Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It Happened at the Fair

Author: Deeanne Gist
Publisher: Howard Books
April 2013
ISBN: 978-1451692372
Genre: Historical

Gambling everything—including the family farm—Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his most recent invention. But the noise in the fair’s Machinery Hall makes it impossible to communicate with potential buyers. In an act of desperation, he hires Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading.

The young teacher is reluctant to participate, and Cullen has trouble keeping his mind on his lessons while intently watching her lips. Like the newly invented Ferris wheel, he is caught in a whirl between his girl back home, his dreams as an inventor, and his unexpected attraction to his new tutor. Can he keep his feet on the ground, or will he be carried away?

IT HAPPENED AT THE FAIR by Deeanne Gist is simply awesome. There aren’t many historical writers who grip my attention enough to make me set aside life for awhile and simply read. I didn’t get much done today, but I read IT HAPPENED AT THE FAIR from start to finish.

I had the Advance Reader Copy to read, and I laughed because apparently the author writes without vowels. Most of the words I figured out easily enough. Some, I never did get. Lllnnn. Or Ddds. I’m sorry. That means what? I hope this is corrected in the finished book.

I totally fell in love with Cullen and with Della and with a little girl named Kitty. I almost cried during a couple scenes in the book, so if you cry easily (I don’t) you will need a box of tissues. IT HAPPENED AT THE FAIR is a book you simply cannot miss. There is plenty of sexual tension in the book. There is also a long note from the author explaining all the liberties she took as an author, and what really happened-or didn’t, as the case may be. Discussion questions and an interview are included at the end of the book.

Don’t miss IT HAPPENED AT THE FAIR. $15.99. 432 pages. 5 stars. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Take a Chance on Me


Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale
May 2013
ISBN: 978-1414378411
Genre: contemporary/romance

Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.

Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

TAKE A CHANCE ON ME is a new novel set in Ms. Warren’s beloved Deep Haven. It is the first book in her new series The Christiansen Family and readers will devore these books as soon as they come out.

I read TAKE A CHANCE ON ME in one setting. This is rare for me, with books, but I couldn’t put this book down. I feel deeply in love with the four point of view characters, Darek, Ivy, Claire, and Jenson. This story will tug at your heartstrings, make you care, and savor the story long after the pages are closed. If you like powerful fiction with a God-inspired message, pick up a copy of TAKE A CHANCE ON ME by Susan May Warren. This is a keeper, one that will be read and reread. A glimpse at the next book in the series, Walk On By, as well as discussion questions are included at the back of the book. $13.99. 416 pages. 5 stars.

Interview with Susan May Warren:

1. This is the first installment in a brand new six-book series. Can you give us a bit of background on this series?

I love stories about families – watching the members interact and grow together through 
challenges and victories – and I conceived this series as I watched my own children begin to grow up and deal with romance and career and futures. I love Deep Haven, and it’s the perfect setting for a resort, so I crafted a family, much like the families I know, who run a resort. They want to pass on their legacy to their children…but their children don’t know if they want it. It’s sort of a parallel theme to the legacy of faith we instill in our children. As they grow older, they need to decide whether it is their faith too. It’s a saga about family and faith and what happens when those collide with real life.

2. This Christiansen Family series is set in Deep Haven, Minnesota. Tell us about this setting.

Deep Haven, Minnesota is based in a small vacation town in northern Minnesota where I spent my childhood. It’s located on Lake Superior, surrounded by pine and birch and the sense of small town and home. Populated by everyone from artists to lumberjacks, it’s Mitford, or perhaps Northern Exposure gone Minnesotan. Quaint, quirky and beautiful, it’s the perfect place to escape for a vacation.

