Saturday, June 30, 2012

Interview with Ruth Reid / Giveaway / Review of Brush of an Angel's Wings

Answer Ruth's question to be entered in the giveaway. Be sure to leave contact information.

What kind of research did you do for Brush of An Angel’s Wings?

Outside of typical Amish research, I talked with farmers about problems associated with calf delivery, and my long-time best friend, Anita Merchant helped tremendously with answering my trucking questions. She and her husband have owned a trucking business and sawmill for a number of years.

How did you come up with the plot for Brush of An Angel’s Wings?

I don’t consider myself a good cook, so I thought it would be fun to write a story of a young Amish woman who would rather work in the barn than be stuck in the kitchen. I also wanted to show how anger and jealously gives a foothold to the enemy and the spiritual battle that takes place when God dispatches His angel.

Share a brief blurb about the book.

He doesn't plan to stay Amish. She doesn't have a plan. Then an angel draws their hearts toward God . . . and each other.

A buggy-racing champion, a hardworking field-hand, and a terrible cook, Rachel Hartzler does not fit her Amish community's standards for an eligible bride. Hurt by their rejection and still grieving the loss of her brother, Rachel is ready for change.
She's not, however, ready for Jordan Engles. Rachel's father hired him to help tend the fields so Rachel can learn to cook and sew, thus increasing her chances of finding a husband. She can't understand why her father doesn't want her help and blames Jordan for trying to replace her beloved brother.

Jordan plans for his time on the Michigan farm to be short. Before his mother passed away, he promised her he'd give her Amish roots a chance. Upon her death, uncertain about what else to do, he came to stay with his Uncle Isaac in Hope Falls. He's curious why his mother left the community she obviously loved. But it doesn't take Jordan long to conclude that the strict lifestyle and the three-hour church services are not for him.

But there isn't just human interaction at play. Nathaniel, an angel of God, sees the potential in Jordan and Rachel's hearts from heaven's perspective. His goal is to shepherd them toward the path of healing and love.

When tragedy strikes, then strikes again, this angelic being is sent to guide them toward the healing and abundant life promised in God's Word - if only they will listen.

What role have your life experiences played in the characters and/or the situations you develop in your books?

The time my family lived on a farm, and I owned horses has provided the backdrop of many of my stories. I may never have the opportunity to live on a farm again, but my characters will.

Do you see parallels or do you try to avoid using your own personal life as a source of inspiration?

Over the years, there have been difficult times when my faith has had to stretch. However, God has always seen me through! His love feeds an unfailing hope. Each character’s story I write, I want to show how pressing through the tough times will lead to an even deeper level of commitment and faith in Jesus Christ.

How has your passion for reading impacted your writing?

I’m drawn to stories that can move me to tears and cause me to laugh out loud. I strive to deliver the same experience in the books that I write.

Describe how you write a book – with your other responsibilities, does it tend to be something you work into your every day, or do you have to “set apart” time to write with open, undesignated blocks of time?

I write in my office. Sometimes I don’t come out until wee hours of the night and other times I get up in the middle of the night and write until daybreak. I tend to work best when I set word count goals. It pushes me to not only reach the goal, but write a few hundred words more. The other thing I do is leave the story where I know what the next scene will be. It saves time looking at a blank page if I can open my document and not have to think about where to start.

What provides your inspirations during that time – i.e. do you go out in nature, do you seek to be in a busy place with people or in a quiet library, etc.?

Music is very inspirational. I love to listen to Mercy Me, Casting Crowns, Natalie Grant, Kutless, Aaron Shust, Jeremy Camp. could fill the page of songwriters and music that inspired me.

How have social networking sites, even including email, etc. impacted your writing? Do you find the internet to be a helpful or harmful resource in research, advertising, reviewing, etc. your books?

I know social media works—I just haven’t figured out how to use it to its fullest. I like communicating through email over FB and hands down I would rather sit and visit over a cup of coffee. You can’t replace true laughter with LOL. Teens may think so, but I want to hear the inflection in someone’s tone.

Do you use these tools such as Facebook as a means of observing the behavior of others which could be the basis of a character, or are you of the ‘old school’ that relies more on personal relationships and “human” touches?

I probably could copy/paste the above response. When I want to observe behavior, I go to the mall or a theme park and people watch. I will say that my husband is better at eavesdropping. Any time we go out to eat, he listens to the conversations in the booth behind him than to me. He tells me he’s gathering research for me—I’m pretty sure I talk too much.

Ruth Reid lives in Dade City, Florida with her husband and three children. She is the bestselling author of The Promise of an Angel and Brush of Angel’s Wings. You can find her on Facebook at:

Ask a question for the readers to answer to be entered into the giveaway

In Brush of an Angel’s Wing, Rachel struggles with cooking. Do you find cooking a chore or an adventure?


My review:

Author: Ruth Reid
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
June 2012
ISBN: 978-1595547897
Genre: Inspirational/Amish/spiritual warfare

He doesn’t plan to stay Amish… She doesn’t have a plan….

Rachel Hartzler is a buggy racing champion, a field hand, and a terrible cook—everything an Amish woman is not supposed to be. Rachel is grieving the loss of her brother, and desperate to be the son her father needs—but is rejected by all possible suitors for her tomboyish traits.

Jordan Engles is English. His mom left the Amish years ago to marry his father, but she wanted him to “sample” her Amish roots. Jordan agrees, but he plans to only stay for a short time. He’s hired by Rachel’s father to help tend the fields so that Rachel can learn how to cook and sew as well as other wifely traits so she can hopefully find a husband.

Jordan is convinced that the strict life of the Amish is not for him, not only that but he and Rachel are at each other’s throats. But there is more at play here than just hearts. Spiritual warfare is also at work. And each must work through their own tragedies and listen to the quiet voices directing them through their thoughts.

Ruth Reid is the talented author of The Promise of An Angel, the first book in the A Heaven on Earth series. BRUSH OF AN ANGEL’S WINGS is the second book in the series, but it easily stands alone.

I was privileged to be in Ms. Reid’s critique group during the writing of this book and it was a pleasure to read the final, published version of the rough draft that I read. This story has really grown and expanded from the initial copy that I read, the characters becoming stronger and the spiritual forces more real.

Both Jordan and Rachel are young and sometimes have foolish thoughts and actions, but this makes them both more real. Rachel’s father strives to be a good influence, gently guiding both of them, especially Jordan as he lacked a stable father figure in his life.

If you like books about Amish, Ms. Reid has a unique and innovative approach to writing about them. Mixed with the angelic and demon forces that inherit the spiritual realm of our world, it is unlikely you’ll read another Amish book written in this style. Pick up BRUSH OF AN ANGEL’S WINGS for a book you won’t soon forget. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $15.99. 350 pages.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Whisper of Peace

Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: Bethany House
September 2011
ISBN: 978-0764207853
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Lizzie Dawson is cut off from her Native tribe because of her white father. She lives alone in the mountains of Alaska. She lives in the small cabin her father built surrounded by her dog teams and wildlife.

