Saturday, August 31, 2013

Flight of Fancy

Author: Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Revell
October 2012
ISBN:  978-0800734671
Genre: Historical romance

Her head is in the clouds. His feet are planted firmly on the ground. Can love cover the distance?

Cassandra Bainbridge may be a bit of a bluestocking, but when Geoffrey Giles is near, love seems a fine alternative to passion for Greek and the physics of flight. With his dashing good looks and undying devotion to her, the earl of Whittaker sets Cassandra's heart racing with his very presence. It seems his only flaw is his distaste for ballooning, the obsession that consumes so much of her thoughts.

When a terrible accident compels her to end her betrothal, Cassandra heads for the country to recover from both her injuries and her broken heart. With time on her hands and good friends to help her, she pursues her love for ballooning and envisions a future for herself as a daring aeronaut. But when Lord Whittaker slips back into her life, will she have to choose between him and her dream?

FLIGHT OF FANCY is probably the best of Laurie Alice Eakes books that I’ve read so far. Cassandra has high ideals, such as studying ballooning and Greek, which is discouraged by her father. Her fiancé has been handed a title as Earl when his elder brother dies, and suddenly is forced to manage an estate he never planned on. He and Cassandra plan to marry in seven days – which made me wonder how the author intended to keep the reader interested in a romance if the couple were together, and every settled at the beginning of the book. I should’ve known better. A terrible accident and everything is over. And if there is any hope for love, Lord Whittaker will have to do some fancy work to win back the lady of his dreams.

If you like historical romance, or regencies, then don’t miss Laurie Alice Eakes’ FLIGHT OF FANCY. I enjoyed it. 4 stars. $14.99. 352 pages. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

God, Your Money and You

Author:  Bryce Bartruff
Publisher: Crosslink Publishing
August 2012
ISBN: 978-1-936746-02-6
Genre: finances

If there's ever been a time when Christians could benefit from a clear understanding of their personal finances, that time is now. With its sound, comprehensive explanation of proven principles, this book provides a refreshing look at how to gain control over finances, make wise lifestyle decisions, become debt free, communicate without conflict, and systematically invest so that employment is an option not a requirement. The Rosetta Stone for personal finance, this book guides readers through the process of discovering how to manage their resources so they are able to live a wholesome Christ centered lifestyle, free from financial stress.

GOD, YOUR MONEY, AND YOU is the financial book you’ve been waiting for. It offers sound biblical advice, forms and checklists and spreadsheets for you and your spouse (if you have one) to fill out, offers suggestions for an accountability group, and encourages  you to participate by writing in the book. If you don’t like writing in books (as I don’t) you could use a notebook, I’d suggest a three ring binder, so you could photocopy the forms and fill them out and keep them handy.

This book is great whether you are a married couple with debt, a newlywed, or engaged, or just beginning life on your own as a single. Highly recommended for absolutely everyone old enough to handle money. This is wise advice, something you’ll use the rest of your life. $14.95. 200 pages. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Memory's Door

Author: James Rubart
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
August 2013
ISBN 978-1-4016-8607-6
Genre: Fiction \ Christian\Suspense
358 pages. $15.99.

In Soul’s Gate, spiritual warfare took on dimensions of Biblical proportion.  In MEMORY’S DOOR, the next step is taken.  And I wondered, as I wandered through this book – is James Rubart at times overcome by the truths which he is communicating?  Does he feel his soul being wrenched with the passion he infuses into his “works of fiction?”

I experienced, vicariously, the thrills of victory . . . and the agonies of defeat (pardon the clichés) of the various members of Warriors Riding as they come to grips with the inevitable truth:  as powerful as their ministry is in the lives of others, they, too, stand in need of healing.  And forgiveness.  And yes, even confession of sin, and the grace and mercy which accompanies such confessions. 

For the Temple is in need of healing; the Song is out of tune, the Leader has lost her way, and the Teacher must once again become the student in a school where the lessons come hard, and the final exam is Pass . . . or Fail.

And eternal souls hang in the balance.

James Rubart has once again crafted a work that will take you from page one to the end in such a way that you won’t even feel like you are reading a book.  There were times when I had to simply put MEMORY’S DOOR down, and walk away, because what was being communicated was too difficult to face at the time.  But the book kept drawing me back, as all good ones will.

Thank you, James Rubart, for your passion . . . and for not pulling any punches.

5 Stars

Book Info
About Memory's Door: The prophecy brought them together---to fight for the hearts of others and set them free.
But the Wolf has risen, and now their greatest battle begins.

