life to His amazing forgiveness, there are several gentle reminders of God’s presence in the midst of the storm.

This series has excelled in reminding the reader of many fundamental spiritual truths while providing hours of fast-paced entertainment. Most of all it has highlighted the soldiers who have left the battlefield, but are still haunted by the war. For those that can handle emotion, passion, and raw intensity, this is a fantastic series and one I highly recommend. ~~Melissa Willis The Christian Manifesto

This is the most amazing book I have read in a long time. It has a high intensity, quick moving plot that doesn’t sacrifice depth of character. Descriptive settings cause the reader to feel like they are living the adventure alongside the characters. The characters, though unique, feel true to life and experience struggles and sins that aren’t solved in the blink of an eye.

Just when you think she’s packed everything into the plot, Ronie Kendig adds another layer. This book is worthy of 5+ stars. It has just the right balance of adventure, suspense, and romance.

If you only read one book this year, this is the one I recommend. ~~Kristen Lowery Read Great Fiction

Every second of this book took me on a journey. From the rain-soaked jungles to the courtroom to crazy dangerous secret missions to almost as dangerous family get togethers, each step of Dani and Canyon''s is a challenge that you get to experience with them. The best thing about Wolfsbane are these "real" characters who make real-life mistakes. Sure, most of us aren''t a part of a covert ops team but we are exposed to some of the same difficult choices and crossroads on our faith walks that Dani and Canyon faced.

Wolfsbane is by far my favorite of the series. I stand in awe of these incredible books and the uber-talented Ronie Kendig. If there are only a few books that you add to your "to-read" list this year make sure one of them is Wolfsbane! You won''t regret it. Trust me. ~~Renee Chaw Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot

Ronie Kendig grew up an Army brat and married a veteran. Together, she and her husband have four children and three dogs. She has a BS in Psychology, speaks to various groups, volunteers with the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and mentors new writers. Rapid-Fire Fiction, her brand, is exemplified through her novels Dead Reckoning, a spy thriller, and the military thriller series, The Discarded Heroes, which includes Nightshade (Retailer’s Choice Award Finalist), Digitalis, Wolfsbane, and Firethorn (January 2012). Ronie can be found at or

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Lady of Bolton Hill

Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House
June 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0894-2
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Daniel Tremain was gifted at mechanical work at a young age, but he planned to take exams to become a teacher—until the day when he is summoned to unpin his father from a boiler about to blow. Unfortunately, Daniel’s father died in that accident and Daniel lost his sight in one eye. Daniel’s one love was music and his best friend was Clara Endicott. Daniel talked Clara into meeting with him to play music for comfort…

Years later, Clara has given up her dreams of becoming a great musician, and instead has become a controversial journalist—jailed for her articles in Great Britain, yet welcomed as somewhat of a celebrity in Boston. Then Clara discovers that her father has orchestrated plans to keep her and Daniel apart as children—and that the childhood friend Daniel used to be had grown to be a dangerous and wealthy man with a desire to exact revenge against his father’s former employer.

When Clara starts delving into the story behind the feud between Daniel and the other man, she discovers that he has powerful enemies. And suddenly the cost of their convictions finds both their hearts and their lives hanging in the balance.

All I can say is Wow. THE LADY OF BOLTON HILL is Ms. Camden’s debut novel and even though Daniel is a flawed man, I fell absolutely and totally in love with him. I even found myself liking the “bad guys” they were so realistically developed, with reasons for acting as they did.

I totally loved THE LADY OF BOLTON HILL, sympathizing with the younger Daniel and Clara on the cusp of a relationship while believing they were simply best friends enjoying music—to the grown Daniel and Clara, both determined to leave their marks on the world—in totally different ways. If you like historical romance, you’ll definitely want to read THE LADY OF BOLTON HILL. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 331 pages.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Blessed

Author: Ann H. Gabhart
Publisher: Revell
July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3454-1
Genre: Inspirational/historical/shakers

Lacey is an orphaned sent to live with Preacher Palmer and his wife. Later a baby is abandoned on the preacher’s steps and his wife and Lacey took care of Rachel, until the preacher’s wife passed on. Then the preacher insisted that Lacey and he marry. Lacey didn’t want to, but it was the only way she’d be allowed to care for Rachel.

Isaac’s wife died and Isaac left the will to go on living. More often than not he slept on the mound of dirt where his wife was buried. Then he met a Shaker man who offered him food and a home, and even that he’d find a will to go on living.

When the preacher decided that marriage was sin, he, Lacey and Rachel went to live in the Shaker village. Lacey is torn apart when they take Rachel from her. But when Lacey finds herself attracted to another man in the Shaker community, she wonders—what will happen to love when Shaker’s don’t believe in marriage?