Clay Selby is a missionary. His parents served a native American tribe in Oklahoma, now Clay and his sister are planning to serve as missionaries to a tribe in Alaska. Clay wants to preach, and Vivian wants to teach them how to read and write. He is focused on this goal, at least until he meets Lizzie, and intriguing Indian woman with the bluest eyes he’d ever seen.

But even though Clay is drawn to Lizzie—and Lizzie to Clay’s music—befriending each other might Clay’s ministry. But how can Clay choose between the quiet nudging of his heart and his desire to preach the word?

A WHISPER OF PEACE is a sweet romance set in Alaska, complete with the hurting heroine and strong male lead. Clay is a bit judgmental at first, but he does learn and grow within the pages of the book. Vivian and Lizzie are both going through similar circumstances, though in different ways.

The story is well written, but seemed rather slow at times and it didn’t hold my interest very well though I generally love stories set in Alaska. Still, this is a book that Kim Vogel Sawyer fans will want to read and historical romance fans alike. $14.99. 349 pages.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Five Miles South of Peculiar

Author: Angela Hunt
Publisher: Simon and Schuster (Howard Books)
June 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4391-8204-8
Genre: Women’s fiction

Darlene Caldwell has spent her life on Sycamores, an estate located five miles south of Peculiar, Florida. She raised her family in her grandfather’s estate, and she’s a pillar of the community, and she reigns as queen—at least until her twin sister comes to town.

Carlene Caldwell is a Broadway star. She knows her acting skills are subpar, but her singing, now that is everything. But when she strains her voice, she doesn’t listen to her coach, she instead goes to the doctor, hoping for a voice that’s bigger and better than her best. Instead, her voice is ruined. Searching for a reason for life, she feels she has no choice but to return home to Sycamores.

Magnolia Caldwell has never married. She’s delightfully naïve, despite being over forty, and she never wants to leave Sycamores. She cares for her dogs and her gardens, but then she meets a man haunted by his mistakes.

Can these three sisters discover who they’re meant to be when life takes an unexpected detour?

FIVE MILES SOUTH OF PECULIAR is a women’s fiction, that is about three sisters (as I spelled out above.) Darlene and Carlene are both strong willed individuals, but Carlene has grown used to leaning on her agent for support, and Darlene has no one left but herself. Nolie was probably my favorite character, kind and friendly, open and honest. The story is real slow moving at times, but Nolie's story, with a romance included, kept me reading.

If you like contemporary women’s fiction, then FIVE MILES SOUTH OF PECULIAR is a book to consider. Three stories interwoven into one, three sisters who’s lives are intertwined, and yet they all have their own unique courses to follow. Some yummy sounding recipes, discussion questions, and an author question and answer are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 384 pages.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Interview with Cheryl McKay / giveaway and review of Finally the Bride

Answer Cheryl's question to be entered into the giveaway. Be sure to leave contact information.

Interview with Cheryl McKay (Book Author / Screenwriter)

Why do you write the kind of books you do?

I tend to write very personal stories, either in fiction or non-fiction format. If I can find a way to put myself or my personal experience into what I’m sharing, I am much more
passionate about it. I also feel like I’ll be a lot more relatable to readers (or viewers, in the case of movies.) I love to write heartfelt dramas or romantic comedies. You can bet if it’s comedic, like Never the Bride, I am making fun of myself.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

My wedding day last year. Sorry to be a cliché but as readers will learn in Finally the
Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting, I waited a long time to have God bring love into my
life. It was a day of promises fulfilled and dreams come true. Having the wedding at my
in-laws home, just like I penned Jessie doing in the script version of Never the Bride, was
extra cool! We got married on a ranch of 10 horses at a house that my hubby helped build
for his sister. It couldn’t have been more personal and beautiful. Every person who stood
up for me, except the groom’s sister, I’ve known since I was fifteen years old or younger.
So, it was great to be surrounded by such good, long-time friends and family members. It
was also really special to have all of my mom’s siblings there, as the last time we all got
together was for my grandmother’s funeral the year before. I’m wearing her engagement
ring now as my own.

How has being published changed your life?

There is nothing more meaningful than hearing from people you’ve never met, saying
you’ve changed their lives. One of the comments I get most often is that people feel like
I somehow got inside their head and wrote their thoughts. Apparently, all the ups and
downs I felt during my long journey as a single person is very relatable to others on the
same path. Being able to help others makes putting my personal life on the line worth it.

What are you reading right now?

Katie Ganshert’s Wildflowers From Winter. I participated in a blog hop with her, when
her book first released, where a bunch of authors blogged about how God works through
trials. (

This is a theme I wholeheartedly believe in (and was the #1 theme I embraced when
I adapted Jim Stovall’s novel The Ultimate Gift into a feature film.) Another novel
I recently reread for the third time along the same themes was Confessions From a
Farmer’s Wife by Caroline Way. It’s truly an extraordinary novel, modern day version of
Job from the wife’s POV. I love stories that show redemption in pain.

What is your current work in progress?

In a couple of months, I’ll be releasing my original autobiography that has been about
ten years in the making. It’s called Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace. It’s
geared toward those who struggle with fear, panic, and anxiety attacks, and those who are
tired of fear ruling their lives. It ruled my life for over twenty years, but no more.

We’re also hard at work putting together the production for Never the Bride. That
novel was a script first, then adapted into a novel (with the awesomely amazing Rene
Gutteridge.) We want to shoot a movie version of that story, then write the sequel,
Finally the One. (It will be so fun to follow Jessie into marriage, while God goes to work
on her sister next.)

Rene and I are also working on our next script-to-book adaptation called Greetings From
the Flipside, for B&H Publishing, due out Fall 2013.

What would be your dream vacation?

Any vacations that bring me together with family. I moved 3000 miles away from my
family about 12 years ago. So most of my vacations involve getting home to see them.
And that’s the way I like it!

How do you choose your settings for each book?

They’re often based on places I’ve visited. For example, my husband and I got to visit
the Danish town of Solvang, CA when it was all decorated for Christmas. That place
is beyond adorable. (I’m working that into a future romantic comedy.) I love choosing
places I can go visit or those accessible to tons of photos and research. I also like to dig
into work settings. If my character has a particular job, I try to observe that job in action.
For example, I got to visit a 9-1-1 call center for an upcoming project an about a 9-1-1
operator. I won’t mention that a murder happened the night I was there.

What three things about you would surprise readers?

I hate feet. Always have. I have a terrible addiction to Chapstick. And you will likely
never see me anywhere without a bottle of water.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

Scrapbooking and going out to fun places and taking either beautiful or kooky photos
with my husband—which later go into those scrapbooks. We love to act out silly scenes
wherever we go. Does watching 80s sitcoms count as a hobby? I’m also learning to
cook. I love experimenting with my breadmaker.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it

If I ever feel dry creatively, I pull out my color coding method to get myself excited
about working on an idea. It’s my favorite way to brainstorm and sometimes I can get my
creative juices flowing if they’re stopped up.

Readers can read more about this fun method on my blog:

One time, when I had a hard time figuring out how to write a scene into The Ultimate
Gift, I went to a cemetery and pretended to be the lead character, Jason, visiting his
grandfather’s grave. It helped get me into the emotional state of the character.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Write every day. Stay in practice. Don’t be afraid to publish independently to get started.
You have a voice and a story. Don’t let a lack of an agent or a publisher stop you from
getting your message out there.