The four members of Warriors Riding have learned to wage war in the supernatural, to send their spirits inside people's souls, to battle demonic forces, and to bring deep healing to those around them.
But their leader Reece is struggling with the loss of his sight. Brandon is being stalked at his concerts by a man in the shadows. Dana's career is threatening to bury her. And Marcus questions his sanity as he seems to be slipping in and out of alternate realities.

And now the second part of the prophecy has come true. The Wolf is hunting them, and has set his trap. He circles, feeding on his supernatural hate of all they stand for. And he won't stop until he brings utter destruction to their bodies . . . and their souls.

". . .this is a seriously heart-thumping and satisfying read that goes to the edge, jumps off, and 'builds wings on the way down.'"-Publishers Weekly review of Soul's Gate

Purchase a copy:

About the Author: James L. Rubart is a professional marketer and speaker. He is the author of five novels, including the best-seller "Rooms" and award-winning "Soul's Gate," the book that precedes "Memory's Door" in the Well Spring series. Rubart and his wife have two sons and live in the Pacific Northwest.

Find out more about James at: 

 Blog Tour Schedule

James L. Rubart talks about Memory's Door
James L. Rubart talks about Memory's Door

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Last Mango in Texas

Author: Ray Blackston
Publisher: Faithwords
March 2009
ISBN: 978-0446579612
Genre: Contemporary

Texas Tech student Kyle Mango is attending a fraternity party when he meets Gretchen, an artsy animal lover whose independent spirit immediately sparks his attention. But after a month of bliss, they suddenly find themselves in rough waters. When Kyle inherits four oil wells from his uncle, he sees his affluence as an opportunity to impress Gretchen. But just before he makes his move, Gretchen hears news of an oil tanker spilling its load near the coast of Alaska. Leaving Kyle behind in Texas, she joins a group of campus activists in Alaska for the summer to clean oil from suffering birds.

Kyle is torn between managing his business--and being left lonely in the Lone Star state--and risking everything to fly to Alaska to pursue Gretchen. The young oil man soon discovers that oil slicks are nothing compared to relational slicks. The early bird may get the worm, but the oily bird can ruin romance! Through it all, Kyle explores faith in God and His power to change lives.

LAST MANGO IN TEXAS is written in first person, kind of a coming-of-age story about a young man. It starts when Kyle is thirteen years old. The story is told more than shown, keeping the reader distant, and the book easy to put down.

Still, there are some laugh out loud moments, and times you hurt for Kyle—like when he’s mourning the death of his uncle, and when he’s mourning the loss of Gretchen. And I did want things to work out for him.  Mr. Blackston is kind of a quirky writer, with normal people, with not so normal problems. Discussion questions are included. $13.99. 252 pages. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel

Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
June 2013
ISBN: 978-1433679308
Genre: Women’s fiction

With high hopes, Daphne Ballinger lands her dream job at The New York Times. But it's not long until writing about weddings becomes a painful reminder of her own failed romance, and her love of the city slowly sours as well. Is it time to give up the Big Apple for her small hometown of Appleton?

When her eccentric Aunt Dee passes away and leaves a sizeable estate to Daphne, going back home is an easy choice. What isn’t easy is coming to terms with the downright odd clauses written into the will.

Daphne only stands to inherit the estate if she agrees to her aunt's very specific posthumous terms -- personal and professional. And if she fails to comply, the sprawling old Victorian house shall be bequeathed to . . . Aunt Dee’s cats.

And if Daphne thinks that’s odd, wait until she finds out an array of secrets about Aunt Dee's life, and how imperfect circumstances can sometimes lead to God's perfect timing.

LOCK, STOCK, AND OVER A BARREL is the first book in Ms. Carlson’s newest series, Dear Daphne.  It is a quirky story about a woman in her mid-thirties, unhappy with how her big youthful plans turn out inherits her aunt’s estate—sorta.  As long as she marries within a year. And other strange terms. If she doesn’t comply, the estate goes to the cats. Literally.

This book is not up to Ms. Carlson’s usual standards. It was like, I must ‘publish or die’ and the publisher looked at the name and said – ‘Melody Carlson!’ And sees dollar signs. The story isn’t even finished. I didn’t notice any of the threads were tied up and neatly trimmed. It ends with a major hook that will cause fans to run, not walk to computer or bookstore and preorder the next book. I did like the faith message, and the plot is… different. Enticing.