3. What was your inspiration for this particular book and the main character Darek Christiansen?

As I started to put together this series, I began to think about our culture and our children today. I started to take a look at the big questions we are faced with as parents – and as young people; the issues that affect us as a culture, as well as personally. I wanted these books to go beyond family drama, beyond a great romance to raise bigger questions and stir truths that we might pass along to others. This story is about our propensity in our culture to blame others for what goes wrong in our lives – and how this alienates us from each other, and ultimately, God. Darek is the oldest brother in the family; the leader and a real hero. He’s a wildland firefighter and a widower who’s had to give up his job to come home and run the resort and care for his young son. Darek doesn’t realize he has a problem – he lives with anger on his shoulder, hating the man who killed his wife (his best friend). His real problem is that he can’t forgive himself. In this 
first story, readers meet the family, hang out at the resort and discover that God can redeem even a heart of stone, if we take a chance on Him. 

4. What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?

This book is for the person who feels they just can’t get past the anger they have for someone else to live in joy again. It’s for parents who see their children making bad choices and don’t know where to turn. It’s for people who believe that no one will ever really love them because of who they are, or the things they’ve done. It’s for people who need the courage to take a second chance on love and faith and family. I’m hoping readers walk away with a sense of how much God loves them, and that yes, He can heal the angry and broken-hearted.

5. How do you expect this new series to resonate with your audience? How do you want your books to make them feel?

Great question! I love a story that brings me on an emotional journey from anger to laughter to hope. But most of all, I want readers to be wrapped up in joy, that feeling we get when watch our football team win, or when we’re hands up in a convertible on a hot summer day, or digging our feet into a sandy beach, or hugging our loved one when they return home. Ah. The sense that, just for a moment, all is right in the world and everything tastes and feels delicious. I write romances, and in the end it’s worth the journey to the happily ever after. 

6. As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?

I loved Darek’s transformation. His relationship with his son is so precious, but when he truly lets go of his anger, he becomes the hero I always knew he could be. I love writing about broken heroes who find healing. 

7. What advice do you have for budding novelists?

Read! Then write the book you’d like to read. But, along the way, learn the craft. In fact, a good writer never stops learning. 

8. What is the best advice or encouragement that you have received?

Just keep writing. If you want to be a career novelist, you just have to keep writing. 

9. In your writing career, what are you most proud of?

After over forty novels, I’m always striving to keep the stories fresh and unique; so I guess I’m proud that every book is bathed in prayer, has a message singular to that story, and has unique characters and journeys. Every story is a new adventure for me, and the reader.

Read the first chapter here:


Sunday, April 28, 2013

When God Makes Lemonade

                                           Title: WHEN GOD MAKES LEMONADE
Compiled by Don Jacobson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
April 2013
ISBN: 978-0849964701
Genre: Christian life/Inspirational

Do you know someone who needs some encouragement?  Perhaps that someone is you.

In WHEN GOD MAKES LEMONADE, author Don Jacobson has collected real-life stories from around the world that show everyday folks discovering unexpected sweetness in the midst of sour circumstances.  Some are funny, others are sobering, and more than a few will bring tears of amazement.  But these true stories all have one thing in common: hope.

There's no question that life gives us "lemons," like issues with health, employment, and relationships.  But when those lemons become lemonade, it's as refreshing as a cold drink on a hot summer day.

It's true that in life "stuff" happens, but as you'll see in these stories, Lemonade Happens too!

WHEN GOD MAKES LEMONADE is a collection of 68 short, true stories about people who have experienced some trying situations. The idea behind the book is that despite the bad times, God made a sweet drink of lemonade out of the difficulties they experienced.

Some of the stories are just that—the people lived through a difficult time and looked back to see a really good thing. But not all the stories are that way. Some are very hard to read, and the “happy ending” is a pretty sour drink of lemonade.

Since the cover states that the stories will “amaze and encourage” on the cover, I feel that the premise of the book wasn’t exactly as promised. Some left me rather discouraged and sad, but I give the authors snaps for holding onto their faith despite heart-rendering situations. 

WHEN GOD MAKES LEMONADE is good to keep in a waiting room or a bathroom for short stories to be read here and there, but since the book fails on the promise to encourage, I’m only giving it 3 stars. $15.99. 368 pages.