Tell us about the book.

Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting was written almost entirely while I was
still single and waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And did I mention annoyed with the
wait? I had no idea when I started writing it what its ending would be. But God was clear:
He wanted me to write this book during my waiting journey as one to give hope to those
who are losing hope. He had to show up and help me during that long season, so I could
share His counsel with others. It’s written in “real time” of the journey. It seems to really
hit home with singles, but also with some married people who have trouble surrending
any particular area to God. It’s like the non-fiction companion book to Never the Bride.

What do you want readers to take away from the book?

I truly desire for readers to find hope in the reading of my story, to find meaningful things to do with their lives while they wait for this area of life to change. I want readers to feel like, finally, they are not alone in their struggles.

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

What book have you read that has not been made into a movie that you’d like to see?

Tell us about the giveaway you’re offering.

I’m giving away a free copy of Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting. It can be
paperback or Kindle, reader’s choice.



Author: Cheryl McKay
Publisher: Purple Penworks
March 2012
ISBN: 978-1470005931
Genre: Inspirational/dating and relationships

Message for my man:

If you don’t show up soon, I’m adding you to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. It won’t be pretty! I will not bail you out of your first night of captivity.

Could this message be from you? Are you tired of waiting for that perfect man to finally show up in your life? Are you tired of discovering that even if God is writing your love life, He writes much slower than you do? Are you well on your way to becoming a forty-year old virgin?

Cheryl McKay was in that place. An accomplished screen writer, she’d been in control of relationships—of characters—for years. But her own relationship never seemed to happen. Missionary dating—blind dates, nothing worked. Cheryl had to learn to leave the writing to God and continue to wait…and wait…and wait.

FINALLY THE BRIDE is the story of that wait. How God ministered to her as she initially got the idea for this book, as well as how she worked through the jealousy of seeing others much younger than her find their one and only. And then, when she’d given it all up to God He finally brought Mr. Right into her life. The story is interlaced with true stories of finding The One from the Bible as well as from modern day people.

Filled with humor, FINALLY THE BRIDE is a book that will engross the reader and draw them into the topic. And not only that but at the end of the book is a section written by Cheryl’s eventual husband filled with tips for men who are looking for that elusive bride, as well as an appendix with even more real life stories of finding/meeting/marrying their eventual mate. If you are single and looking this is a book that will encourage you during that wait. $12.99. 246 pages.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Bride's Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas

Author: Erica Vetsch
Publisher: Barbour Books
September 2011
ISBN: 978-1-616265069
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Addie Reid was once the sweetheart of a notorious train robber. She is anxious to keep her past secret and has moved to a new town—Dodge City—for a fresh start. Only thing is, her uncle’s mortgage is due and the bank won’t let her assume it. They have an offer on the property and are determined to cash it in. She manages to sweet talk the loan officer into three months to pay the bill off in full, but she knows it’s a lost cause.

Miles Carr is related to a group of thieves, and if the knowledge of this comes out, he’ll lose his law enforcement job and be swinging from a noose. He is anxious to keep his past secret and work for his hero, Bat Masterson.

Miles is greatly attracted to Addie, but then Vin Ritter comes into town, and he tells Miles that Addie was once the sweetheart of a train robber. Miles is confused. Is the cool attractive, respectable woman he knows truly capable of loving a criminal? And what happens when Addie finds herself holding a clue that could expose a killer’s identity? Will she find herself looking down the end of a gun barrel?

A BRIDE’S PORTRAIT OF DODGE CITY, KANSAS is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Vetsch, but I hope it won’t be the last. The characters in this book came to life, Addie, Miles, and Addie’s best friend Fran and another deputy, Jonas, who star in their own romance within the pages of this novel.

New and different, this story will delight readers who are tired of the same old plot, setting, story, with historicals. I fell in love with the whole story, and give it five stars and a hearty recommendation. Don’t miss A BRIDE’S PORTRAIT OF DODGE CITY, KANSAS. $12.99. 316 pages.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Time for Peace

Author: Barbara Cameron
Publisher: Abingdon Press
October 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4267-0765-0
Genre: Inspirational/Amish

Jenny Bontrager is still getting used to life as an Amish woman, even after three years of marriage to Matthew. He has three children from a previous marriage and she longs for a baby of her own, and is envious when other Amish women get pregnant in their first year of marriage. She wonders if her insides where damaged when she was in an accident before she became Amish.

One morning Jenny is summoned into the kitchen by her step-children, who are alarmed because Phoebe, Jenny’s grandmother, won’t wake up. Jenny is afraid she is dead, but she finds a pulse and has Matthew call for an ambulance. But then she learns something confusing. Her grandmother has some kind of mysterious illness that grandma doesn’t want her to know about.

When Jenny discovers a letter written by her father, her sense of peace and contentment is destroyed, leaving Jenny struggling with her faith and with the love of those around her.

A TIME FOR PEACE is the third book in Ms. Cameron’s Quilts of Lancaster County series. I have read the first two books in the series and looked forward to reading this one and finding out more about Jenny.

Jenny has some real issues to work through in this book. I had to admire her husband, Matthew for his strength in the midst of hardship, and for his kindness. The children and Phoebe were also nice touches.

If you are looking for an Amish book, then A TIME FOR PEACE is a good book to consider. Discussion questions, some yummy recipes, and a sample chapter of Ms. Cameron’s next book, Temporary Destination (April 2012) is included at the end of the book. $14.99. 285 pages

If you missed the first two books in this series they are: A Time for Love and A Time To Heal.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Director's Cut

Author: Janice Thompson
Publisher: Revell
June 2012
ISBN: 978-0800733476
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Tia Morales is a stellar set director. It’s the one time she’s ever in control of life. She has a script and she can tell at a glance when something works—and when it doesn’t. If only real life was that easy. But her mom is pushing her to hire her little sister as a makeup artist, her top star is getting ready to give birth, the producers hire an assistant who is way too bubbly and is instantly wooing all the male actors and camera men under her spell.

Tia and Jason Harris have been butting heads for months. But suddenly, he’s turned into a heart throb—especially for Tia. With everything else going on, it’s enough to send Tia over the edge.

What will it take for Tia to learn to let go and take life—and love—as it happens?

THE DIRECTOR’S CUT is the third book in Ms. Thompson’s Backstage Pass series, but it easily stands alone. Readers might want to start with the first two books, to see the beginning stories, such as with Kat and her grandmother Lenora, but even if you haven’t read them, you won’t get lost.

I completely enjoyed this book—the best of the series, I think—though I’m not a huge television sit-com fan. Still, it is full of humor, romance, and drama. Don’t miss THE DIRECTOR’S CUT. $14.99. 295 pages. 4 stars.

Author Janice Thompson has been blogging on her website with a series of true stories from her career as a director! If you’d like to read them, go to:

Also, here's a nice feature article from Family Fiction:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lucy Come Home

Authors: Dave and Neta Jackson
Publisher: Castle Rock Creative
June 2012
ISBN: 978-0982054437
Genre: Contemporary/women’s fiction

Lucy Tucker has lived on the streets of Chicago for over fifty years. Will she ever come home?

