Thursday, March 31, 2011

"False Pretenses" Book Reiew


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

False Pretenses

David C. Cook (March 1, 2011)

by

Kathy Herman

MY REVIEW:


If you run far enough can your past catch up with you? Kathy Herman sets out to explore that in her new book "False Pretenses". I was thrilled to discover that some of the characters from her last series are main characters in this new series. Vanessa and Ethan Langley (along with little Carter) are in Louisiana now and they get mixed up in an incredible case of mistaken identity, lynching and murder, and theft... Zoe and Pierce are their landlords and as they become friends they discover not everything is as it seems. Zoe's past is haunting her, but can she clear things up before it catches up with her and ruins everything in her present and future?


Kathy does a great job with this book incorporating mystery / suspense with relationships and forgiveness. I think this is my favorite book of hers so far. I look forward to seeing where she goes with this series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources. She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market. Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added sixteen more titles to her credit, including four bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, and The Right Call. Kathy's husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, a cat named Samantha. They enjoy cruising, deep sea fishing, and birdwatching—sometimes incorporating these hobbies into one big adventure. ABOUT THE BOOK
Zoe Broussard loves the life she and her husband Pierce have built in her beloved Louisiana hometown. She owns a thriving Cajun eatery in South Louisiana and is married to the love of her life. But it’s about to become hell. One day, out of the blue, she receives a series of anonymous notes that sends her life into a tail spin. Five simple words, “I know what you did.” Zoe has a secret so terrible it could leave the business in shambles and tear her marriage apart. Unbeknownst to anyone, even Zoe’s husband, Pierce, she has a past—a past she had covered so well she never thought she would have to confront. How could anyone know what she did? Can she find the courage to face her past? If you would like to read the first chapter of False Pretenses, go HERE.

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Winning Him Without Words" Book Review & Giveaway!



– (http://www.winninghimwithoutwords.com)



MY REVIEW:
I may not be in a spiritually mismatched marriage myself, but I know lots of women who are and this book could be a marriage saving tool for so many of them. It could also be the tool that eventually turns that spiritual mismatch into a match. This book is easy to read and full of real life examples that make it very engaging. Lynn and Dineen really bare their souls as they go through their personal experiences and what they have learned. I personally found it wonderful just as a refresher on important things in a marriage (your husband needs and deserves your respect...) for me personally as well. Though this book may seem to have a limited audience who will really be able to appreciate it, every marriage could learn a lot from this little gem.

**************
I am pleased to have a copy of this book to offer to a reader thanks to the authors. If you would like to enter then leave a comment telling me if this book would be for you or a friend that you think needs it. If you are a follower of my blog then leave a 2nd entry and you will be entered twice. Good luck!

Winning Him Without Words
10 Keys to Thriving in Your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage

Week after week, they sit in church . . . alone. They are the spiritually mismatched, those who are committed to a spouse who does not share their faith. Feeling abandoned by their spouse and forgotten by their church, they live out their faith in survival mode, guarding the spiritual flame yet never feeling free to share it. But God wants them to thrive—not just survive.

Winning Him Without Words by Lynn Donovan and Dineen Miller presents 10 Christ-centered keys to thriving in a spiritual mismatch. Readers are encouraged to commit to Christian community, to release their spouse to God’s capable hands, to believe their marriage is blessed, to pick and choose their battles, and to continue their pursuit of a growing faith and to love their spouse with fresh enthusiasm.

“It matters not how we came to be in our crazy, mixed-up and unexpected marriage situations. What matters is that God desires that we honor our marriage commitment and fulfill our marriage vows through His power and His strength,” says Miller. “There were many years of confusion, sadness and unfulfilled expectations, but I discovered it’s possible to love, live and thrive in an unequally yoked marriage.”

Both Lynn and Dineen are Christian women in spiritually unequally yoked marriages, but believe that God wants every marriage to exude peace and love. Chapters include:

• Know You’re Not Alone: (Lynn) Recognizing that we aren’t the only person living in an unequally yoked marriage is a key aspect to restoring hope. Having Christ in our lives enables us to view our husbands as the wonderful man God created, regardless of your different beliefs.
• Don’t Save Your Husband – Save Yourself: (Lynn) The best thing I ever did was to get out of the way so that Jesus could be Jesus. I relinquished control and turned my man completely over to Christ and an unexpected, peaceful freedom emerged in our marriage.
• Trade Perfection for Authenticity: (Dineen) I came to understand that many of my disappointments had come from expectations I’d placed upon him to fulfill needs he wasn’t even aware of. In the end, all I really accomplished was a heart full of resentment.
• Keep Your Armor On-You’re at War! (Dineen) Instead of putting on the label of martyr in a spiritually mismatched marriage, we need to put on the label of missionaries. We need to think of ourselves as soldiers on the front lines of our marriages.