THE BLESSED is a novel about the Shakers that is rich in detail about this religion that I didn’t know much about before Ms. Gabhart started writing about them. I’ve heard of “Shaker brooms” but I didn’t know anything else about them. THE BLESSED is the fourth book in Ms. Gabhart’s Shaker series, but it easily stands alone. I did read one of the earlier books in the series, before this one.

I felt for Lacey and Rachel thought I can’t say I cared much for the preacher. He was a dirty old man, despite being in the Lord’s work—unfortunately, I knew other preachers that were like that. Lacey truly loved Rachel, and I wanted them both to find happiness. I also wanted Isaac to find a reason to live again. THE BLESSED is a book steeped in religious history that will be sure to delight historical fans. $14.99. 404 pages.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sue Ellen's Girl Ain't Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy

Author: Shellie Rushing Tomlinson
Publisher: Penguin
May 2011
ISBN: 978-0-425-24085-4
Genre: Self-help

Guided by principles by the ancient Belle Doctrine, Shellie talks about everything from health and fitness—managing the caloric calculations without going Straight Running Crazy and surviving the Raging Inferno Syndromo to the fine Southern art of managing your man.

Complete with input from Shellie’s reader and fan base, and topped off with Southern recipes, this book is part therapy, part education, and all smiles and laughs.

I wasn’t real sure what to expect when I picked up this book to review. It sounded like a fun book to read. And it was. It has me laughing out loud in the prologue or introduction. I read parts of the book out loud when my family wanted to know what I was laughing at. And it did have some real advice that women can use—though some they might find beneficial to ignore. Such as cutting out one entrĂ©e per year after the age of twelve. Along with the author, if I obeyed that, I’d be trying to survive on three grapes and two peanuts—not sure if that’d be a day or rationed to last the year…

If you are looking for some down home Southern humor laced in liberally with your self-help book then SUE ELLEN’S GIRL AINT FAT, SHE JUST WEIGHS HEAVY should be on the top of your list. This is a book you’ll not only want to read but you’ll actually enjoy reading it. $15.00. 320 pages.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Amish Nanny

Author: Mindy Starns Clark & Leslie Gould
Publisher: Harvest House
July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7369-3861-7
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

A cave behind a waterfall…
A dying confession…
A secret agreement
hidden for a century…

Ada Rupp is an Amish girl who knows nothing about these elements of her family’s past. Instead, she has a coveted teaching degree maybe in her grasp, and her medical condition finally managed. Ada also wants to marry Will Gundy, a widower she’s loved since they were both children. But things don’t always work out the way she wants. Instead, her teaching job is given to another woman, a woman who also seems to have Will’s heart. And Ada meets Daniel, a Mennonite scholar with a surprising request.

Daniel needs Ada’s help to save an important historical site in Switzerland from being destroyed. Now Ada, a family friend, and a young child must go to Switzerland to mend a old family rift and help preserve religious heritage.

In order to succeed, Ada and Daniel must unlock secrets from the past…

I met Ada in The Amish Midwife, and was delighted to find THE AMISH NANNY is her story. It was nice to see Ada’s come out of her shell and become a self-sufficient woman, capable of traveling overseas and thriving. THE AMISH NANNY is the second book in The Women of Lancaster County series, but it easily stands alone—though readers will want to read the first book to get the whole story about Ada.

I enjoyed reading THE AMISH NANNY and following her to Switzerland—by ship—and then struggling to decipher ancient documents, written in a language she couldn’t read or understand, to possibly find the key to unlock her family history and a modern problem tied to it. Readers of women’s fiction or lovers of Amish fiction will not want to miss this book. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $13.99. 344 pages.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Let God Change your Life

Author: Greg Laurie
Publisher: David C. Cook
June 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4347-0207-4
Genre: Inspirational/nonfiction/Christian Life

Radical Christian Living is Really Normal Christian Living (from the back cover)

What we often believe is normal Christian living is very different, in many ways, from what the Bible teaches. Laurie says that if you find the Christian experience dull and unfulfilling then maybe it’s time for you to examine Jesus’ teaching regarding discipleship.

Evangelist Greg Laurie calls all Christians back to radical. The blueprint is simply: Get to know Jesus, follow His plans for discipleship, and share God’s truth with others.

Three key points are expanded on:

1. How to know God—and how He will change your life
2. Discipleship—the commitment, the cost, and the spiritual growth
3. Making Him known—sharing the gospel and making disciples

Sharing personal stories from his own life (his salvation story brought tears to my eyes) and others, Laurie writes in an engaging and compelling way while he teaches us what it means to truly live the Christian life the way God intended.

If your Christian life seems flat and boring, then reenergize it. Pick up a copy of Greg Laurie’s book, LET GOD CHANGE YOUR LIFE today. $14.99. 285 pages.