Fifteen-year-old Cindy worked long days beside her migrant worker family in Michigan’s sugar beet fields in the early 1940s until she meets a dashing young man, James Bodeen “Bo” from a traveling carnival. Bo brings some fun into her hard-scrabble life. But then a twist of fate send Cindy and Bo running.

Lucy Tucker is an old bag lady from the popular Yada Yada House of Hope series. Lucy isn’t about to give up her “freedom” not even as she reaches her 80th birthday. At least until a young, displaced woman seems to need her… This makes Lucy uncomfortable as she doesn’t let anyone too close.

Just as it seems her past is about to catch up with her, Lucy disappears again.

I’m not really sure what to think of LUCY COME HOME. I know that some people wanted to know how Lucy got on the streets… I guess I’ve never been that curious. Life happens to good people. I didn’t like how the story jumped between past and present – it kept the reader disjointed and unable to completely get into the story.

I found it interesting to read a story about a migrant worker. I didn’t grow up in the ‘40s, but I did grow up in Michigan and was used to migrant workers coming in to work the blueberry fields an aunt and uncle owned, and other crops. I never thought about how hard their life must be, or why they might be doing it, and it was a good insight into their life.

Cindy is realistically developed though very naïve—and her parents were too in some ways. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but when Cindy was offered a job, red flags went up all over the place for me. I couldn’t believe they didn’t for her or her parents.
If you read the Yada Yada House of Hope series and are curious about Lucy, then you’ll want to read LUCY COME HOME. $15.99. 416 pages. 3.5 stars.

About Dave and Neta:

Dave and Neta Jackson are award-winning authors living in the Chicago area where their parallel novels from the Yada Yada House of Hope and Harry Bentley series are set.

As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books.

Visit for more info.
Blog Tour Schedule
Please include the link to the blog tour post in your review:

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Quakers of New Garden

Authors: Claire Sanders, Ann E. Schrock, Jennifer Hudson Taylor and Susette William6s
Publisher: Barbour Books
April 2012
ISBN: 978-1-61626-643-1
Genre: Inspirational/Quaker romance/mixed time periods

Love--plain and simple--finds a home in Indiana

New Garden’s Hope by Jennifer Hudson Taylor—Josiah Wall has postponed his wedding to Ruth Payne one too many times. Now, Ruth has called off their engagement and Josiah is crushed, especially when he learns she’s blabbing it around town that they broke up. Josiah fully intends to marry Ruth, he just wanted to wait until after the election. But now, he sets out to win her back, but each attempt is thwarted by disaster. Could this broken engagement really be the end?

New Garden’s Crossroads by Ann E. Schrock—Deborah Wall is thrilled when she lands a position working for a hub of the Underground Railroad. Nathaniel Fox has left the Society of Friends and now works as a bounty hunter. When an injury takes him to the Coffin’s house where Deborah works, he and Deborah are on each other’s last nerve. Will Nathaniel be able to give up his ways to join Deborah in hers?

New Garden’s Inspiration by Claire Sanders—Leah Wall is an unwanted, poor relation, and she’s stunned and horrified to discover her uncle has arranged a marriage between her and widowed Caleb Whitaker. Leah finds herself a wife in name only, caring for Caleb’s children while he fights for the Union Army. If he comes home from the war, can she hope for more?

New Garden’s Conversion by Susette Williams—Jaidon Taylor is instantly attracted to beautiful Catherine Wall, but she thwarts all his attempts to get close because she is a Quaker and he is not. Jaidon is determined to show Catherine they aren’t as different as she believes. As they work together with inner city kids, will Jaidon succeed in his mission? Or are they really as different as Catherine believes?

THE QUAKERS OF NEW GARDEN is a collection of four romances, three set in historical time periods, and one in contemporary times. I enjoyed reading all four stories, but did stumble over the “thee’s” used in the first three for awhile. The fourth story, being a contemporary had the Quakers dressed in modern clothes and using modern language, making the characters easy for reader to identify with. All four stories are very well developed and interesting and readers interested in learning about the Quakers while devouring a well-told romance (or four) will want to read this book. All four of the stories are well written with realistic characters and an interesting story line. Recommended. $7.99. 350 pages.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sweeter than Birdsong

Author: Rosslyn Elliot
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
February 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59554-786-6
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Kate Winter is on track to be the first woman to graduate from Otterbein College in 1855. She is making As in all her classes, but she is so painfully shy that she cannot give the speech required to graduate. In desperation, her mother tells her that she must audition for a play, and Kate reluctantly agrees, but only if she can sing. She feels that if she sings, she’ll be part of a group, not a soloist, and all would be well.

Ben Hamby is the son of a preacher, and a musical genius at the college. He sees Kate as an enigmatic creature, beautiful, smart, yet shy. But when he hears her sing that first time, he is wowed. He’s determined to cast her in his musical.

When a terrifying accident brings Kate and Ben together, it also threatens to shatter both of their secrets. Kate will need to find her courage if they are going to find their future.

SWEETER THAN BIRDSONG is the second book in Ms. Elliot’s The Saddler’s Legacy series, which is inspired by a real family in American history—who are to this day one of the most celebrated citizens of Westerville, Ohio. To me, these are the most interesting sorts of historicals, since the author has to be so careful with historical accuracy.

Kate is a realistic character, which anyone ever suffering from shyness can identify with. Ben is a real charmer, kind and caring and passionate for his beliefs, which at times get him into a lot of trouble. Readers will be able to identify with these two people, and get lost in their story—which at times is heart wrenching. If you are looking for a good historical to read, then SWEETER THAN BIRDSONG would be a book to consider. Discussion questions, and an excerpt from Fairer than Morning are included at the end of the book. $15.99. 391 pages.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shadowed in Silk

Author: Christine Lindsay
Publisher: White Fire Publishing
September 2011
ISBN: 978-0976544494
Genre: Inspirational/historical

After the Great War, Abby Fraser is desperate to rejoin her husband in India and introduce him to his three-year-old son, Cam. Nick is a British soldier stationed there.
But Nick fails to meet them when her ship docks, and when they are finally reunited, she discovers the Nick she thought she married is not the cruel stranger she’s really wed to.

Major Geoff Richards has lost his wife and son, and now stationed in India, he treats the Indians as he does British, much to the Brits dismay. He falls in love with Abby’s young son, Cam, and when he discovers the truth about his dad and how abusive he is, he tries to protect Cam and Abby.

Tensions rise in India as the people cry for freedom—but there is political unrest and Russian spies. Caught in their own ideals Geoff and Abby stumble into sinister secrets—secrets that will thrust them out of the shadows and straight into the fire of revolution…

SHADOWED IN SILK is set during a time and place that not too many historical books are set—and it is well-written as well. Ms. Lindsay has a talent with words that will help you see, feel, taste, and hear what the characters do, making them come alive.