Other chapters include parenting children in an unequally yoked marriage, praying into the life of your spouse and scriptures to encourage and strengthen you. Winning Him Without Words empowers readers to create that environment in their homes and thrive as God works. The official website is www.winninghimwithoutwords.com

About Winning Him Without Words:
Winning Him Without Words: 10 Keys to Thriving in Your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage by Lynn Donovan and Dineen Miller. Published by Regal Books. February 2011. Trade Paper, 224 pages. $14.99. ISBN: 978-08307-5605

LYNN DONOVAN writes for the online ministry she founded in 2006, Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Lynn is a popular Bible study leader and national speaker who dispels the myths women believe about love and marriage and points them to the freedom that is theirs through a living relationship with Christ. She lives in Temecula, California, with her husband, Mike.

DINEEN MILLER has won several prestigious awards for her fiction, and her devotional writing has been featured in Our Journey and Christian Women Online Magazine. In addition to writing for Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Dineen writes for Laced with Grace and various other fiction online magazines and newsletters. Married for more than 23 years, she shares her life with a great guy who adores disc golf and their two daughters, who never stops surprising her with their own creativity.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Bound By Guilt" Book Review

TitleTrakk.com Blog Tours Presents:

Bound by Guilt
by C.J. Darlington
Published by Tyndale House


Shuttled between foster homes, Roxi Gold will do anything to fit in. Soon she’s traveling the country stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores. Police officer Abby Dawson has seen the worst of society—and not just at work. One fateful night, both their lives are changed forever. One searches for justice, the other finds herself on the run. Will the power of forgiveness set them free?


MY REVIEW:
I really enjoyed C.J.'s first book and was so glad to see that she was finding a niche in Christian fiction that was unique from so many of the books that I usually review. I was thrilled when I realized that this book is basically a sequel to the first one as we are reintroduced to most of the characters from the first book (Christy, Hunter, Abby, Mae...) but we have a new batch of characters as well (Roxi, Diego, Irene...) and when the two worlds collide things get bad fast. So when Roxi decides she can't live like this anymore she runs - far and fast. But how long can a 16 year old survive on her own. Roxi is ready to find out. Will her past catch up with her just when things are getting good?

I love the viewpoint of this 16 year old girl with a past. And C.J. does a great job really getting us inside her head. Guilt and our past really can bind us up and freedom is only found in truth. This is a great journey to freedom - you will enjoy the trip.

Great job! You kept me turning the pages.
--Francine Rivers, Internationally best selling author

C.J. is a wonderful, talented writer . . . extraordinary . . .
--Bodie Thoene, best-selling author of the A.D. Chronicles

This one engages your senses and reaches your heart.
--Jerry B. Jenkins, NY Times best-selling author & owner of The Christian Writers Guild

Watch the book trailer:



About the Author:
C. J. Darlington won the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest with her first novel, Thicker Than Blood. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over twelve years, scouting for stores similar to the ones described in her novels before cofounding her own online bookstore. In 2006 C. J. started the Christian entertainment Web site www.TitleTrakk.com with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction through book reviews and author interviews. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs and cats. Visit her website www.cjdarlington.com

QUICK LINKS:

Friday, March 25, 2011

"Vicious Cycle" Book Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Vicious Cycle
Zondervan (February 22, 2011)
by
Terri Blackstock

MY REVIEW:
Ah, yes. Suspense at its finest. Terri Blackstock has brought back Barbara and Lance from Intervention and Lance is front and center this time as he gets into a load of trouble when a meth baby shows up in his backseat and he is arrested for kidnapping. This pulls him and his mother into a dangerous world of drugs and human trafficking as they try to save the baby and clear Lance at the same time.

Terri knows how to keep me on the edge of my seat from the very beginning to the very end and she does not disappoint in Vicious Cycle. I loved it!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

Besides entertaining her readers, Terri tackles issues that she hopes will change lives. Her recent book, Predator, was inspired by her experiences on Facebook and Twitter, and her concern that people posted too much personal information about themselves. The book deals with an online predator who uses social networks as his playground. She hopes the book will change readers’ online habits. Her New York Times best-seller, Intervention, was inspired by her own personal struggles with a daughter on drugs. In the book, a mother hires an interventionist for her drug-addicted daughter. But on the way to treatment, the interventionist is murdered, and the daughter disappears. Barbara, the mother, sets out to search for her daughter. Terri modeled Barbara after herself, and poured many of her own emotions and experiences into that character. As a result, many families experiencing drug addiction have written to thank her for telling their story and giving them hope. Vicious Cycle, Book Two of the Intervention Series, releases February 22, 2011. She’s currently working on Book Three.