Some of Ms. Carlson’s fans might enjoy this book. There are plenty of great reviews, so maybe I’m one of the few that it didn’t resonate with. And I usually like her books. Do try it for yourself though. You might love it. $14.99. 320 pages.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Man in the Making

Author: Rick Johnson
Publisher: Revell
August 2013
ISBN:  978-0800720322
Genre: Parenting

The transformation from boy into man requires intentional guidance, education, and good role models. As a boy grows toward manhood, his parents can instill in their son the values and character traits needed to succeed in life.

Highlighting famous Christian men throughout history and the character trait that made each an outstanding model of manhood, parenting expert Rick Johnson gives moms and dads intentional strategies to help mold their sons into honorable men. The book includes men such as

•Martin Luther King Jr.
•George Washington
•John Wooden
•Abraham Lincoln
•Jedediah Smith
•Benjamin Franklin
•Leonardo da Vinci
•and more

With passion and practicality, Johnson covers all aspects of a young man's development, including his work ethic, education, and integrity.

In today’s society of broken homes, single moms, and dads that are little more than token figures, this is an outstanding book about what it takes to turn our sons into men that we can be proud of. It is readable, approachable, and godly, making this one of the few parenting books on raising boys I’ve read this year that I can recommend.

If you are a father, you need to read this book. If you are the mother of a father, get this for your son.  If you are the wife of a father, get this for your husband. Recommended for church libraries and pastor’s studies as well. $12.99. 208 pages.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Interview with Valerie Comer and giveaway!!!!!

Answer Valerie's question to be entered for a giveaway. Include contact information.

 Welcome! Glad to have you join my blog today, Valerie!

Why do you write the kind of books you do?

Every author writes from who they are, from what they've experienced. That's not to say that we write only what we know, but that we explore outward from the sum of our being.

I've spent over half of my life living on a farm. My mom and my mother-in-law both gardened, canned, baked bread, and cooked from scratch, so real food and local food have been part of my husband's and my life since we were young. The older we get, the more important it's become to know the quality of our food and where it comes from, for us, our adult kids, and our grandchildren.

Thus, it only seems natural for me to write farm lit to share the mindset with others, especially now that there's a renewed interest in heirloom tomatoes, farmers' markets, and grass-fed meats. I add romance to the mix, because I think everyone's life is better with the right person beside them! And I can't not write from a Christian worldview and stay true to myself and my Savior.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

As you may have gathered, the outdoors is important to me. Keeping up with my garden and yard is a big job but provides a great change of pace from sitting at the computer.

My husband and I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, the southeastern corner of British Columbia, Canada, and we love to pull our little holiday trailer up beside a mountain creek and recharge for a few days.

Day to day, my favorite moments are those spent with one of my three small granddaughters, who love to be tickled, read to, and played with. Sometimes we all bounce on the trampoline together, and Grandma gets her workout!

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

I've written ten complete novels thus far, and I still struggle with plotting. I've figured out that I can't outline and I can't just "wing it," but exactly what level of fore-knowledge works for me is still a mystery. I'm getting a little closer to figuring out a method that works for me with each story, though.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Relax. Take your time. Learn. Writing well is not a sprint, but a marathon. Don't type "the end" on your first novel and then upload it to Amazon ten minutes later. Let the story rest, then fix it, then send it to a critique group, then fix it again—maybe a few more times. Don't be in an all-fired hurry!

I'd also suggest they swing by my writing website To Write a Story and sign up for the free fiction writing course via email. It takes new-to-intermediate writers through planning, plotting, writing, editing, publishing, and marketing. I also blog once a week on one of those topics.
Tell us about Raspberries and Vinegar – a brief blurb:

Sweet like Raspberries. Tart like Vinegar
Josephine Shaw: complex, yet singleminded. A tiny woman with big ideas and, some would say, a mouth to match. But what does she really know about sustainable living as it relates to the real world? After all, she and her two friends are new to farming.

Zachary Nemesek is back only until his dad recovers enough to work his own land again. When Zach discovers three helpless females have taken up residence at the old farm next door, he expects trouble. But a mouse invasion proves Jo has everything under control. Is there anything she can't handle? And surely there's something sweet beneath all that tart.

What one question would you like us to ask your readers?  giveaway must be digital. Open worldwide.

What's one food that you think is worth growing yourself or buying/foraging locally?

For me, one is raspberries, because they have such a short shelf life and thus are expensive, and another is tomatoes, because there's nothing in the world like a sun-ripened tomato. Yum!

While you were writing Raspberries and Vinegar, do you think it mattered where the book was set?

Very much so! First, because it's a book about farming and gardening, it needed to be set in a place where I understood the climate and growing conditions. I chose northern Idaho, as it's similar to where I live across the border. But Idaho is more on-the-ball with local foods than the setting I required, so I erased the state (sorry, Idahoans!) north of Coeur d'Alene and created what I needed.