Both Geoff and Abby are flawed and realistic, making the reader care about them. I hated that Abby’s husband was the way he was and I was curious how the writer would work it out so that Geoff and Abby might be together—since she was married to another man. If you are looking for a historical set in a unique time and place, SHADOWED IN SILK is one to consider. Discussion questions are included. $14.99. 267 pages.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Thyme for Love

Author: Pamela S. Meyers
Publisher: OakTara
November 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60290-302-9
Genre: Inspirational/romance/suspense

April Love is a CPA who wants to be a chef. So when her aunt tells her about a job opening in Wisconsin, April is quick to drive from Atlanta to Canoga Lake, Wisconsin, to apply for the job. But then she learns that her ex-boyfriend, Marc Thorne is employed there. April isn’t totally sure she wants the job anymore, but she does agree to prepare a meal for her prospective employers to sample.

But then her potential new boss is murdered. Marc quickly steps in and hires April, saying that they’ll need food for the funeral and more. The death is ruled accidental, but rumors start circulating that it was in fact murder.

When rumors are proven true, everyone lays the blame on Marc. April can’t believe he’d do such a thing even though he’s changed a lot since she knew him. Did Marc do it? Or is someone framing him? The killer will go to any length to keep the truth from coming out.

THYME FOR LOVE is a book that I wanted a chance to read in its finished form. It was a chapter or two I read when Pam and I were critique partners (for a very brief time) in the way beginning stages of this story and I wondered how it turned out. Well—this book is totally different than the drafts I saw. It went a different direction than I thought.

Marc and April are warned away from having a dating relationship by the board members, but Marc is desperate to renew his “friendship” with April—almost to the point of impropriety. April is an extremely forward female lead, unable to take no for an answer. Lots of yummy food mentioned (don’t read when your hungry) and a murder to solve. I figured out who-dun-it relatively early on, and it was kind of predictable. There are some funny moments. It is good read. A recipe for Chicken George is included. $16.95. 216 pages. 3.5 stars

Monday, June 18, 2012

Southern Fried Sushi

Author: Jennifer Rogers Spinola
Publisher: Barbour Books
October 2011
ISBN: 978-1616263645
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Shiloh Jacobs is twenty-four and on the adventure of a lifetime. She is working at a coveted position at the Associated Press in Toyko and engaged to Carlos, a wealthy Hispanic man who is the best salesman in his field. She has everything under control, except possibly her spending, as evidenced by maxed out credit cards and mounting bills.

When Shiloh learns of her mother’s untimely passing, she travels to rural Virginia to sell her mother’s house, and take care of the situation there. But compared to the big city of Toyko, rural Virginia is a culture shock. Pick-up trucks and deer hunters abound, as well as quirky neighbors and a much slower pace.

But things go from bad to worse. Shiloh loses her job, her fiancée and worse, the house won’t sell. Plus her debts continue to pile up. Will Shiloh ever get back to her beloved Japan? Or will she have to settle in Virginia?

SOUTHERN FRIED SUSHI is not exactly what I expected. It starts very slowly, in Japan, with Shiloh handling her unopened credit card bills, then leaving the AP to meet with a friend for lunch. The setting, the crush of people, the sights and smells in Toyko are described to the point where I could see them, but the story started very very slowly and I couldn’t even begin to care for Shiloh. In fact, I hate her too suave fiancé when I met him and couldn’t believe Shiloh would actually put up with his nonsense. But then, most young girls make a lot of mistakes concerning men.

When Shiloh is sent back to Virginia the story really picks up. She had a rude awakening to the differences in cultures, and the differences in food—fried vegetables and meats, collard greens and mushy bread. But the people made it more fun. I loved the way she was forced to change her view of the world and grow up some. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $12.99. 379 pages.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Praying God's Word for Your Husband

Author: Kathi Lipp
Publisher: Revell
June 2012
ISBN: 978-0800720766
Genre: Inspirational/Marriage

Place your husband in God’s hands.

Many wives approach prayer as a checklist, something that has to be done in order to carry the “Good Girl Christian” card. But with this accessible guide, prayer can feel as natural as breathing. The reason is that the Word of God itself becomes your prayer.

With an accessible across-the-dining-room-table voice, Kathi Lipp shows you what a blessing it is to pray boldly for your husband, but also about the amazing differences you’ll see—in him and in yourself—as you pray in full confidence of seeing God answer.

Included in this book are prayers for your husband in:

 Career and finances
 Parenting
 Relationships with God and others
 Emotional health
 Safety
 Future

Ms. Lipp shows you how to establish a routine, pick a special spot to pray, focus your mind, prepare your heart, and even partner with other women in prayer.

PRAYING GOD’S WORD FOR YOUR HUSBAND is a book I highly recommend. It not only shares personal stories, but it also includes examples of how to pray, its set up in different categories so if your husband needs prayer right now in a certain area you can go directly there. Verses are written out, including references. And it is very down-to-Earth, and filled with common sense.

If you are looking for a book on how (and what) to pray for your husband then PRAYING GOD’S WORD FOR YOUR HUSBAND is a book that you need to pick up now. Highly recommended. $13.99. 192 pages.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Walks Alone

Author: Sandi Rog
Publisher: White Fire Publishing
Ebook: January 2012
Print: June 2012
ISBN: 978-0983455653
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Anna and her father have a dream of settling in Denver City. Even though Anna is only ten years old, she sees the passion in her father’s eyes when he mentions going west. But he dies soon after they arrive in New York from Holland, and Anna is forced to live with her mother’s brother, a cruel man. Six years later, Anna finds an opportunity to escape her enslavement, and takes a train west, hoping to get to Denver City and start teaching. But the train doesn’t go all the way to Denver, and the next stage will be in two weeks. Anna doesn’t have so much money, so she talks to a walk train, and even though the man is cruel, he agrees to let her walk behind them for a steep price.

Anna agrees, but when they are within hours of arriving in Denver City she and another woman are kidnapped by Indians. Anna is scared, but is determined not to be enslaved anymore. She vows to escape. But what will it take to escape these men who are determined to take her to their village? Men that won’t hesitate to kill her if she crosses them? Will she ever find a home?

WALKS ALONE is the first book I’ve read by Sandi Rog, but I’m sure it won’t be the last. Anna is a hurting child, desperate to be loved, and from the first pages I wanted to see her find a home and someone to love her. I did figure out the path the story would take to get her from onboard ship to traveling to Denver City so that wasn’t a surprise. But some of the events that happened after that was, and I had to keep reading to see what happened next.

White Eagle might have been an Indian, or a Savage, according to Anna, but he was a gentleman even when she lashed out at him, fighting for her freedom. I couldn’t help but fall in love with him, and couldn’t wait to see where this unlikely couple would end up.

If you are looking for a historical romance where different cultures clash, nonstop action and lots of twists and turns, then you’ll want to read WALKS ALONE. You won’t be able to put it down. Great book. $14.99.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Baby for Hannah

Author: Jerry Eicher
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
July 2011
ISBN: 978-0736943369
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction/Amish

Jake and Hannah Byler have miscarried one very wanted baby, and now they are looking forward to the birth of another one—if Hannah can carry it to term. Hannah’s sister, Miriam, has come to “help out” after the birth of the baby, and in the mean time as a horsetrainer for another woman. Miriam gets involved in a very quick romance with an Amishman in the area, but there is some concern that her new beau will jump the fence.