Other recent books include a stand-alone novel called Double Minds, as well as Last Light, Night Light, True Light and Dawn’s Light (from her acclaimed Restoration Series). She is also known for her popular Newpointe 911 Series and Cape Refuge Series. Terri makes her home in Mississippi, where she and her husband Ken are enjoying their empty nest after raising three children.

Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.







ABOUT THE BOOK



When fifteen-year-old Lance Covington finds an abandoned baby in the backseat of a car, he knows she's the newborn daughter of a meth addict he's been trying to help. But when police arrest him for kidnapping, Lance is thrust into a criminal world of baby trafficking and drug abuse.

His mother, Barbara, looks for help from Kent Harlan---the man whom she secretly, reluctantly loves and who once helped rescue her daughter from a mess of her own. Kent flies to her aid and begins the impossible work of getting Lance out of trouble, protecting a baby who has no home, and finding help for a teenage mother hiding behind her lies.

In this latest novel of suspense and family loyalty, bestselling author Terri Blackstock offers a harrowing look at drug addiction, human trafficking, and the devastating choices that can change lives forever.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Vicious Cycle, go HERE.



Watch the Book Video:



Thursday, March 24, 2011

"No Safe Haven" Book Review



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
No Safe Haven
B&H Books (March 15, 2011)
by
Kimberly and Kayla Woodhouse


MY REVIEW:
A new and different kind of mystery / suspense has landed and it is fun. Lots of new ideas show up in this debut effort by mother/daughter team Kimberly and Kayla Woodhouse. I actually learned quite a bit while reading this book. The setting is Alaska and the situation is bad guys after mother / daughter, Jenna and Andie want them dead - but who are the bad guys, who are the good guys and why are they after them? How does this all link up with how Marc died a year ago (Jenna's husband/Andie's dad)? There are some hair raising moments when a blizzard sets in while they are stuck on the side of a mountain - good stuff!

We see everything through 4 perspectives... Jenna's, Andie's, Cole's and Leaper's. We don't know if Cole and Leaper are good or bad so their perspective's are very interesting. Jenna is seen as the over-protective mom that she is and plays her part well. The only unrealistic viewpoint for me was Andie - she is supposed to be a 12 year old but she comes off a little more as an annoying 20 year old. Her viewpoint was a little inconsistent because she thinks like a 12 year old but talks like a 20 year old. The crazy thing is I liked her, her viewpoint just didn't ring very true.

Over all I really enjoyed this book and have to admit that the identity of Leaper surprised me at the end and that is hard to do. Everything toward the end deals with the espionage, betrayal and mystery and that is all handled really well. A good first attempt by this pairing and I look forward to more from them.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:



A devoted wife and mother, Kimberley Woodhouse is a third generation Liszt student, she has passed down her love of the arts to hundreds of students over the years.

About fifteen years ago, Kimberley began writing seriously. Songs, plays, short stories, novels, picture books, articles, newsletters - you name it - she's written it. It wasn't until a dear friend challenged her to "do something with it", that she pursued publication.

Kimberley and her family's story have been on the front page of newspapers, in magazines, articles, medical journals, and most recently her family was chosen for ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They were also asked to share their story on The Montel Williams Show and Discovery Health Channel's Mystery ER. She has recorded three albums, and has appeared at over 700 venues. Kimberley lives, writes, and homeschools in Colorado with her husband and their two children in a truly "Extreme" home.

Thirteen-year-old Kayla Woodhouse’s zest for writing comes not only from her natural ability, but also from her love of the written word as witnessed by her voracious reading appetite. One of only a few dozen cases in the world, Kayla was born with HSAN, Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy, an extremely rare nerve disorder. Unable to sweat, or feel pain, she’s also been through brain surgery. But even through a life of extreme hardships, her ever-present smile encourages others to pursue their dreams, no matter the obstacles. In addition to being homeschooled and writing with her mom, she’s an amazing swimmer, and spends up to thirty hours a week in training. No Safe Haven, her first release from B&H Publishers in 2011, written with mother, Kimberley, makes her the youngest author to have a full-length novel published by a royalty paying publisher.


ABOUT THE BOOK


Jenna and Andi Tikaani-Gray are hoping for a fresh start. Though twelve year-old Andi has long struggled with a rare medical disorder, she and her mother have finally received good news from out-of-town specialists. It's news they desperately needed, especially after the recent death of Jenna's husband (Andi's dad) in a car accident.