Will we know what happens to your character after the end of the book?

Yes! Raspberries and Vinegar is the first in a three-book series. You'll meet Jo and Zach again in the other volumes, which continue with Jo and her friends' makeover of a rundown farm and include the romances of the other two participants. Wild Mint Tea will release in March 2014, and the final book, Sweetened with Honey, is scheduled for December 2014.

When you’re working on a project, how do you keep the immensity of it from getting you down?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! It's the same with writing a novel. I set daily and weekly goals to keep the bites a manageable size.

Where can readers find you online?

 Connect at:
·                     Website:
·                     Facebook:
·                     Twitter:
·                     Pinterest:
·                     Blog:
·                     Writing Blog & Free eCourse:

Purchase links at:

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her characters enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes Farm Lit with the voice of experience laced with humor. Raspberries and Vinegar, first in her series A Farm Fresh Romance, released August 1, 2013. Visit her at

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ashton Park

Author: Murray Pura
Publisher: Harvest House
January 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7369-5285-9
Genre: Historical

For fans of the hugely popular Downton Abbey series, comes this equally enthralling story of the Danforth family of Ashton Park.

Among the green hills and trees of Lancashire, only a few miles from the sea, lies the beautiful and ancient estate of Ashton Park.

The year is 1916.  The First World War has engulfed Europe and Sir William's and Lady Elizabeth's three sons are all in uniform--and their four daughters are involved in various pursuits of the heart and soul.

As the head of a strong Church of England family for generations, Sir William insists the Danforth estate hold morning devotions that include both family and staff. However, he is also an MP and away at Westminster in London whenever Parliament is sitting. During his long absences, Lady Elizabeth discreetly spends time in the company of the head cook of the manor, Mrs. Longstaff, who is her best friend and confidante. This friendship includes visits to a small Baptist church in Liverpool that exposes Lady Elizabeth to a less formal approach to Christian worship and preaching than she is used to and which she comes to enjoy.

ASHTON PARK is book one in Mr. Pura’s The Danforths of Lancashire series. Fans of European World War I stories will devour this book full of life-like characters and a believable plot.  I have never watched Downtown Abbey (no TV) but this story is touted as being similar to it. I can’t say whether it is or not. 

I do admit to skimming a lot, and there were some things that bothered me (English don’t sound like Americans, a French wife who is okay with her husband loving another woman, stuff like that), but all in all it was an okay read. Fans will want to have Beneath the Dover Sky on hand (I read these two in reverse order) so they can continue on with the story.  $13.99. 352 pages.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Interview with Tanya Eavenson - and giveaway!!!!

“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:36 

 Be sure to leave a comment with contact information to be entered to win a copy of Sweet Freedom! 

Today I have Tanya Eavenson with us to share a little about Sweet Freedom, a new anthology released last month.

Thank you, Laura, for having me. Sweet Freedom as you mentioned is an anthology about being free in Christ. Within these pages are real stories about fear, bitterness, and emotional wounds that will touch your heart as they did mine.

How did you come up with the idea for Sweet Freedom?

Actually it wasn’t my idea. =) Last fall I was sent an email from a dear friend, Jennifer Slattery, about a project I might be interested in, an anthology about being free in Christ. I loved the idea so I sent my reply, “Of course!”

Since Sweet Freedom is a compilation of works, I wanted to invite several authors to join me, and to tell you a little about their stories, poems, or devotions.

Jennifer Slattery: I like to contemplate things past--most specifically, what God has done in my life. He's done a lot, but perhaps what I'm most grateful for is the continual progression toward emotional freedom He has provided. It's funny, each year it seems God shows me a new area of bondage--to fears, pride, negative patterns of behavior, whatever--and then He patiently, gently works in my heart and life to free me from those things. And that is the beauty of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It's so much more than a question of salvation. It's a question of life abundant--which is exactly what He promised to those who choose to follow Him. And that is why I wanted to create this compilation. I wanted others to understand the freedom that is available to them through Christ. And I wanted to encourage those who are currently on a freedom journey by helping them see that God does indeed come through in His time and His way, which is always perfect. 