Jake is upset and bothered because a Mennonite evangelist is coming to the area and there is a danger that some of the Amish will leave to follow that group. He’s also not happy that his English boss has expressed interest in joining the Amish church so he can get married to one of the Amish women. Jake has discouraged the romance, but is he able to stop forbidden love from blooming.

A BABY FOR HANNAH is the third book of Hannah’s Heart series. I didn’t read any of the other books in this series, but Mr. Eicher did a good job explaining things enough that I really wasn’t lost.

I enjoyed getting to know Hannah and Jake, and experiencing a bit of Mr. Eicher’s style of writing. I found it very informative, and Hannah and Jake both could be real people with very real struggles.

If you enjoy reading Amish fiction, then A BABY FOR HANNAH would be a good book to read. Hannah and Jake’s romance is already established, but there are two other romances in the book, Miriam’s and Mary’s, so if you want romance, you won’t be disappointed. $11.99. 277 pages.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

African Hearts

Author: Laura O’Connell
Publisher: Even Before Publishing
April 2011
ISBN: 978-1-921633-28-7
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Gina Messina is stunned to get a letter from an African doctor, stating that her brother is dying of Aids and has requested her to go to Africa. The letter was sent four months earlier, but took the slow boat to Australia. Gina isn’t sure if her brother is still alive or not, but on the chance she is, she lets her boss know, and heads to Africa.

Doctor Kam Bonsu is the leader of a Gumboli village. He is deeply saddened by his best friend’s death, and now is hoping that Marco’s sister will come to take custody of his son, eight year old Justin. But Justin doesn’t want to go live with an unknown aunt in Australia, he wants to stay in Gumboli with Kam and with his friends.

When Gina arrives, she is stunned to learn of the change that has come over her brother’s life since she’d last seen him. She’s also surprised at the news that she has a nephew. But now she has a decision. Should she uproot Justin from all he’s ever known and return to her job in Australia, or stay in Africa and accept what can’t be changed.

AFRICAN HEARTS is a debut book by Ms. O’Connell and is a book that those interested in romances set in exotic locations will want to read. It is well researched, has believable characters and plot, and is exciting.

There are some incidents of telling, and places where it could be fleshed out more, but over all it is a great read. I enjoyed it. The downside is, this book is not readily available in America, but if you are interested, you can order it from $19.95. 246 pages.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Searching for Home

Author: Ann Gaylia O’Barr
Publisher: Oak Tara
August 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60290-275-6
Genre: Inspirational/mystery/romance

Two years ago Hannah Forbes’ fiancé left her for a trip to Haiti. But he never returned. Now Hannah has traveled to the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus to visit a friend, and for the first time since her fiancé’s death, Hannah feels some excitement.

In Cyprus, Hannah meets the handsome, ambitious U.S. diplomat Patrick Holtzman. He takes her on tours to museums, while Hannah’s desire to go back to Nashville and her job as a computer programmer fades.

But Patrick has his own secrets. And when they’re revealed, in the middle of tumultuous world events, both must decide how much they’re willing to risk their hearts.

SEARCHING FOR HOME is the first book by Ann Gaylia O’Barr that I’ve read though she has some other releases. Ms. 0’Barr has been a Foreign Service Officer, and you can tell that she really knows her exotic locations that she writes about. She also has some wonderful phases that she uses for descriptions.

SEARCHING FOR HOME is a mystery, with some scary events, and an added addition of a romance. If you like mysteries, then SEARCHING FOR HOME will be a book that you might consider reading. The writing was rather simplistic, at times, with a few other writing problems, but it was an intriguing tale. $18.95. 267 pages.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Something Old

Author: Dianne Christner
Publisher: Barbour Books
August 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61626-231-0
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance/Mennonite

Katy Yoder is a conservative Mennonite girl, and she takes her beliefs very seriously. She and her two best friends, Lil and Megan, plan to rent an old Amish house, remodel it, and live together. Her parents are against it, but then finally agree if she agrees to date a young man named David. Katy has been in love with Jake Byler since she was ten, but he never gave her the time of day and left the community to go to college where he dated other women. Katy is bitter about this, and so she decides to go ahead and date David.

Jake has returned home to start a new life. He wants to make up for being a jerk and leaving. Jake takes a job working as a construction worker, renovating the Amish house into something habitable for Mennonites, but this causes more problems. He and David are jealous of each other, not to mention Katy can’t stand him.

What will it take for Katy to find love and who will she choose? Jake or David?

I enjoy most Amish books, so was looking forward to reading this Mennonite one, since it’s a “close cousin.” However, this book didn’t read so much as a romance, but more as a young adult. Katy was very immature, blaming Jake for cheating on her, but not seeing that she was doing the same to him. She was a very judgmental character, and there was a lot of telling in the story, and way too much backstory in the beginning.

Jake was a sweet hero. He did make some mistakes, but he has some faith. I felt a bit sorry for him when Katy was so mean to him. I would have marketed this book as a young adult and not an adult romance, but it was an okay read. I didn’t like Katy, as I said, but Jake was a sweetheart. If you’re looking for something a bit different than typical Amish, pick up SOMETHING OLD. Some tips and cleaning recipes are included. $12.99. 315 pages.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pattern of Wounds

Author: J. Mark Bertrand
Publisher: Bethany House
July 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0638-2
Genre: Fiction / Suspense

Detective Roland March is on the case again. This time, it’s personal. Very personal. So much so, that I almost didn’t recognize him. The issues involved in the latest string of murders have touched him at the core of his very being, and he will never be the same man again.

This is not a book for the comfortable Christian who has it all figured out. Through his detective hero, J. Mark Bertrand tackles many tough issues that do not have pat answers, and shows just what it takes to make it through day after day of constant exposure to evil in its various forms. Every area of March’s life is touched by his latest case, and he teeters on the very brink of mental and moral destruction.

Bertrand’s characters are so bitingly real, you feel like you are right beside them the whole way. But don’t expect them to pull any punches. That’s not in the book. This is a great read, and I fully expect and eagerly anticipate the next in the Roland March series. 5 stars. 367 pages. $14.99.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Waiting for Sunrise

I want to let you know that Eva Marie Everson is sponsoring a contest for a Kindle Fire in conjunction with her blog tour week for Waiting for Sunrise! The details can be found here:!kindle-contest

Author: Eva Marie Everson
Publisher: Revell
June 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3437-4
Genre: Inspirational/ contemporary /women’s fiction

Patsy Sweeney a hard life. Her stepfather is abusive, her mother brings in laundry to help out, and Patsy has the care of the house and her two younger brothers, Billy and Harold. Until one day when Patsy tries to stop her stepfather from beating her mother and he notices her another way…

Desperate to save her daughter, Patsy’s mother puts Patsy on a bus to go live with a family that adopted her brother when he was just a baby. Patsy has a loving family, a great set of new friends, and even better—a future spouse waiting for her at the end of the ride.

But, now, years later, Patsy isn’t happy. She’s never recovered from the loss of her mother. Why did her mother give her up? Why did she keep Patsy’s younger brothers and not her? What will it take for Patsy to finally learn the truth about her past?