But as they are flying home to Alaska, ready to begin again, the unthinkable happens. The pilot sabotages their small plane and crashes into Sultana, one of the most remote and dangerous mountains in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Even worse, a winter storm is headed their way along with someone who doesn't want to save them, but to kill them.

Only one man can keep them alive: Cole Maddox, the mysterious last-minute passenger who joined them on their flight. But trust doesn't come easy to Jenna or Andie and they both sense Cole is hiding something.

A relentless tale of survival and suspense unfolds, involving military technology designed by Jenna's late husband that some would do anything to possess.

Watch the Book Video:







If you would like to read the first chapter of No Safe Haven, go HERE.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Bathsheba" Book Review


BATHSHEBA
BY
JILL EILEEN SMITH


Bathsheba is a woman who longs for love. With her devout husband away fighting the king's wars for many months at a time, discontent and loneliness dog her steps--and make it frighteningly easy to succumb to King David's charm and attention. Though she immediately regrets her involvement with the powerful king, the pieces are set in motion that will destroy everything she holds dear. Can she find forgiveness at the feet of the Almighty? Or has her sin separated her from God--and David--forever?

MY REVIEW:
In my opinion Biblical Fiction has to be one of the hardest genres to write in because you are taking something that is fact but there is not a lot of info on and fictionalizing it to bring it to life. So not only are you researching the ways and habits of the time period but you are researching the people as well. Jill Eileen Smith is a master of this. Her Wives of King David series is fantastic and this last book, Bathsheba, is a catch-22 for me. I wanted to see what she did with this difficult story, but I also didn't want to see the series end. I have just turned the last pages and ended it and now sadly put it down. Jill did not disappoint me at all, she handled a hard story of sin, forgiveness, grace and consequences with incredible insight and diplomacy. She continues to bring David to life as a man with flaws and sin, but with a heart that truly desires to follow God. And though this book focuses on Bathsheba, the journey of his wives is a truly fascinating thing. I plan on making this series required reading for my children as they hit high school because there is value in bringing Biblical characters to life... flaws and forgiveness.

Bestselling author Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the Bible’s most famous story of passion, betrayal and redemption in the conclusion of The Wives of King David series, Bathsheba (ISBN: 978-0-8007-3322-3 $14.99, March 2011). Smith draws from Scripture, in-depth historical research and her vivid imagination to unveil the story of David’s most famous wife - Bathsheba. Bathsheba is told in rich detail and drama, creating a riveting page-turner that will keep readers engaged to the conclusion of the book.

Bathsheba is a woman longing for love. With her devout husband, Uriah, away fighting the king's wars for many months at a time, discontent and loneliness dog her steps--and make it frighteningly easy to succumb to King David's charms. Though she immediately regrets her involvement with the powerful king, the pieces are set in motion that will destroy everything she holds dear. Can she find forgiveness at the feet of the Almighty? Or has her sin separated her from God--and David--forever?

Bathsheba reveals the depth of God’s grace and forgiveness. You will never read the story of David and Bathsheba in the same way again.



Available March 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

My Weight Loss Journey Through Hcg (Part 1)






My Weight Loss Journey...


And if you find any of my lost pounds feel free to keep them, I don't want them back!



I have struggled with weight ever since I started having my babies, it was like my metabolism just shut down on me all of a sudden. For someone that was a size 3 in high school and a size 5 when I got married this was a hard adjustment. And then when the babies kept coming it kind of felt like, "Why bother losing weight? I'm just going to get pregnant again and gain it all back." And that is what happened over and over again. When Paige, my 5th baby, was born I started teaching dance again and swore that this time I would lose the weight. I have pictures of myself from that first recital in 2005 and its embarrassing. The worst part is that I saw those pictures this last fall and I realized that nothing had changed since then. I have two more precious babies, but Paige turns 7 next week and here I am looking exactly the same as I did when she turned a year. That is when I made the decision that it was time for me to make a change for me. Not for my husband, not for my kids, but for me. And so I did.