Gail Pallotta: All of the characters in “Stitches in Love” are kind, loving people. They want Grandma Jackie to have a happy, healthy life, but they’re busy and pre-occupied. I wanted to show one who took the time to realize Grandma Jackie’s grief affected her health. Then three pitched into to help Grandma Jackie cope, and it costs each of them only a little effort. As a result Grandma Jackie returned to enjoying something that interested her and started spending time with a good friend. I hope the story illustrates how people can lift up someone in times of need. To read Gail’s debut novel Stopped Cold, a best seller on All Romance eBooks, is at Amazon: ebook/dp/B00CBAT37I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369669132&sr=1-1&keywords=stopped+cold

Kelly Anne Liberto: My story in Sweet Freedom is called Hidden Memories. When I was nine years old, a family friend sexually abused me. The reason I wrote this story is to show others who have gone through the same tragedy that God can set them free from the fear that often comes along with being violated. There is no need to live as a victim to the lies and lack of self-worth that one feels after experiencing this trauma. It is true that we need to forgive those who abuse us. Because when we do, we are free to live a life that God has designed specifically for us. In my case, the experience did nothing to take away my voice as a writer, it only instilled the desire in me to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. I have a heart and a passion in particular to see the victims of sex trafficking given the opportunities through counseling and training to live the lives they were meant to have. Visit me at:

Beth Farley: There was a time in my life where I wrote a lot of poetry to heal my soul. I wrote Give the Savior a Call (pg. 15) when my dad was dying with cancer. I was terrorized with the thought of losing my dad and yet I was captivated with the visions of heaven awaiting my dad. I pictured my dad letting go of the “smoking” trap and sitting on the Saviors lap and resting. It did not take away the pain of losing my father, but it did give me hope that my dad was resting with Him. It was such a wonderful experience writing with the group of gals. I was humbled and blessed to partake in Sweet Freedom. If you would like to learn more about me, you can visit my blog at

Tanya, would you like to leave us with an excerpt?

I’d love to, Laura! This is a devotion I wrote for Sweet Freedom.

By Tanya Eavenson

Have you ever felt burned by a loved one, a friend, or a church member? Sometimes those closest to us are the ones that hurt us the most. Rejection and betrayal are two words most of us know from experience. In our story, Julie had been unsuccessfully holding on to her tattered life with her own strength. She couldn’t see a way out of her hurt. She was in prison, chained by the pain and the reminders of what should have been.

During these times in our lives, God comes near. He reminds us who He is, how much He loves us, and reassures us He has a plan for our lives. But we have to be willing to allow Him to break those chains of hurt and grab hold of the future God has in store for us.

John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

Do you want to be free, truly free? Stop holding on to the hurt. Give it to the One who broke the chains that bind us to the pain and heartache from the past. He calls us to start anew. He calls us to live a life of freedom. Freedom in Christ.

Tanya Eavenson and her husband have been involved in ministry for fifteen years teaching youth and adults. Tanya enjoys spending time with her husband, and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee, eating chocolate, and reading a good book. Tanya is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes for Christ to the World Ministries sharing the Gospel around the world.

To connect with Tanya Eavenson:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

On Distant Shores

Author: Sarah Sundin
Publisher: Revell
August 2013
ISBN: 978-0800720827
Genre: Historical romance

Caught between the war raging around them and the battles within, two souls long for peace--and a love that remains true.

Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want. A boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse. But in July 1943, Georgie's cozy life gets more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson.

Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancée. While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart. Can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they've made?

ON DISTANT SHORES is the second book in Ms. Sundin’s Wings of the Nightingale series. Readers will want to read the first book With Every Letter first, to get the beginnings of this romance.

I have long been a fan of Ms. Sundin’s World War II romances, and this book was no different. I fell in love with Georgie and Hutch and their war-time relationship. I couldn’t help but feel for them as they faced real-life dilemmas and tried to solve them. I inhaled this book in a matter of hours – and can’t wait for the next book in the series, coming in March 2014. $14.99. 432 pages. 

Purchase a Copy:

Meet Sarah: Sarah Sundin is the author of "With Every Letter" and the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A "Memory Between Us" was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.

Visit for more information.

 Blog Tour Schedule

Landing page: 

To celebrate the release of On Distant Shores, the second book in theWings of the Nightingale series, I've teamed up with Litfuse Publicityfor a Romantic Weekend Getaway giveaway. Plus, we're hosting a Facebook chat party and a blog tour!

One grand prize winner will receive:
* A $200 Visa Cash Card
With Every Letter and On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin
Enter today by clicking the photo to the left or going to the On Distant Shores contest page. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 2, 2013 at 11:59 PDT. Winner will be announced September 3 at the On Distant Shores Author Chat Party on Facebook. The winner will also be notified by email - you do not have to attend the Facebook party to win. More details and the official contest rules can be found on the On Distant Shores contest page.