When Life Hands You Lemons
New book series by Don Jacobson reminds us that when life turns sour, refreshing sweetness can still be found

There is no doubt that life can be tough from time to time. Health issues arise, much-needed employment ends or the loss of a loved one leaves us feeling shattered. Almost all of us have experienced the kind of truly painful circumstances we wouldn’t wish on a worst enemy. Remarkably, however, it is often just these “sour as a lemon” moments that God uses as the catalyst for gifting us with new experiences that are surprisingly sweet. And, it is “lemons to lemonade” moments like these that author and veteran publisher Don Jacobson is showcasing in his new book series, When God Makes Lemonade: True Stories That Amaze & Encourage (Thomas Nelson, Inc., April 2013), with a host of stories that offer encouragement, inspiration and hope to those experiencing the sourer side of life.

“We all have lemonade stories,” Jacobson says. “So we wondered what would happen if we could share them with those who need them most all around the world. Our dream for the When God Makes Lemonade project is to be able to publish true stories that will encourage those going through sour experiences that God is at work making sweet lemonade.”
The founder of D.C. Jacobson & Associates, an agency for authors based in Oregon, as well as the previous owner and president of Multnomah Publishers, Jacobson knows firsthand how God can bring sweetness to even the sourest circumstances. At the age of 24, while busy establishing himself in the lucrative construction market, Jacobson’s entire life was turned upside down when he was seriously injured in a hunting accident. Suddenly finding himself unable to depend upon his body to do the only work he knew how to do, Jacobson was initially thrust into a deep depression until he began to realize that God was giving him the opportunity to begin an entirely new career doing the work he was meant to do.

After returning to school to get the basics needed for a new career, Jacobson took his first job in the publishing industry. Soon discovering this to be work he loved doing, he has spent the last two and a half decades working with authors and has found them to be among the wisest and most encouraging people in the world.

“Their friendships have blessed me,” Jacobson explains. “They have given me hope and taught me to believe in the miraculous power of the story, even my own. The hunting accident started me on a journey that led me here—to When God Makes Lemonade and to share the truth I’ve learned over and over: God can, and does, use life’s worse moments to invite us into life’s greatest blessings. So while it is true that bad stuff happens in life,” Jacobson is quick to point out, “I have found that lemonade happens, too, and it is my greatest wish that When God Makes Lemonade will bring encouragement and hope to those who are suffering in any way.”

Though the first book in the series is due for release from Thomas Nelson in the spring of 2013, just in time for Mothers’ Day, the When God Makes Lemonade series will be an on-going community effort, dependent on those who, against all odds, have found joy in the midst of pain. To help encourage others to share their own lemonade stories, Jacobson and his wife, Brenda, have created theWhenGodMakesLemonade.com website as a portal where others can share their own lemons-to-lemonade stories. The Jacobsons encourage all those who have their own lemonade stories to visit the website to learn more about how they might participate in this project of encouragement and hope.

When God Makes Lemonade:
True Stories That Amaze & Encourage
Created by Don Jacobson
Thomas Nelson, Inc.  April 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8499-6470-1/256 pages/paperback/$15.99

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spring Cleaning Your Emotions / Interview with Geri Scazzero

Spring Cleaning Your Emotions

When we quit things that are damaging to our souls, we are freed up to choose other ways of being and relating that are rooted in love and lead to life. When we quit fear of what others think, we choose freedom.                                                                              
-Geri Scazzero.

  1. Quit being afraid of what others think
  2. Quit lying
  3. Quit dying to the wrong things
  4. Quit denying anger, sadness and fear
  5. Quit blaming
  6. Quit over functioning
  7. Quit faulting thinking
  8. Quit living someone else’s life
For those ready to embark upon an authentic journey to change, The Emotionally Healthy Womanoffers an indispensable traveler’s guide. Geri Scazzero combines her own experiences with familiar biblical stories and scripture to provide a spiritual and emotional roadmap, pinpointing alternate routes that are forged by love and leading straight to the life God intended.