I first heard about the Hcg Diet the fall of 2009. My sister's good friend and author, Colleen Coble, and her husband did the diet together and got amazing results. For the first time Colleen was able to lose weight in those spots that just wouldn't ever move for her. She swore by it and encouraged others to give it a try. Through my sister's encouragement because of how she saw it work for her friend, my aunt ended up trying it and started to see good results. In the meantime I was pregnant with my 7th baby, Colin, and knew the timing wasn't right for me yet. Colin was born this last July and I decided that the fall was my time... until my aunt warned me that trying to start over the holidays could be difficult and she suggested I wait until the beginning of the year. I decided that was sound advice and ordered from the same site my aunt used and got a package of Hcg drops for my Christmas present. My biggest concern was that there are so many places that sell Hcg, but I didn't want to risk ordering something that wasn't a good quality product, something that might be watered down. If I was going to do something this restrictive then I was going to do it all the way, no holds barred and I didn't want lack of quality in the drops to hold me back.




So after getting my package (from the most amazing website with the absolute best customer support!) I started my load days. For two days I took the drops (10 drops 6x a day) and ate all the fat I could swallow. It sounds counter productive but is actually one of the most important things you can do for a successful round of Hcg. I did pretty well and was finally ready to start the VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet). So I weighed myself and took measurements so I could track myself through my losses. I started out at 199.7 lbs and lots of inches.



The VLCD sounds incredibly restrictive and I was a little concerned with a couple things. 1) I'm going to be hungry all the time! Myth - actually the Hcg in your system is there in part to keep you from being hungry. It directs your body to burn up fat from your excess fat stores when it runs out of fuel. So you eat 500 calories a day and the rest of your fuel comes from what you already have. And believe me, I have enough stored to keep me from being hungry for a long time. 2) I'm going to be so bored with my food choices. Myth - for one thing, the simplicity of the choices actually makes it easier on you and it is also amazing how creative you can get. I came to enjoy the fact that I didn't have to think about food much after I got into the swing of things. Food wasn't the first thing I thought about when I woke up and it wasn't the last thing I thought about when going to bed. For the first time in years food didn't consume my thoughts.



I am someone that needs to see results to be motivated - with Hcg I saw lots of results - on the scale and with the tape measure. It's called Pounds & Inches for a reason. When the scale isn't moving the tape measure probably is. Most people average about .5 lb to 1 lb a day and I was right about 1 lb a day. I ran into stalls a couple times, where my body was trying to catch up with bigger losses or when I hit a weight that I had been at for an extended period at some point previously. It can take a couple days for your body to break through a previous weight. I hit a couple of those but it is a good feeling to bust through that past weight.




I was seeing such great results that people would ask what I was doing and I would refer them to the website I ordered from. I can't say enough good things about (http://www.myhcgplus.com) Their products and their support, I'll never order from another site. I have quite a few friends that have started because I pointed them here and they are doing great. My mom and dad are currently in the middle of the VLCD protocol and a friend of mine that has never been able to lose weight any other way is 11 days into it and has lost 31 pounds. It is fantastic to see it changing other people's lives like it is changing mine!

Fast, safe, long-term weight loss with HCG drops!

I am currently on my 4th week of Maintenence and will start a 2nd round of the Hcg protocol after my 6 weeks of Maintenence is up. I might hit my goal weight in my 2nd round and then I'll go through Maintenence one more time and be ready to move into Life Phase which means that I should never have to struggle with my weight again as long as I follow the Life Phase protocol. Basically, make smart choices, don't deprive yourself but don't get more than 2-5 pounds above your goal weight again. That is one of the reasons I picked this diet, I never want weight to be a struggle for me again.


The hardest thing for me is that some people have a preconceived notion about this diet and they make a judgement on it as soon as they hear that is what I'm doing... "I know someone that did that diet and it didn't work for them." "I heard that is dangerous!" "Why would you want to do a diet that puts hormones in your body???" "Have you been having side effects?"


If someone does the diet and doesn't get results, they probably aren't doing it properly and don't have the right support system and info. When done properly it isn't dangerous at all - in my small town I know of two different doctors that administer the diet through their offices and another doctor that recommends it. What I use is homeopathic heat imprinted and is not the actual hormone, it just gets the results. When done properly there are no side effects except feeling better, having more energy and looking fantastic!


I plan on posting more info with hints and suggestions and following my 2nd round as I move towards my goal weight. In my first round I lost 29.5 lbs in 32 days and without trying I have lost a little more in Maintenence (not the goal, but my body seems to like having my metabolism jumpstarted again after all these years!). I am down 38.2 lbs for a total of 19.13%. I will post a couple pictures, but stay tuned for more as things progress over the next couple months! (The first picture is when I started at 199.7 and the second picture is when I finished the first round at 173.6 - I am 161.5 right now.)

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN WHERE I ORDER MY HCG PRODUCTS FROM YOU CAN CLICK ON THE MEASURING TAPE ABOVE MY PICTURE OR CHECK OUT THIS LINK.