The Facebook party will be held on September 3, 2013 from 5-6 pm PDT (8-9 pm EDT). At the party, I'll be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills, announcing the winner of the Weekend Getaway, and giving away a ton of books, gift certificates, and more. Oh, and I'll also be giving partygoers an exclusive look at the next book in the series, In Perfect Time (August 2014).
So grab your copy of On Distant Shores and join me on the evening of September 3 for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Also, please visit the On Distant Shores Litfuse page to follow the blog tour and see what the reviewers are saying!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Wreath of Snow

Author: Liz Curtis Higgs
Publisher: WaterBrook
October 2012
ISBN: 978-1400072170
Genre: Victorian Christmas Romance

All Margaret Campbell wants for Christmas is a safe journey home. When her plans for a festive holiday with her family in Stirling crumble beneath the weight of her brother’s bitterness, the young schoolteacher wants nothing more than to return to the students she loves and the town house she calls home.

Then an unexpected detour places her in the path of Gordon Shaw, a handsome newspaperman from Glasgow, who struggles under a burden of remorse and shame.

When the secret of their shared history is revealed, will it leave them tangled in a knot of regret? Or might their past hold the threads that will bind their future together?

As warm as a woolen scarf on a cold winter’s eve, A WREATH OF SNOW is a tender story of love and forgiveness, wrapped in a celebration of all things Scottish, all things Victorian, and, especially, all things Christmas.

I love Christmas novellas (even in August) so this was a treasure to find in my review pile. Margaret had gone home for Christmas, just the day before, but now, on Christmas Eve is fleeing for her townhouse in another city, just to escape her brother’s anger and bitterness.

I found myself hurting with these two characters, wanting them to find peace and forgiveness—and even love. If you like Christmas novellas, you’ll want to read A WREATH OF SNOW. Or even consider getting for someone as a gift during the upcoming holiday season. $14.99 hardcover. 224  pages. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Katy's Homecoming

Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: Zondervan
January 2011
ISBN: 978-0310722878
Genre: Mennonite / young adult

Just One Perfect Night

Katy gets the chance of a lifetime---she's been elected to the homecoming court, and there are rumors her crush, Bryce, might ask her to go with him. What could be more perfect? For one unforgettable night she would be able to experience life as many other teenage girls do---a stunning gown, gorgeous hair, jewelry, and makeup. Except Katy's Mennonite community prohibits dancing as well as fancy dresses and makeup, and her father would not approve.

When an opportunity arises that could allow her to attend without her father knowing, Katy must decide: Will she hold tight to her convictions, or will she sacrifice her principles for one special night?

KATY’S HOMECOMING is the third book in Ms. Sawyer’s young adult Mennonite series, Katy Lambright series. Readers will want to read Katy’s New World and Katy’s Debate first as the books really doesn’t stand alone.

Those who understand Amish / Mennonite / Conservative Christian fiction will understand why Katy has the dancing dilemma she faces. I cheered for her as she struggled with her need to fit in since she’s viewed as “weird” by both her Mennonite community and her high school peers. And I hoped she would make the right choice.

Those who like Amish / Mennonite books and young adults will enjoy reading KATY’S HOMECOMING. Recommended. $9.99. 208 pages. Ages 8 and up. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

My Princess Devotions Preschool Edition

Title: The One Year MY PRINCESS DEVOTIONS: Preschool Edition
Author: Karen Whiting
Publisher: Tyndale Kids
August 2013
ISBN: 978-1414369051
Genre:  Children’s Devotions

Princesses are a big attraction for most girls, especially preschoolers and early readers. The One Year My Princess Devotions is written for early readers and preschoolers. Each devotion sheds light on how the reader is a princess—a daughter of God, the King. The devotions also emphasize how little princesses should respond to being God’s children. Each devotion includes Royal Words (the Bible verse), Princess Thoughts (a short devotion written for early readers), a Prayer, and a Princess in Action section (an activity related to the devotion).

The devotions are thematic according to the calendar. For example, January features creation and February highlights love.

Little Princesses will look forward to learning more about their King each day.