Monday, July 11, 2011

An Interview with Janice Hanna Thompson and giveaway

answer the question to be entered into a drawing to possibly win one of Janice's books - reader's choice which. Be sure to include your email address

Let’s chat with novelist Janice Hanna Thompson, author of Love Finds You in Groom, Texas (Summerside/Guideposts, June 2011).

Janice Hanna (also published as Janice Thompson) has published more than seventy novels and non-fiction books. She has also published more than fifty magazine articles and several musical comedies for the stage. Janice makes her home in the Houston area near her children and grandchildren.

Please tell us three random things we might not know about you.

My dad was the president of the University of Houston Cougar Cagers Club, so my birthdays, holidays, etc. were spent at basketball games. Our family traveled to Mexico with the U of H Cougars to watch them compete, which was great fun. When I was eleven, I got to play (for fun, of course) with the Harlem Globetrotters, who came to Houston for a visit. To this day, I love a good basketball game.

I once lied to a fellow camper at church camp, telling her that my dad (Billy Hanna) was William Hanna of Hanna/Barbara (Flintstones) fame. That lie still haunts me, though, to his credit, my dad did eventually work as a movie producer on our co-authored movie, Liar’s Moon. (Yes, it’s true. I got to meet and work with Matt Dillon. Eat your heart out, girls!)

I occasionally bake wedding cakes. In 2009 I baked a lovely four-tiered white cake with strawberry filling and cream cheese frosting that toppled less than an hour before the wedding. I managed to piece together two very messy/ugly layers. Thankfully, the bride did not murder me. It made for a great scene in a later book. (Nothing ever gets wasted, not even a mashed piece of cake.)

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Love Finds You in Groom, Texas.

Always the groomsman, never the groom… It’s 1914, and Jake O’Farrell has gained an unusual reputation among the locals: He’s played the roles of groomsman and best man in all four of his older brothers’ weddings, but he’s never been able to find the woman to capture his heart. And now with the upcoming wedding of his best friend, Jake will become the last single man in the town of Groom.

Anne Denning has made the difficult decision to move with her sisters to Texas, but a train derailment forces them to seek shelter in Groom, near Amarillo. Mrs. O’Farrell, hopeful that Anne will catch her youngest son’s eye, invites the girls to stay at her home until the train is repaired and ready to pull out. Anne has no idea of the blissful chaos that lies ahead!

Why did you decide to write this story?

My editor at Summerside approached me with the name of the town because she knows I write a lot of wedding-themed stories. She wanted something lightweight/fun, and she knew me well enough to know I would enjoy a fun story. The only real question we had in the beginning stage was: “Should this be a historical or a contemporary?” We went with historical because I felt sure the story idea was better suited to the turn of the century.

Tell us something interesting about the town of Groom:

Groom boasts a nineteen-story high cross. More than 100 welders worked together to erect it in 1995. Now you can see why I toyed with the idea of writing a contemporary novel! I wanted to include the cross. Because I went with historical, I decided to give the heroine a small cross necklace to wear, one that symbolizes her faith (and alludes to the “bigger” cross to come).

What is your favorite memory of the Texas panhandle region?

Just one? I love, love, love Palo Duro Canyon, which is not terribly far from Groom. This breathtaking canyon always surprises visitors because you don’t see it coming! Look to your right and see nothing. Then, a few yards up the road, look to your right again and you see a crevice forming. That crevice deepens, then deepens some more until. . .lo and behold! You’re looking at one of God’s most magnificent “sweeps of a fingertip.” Truly glorious. One of my favorite memories was taking my daughters to see the play “Texas” in Palo Duro Canyon when they were little. We camped overnight in the state park, ate BBQ and saw the show. Amazing!

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your heroine?

Because Anne (a one-time socialite from Denver) has dark hair and pale skin, I envision her looking a little bit like the character of Diana Barry in Anne of Green Gables. Diana was played by Schuyler Grant.

Tell us a little about your hero? Is he true hero material?

Jake is a hunka-hunka Texas man! He’s a railroad man who loves his job, loves his family and loves the heroine. He’s got a great sense of humor, which is perfect for this story, because the heroine’s little sisters are loaded with antics! Jake has a lot to deal with: he’s the town’s last single man, which has made him the brunt of many a joke. His older brothers (all married with children) taunt and tease. Jake can never catch a break. Unless he’s with Anne, of course. Then he catches far more than a break. . .he catches the woman of his dreams!

You always seem to add animal to your stories. Any animals in this one?

Yes! Most of my readers know that I’m an animal lover. My two miniature dachshunds, Sasha and Copper, are my ever-faithful companions. They’ve made appearances in several of my books. Love Finds You in Groom, Texas, is set on a ranch in North Texas, so I couldn’t possibly write it without adding animals! The cattle are a part of the story, naturally, but so is the family’s collie, Ginger. My favorite animal/character is Frances, the hero’s mare. He’s so enamored with his mare (and so comfortable talking to her) that he ends up practicing his “love speech” on the mare while working up courage to deliver it to Anne.