(Permission to reprint is granted with acknowledgment to Geri Scazzero, author of The Emotionally Healthy Woman)

Q. What inspired you to write TheEmotionally Healthy Woman?

A. It wasn’t so much a “what” as a “who.” I would never have written the book without my husband, Pete. He’s the writer in our family, and, after I began to articulate the eight “I Quits” that are the basis of the book, he was the one who said I had a book in me. The Emotionally Healthy Woman reflects our effort as a team from beginning to end. It reflects what we both discovered on this missing aspect of spiritual formation. In addition, I have been blessed with a wonderful extended family who has given me a tremendous legacy for which I am eternally grateful. Without that legacy, I never would have had what it takes to quit living a life that was damaging to my soul.
Q. Speaking of quitting, you actually walked into your husband’s office and announced that you were quitting the church that he pastored! That must have taken amazing strength and determination. How did you ever summon the courage to take such a bold and unconventional step?

A. It was certainly no small decision and it didn’t happen overnight. I had been making feeble attempts to get him to pay attention to what was going on with me for years. I wanted him to see how tired I was and how frustrated. Eventually, I reached the bottom and arrived at that place where I was so miserable I didn’t care what anyone else thought of me. I just wanted out. There is an old saying that a person who has nothing left to lose becomes the most powerful person on earth. I had become that person.

Q. The subtitle of your book is Eight Things You Have to Quit to Change Your Life. Could you give us a brief glimpse of what those eight things are?

A. Certainly. Quit being afraid of what others think. Quit lying to yourself and others. Quit dying to the wrong things. Quit denying anger, sadness and fear. Quit blaming. Quit overfunctioning. Quit faulty thinking. And, lastly, quit living someone else’s life. Virginia Satir once observed that most of us live inhuman lives because we try to live by unhuman rules. The purpose of these eight “Quits” is to allow us to drop those unhuman rules and start living by God’s real rules, not the ones we’ve mistakingly assumed He wants us to live, not by, but up to. By quitting these eight practices, we open the door to allow God in so that He can begin doing a mighty work in our lives.

Q. How do can women benefit from The Emotionally Healthy Woman?

A. I know firsthand that when people pick up a book like mine they are doing so because they are looking for solutions. The book is my own personal manifesto and it expresses my particular beliefs and values. In my own life, the list of “I Quits” that I showcase became the catalyst for my own personal solution, bringing me out of illusion and into reality and from inner bondage into freedom. I hope that what I have shared with will spark ways in which God can speak directly to them. And it is my prayer, of course, that God will give all of us the courage to stop living divided lives. Remember, quitting goes hand in hand with choosing, so when we quit those things that are damaging to our lives, we are free to choose other ways that lead to new life. And it is never too late to quit.

Zondervan Publishing
January 1, 2013
ISBN: 9780310320012/224 pages/softcover/$14.99

Friday, April 26, 2013


Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Summerside Press
May 2013
ISBN: 978-1609367718
Genre: Historical

A glamorous Hollywood starlet must fight for her life, her love, and her country in this epic 1930s tale.

The Golden Age of Hollywood is in the business of creating stars. Rosie Worth, now starlet Roxy Price, has found everything she wanted in the glamour of the silver screen. With adoring fans and a studio-mogul husband,, she’s finally silenced the heartache of the past. Her future shines bright—until the fated Black Friday when it all comes crashing down.

When Roxy loses everything, she finds herself disgraced and penniless. Her only hope is to join forces with Belgian duke Rolfe Van Horne, a longtime film investor. But Rolfe is not who he seems, and he has other plans for Roxy and her movies—plans to support a growing unrest in Europe, plans that could break her heart and endanger her life.

When her country needs her, will Roxy have the courage to surrender her glittering world and her one true love?

DUCHESS is the third book in Ms. Warren’s Daughter’s of Fortune series. I would recommend reading the books in order, #1 Heiress, #2 Baroness, and #3 Duchess, otherwise you won’t get as much from the series.

Not being a huge fan of TV or movies, Roxy isn’t a character I could identify with much. I don’t get that life. Even off the screen, it is a life of make-believe, with fake names, fake identities, and a lot of pain and back-stabbing. Roxy was living a lie.