WAITING FOR SUNRISE is the newest book by Ms. Everson. It is a page turner. I started reading this book and hours later closed it, every word read. I cried through parts of it. This is a book that will reach the heartstrings and hold on, making the reader care.

I couldn’t understand exactly why Patsy couldn’t move on, having never been in that situation. I also couldn’t understand why she didn’t understand the truth behind it a lot earlier. She’d seen her stepfather’s looks, barely escaped his clutches a few times, and that never crossed her mind that her mother was protecting her? But the author handled it well. Billy’s story is also included in this book, and the ending is heartbreakingly sad—but satisfying. Don’t miss WAITING FOR SUNRISE. This is a book to read and remember. $14.99. 390 pages.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Summer Fit: Exercises for the Brain and Body While Away from School

Title: SUMMER FIT: Exercises for the Brain and Body While Away from School
Authors: multi
Publisher: Hess Print Solutions
ISBN: 978-0-97628-006-4 (grades 1-2)
978-0-97628-000-2 (grades 4-5)
Genre: Educational

Be smart. Be Active. Stay Cool.

The SUMMER FIT curriculum for kids will help your child be smart by staying on top of classroom skills in reading, writing, math, and language arts (so they don’t forget everything they learned last year over the summer.) It will help your child be active by using a daily fitness schedule to keep moving. And it will help them “stay cool” by teaching them the importance of kindness, respect, honesty, and responsibility.

There is one page of “school work” for a child to do each day. It is perfect for your child in playing school, and keeping their skills up to date at the same time.

I have a child who just finished kindergarten and one who just finished fourth grade, so I was given one for each grade to try out. I found the level of work suitable for where the kids were when they finished their grade, and covering everything from simple phonics and classification skills to more advanced topics like identifying angles, counting money, and other necessary skills. There are also math problems like fractions, adding, subtracting, multiplication and division.

If you are looking for something to keep your child active this summer, then SUMMER FIT would be something to consider. There are games your children can play on line at and there are trivia apps available. On-line videos show kids how to exercise correctly, and there additional downloads available on-line.
YouTube link:

Summer Fit Learning is active on Facebook, for updates, promotions, activities, and fun facts. This is their facebook link:

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Wings of Morning

Author: Murray Pura
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
February 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7369-4877-7
Genre: Inspirational/historical/Amish

Lynndaya Kurtz is working in her garden when an aeroplane flies overhead and then lands in the hayfield. She and everyone else in the community run out there to meet the pilot, who turns out to be Lyyndaya’s friend, Jude Whetstone. Jude takes the bishop up first, then Lynndaya, flying upside down and everything at Lynndaya’s demands.

The community is scandalized by Lynndaya’s behavior in the plane, and she’s barely back on solid ground when her parents are scolding her for having anything to do with Jude Whetstone. Much to Lynndaya’s dismay, she’s forced to write Jude a letter, breaking things off before they even begin.

When war breaks out, Lynndaya and Jude find themselves separated by more than just disapproving parents. Thousands of miles and an ocean now separate them. Not to mention a forced shunning because Jude enlists to fight in the war. What will it take to bring Lynndaya and Jude back together? Or, is it too late for both of them?

THE WINGS OF MORNING is the first book I’ve read by Murray Pura but I’m sure it won’t be the last. I wasn’t sure what to expect of this book. I loaned it to a friend who handed it back to me with the comments that he has all his historical facts wrong. I didn’t see anything wrong, though I did check a couple details for accuracy.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with Lynndaya—a spunky Amish girl who’s a tomboy at heart, and Jude, an Amish man with one foot in the world. Historical fiction fans and Amish fans alike will love this novel. Don’t miss THE WINGS OF MORNING. $13.99. 300 pages.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Author: Travis Thrasher
Publisher: David C. Cook
April 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6417-1
Genre: Young Adult/Christian mystery/supernatural suspense

TEMPTATION is the third book in Mr. Thrasher’s Solitary Tales Series. It is the story of Chris Buckley’s soul-wrenching journey as he goes deeper into the darkness that threatens all he loves best.

Chris is a reluctant student at Harrington High’s summer school, and there he meets a fun-loving girl who is a welcome diversion from Chris’ past. Chris stops searching for truth about the town of Solitary, and no longer tries to piece it’s shadows, or his role in the mysteries surrounding it.

So, Chris makes a new choice—he runs. But he doesn’t realize he’s running the wrong way—and is very close to being beyond any choices at all…

Okay, I’ll be honest. I didn’t read Solitary or Gravestone so I was totally lost when I tried to get into TEMPTATION. I didn’t know the previous story, and I felt like I was dropped into the end of a very confusing drama. So, if you haven’t read the first two books in this series, then make sure you do before starting TEMPTATION.

TEMPTATION isn’t just for young adults. If you like supernatural suspense, then TEMPTATION is a book for you to consider. We are fighting a spiritual battle, and TEMPTATION is a good reminder of that. The book ends with Chris needing to make a major decision, an excellent draw into the final book in the series Hurt, releasing in January 2013.

I am not a fan of supernatural suspense, nor mysteries, so I am definitely the wrong person to review this book. So, even though this book didn’t exactly excite me, it might be just the one you’re looking for. The writing was great, scary, edge-of-the-seat style. The characterization, fantastic. So, basing my rating on that, four stars. $9.99. 336 pages.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Love, Charleston

Author: Beth Webb Hart
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
August 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59554-201-4
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Anne Brumley has dreamed of love as a child when she used to ring the bells at St. Michael’s, but now those dreams are fading. Her sister Alisha and cousin Della try to encourage Anne to move somewhere new for a fresh start.

Widower Roy Summerall has ministered at his current post for years. He’s finally healed from the death of his wife, but is flabbergasted when he’s assigned a post in Charleston—the city that Roy thinks is pretentious and superficial. No one there will accept him—not with his accent, his crooked teeth, his red neck, not to mention his simple faith.

Anne’s sister struggles with her husband’s ambition, and Della’s former fiancé has returned to Charleston—all three women struggle with love issues—but can God transform each of these women’s hearts—and Roy’s?

LOVE, CHARLESTON is another of the books I’ve had for ages on my to-read pile and I finally decided to just do it. Roy is a very real character, set in his ways and opposing change, and while his daughter and mother are thrilled at the idea of him going to Charleston, he goes with a chip on his back. Anne, Alisha, and Della all struggle with very real issues and are well written characters.

There is some telling in the story and some point of view switches that were jarring, but all in all the story is well told. There are also some “soft” swear words that won’t bother most readers but the more conservative ones will be bothered by them. There is also some drinking in moderation and adultry. If you like women’s fiction and haven’t read LOVE, CHARLESTON when it first came out, then don’t miss it. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 311 pages.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Choose Joy Because Happiness Isn't Enough

Author: Kay Warren
Publisher: Revell
April 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2172-5
Genre: Inspiration/Christian living

Why are some people—even in the tough times—always filled with joy, while most of us can’t seem to find lasting joy no matter how hard we search? Do joy-filled people know something the rest of us don’t?

Everyone feels joy in the peaks of life – graduation, engagements, finding a job, having a baby, or being declared cancer-free. But what about in the valleys, when everything is going absolutely wrong. Can you find joy then?