What are readers saying about this book? Have you had any feedback so far?

So far the book has all five-star reviews on amazon (which makes me smile, of course). Here’s a review I found that really got me excited:

5.0 out of 5 stars: A Delightful Read

This delightful tale of romance which emerges out of tragic circumstances is set in a wonderful town called Groom in the panhandle of the great state of Texas. It is a story of tragedy, love, and God’s divine hand of providence that enters a situation just at the right time and changes everything. Young Anne finds herself on a train heading to Dallas with her two younger sisters after the loss of their father. When fate intervenes, the trail derails and their future is forever altered. And then there is Jake, the last available young man in Groom who finds himself to be the recipient of many jokes about his situation, especially from his brothers. Jake’s mother, Maggie, embodies everything wonderful that Anne remembers about her own mother before she died. Throw in the mixture of the antics of Aunt Bets and the perceived sternness of Uncle Bertrand, and you have a story of new revelations and delightful outcomes.

How absolutely wonderful, in this day and age when problems seem to loom on every side and people have lost faith and hope, to read a story that is all about faith and hope. It is refreshing to read a story set in an era when one’s words meant something, when prayer was the first course of action, when faith ruled our very existence, when people looked out for one another even during hard times. Perhaps after reading this book, your faith will be renewed, as well. – Cherri Taylor

What are you working on now?

I just turned in Love Finds You in Daisy, Oklahoma, a fun historical about a single woman in her late 30’s who moves from the Gulf Coast to the landlocked state of Oklahoma to become the director at an orphanage. It’s a love story, of course! She falls in love with the town sheriff, who has adopted two of the unruliest boys from the orphanage. I’m currently writing Wedding Belles, the first book in the Belles and Whistles series for Summerside/Guideposts.

I heard through the grapevine that you direct theater productions on the side. Why theater?

I grew up doing musical theater and have always loved it. A good friend of mine (Brenda White) is a brilliant musician, probably the most talented I’ve ever known. She writes some amazing pieces. We co-direct at a local theater. I write the plays (mostly) and she does the music. We hold auditions and then rehearse for about two months. Our most recent production was Zaney Muldaney, on the Road to Kingdom Come. To check out the pictures on facebook, go here.

I notice you write under two names (Janice Hanna and Janice Thompson). Why?

Those who’ve been reading my romances over the past several years know me as Janice A. Thompson. My joy is mixed with a smidgeon of sorrow as I explain the change in my last name for some of my current releases. In 2006 I lost my father to bone marrow cancer. His last name (Hanna) is my maiden name—and it’s a name that means even more to me now that he is gone. In memory of my father, I use the Hanna name in my historicals. My Revell books will still release under Janice Thompson. I hope you my readers will stick with me, no matter which name I use!

I understand you have a new VIP bookclub. Can you tell us about that?

Yes, I’m so excited about this, too! I came up with this idea several months ago: Why not create a “club” where members can get each new Janice Thompson/Janice Hanna book as it releases for a set price of $11, shipping included. Books are autographed and mailed out to club members before they ever hit the stores. I also encourage my VIP club members to leave reviews, as they are able, on amazon, and If people are interested in joining the club, all they have to do is shoot me an email at with the words “VIP bookclub” in the subject line and their address in the body of the email.

Can you tell our readers about your recent road trip? Where did you go, and why?

In May of 2011 I went on a cross-country road trip to twelve different states. The goal, (as it relates to books, anyway) was to hit several key spots where I could speak to writers and teach on the subject of our God-given uniqueness. I also researched several locales for my new “Belles and Whistles” series while on the road. I took my mom along for the ride, and what a ride it was! We spent twenty-three days on the road, traveling from Texas to Oklahoma to Kansas to Colorado to Wyoming to Montana to Washington to Idaho to Utah to Arizona to New Mexico, then back to Texas. We met some amazing writers and readers along the way, and even got to spend a little time with my daughter, son-in-law and grandbabies in Montana. What a blast!

Anything else you want our readers to know?

Yes, I’m very passionate about my faith, which is why I write Christian books. I could no more leave out the faith elements than I could stop eating chocolate. They are integral…to my stories and my life. I’m a huge believer in stirring up the gifts that God has placed inside of us, which is what I hope to do through my teaching.

Any suggestions for writers who are trying to get published?

Learn the craft. Take courses. Go to conferences. Do the work. But don’t ever let what you’ve learned rob you of your natural, God-given voice. There’s only one you, after all.

Where else can readers find you online?

I love to connect with my readers at the following places:


Where can I get the book?