I CAN'T RECOMMEND MYHCGPLUS STRONGLY ENOUGH - I AM CONVINCED THAT THEIR CUSTOMER SUPPORT IS WHAT HAS MADE ME SUCCESSFUL!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"The Caregiver" Book Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Caregiver
Avon Inspire; Original edition (March 8, 2011)
by
Shelley Shepard Gray


MY REVIEW:

There are so many Amish books out there right now that sometimes it can be hard to sort through them and find ones that are a little unique or different. Here's a hint, find ones with Shelley Shepard Gray's name on them, pick them up and read them. "The Caregiver" is a beautiful story that deals with marital abuse, cancer, widowhood, love and trust. I'm thinking that Shelley knows someone that has gone through cancer because her descriptions as she deals with Lucy helping her cousin Mattie go through her chemotherapy I was near tears. It was moving and touching as Mattie deals with depression and Lucy struggles to keep her from losing hope. Lucy is Mattie's caregiver, but she soon finds out that maybe she needs a little more care herself than she realized. There are some wonderful plot points in this book and Shelley has a way of making you really care about the different characters. A beautiful story and I look forward to the next one in this series.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Shelley Shepard Gray is the beloved author of the Sisters of the Heart series, including Hidden, Wanted, and Forgiven. Before writing, she was a teacher in both Texas and Colorado. She now writes full time and lives in southern Ohio with her husband and two children. When not writing, Shelley volunteers at church, reads, and enjoys walking her miniature dachshund on her town's scenic bike trail.





ABOUT THE BOOK



Two lives converge one stormy night on a train headed to Cleveland.

Lucy is traveling by herself via train to Jacob's Crossing to help care for her cousin Mattie, recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Trying to overcome the sudden death of her husband, she's glad to get away and focus on someone else for a while.

The only other Amish people on the train are Calvin Weaver and his little sister, Katie. When their train breaks down outside of Cleveland, Calvin and Lucy band together to face the outside world. But Calvin also carries the weight of past hurts. When an altercation brings both their wounds to light, they question whether they can trust each other.

Once in Jacob's Crossing, Lucy is occupied with caring for Mattie, while Calvin does his best to run his family's farm. But they can't stop thinking about those special hours spent together. Will the bond they formed last? And will Lucy and Calvin be able to put away the pain in their pasts to recognize the happiness that is suddenly in their grasp?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Caregiver, go HERE.

"In The Shadow Of Evil" 2nd Chance Giveaway!



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
In The Shadow of Evil
B&H Books (March 1, 2011)
by
Robin Caroll

MY REVIEW:

Robin Caroll has this amazing gift for suspense/thriller writing that is almost creepy. Why? Because she takes topics and scenarios that could happen right at home and then brings them to life and it has you looking over your shoulder and wondering if that very thing could be happening in your own neighborhood! Child trafficking rings, gang warfare and now scams and unethical practices in a Habitat for Humanity type business. It makes me wonder where she comes up with these stories, but scared to ask... all I know is that I absolutely love her books and her writing and this Evil series ("Deliver Us From Evil", "Fear No Evil" and "In The Shadow of Evil") is fantastic!

********************
To make it even better I have a copy to giveaway!!! Leave a comment telling me why you would like to read this Robin Caroll book and you will get an entry. If you are a blog follower then leave me a separate comment and you will be entered 2x! Be sure to leave your email address - this giveaway will close on March 25th! Good luck!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty years, her three beautiful daughters, one precious grandson, and their four character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?



Robin gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for ACFW. Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as RT Reviewer's Choice, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year. An avid reader herself, Robin loves hearing from and chatting with other readers. Although her favorite genre to read is mystery/suspense, of course, she’ll read just about any good story. Except historicals!



ABOUT THE BOOK



Informed by the real-life fallout of the U.S. economy plus devastation caused by multiple hurricanes along the southern coast, In the Shadow of Evil casts the modern day story of a building rebound scam exposed. It begins when the body of a property inspector is found among the ashes of a burnt out Homes of Hope house. Wrapped up in this mounting case of unethical practices, supply shortages, and murder, top Louisiana homicide detective Maddox Bishop is losing his heart to a charitable contractor, Layla Taylor, whose own sister is under suspicion. He’s also about to discover a deep secret about his tragic past.



If you would like to read the first chapter of In The Shadow of Evil, go HERE.