DUCHESS didn’t grab my interest early on, even though it is written in Ms. Warren’s impeccable style. I did hurt for Roxy. I wanted her to find happiness, to be reunited with her family, to find love. But I didn’t relate. All in all, this is a good book, a good series, but not my favorite Susan May Warren series. If you like historicals, movie stars, glittery fortune lives, then  DUCHESS and the other books in this series are for you. 4 stars.  $14.99. 352 pages.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/jZmj7

 Meet Susan: Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award-winning author of more
than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women's events about God's amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors. Visit MyBookTherapy.com to learn more. For exciting updates on her new releases, previous books, and more, visit her website at www.susanmaywarren.com

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Heiress of Winterwood

Author: Sarah Ladd
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
April 2013
ISBN: 978-1401688356
Genre: Historical

Darbury, England, 1814

Amelia Barrett gave her word. Keeping it could cost her everything.

Amelia Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby. She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met.

When the child vanishes with little more than an ominous ransom note hinting at her whereabouts, Amelia and Graham are driven to test the boundaries of their love for this little one.

Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she’s forced to examine her soul and face her one weakness: pride.

Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline. And away from the family he has sworn to love and protect.

Both must learn to have faith and relinquish control so they can embrace the future ahead of them.

THE HEIRESS OF WINTERWOOD is Sarah Ladd’s debut novel. It is a regency, which used to be one of my favorite types of historicals, but not so much any more. There is an interesting premise to this book, with a strong and determined heroine and a sea captain mourning his wife and getting to know his new daughter, but unfortunately, the story didn’t support the premise.

The story is slow, the characters seemed rather undeveloped, and at times rather flat. The flow of the story wasn’t smooth, but more start and stop. There also seemed to be a lot of repeating of unnecessary details. The ending was also wrapped up a bit too quick.

All in all, THE HEIRESS OF WINTERWOOD was okay. It had some suspenseful and surprising twists and turns. Maybe if you like regencies more than I do, it would be a book you would love. I’m giving it three stars. $15.99. 320 pages. 

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/jXbHV

Meet Sarah: Sarah E. Ladd has more than ten years of marketing experience. She is a graduate of Ball State University and holds degrees in public relations and marketing.Heiress of Winterwood was the recipient of the 2011 Genesis Award for historical romance. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.
Find out more about Sarah athttp://www.sarahladd.com.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Survivor Lends Voice to Child Abuse Prevention

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Survivor Lends Voice to Child Abuse Prevention

Houston-based author/speaker reaches into the darkness of personal despair to offer a light of hope to victims of assault and abuse. 

A sexual assault takes place in this country every two minutes, though it is estimated only about 30 percent of the assaults are reported and only one assailant in 16 will ever spend a day in jail. In addition, statistics tell us five children in America die each day from abuse or neglect. Seventy-five percent of those are less than four years old. Most know their attacker.

In an effort to shed light on the darkness surrounding these two equally prevalent and pervasive issues, April is designated nationwide as both Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month. For international speaker and author Shannon Deitz, first raped when she was 17 and then again while in college, these national awareness campaigns are an opportunity to reach more people with the message that the abuse need not define the victim.
Having endured not only the anguish of being abused as a child and assaulted twice, but also the self-judgment, condemnation and feelings of worthlessness that most often accompany such violations, Deitz knows firsthand just how detrimental sexual assault and child abuse can be to emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Today, her primary goal in life is to help other victims regain a sense of self-worth.

“Both sexual assault and child abuse are so distressful to most of us that we don’t even want to think about them being present in our society,” Deitz says. “This makes it almost impossible for any victim of assault or abuse to feel comfortable enough to speak out, which is, of course, exactly what they need to be able to do. Be it a child, a teenager or an adult, anyone who has been abused needs to be able to speak about what has been done to them without question or judgment.

“But instead of being made to feel safe talking about it,” she adds, “more often than not, they are made to feel as if they are the ones at fault. As a result, they tend to repress the experience, stuffing it down deep inside and allowing what has happened to define who they believe themselves to be. They begin living out a victim mentality where nothing good can ever happen because they think of themselves as unworthy or not good enough to deserve it.”