Love Finds You in Groom, Texas can be purchased at any number of online stores, as well as my website: (front page). Readers can always join my VIP bookclub and get the locked in price of $11 (no shipping) by contacting me directly at

Thanks for spending time with me! I had a blast!

And to win a copy of ANY of Janice's books, answer this question: Have you attended any weddings lately? Can you share something funny that happened?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Prayers for My Baby (Boy and Girl)

Author: Angela Thomas
Photography: Julie Johnson
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7369-3937-9 (Prayers for my Baby Girl)
ISBN: 978-0-7369-4566-8 (Prayers for my Baby Boy)
Genre: Inspirational/gift book

From the back cover of PRAYERS FOR MY BABY BOY: Awesome. Breathtaking. Stunning. Surely, he is the most amazing gift I have ever known. Now there is a new life in our home. Thank you, God, for answering our prayers. I can look into the eyes of our gift and see his daddy’s reflection. I am so humbled. I never could have dreamed what this day would be like. I am a mother, he is my child, and we are home. Amen.

PRAYERS FOR MY BABY GIRL and PRAYERS FOR MY BABY BOY are beautifully designed gift books. Filled with beautiful pictures of babies, and beautifully written essays about the first smile, about keepsakes, about my baby-in-love. Verses are included at the end of the essays, and some pages are just verses to go along with the pictures.

PRAYERS FOR MY BABY GIRL and PRAYERS FOR MY BABY BOY are books that sure to be wonderful gifts for the expectant mothers that you know. They are sure to cherish these essays, verses, and thoughts as they have rare quiet moments after the birth of their child, or even before the baby is born, during the expectant waiting period. If you are looking for the perfect shower gift (and are tired of giving the usual array of onesies, baby blankets, and diapers) then PRAYERS FOR MY BABY GIRL or PRAYERS FOR MY BABY BOY would be an excellent gift. $12.99 hardcover. 48 pages.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Someone to Blame

Author: C. S. Lakin
Publisher: Zondervan
September 2010
ISBN: 978-0-310-32759-4
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

The Moore family is struggling to readjust after a tragic loss to their family. Hoping to escape their memories, Matt and Irene sell almost everything they own and move to the first place that offers Irene a job—a small coastal town on the Pacific Northwest. It’s as far as they can go without going into the ocean. They hope to make a new life for themselves and their fourteen year old daughter, Casey.

But it isn’t far enough. Sadness, anger, guilt, and blame have moved with them, and threaten to tear the family apart.

When a cynical young drifter wanders across their paths, the fragile strands holding the family together fray even more. Is there any hope that they can find a place of grace and healing?

SOMEONE TO BLAME starts out as a very sad novel. The family is beginning the move, they are still reeling from their losses and well, anyone who has lost a child (be it to miscarriage, stillbirth, or older) knows that it is an event that takes a lifetime to heal from. A lot of families don’t recover and end up falling apart. Others survive and build a closer relationship with each other as a result.

The Moore family is falling apart. And I wanted them to find the strength then needed to get up and face each day, to reach out to each other, and to end up building a stronger unit. This is a novel of grace and healing that will tug you by your heart-strings. 360 pages. $12.99.

Friday, July 8, 2011

God Made the Dinosaurs!

Author: Todd Aaron Smith
Publisher: Harvest House Publisher
July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7369-3843-3
Genre: Inspirational/nonfiction/children

Does your little baby boy live and breath dinosaurs? If so, then you’ll want to pick up a copy of GOD MADE THE DINOSAURS! It is a colorful, sturdy, board book that will withstand almost everything a baby can dish out—except possibly teething.

Todd Aaron Smith is a professional animator and it shows in the beautifully done artwork in this board book. Your child will be captivated by the colorful pictures and learn about the differences in dinosaurs as you read.

But most important, your child will learn one basic truth: Every dinosaur was wonderful and special…because God made them all!

If you are looking for the perfect gift for your baby boy, a book for the church nursery, a shower gift for a mom expecting a boy, then GOD MADE THE DINOSAURS! is a book to consider. $5.99 board book. 10 pages.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Behind the Badge

Author: Susan Sleeman
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
June 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-44447-2
Genre: Inspirational/romantic suspense

Sydney Tucker is making arrangements to move to a new townhouse complex with her teenage sister, hoping that a fresh start will eliminate some of the teen problems she’s having. But while at the building site, Sydney hears gunshots, and when investigating she finds the killer is after her as well, demanding something that she allegedly took at a drug raid earlier that month.

Russ Morgan is the chief of police and the object of Sydney’s teenage crush. Now they have a more mature relationship. Russ is a divorced man with a seven year old son, and Sydney is her sister’s guardian. Neither have time for a relationship. Not to mention, the killer keeps contacting Sydney demanding whatever mystery object she took, but not telling her what it is.