Watch the trailer:



Friday, March 11, 2011

"The Christian Mama's Guide To Having A Baby"

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Christian Mama’s Guide to Having a Baby

GuidepostsBooks (March 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Sharon Farnell, Publicity Manager, Planned Television Arts for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Erin MacPherson lives with her husband and their two adorable children in Austin, Texas. She was an editor and staff writer for the Nickelodean ParentsConnect website for years, where she spent hours each week researching pregnancy, talking to obstetricians and midwives, and giving out tips and advice to new and pregnant mamas.


Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Filled with helpful tips, amusing anecdotes, and encouraging advice, here's one mama's take on everything pregnancy -- from stretch marks to weight gain to figuring out how to rely on our creator through all of the uncertainty and joy of the next nine months. Pregnant women may discover that while they are thrilled about the baby, pregnancy can be another thing entirely. Instead of glowing they're glistening. There's morning sickness. And suddenly a favorite pair of jeans no longer fits. Erin MacPherson has created a comprehensive guide that's packed with information that every newly pregnant mama needs including exercising while pregnant, a detailed guide to each trimester (including sleep, doctor check-ups, pregnancy sex), what to buy and not buy for your baby, how to use your Bible as your pregnancy resource, and how to use this time of waiting to really draw closer to God through prayer. Filled with helpful tips (how do you quell that not-just-in-the-morning sickness?), humorous accounts (doesn't everyone crave peanut-butter-and-olive sandwiches?), and supportive spiritual advice (what does a godly pregnancy attitude actually look like anyway?). The Christian Mama's Guide to Having a Baby has the advice a mama-to-be wants to hear. Erin MacPherson assures, 'at the end of nine months, you really will be glowing.'


Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: GuidepostsBooks (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0824948580
ISBN-13: 978-0824948580

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:



Introduction

You're Havin' a Baby!


The fact that you're reading this probably means you're pregnant. Yep. YOU are pregnant. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? If you thought your graduation day or your last birthday or even your wedding day was exciting and exhilarating and amazing, just wait until you hold your little bundle in your arms for the first time. The feeling is breathtaking. I get misty-eyed just thinking about it. That said, you have eight months (give or take) to wait before that misty-eyed moment so don't start packing your hospital bag yet.

I've always wondered how God created the heavens and the earth in seven short days and yet it takes nine long months to create a baby. Nine months. Seems like an eternity, doesn't it? I remember getting so irritated when people told me that my pregnancies would pass in the twinkle of an eye. They swore that I'd be holding my baby before I knew it. That's kind of hard to believe when you're carrying around twenty (er, thirty) extra pounds and gagging every time you catch a whiff of someone else's dinner.

But, really, your pregnancy will be over before you know it. In the meantime, you're probably going to need some girlfriend-to-girlfriend advice to get you from point A—the miserable, exhausted, growing-by-the-minute, gagging, vomiting and sweating point that you're most likely at right now, to point B—the glowing, ecstatic, sleep-deprived-but-you-don’t-care-at-all point that you'll be in less than forty weeks. And that's why I wrote this book.

I remember during my first pregnancy, the first thing I did after peeing on a stick was head to the bookstore to find a book that would keep me informed about what to expect (nausea, bloating and night waking) and what not to expect (a glorious time where I could eat unlimited amounts of ice cream while my husband massaged my feet). Not surprisingly, there were oodles of choices; there were pregnancy guides for new moms-to-be, old moms-to-be, young moms-to-be, and tall moms-to-be. There were pregnancy guides for dads-to-be and grandparents-to-be and second-cousins-to-be. But there was nothing for Christian moms-to-be. So, I did what any somewhat sane mother-of-two would do. I wrote my own Christian pregnancy guide.

The good news is that I’m not going to bore you with medical jargon. It's not that I don't like medical jargon (when I was pregnant, I loved reading books that told me all about the medical feats that my body was performing while growing a baby), but simply that I'm not a doctor. In fact, I don't have any medical training at all (unless you count the fact that I took—and passed—health education in high school). So, if you're looking for medical rhetoric and big-word-laden advice for a magical medical breakthrough that will quell your ever-present nausea and keep your weight gain to a minimum, this probably isn't the place.

But, while my medical expertise stops at "take some Tylenol and go lie down," I do have some pregnancy expertise. I've been pregnant twice. My sisters have all been pregnant. My friends have all been pregnant. Heck, a few months ago, my dog got pregnant. I've been surrounded by pregnancy nonstop for the past six years, and as I dealt with morning sickness and weight gain and decorating a nursery, I gleaned some pregnancy knowledge.

I also had horrible pregnancies. I know. I shouldn't be saying that to new moms-to-be, but for the sake of honesty, I'm going to throw it out there. I went through the ringer during my first pregnancy and swore up and down that I would never, ever survive and that if by some miracle I did survive I would never, ever, ever get pregnant again. Well, I survived. I fell in love with my baby and promptly got pregnant again. And you know what? I survived the second awful pregnancy too. And, if we're being honest, I'd take another pregnancy (or two)), God willing. In an instant.