According to Deitz, survivors of sexual abuse are three times more likely to suffer from depression, 13 times more likely to become addicted to alcohol and 26 more times more likely to develop an addiction to drugs. The shame, despair, depression and inability to cope with the painful events lead them to seek other ways to block out the memories and dull the pain.

Deitz believes the annual focusing of public attention on sexual assault and child abuse throughout the month of April can be beneficial in aiding all victims of abuse. “Survivors want to know they are being heard and that they will be safe and protected,” she says. “They do not need to be silenced because their situation makes others feel uncomfortable or is too hard to hear. To the contrary, they need people around them who are willing to listen and willing to stand up for them if they choose to go public. During this national month of awareness, the more people will become tuned in to just how prevalent this problem is in our country, the more beneficial it will be for everyone.”

While the month of April will most certainly be marked by a series of prevention and awareness-raising directives designed to grab public attention, Deitz knows that a mere thirty days is not enough and it cannot stop there. Passionately sharing her own story every day through her blog and speaking events in hopes of igniting a desire in others to do the same, Deitz remains optimistic as she strives to offer hope and rekindle a sense of self-worth in every victim of abuse she meets.

Emphasizing the importance of openness, Deitz tells victims, “If you have suffered abuse at any point in your life and it has debilitated your marriage, your intimate relationships and your friendships, or even caused you to distrust others in general, then I want you to know, as one survivor speaking to another, that you can overcome this. The more you talk about it, the more you will heal. And though the experience will never totally disappear from your past, it will become a chapter in your life that you can eventually close.

“At the time when the sexual abuse was taking place,” she advises, “you were not able to fight back. Now, you are. If you cannot talk about it or want to remain anonymous, at least write it all down in a journal. Do whatever you can in whatever way you can to get it out. Every single time you release the abuse from the depths of your memory, you are giving that little child or that woman or that man a voice and allowing them to finally fight back. You don’t have to be specific, reliving every vivid detail, but you do need to be willing to admit that it happened. In that admission is where your freedom will be found.”

For those who know someone who has been abused or assaulted, Deitz encourages them to be good listeners. “Being able to share their story with others serves to help prevent future abuse from taking place. If there is a survivor in your midst, be willing to listen. Be willing to hear their story.”

Deitz should know. It was her willingness to share her stories with others, first through her award-winning book, Exposed: Inexcusable Me, Irreplaceable Him,and later through subsequent speaking engagements, that led to her own transformation. Today, Deitz continues reaching out to those who are suffering through her speaking engagements, her blog (Just Show Up) and her ministry website.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Noble Groom

Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Bethany House
April 2013
ISBN: 978-0764210471
Genre: Historical

Michigan, 1880

Annalisa Werner's hope for a fairy tale love is over. Her husband failed her in every way and now his death has left her with few options to save the family farm. She needs a plentiful harvest. That, and a husband to help bring it in. Someone strong, dependable. That'll be enough. A marriage for love...that's something she's given up on.

So her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.

Then a man appears: Carl Richards, from their home country of Germany and a former schoolteacher--or so he says. He's looking for work and will serve on the farm until her husband arrives.

With time running out, she accepts his help, but there's more to this man than he's admitting. He's also gentle, kind, charming--unlike any man she's ever known. But even as Carl is shining light into the darkness of her heart, she knows her true groom may arrive any day.

I have reviewed books for years and I can honestly say that it is very, very rare for a book to grab me from page one and hold my attention all the way through. A NOBLE GROOM did that. Even though I was busy with other stuff all day long, I still devoured this book and wished it wouldn’t end.

I probably have read Ms. Hedlund’s other books, but I don’t remember them. A NOBLE GROOM will be one that goes on my keeper shelf for me to reread and enjoy again and again. I loved Carl. I loved Annalisa, I loved Greta, and other secondary characters all came to life on the page. Set in my home state of Michigan, it also talks about some of the history of that state, the German immigrants that settled it, and the lengths they were willing to go to save their land. Awesome book. $14.99. 368 pages. 