When Sydney doesn’t meet the demands of the killer, he starts targeting Sydney’s sister. But Nikki doesn’t react well to being told to stay home without a reason and Sydney refuses to tell her why. Russ has his hands full to keep his deputy and her sister safe, especially when they both refuse to cooperate. And when the killer strikes again, it may be too late.

BEHIND THE BADGE is the newest romantic suspense by Susan Sleeman. The book starts with action and doesn’t let up the entire time. I could relate to Sydney’s struggles with her teen sister as I have a daughter the same age and it isn’t fun (though my daughter is a lot more obedient.) And Russ, while shocked by some of Sydney’s behavior toward her sister, stood by her, nonjudgmental, which really spoke a lot about his character.

The suspense was well planned out and interesting and I never guessed who the killer was until it was revealed. If you are looking for a good romantic suspense, then BEHIND THE BADGE is a good book to consider. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.50. 215 pages.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Good Manners for a Little Princess and Good Manners for a Little Warrior

Author: Kelly Chapman
Illustrator: Tammie Lyon
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7369-3723-8
Genre: Inspirational/childrens/values and virtues

Author: Kelly Chapman
Illustrator: Jeff Ebbeler
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7369-3724-5
Genre: Inspirational/childrens/values and virtues

In GOOD MANNERS FOR A LITTLE PRINCESS, Caroline and her friends are excited about all things princess—except for the matter of manners. But Miss Lilly of the Princess Prep School is horrified by their lack of manners and is going to teach them the royally right way to treat others. Will they learn in time for the Pretty Please Princess Tea?

GOOD MANNERS FOR A LITTLE WARRIOR is about Luke and his buddies. They feel they are ready to be great warriors. But when they travel to the land of shining armor and knightly honor, they discover they have a lot to learn about the right and the wrong way to do what’s right at the Warrior Prince Academy. Will they take to heart Sir Britmore’s lessons on noble kindness and score one for the team? Or will they strike out?

These two little books pack a wallop when it comes to teaching manners to children. An interesting story line (especially designed for princesses or warriors) will keep your child engaged. Plus it includes checklists of what to do, what not to do, and at the end is a quiz for your child to take to see how well he/she learned the lessons.

My nine year old and six year old daughters were engrossed in the tales and colorful images, of both books, and even my adult son sat down to read the GOOD MANNERS FOR A LITTLE WARRIOR book. If you are looking for a good way to teach manners to your child, grandchild, or other children, then GOOD MANNERS FOR A LITTLE PRINCESS or GOOD MANNERS FOR A LITTLE WARRIOR are great books to consider. 34 pages. $12.99 hardcover.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Author: JoAnn Durgin
Publisher: Torn Veil Books
November 2010
ISBN: 978-1-926712-56-7
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Lexa Clarke signs up for a TeamWork Missions assignment, expecting to be assigned to some faraway, exotic land. Instead, she’s assigned to sweltering San Antonio, Texas, to help rebuild homes destroyed by floods. But on the way there with handsome blue eyed Sam Lewis, she is accosted by dusty roads, a flat tire, a spitting goat, and more. Not only that, but Sam seems the master of inquisitions.

Sam is the director of the TeamWork project. He’s not really trying to infuriate the pretty, feisty and witty Lexa, he’s just trying to figure out where to assign her on the job site. She seems to know her way around numbers, but she doesn’t seem to know which end of the hammer is up.

Lexa defies Sam at every turn and appears that she might be more at home on a cruise ship than a construction site. A chain of incidents challenge their faith and their relationship.

AWAKENING is the debut novel by JoAnn Durgin. Ms. Durgin is a master at bringing the scene to life. I could taste the dust, and almost could feel my throat closing along with the characters. I could feel the goat spittle along with the character. The writing is witty, sarcastic, and fresh.

I really liked Ms. Durgin’s play on “Lewis and Clarke” adventures, and she says in her author notes that this story is loosely based on her own romance with her husband. I enjoyed reading AWAKENING and look forward to many more books by this talented author. $12.99. 247 pages.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Spirit of Sports (Baseball and Football)

Authors: Kathryn Nixon and Ana Boudreau
Publisher: Cross Training Publishing
October 2008
ISBN: (Baseball) 978-0-6153-8669-0
(Football) 978-1-4507-7625-7
Genre: Childrens/sports/fruits of the spirit

When we think about Little League sports, usually the first thing that we think of are pushy coaches and over-competitive parents. However, supporters of these sports say that there are many positive character traits that children develop while playing team sports.

Kathryn Nixon and Ana Boudreau help to instill these virtues in their books, THE SPIRIT IN BASEBALL and THE SPIRIT IN FOOTBALL. These books are based on the fruits of the spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Written for young children these books held my six-year-old captivated and she loved looking at the pictures. There is also a short biography of a professional player, Troy Nixon (Kathryn’s husband) or Matt Hasselbeck, in the book. Each fruit of the spirit is introduced by a verse demonstrating this fruit, followed by the application.