MY PRINCESS DEVOTIONS is a cute, hardcover book, designed for little girl hands. The devotions are simple, designed for preschoolers, to teach them to start each day in the Word. The devotions are simply worded, easily understood, and the pages are pink. There is one devotion for every day of the year, making this the perfect devotion for your daughter/granddaughter/other. She will love it. Recommended. $14.99. 400 pages. 5 stars. 3 - 5 year olds

 Find additional materials such as Princess Prayer Cards and Princess Puppets

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Icing on the Cake

Author: Janice Thompson
Publisher: Revell
August 2013
ISBN: 978-0800721534
Genre: Contemporary romance

Scarlet isn't sure if she has just the right ingredients for true love--or utter disaster

Scarlet Lindsey is busy making her dreams come true. She's moved her bakery to a prime spot on Galveston's most popular street, she's planning an extravagant cake for her best friend's wedding, and she has a great relationship with Bella Neeley, the island's most popular wedding coordinator. Business is booming and Scarlet is enjoying the ride.

But when Bella's dangerously handsome brother Armando breezes into her life, Scarlet is faced with a sticky situation. Should she stay with the safe, sweet guy who's been a fixture in her life for years? Or will this brash Italian hunk melt her guarded heart?

Fan favorite Janice Thompson is back with more wit, more weddings, and more of what you love best--bridal-business drama laced with laughs.

THE ICING ON THE CAKE is the second book in Ms. Thompson’s Weddings by Design series. While this book stands alone, readers will want to read the first one, Picture Perfect so they get the full sugary dosage.

I enjoyed reading THE ICING ON THE CAKE. After reading many nonfiction books this month, it was the perfect lighthearted, humorous romance to brighten the summer. And with summer being the ideal time for weddings, be sure to gave this one to read when you travel to one this year. Or for a late summer beach read.

Don’t miss THE ICING ON THE CAKE. Ms. Thompson knows weddings and cakes and this is the perfect look at behind the scenes. $13.99. 320 pages. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Blessed Every Day: Wisdom Writings for Women

Title: BLESSED EVERY DAY: Wisdom Writings for Women
Author: Barbara Dudley
Publisher: St. Paul Press
December 2011
ISBN:  978-0983832867
Genre: Devotional

BLESSED EVERY DAY identifies the kind of wisdom that is devoped as we travel through valleys and over peaks on this journey called life.

It is meant to be used and reused as a valuable tool in your “success in life tool kit”. Bend it, write in it, cry over it if you must. But set yourself a goal to glean all you can from its pages which are filled with simple stories of every day blessings.

As I was running out the door this morning I looked at my to-be-read-and-reviewed shelf and this book caught my attention. I had several hours to kill waiting on my son, and a fiction book and a devotional fit the bill. I started with the devotional, and read half of it within a short time. The book is a perfect size to fit in your office desk, briefcase, or to keep in your home office for a quick ‘pick-me-up’ type devotion. There is some pages designated for notes, but not a lot, so if you want to write thoughts, you might want to keep a notebook handy.

This is not a deep Bible study requiring hours in the word. This is a easy devotional designed to fill an empty couple minutes so you won’t feel guilty about neglecting devotions. They are short, to the point, and encouraging us women as we go about our busy days.  $10.79. 182 pages. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Welcome to Last Chance

Author: Cathleen Armstrong
Publisher: Revell
August 2013
ISBN: 978-0800722463
Genre: Contemporary romance

The red warning light on her car dashboard drove Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico. But as she encounters the people who make Last Chance their home, it's her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life for Lainie's comfort--especially since she's on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.

Yet in spite of herself, Lainie finds that she is increasingly drawn in to the dramas of small town life. An old church lady who always has room for a stranger. A handsome bartender with a secret life. A single mom running her diner and worrying over her teenage son. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little hick town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?

WELCOME TO LAST CHANCE is Ms. Armstrong’s debut novel and the first in the A Place to Call Home series. It is very well written, but there is no “wow factor.” Nothing that makes you want to keep reading. Lainie is angry. Kicked out when she was fourteen, a hard life, lots of bad choices, she’s running from an abusive drug dealing boyfriend, with a backpack full of drugs. When her car breaks down in front of a bar in last chance, we’re introduced to our hero. A bartender. Okay, as a very conservative Christian my brows shot up. Then when she asked for a beer, I double checked to make sure this was published by Revell.

Okay, there are a lot of good church ladies (some not so good) that are prepared to love the sin right out of a person, so this turned out to be a good read. I learned a lot from the waitress with a rebellious son who responded with love and a firm hand. What a woman.

And Ray. Well, I would’ve liked to have gotten deeper into his character, but what I read, what I saw, I liked. I will read more by Ms. Armstrong. 4 stars. $13.99. 288 pages

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Paige Torn

Author: Erynn Mangum
Publisher: NavPress
May 2013
ISBN: 978-1-6129-1298-1
Genre: Teen / young adult

Everyone knows they can count on Paige Alder. But between volunteering at church, putting in overtime at work, and helping her best friend plan an anniversary party and wedding, she's lucky to grab a cheese stick for dinner.