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/jX8h7

Meet Jody:
 Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of "The Doctor's Lady" and "The Preacher's Bride". She won the 2011 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, the 2011 Award of Excellence from the Colorado Romance Writers and was a finalist for Best Debut Novel in the 2011 ACFW Carol Awards. Currently she makes her home in central Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog.
Find out more about Jody at http://jodyhedlund.com/. 

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Sweet Sanctuary

Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: Bethany House
April 2013
ISBN: 978-0764207891
Genre: Historical

A Story of Hope and Love Set Against the Backdrop of World War II

Lydia Eldredge longs to provide sanctuary for her young son, Nicky. But a constant threat comes from Nicky's drug-addicted father, who wants the boy and seems willing to do whatever it takes to get him.

Dr. Micah Hatcher faithfully serves the immigrant population of Queens, New York. But under cover of darkness, he has a secret mission that challenges everything he thought he wanted out of life.

When Lydia and Micah's paths cross, they are suddenly wrapped up in each other's callings. Together, they seek a refuge of safety--for Nicky, for themselves, and for the needy people God puts into their lives. Amid turmoil and discord, can hope and love prevail?

SWEET SANCTUARY is easily the best book I’ve ever read by Kim Vogel Sawyer. I fell in love with both Micah and Lydia, though at first I wasn’t sure what I’d think of her. Lydia has sort of kidnapped her best friend’s son, when she died, in order to protect him from  her drug addict father who’s determined to sell the boy for drug money. Her father tries to force Micah to marry Lydia, claiming initially the child is his, but Micah knows there’s no chance of that since he and Lydia were never intimate when they knew each other.

If you like historical romances with a touch of suspense, you’ll love SWEET SANCTUARY. The story was a bit predictable—I knew where it was going early on and there were no surprises, but it was a sweet read to the end.  Recommended. $14.99. 352 pages. 

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/jRdKJ

Meet Kim: Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of twenty-one novels, including several CBA
and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and nine grandchildren.
Find out more about Kim at http://www.kimvogelsawyer.com/. 

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Stone Destiny

Author: Jim Ware
Publisher: David C. Cook
March 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6464-5
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy

Morgan Izaak is obsessed with his father’s ancient books about the legendary Philosopher’s Stone; he’s even got a little alchemy lab set up in the church tower next door. And when Morgan and his best friend, Eny, find out about another mysterious stone that may be hidden in their own town—the Irish Stone of Destiny, called Lia Fail—he’s determined to find it because he thinks it’s the last hope for someone he holds dear. But Morgan’s not the only one looking for the Stone, and by the time the two middle schoolers realize there’s trouble afoot, Morgan has betrayed their friendship, strange creatures are loose in the land, and the Stone is lost … perhaps forever. Can Morgan find a way to help those he loves?

THE STONE OF DESTINY turned up in my review pile and when I set it out to read, my eleven year old daughter snagged it and started reading it. I told her that if she reads the book, she writes the review. It’d be more honest from her anyway, as the book is intended for her age group, and not forty-something year old Moms who don't like fantasy. So I am letting my daughter write the review from here on out.

THE STONE OF DESTINY is the first book I’ve read by Jim Ware and it is hard to describe, it’s so great. I loved everything about it. It is totally awesome, a must have. Mr. Ware writes great books. Morgan was mostly honest, but sometimes he didn’t tell the truth. He had a friend Eny which is American for Eithne and she has mismatched eyes, one blue eye and one brown eye. She is totally honest and never told a lie at all. She claims she went to Sidhe and everyone believes her because she never lies. Morgan has doubts about it and he keeps going to this woman named Madam Medea and she’s kind of like an enemy to the Danaan people and she has these giants and one of them doesn’t have an eye any more, because one got hit by a stone in a sling, kind of David and Goliath. She teaches the Danaan people to sling rocks. A glossary and an interview are included at the end of the book. Awesome book! $4.00. 352 pages. 

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