If your child plays team sports or has a sibling that plays then THE SPIRIT OF BASEBALL or THE SPIRIT IN FOOTBALL would be excellent for them. Great books for young children. It also has a page for autographs which could make the book a collector’s item. $14.99 hardcover. 28 pages.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Young and in Love -- and giveaway -- and interview with Ted

Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for this book. Include your email address. Void where prohibited by law.
Author: Ted Cummingham
Publisher: David C. Cook
July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7814-0447-1
Genre: Inspirational/dating and relationships

Maybe “I do” is better than “Just don’t.”

Pastor Ted Cunningham was taught as many of us where. Sex is dirty. Don’t do it. Save it for the one you love. But it didn’t work—most singles had sex outside of marriage. And now, cohabitating and unmarried sex is even more common, even expected among singles.

In a rebuttal against “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” (embracing courtship) Cunningham says, “Kiss it hello. Date!” If a girl is dating another man, ask her out anyway. Dating isn’t the same as marriage. And if your parents/friends/pastor say “You just think you’re in love or you’re too young to get married” then marry anyway. Marriage is the answer to staying sexually pure.

A godly relationship is hard when you fall in love at a young age. Few offer support. Many doubt. And they claim “You’re not ready.” Cunningham says “Wait no more. Get Married!”

YOUNG AND IN LOVE packs a punch with a lot of humor and wit. This was a great read, and it validates young love, giving the couple in the relationship the tools to make a wise commitment and challenging them not to delay what God is knitting together.

I’m not sure how I feel about this book. If I had read this book as a nineteen year old in love with the one I thought was Mr. Right, I would have been all for it. Yahoo! Someone’s on my side! I did marry at twenty-two, but a different man than I dated at nineteen. And as a mature adult with twenty-five years of marriage under my belt, I wonder—would I still be married if I’d married when I was nineteen? His parents broke us up—"he was too young." I seriously doubt I would have been able to handle his family—or that man—long enough for a lasting marriage.

Now, as a parent myself, I have an eighteen year old and a twenty year old. Neither one of them is talking marriage—yet. Both have plans they are striving toward, college degrees to earn, etc. But well—can I see my eighteen year old getting married to his current girlfriend? Seriously, I don’t even want to consider it. When it is eventually discussed, I hope I don’t try to break them up, I hope that I don’t say “you’re too young.” But… Well, that is all I have to say about that. YOUNG AND IN LOVE is a great book validating marriage--and not an eternal childhood. And it's supported by scripture. Seriously, a great book. But I think you need to exercise caution. Is he/she really someone you want to spend the rest of your life with? Does he/she get along well with your family? Am I really in love, or am I just in lust? Can you support a wife, or will you be moving in with your parents? $14.99. 222 pages.

Q&A with Ted Cunningham, Author of Young and in Love

Q: Over the past century, the national average for marrying age has increased and has continued to creep upwards. In the 1950’s, for example, marrying at 20 was the norm. Why are that many people waiting until they are older to marry?

The two primary reasons for delaying marriage today are fear of having a marriage like their parents and prolonged adolescence. First, mom and dad may have been committed but did not enjoy one another. Second, they grew up in homes where they were given too much privilege and not enough responsibility. They were not prepared or trained to be a husband or wife.

Q: Why has marriage become discouraged at a young age? Do you think the Bible encourages young love?

Young marriage is discouraged because parents and the young adults themselves know they are not ready for marriage. The Bible has two stages of life: childhood and adulthood. There is no in-between. When you left home, you cleaved to your spouse (Gen. 2:24). Marriage and adulthood are linked.

Q: Do you think the struggle our generation has with sexual impurity can be linked to the fact that marriages are being delayed? Do you think that young adults would be more sexually pure if they married earlier?

It would certainly give them more hope. After they reach puberty, we implore them to wait 15+ years. We teach them to delay sex until marriage. Most are having sex and delaying marriage.

Q: Why do you think that “purity” talks are failing with Christian youth?

We’ve been teaching them how to honor purity, not marriage. The Scripture calls us to honor marriage and purity is just one way to do that (Hebrews 13:4). We need to prepare them to be husbands and wives. Purity is a lifelong pursuit for all Christians. It is not an issue for singles alone.

Q: You were 21 when you first called home to tell your parents about Amy, who would soon become your wife. How did your parents respond to your news? Were her parents supportive?

Our parents were more than excited because they knew we were ready for the responsibility.

Q: At what age do you encourage marriage? When do you believe that someone is too young?