Paige can't even remember the last time she had a few minutes to relax or dig into God's Word. Then she meets laid-back Tyler, an attractive, Jesus-loving guy. Will he be able to help Paige get her priorities on track?

I read Ms. Mangum’s first series, but haven’t had the opportunity to read any of the rest, until I got PAIGE TORN in the mail. I did enjoy getting to know Paige. Like her, I wondered what her best friend, Layla, saw in Peter—he seemed to totally have no personality (but I’ve known people like that in real life), and sometimes I wanted to shake Paige when she allowed people to take advantage of her so much. Layla was the worst, expecting her to drop everything and do everything for her, like Layla wanted all the credit but none of the work. I got frustrated with Paige as well when Tyler starts showing interest and she kept pushing him away because Layla needs her…

I can’t wait to read the second book in this series, Paige Rewritten, releasing in October. If you like chicklit, first person, present tense style books, and love a good young adult book with a message, then don’t pass up, PAIGE TORN. $14.99. 304 pages. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Beneath the Dover Sky

Author: Murray Pura
Publisher: Harvest House
August 2013
ISBN: 978-0736952880
Genre: Historical / family saga

For fans of the hugely popular Downton Abbey television series and lovers of British historical sagas, award-winning author Murray Pura continues the enthralling story of the Danforths of Lancashire.

The second book in the series (following Ashton Park) transports the reader back in time to  1924 as Sir William--recently named Lord Preston--celebrates his sixtieth birthday at the Danforth summer home in Dover.

Although the ravages of World War I are in the past, new threats loom as a man named Adoph Hitler publishes a book called Mein Kampf.  Is he a danger to Europe? And what of Lord Preston's growing friendship with an up and coming political leader named Winston Churchill?

On the home front, one of the Danforth daughters, the recently widowed Catherine, sells her home in Belfast to spend more time at Dover--where she finds herself annoyed at the impertinent German theologian her father has befriended.

The entire Danforth family faces many changes as illness and tragedy strike. Young Edward finally makes his move into the political arena while Michael and Libby welcome a new family member.

Readers will be captivated by the upstairs/downstairs interplay as they once again savor this compelling saga of the well-loved Danforth family overcoming obstacles by placing their trust in the God who has always been faithful.

BENEATH THE DOVER SKY is the second book to Mr. Pura’s The Danforths of Lancashire series. I haven’t read the first book in this series, Ashton Park, yet, but I think it is somewhere in my to-be-read pile. I recommend reading Ashton Park first as the book seems to be a continuation of the same family’s story.

The story is rather slow and formal, but I think both are mainly due to the time period it is set in. World War I has just ended, life is resuming a new normal, and it is several years before World War II. I enjoyed getting to know Catherine, I giggled with the maids, and I liked the young “impertinent German theologian.” He was a breath of fresh air.

If you like the roaring 20’s, then you’ll definitely want to read BENEATH THE DOVER SKY. I am going to look for my copy of Ashton Park and read that soon, I think, so I can be brought up to speed on what happened prior. $13.99. 384 pages. 4 stars. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

This Means Love: Service Projects for Women Who Want to Make a Difference

Title: THIS MEANS LOVE: Service Projects for Women Who Want to Make a Difference
Publisher: Group
June 2013
ISBN: 978-1470700973
Genre: Women’s study kit

This kit makes it easy to get started planning simple service projects that can have an immense impact. Great for small groups, friends—women of all ages who want to join together and spread love to those around them.

The kit contains:

Ø      12 project guids—provide everything a leader needs to plan that project: a supply list, devotion, and complete instructions for each service activity
Ø      Graphics CD—this handy disc has reproducible items used in projects and promotional items to help you get the work out about your group.
Ø      One copy of This Means Love Bible Study—6 sessions on what the Bible says about serving and how it affects or faith. You’ll need one for every woman. (Available separately for purchase).

Women have a desire to give back. To make a difference. But it can be so difficult to know where to start! Serving isn’t always as grandiose as a mission trip to another country. It can be as simple as a good deed done to help a neighbor.

THIS MEANS LOVE: Service Projects for Women Who Want to Make a Difference is an everything included type kit for small groups, women’s Sunday School teachers, Missions and Outreach leaders, as well as Directors of Women’s Ministries. This is an awesome kit – you would only need to purchase as many extra copies of This Means Love as you have women in the group.

This is a great study kit for women, with Bible studies, graphics, and activities that you can do to start reaching out to others where you are. Recommended. $22.45

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