In CHOOSE JOY Kay Warren shares how to find soul-satisfying joy no matter what. Joy is deeper than happiness, lasts longer than excitement, and is more satisfying than pleasure and thrills. Joy comes from God...and it can be yours.

CHOOSE JOY is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Warren. It is not exactly written in an “across the kitchen table” style, this voice is more teaching than friendly. And the chapters are longer than a typical devotional. Still, if you have about twenty to thirty minutes to spend, like during a lunch hour, it will be good to read. The chapters start with an inspirational quote, go into the story form with personal stories and biblical truths, then go on to an application, prayer, and reflection questions. You will want to have a notebook handy for notes and to answer the questions, as this book isn’t designed to write in.

If you are looking for a book for a small group study then CHOOSE JOY would be a good book to consider. There is a mentor’s guide and other curriculum available for this book as well. Excellent for women, men probably wouldn't relate. Recommended for a church library. Further information and discussion can be found at $21.99 hardcover. 259 pages.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Best Friend

Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Revell
June 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1963-0
Genre: Inspirational/young adult

Lishia Vance thought she had some really good youth group friends. But then suddenly a new girl comes to town, and she loses all her friends. In a miff, Lishia gets up to move away from the table and goes to sit with another girl, a cheerleader, who is sitting alone.

Riley is Lishia’s middle school friend and suddenly she’s claiming Lishia is her best friend, except she’s asking her to do some really dishonest and mean stuff. Lishia is uncomfortable with this, but she does what Riley asks because that is what best friends do.

Now Riley has gotten Lishia on the cheerleading squad and Lishia is finding it isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be. She hates the person she’s become. And she hates being Riley’s puppet. But is she willing to do what’s right and face what could be public humiliation?

THE BEST FRIEND is the latest book by Ms. Carlson and my daughter was anxiously waiting for me to finish it so she could read it. Ms. Carlson really writes books that appeal to teens and tweeners. Some of the issues are rather adult and edgy, so if you are protective—or ultra-conservative, you might want to be careful, but it deals with real issues that, unfortunately, teens face today.

Lishia is a very realistic teenager – desperate enough for a friend and to be accepted that she was willing to do anything to achieve that. I hated some of the bad decisions she was making and that even her family seemed to support her bad choices by encouraging her to spend the night with Riley, despite knowing her reputation, and by bragging about her getting on the cheerleading squad, like that was the ultimate, even better than her perfect GPA. Not that cheerleaders are bad—my best friend was one—but most of the ones in this series were really messed up.

If you are looking for a new Melody Carlson book for your favorite young adult then THE BEST FRIEND is a great book to consider. $12.99. 215 pages.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Blood Sugar Solution

Author: Mark Hyman, MD
Publisher: Little Brown
February 2012
ISBN: 978-0-316-12737-0
Genre: Healthy living

THE BLOOD SUGAR SOLUTION is a book for those individuals who want to be on an ultra-healthy program for losing weight, preventing disease, and feeling great. Dr. Hyman is the best-selling author of other medical books for the general public, and he maintains that fifty percent of all Americans have diabesity, which is the spectrum of imbalance ranging from mild insulin resistance to prediabetes, to full-blown type 2 diabetes.

The latest research shows that insulin imbalance is the major cause of weight issues and diabetes, as well as heart disease, cancer, dementia, and most other diseases. You may have diabesity and not know it.

In THE BLOOD SUGAR SOLUTION, Dr. Hyman presents his scientifically based program for rebalancing insulin and blood sugar levels. He identifies the seven factors in achieving wellness: peak nutrition, regulated hormones, reduced inflammation, optimized digestion, maximized detoxification, better energy metabolism, and a calm mind.

Included in THE BLOOD SUGAR SOLUTION are self diagnostic tests, advice on supplements and medication, stress-reducing strategies, a menu plan and recipes, as well as a six-week action plan.

If you follow the advice in THE BLOOD SUGAR SOLUTION, you will gain back your health.

The reading of this book is rather dry—and it does suggest working with your medical doctor, so your physician will need to be open-minded and accepting of Dr. Hyman’s approach and views. The recipes included sound wonderful, but pricy, and also includes a shopping list so you can make sure you have all the ingredients on hand (some are hard to find). Also, the supplements recommended seem to be only available on his website for a pricy amount. If you are looking for a healthier lifestyle then pick up THE BLOOD SUGAR SOLUTION is a book to consider. $27.99 hardcover. 420 pages.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Fire in Ember

Author: DiAnn Mills
Publisher: Zondervan
December 2010
ISBN: 978-0-310-29330-9
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Bert had thought that returning a stolen horse would be the right thing to do… but instead she finds herself tied up, accused of being a horse thief, and sentenced to hang. She couldn’t tell them the truth—but she didn’t want to die either.

Deputy John Timmon’s has cared for his mother and brother for years—he came upon the hanging, and thinks he’s rescued a young boy from certain death—until he learns she’s a girl. And then a whirlwind of emotions sent his heart spinning.

Cattle rustlers have started murdering on these Colorado ranches and whether she likes it or not, Bert is a suspect. John is knows she’s afraid of something, but what? And why? If he doesn’t know who really is doing it, will he be able to solve the crimes?

THE FIRE IN EMBER is a book I had in my to-read pile for awhile and I finally started it. It is the basic plot of a good girl trying to protect a bad family and falling in love with the one man who could put her family behind bars. I can’t say I really enjoyed the book, I found it rather predictable, but it is very well written, and the story flowed well.

If you enjoy historicals, then THE FIRE IN EMBER might be a book you want to read. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book, making it ideal for book clubs. $14.99. 339 pages.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Double Exposure

Author: Susan Sleeman
Publisher: Love Inpired Suspense
June 2012
ISBN: 978-0-373-44495-3
Genre: Inspirational/romantic suspense

Jennie Buchanan has started a not-for-profit company to benefit orphans and poor families, and she, a professional photographer, goes in, taking the pictures herself. However, while photographing in Mexico, she must have inadvertently angered someone, because now her latest art exhibit has been destroyed, and someone is trying to kill her.

Ethan Justice has started a company protecting others, and the art gallery showing Jennie’s work has hired him to protect Jennie and get to the bottom of the crimes. However, Ethan and Jennie were once more than friends, and Ethan doesn’t know how he can separate his job from his past.

When Ethan and Jennie meet, Ethan is frustrated by her lack of listening skills. If he is going to keep Jennie alive, she has to trust him—and she doesn’t, determined to live her life as normally as possible. But when bullets keep flying and the body count rises, Ethan and Jennie are going to have to come to grips with their past in order to solve the crimes before it’s too late.

DOUBLE EXPOSURE is the first book in a new series by Love Inspired Suspense The Justice Agency. Jennie is a hurting character with secrets from her past and unsettled future hopes who wants to help children. Ethan is a true hero, manly, yet kind and gentle. I couldn’t help but fall in love with him.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading DOUBLE EXPOSURE and if you are looking for a good romantic suspense, then look no further! DOUBLE EXPOSURE will keep your attention and provide a great escape. Don’t miss it. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.75. 215 pages.

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