For starters, you must be a legal adult. The youngest couple I have ever married was 19. Their life circumstances forced them into adulthood at an early age and they understood and embraced responsibility. I’ve married thirtysomethings with less maturity than this couple. Again, the issue for me is not age, but maturity.

Q: Can you give us some examples of unnecessary and necessary delays for marriage?

Necessary delays would include finishing high school and seeking your parents’ blessing. Going after mom and dad’s blessing is a huge mark of maturity and a fantastic transition from childhood to adulthood.

Unnecessary delays would include waiting for a fat bank account, finishing college or graduate degrees, getting settled into the perfect job or exploring an extended season of self-exploration (independence).

Q: Many people think you should be more financially secure, for example, because money is such a big issue in marriages. In this economy, that may not even be possible, but how big of an impact does that have on a young marriage?

Plan on a poor or modest start. That may mean coffee from gas stations, used cars and hand me down furniture. You may need to start with flip phones. Delay iPhones, iPads amd Macbooks, not marriage.

About the Author: Ted Cunningham is the founding pastor of Woodland Hills Family Church in Branson, Missouri. He is the co-founder of Two Ignite, a local church movement created to strengthen marriage through adventure. Ted is a speaker with the Smalley Relationship Center and has co-authored four books with Dr. Gary Smalley: The Language of Sex, From Anger to Intimacy, As Long As We Both Shall Live, and Great Parents, Lousy Lovers. He has been a guest on Focus on the Family, Life Today, and Moody Radio. He is a graduate of Liberty University and Dallas Theological Seminary.

Cunningham loves seeing lives changed, marriages rescued, and families saved. He met his wife Amy on a blind date at Liberty University and determined to marry her that night. Although he didn’t ask her then, she said “yes” to his proposal a year later. Now married for 15 years, they both love taking road trips and boating on Table Rock Lake with their two kids who reside with them in Branson, MO.

Young and in Love: Challenging the Unnecessary Delay of Marriage by Ted Cunningham
David C Cook/July 2011/ISBN: 978-0-7814-0447-1/224 pages/paperback/$14.99 ~

Saturday, July 2, 2011

In the Shadow of Evil

Author: Robin Caroll
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
March 2011
Genre: Fiction/Christian/Suspense
ISBN: 978-0-0854-4981-5
Reviewed by: Steve Hilton

Layla Taylor is a female contractor in a man’s world. And a ball-room dancer in her spare time. But that isn’t enough to keep her busy. Someone has targeted her projects for destruction, and she’s going to find out who. And why.

Maddox Bishop is an up-and-coming detective, who never misses a thing. Ever. When he gets tapped to investigate a murder, he unleashes his honed instincts and follows them to what he believes to be the center of the storm.

And that’s where he discovers Layla.

Smitten, confused, disarmed, and more than understandably upset, Maddox struggles to separate fantasy and reality, as the body count keeps rising.

These are the bare bones of what I’ve found to be one of the most compelling Christian suspense novels I’ve ever come across. The characters are realistic, the scenes are very well written, the suspense is gripping, and the romance makes it beyond wonderful. If Christian suspense is your bag, then IN THE SHADOW OF EVIL is your next book. But first, gather your munchies, get into your pajamas, and grab a thermos of coffee. Because once you begin reading, you aren’t going to want to get up for anything. 300 pages. $14.99.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Orphaned Hearts

Author: Shawna K. Williams
Publisher: Desert Breeze
November 2010
ISBN: 978-1-61252-001-8
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

David Langly is a pastor that understands well the pain of being an orphan. Especially a deformed orphan. David’s body was severely damaged in the house fire that claimed his family, and as a result no one wanted to adopt him, instead, he was ridiculed and called Frankenstein. He didn’t want the same fate for another child. So when he learns about Caleb, a sweet six year old boy who lost his family—and his arm—in a car accident, David was determined to find the boy a home.

Sadie Miller is the town spinster. She’s given her life caring for her sick father, and now that he’s gone, she wants to give to someone else. When David proposes that she take in Caleb, as a foster mother, Sadie is thrilled. She has someone to love, and Caleb’s deformity doesn’t matter in the least.

Unfortunately, Child Welfare doesn’t agree that a single woman is qualified to be a foster parent and they insist that David return Caleb to the orphanage. So David and Sadie try to find an approved home for the poor orphaned boy—is it possible they’ll find a family instead?

ORPHANED HEARTS is a very sweet poignant story about three orphans. One orphaned as an adult, the other two as children. I had my heart’s strings tugged by the sad tales that the trio had, and wanted them to find love, acceptance, and a family.

The story was fairly predictable, and the font was a bit difficult to read (I was lucky enough to get a print copy, but it is available on Kindle, that might be easier to read than the print). Over all this is a very enjoyable story, set during the Great Depression. 122 pages. $3.99 on Kindle. Print prices unavailable.

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