You probably don't want to hear this right now, but it is worth it. Every time you gag. Every time you throw up into your mouth. Every pound you gain. Every sleepless night. All of it. It's worth it. Just wait. I promise that nine months from now, you're going to be e-mailing me and telling me I was right.

I won't say I told you so.





Chapter 1

Getting Into the Pregnancy Groove

Being Pregnant and Loving It


You figured out how to actually get pregnant (go you!), now you have to figure out how to be pregnant. And contrary to popular belief, being pregnant isn't as simple as remembering to take your prenatal vitamins, which is a feat unto itself. Pregnancy is exhausting, exciting, exhilarating and stressful all at once, which means that you're going to be exhausted, excited, exhilarated and stressed for the next few months. Not an easy thing to be—especially when you're gaining weight at a rate of three pounds per week.

I hate to even say this to a pregnant woman, but the next few months might not be the best months of your life. (Sorry!) I think my biggest misconception about pregnancy was that I expected it to be easy. I thought I'd be bubbling with baby-growing joy for the entire nine months. Maybe that’s true for some people, but it wasn't the case for me. Pregnancy was hard. And stressful. And super-annoying at times. And I wrestled with emotions that I'm embarrassed to even admit. (But we'll get to that later.)

Interestingly, while I was trying to get a handle on the stress and emotions of pregnancy, I felt an overwhelming urge to draw closer to God. There's something about impending motherhood that makes a girl really reflect on who she is and who she wants to be. I knew that my future children needed a godly mother, and I knew that I fell (far) short of the mark. This caused me to spend a lot of time reflecting on the characteristics of godly mothers and how I could become one.

As Christian women, we have to live up to a pretty high standard. The legendary Proverbs 31 woman is gracious and kind and long-suffering and probably never snapped at her husband for leaving dirty clothes on the floor. I'm not even close. I find myself living in a daily battle to live up to God's standard for my life. I wake up praying that I'll live with patience and integrity throughout the day…and find myself losing my cool before breakfast.

Yet, at one of the most stressful, emotional and trying times of my life (my first pregnancy), God drew me closer to Him. I actually felt His presence as I spent time praying and reflecting on my baby and my future as a mother. It's comforting to hear His voice in a time of need and feel His presence when you're feeling your worst. And, hearing God's voice (and knowing he's there) is great motivation to have a godly attitude throughout pregnancy.

Of course, I was still the same old girl who couldn't seem to make it to breakfast without losing patience about something. (Have I mentioned the dirty laundry that is always left on the bathroom floor?) Still, God did show me that purposefully choosing to have a godly attitude resulted in me feeling closer to Him. That, in turn, allowed me to have a more gracious attitude about my pregnancies.

Sounds a bit trite, doesn't it? I mean, if it was all about choosing to smile through any situation then every day would be gumdrops and preggo-pops, right? Not exactly. But God does call us to be content in any circumstance (even morning sickness!), which means choosing to focus on the reasons we have to be grateful, even when it’s tempting to be grumpy.

And trust me, when I was pregnant, I had lots of reasons to be grumpy. But, I did strive to have an attitude of gratitude about my pregnancy. Here's how I did (and didn't) do it:

How to Get into the Pregnancy Groove


1. Get Yourself Pumped Up:

When I first got pregnant, I was giddy with excitement. And who wouldn't be? I was going to have a baby. I couldn't stop thinking (or talking) about it. But then I got tired. And sick. And bloated. And suddenly I wasn't so giddy anymore. In fact, once those pregnancy symptoms kicked in, I turned into a whiney, moaning, self-pitying mess. I resented my baby for making me feel so bad and resented everyone else because they didn't feel as bad as I did. I resented my job because I had to go to it. I resented my husband because he could sleep and I couldn't. I even resented my dog because she could spend the entire day basking in the sunshine while I had to actually get up and function.

So, how exactly do you start thinking about rainbows and baby booties when you've spent weeks hugging the toilet bowl? One thing I did was immerse myself in babyland. I bought books about pregnancies and babies. I hung out with friends who had babies. I ogled over baby gear on the Internet and rented funny movies about babies and watched them over and over. The only thing I didn't do was volunteer to babysit because that would've taken way more energy than I had at that point. But if you're feeling up to dirty diapers and peekaboo, go for it.

The point is, the more time you spend around babies (and other mothers), the more excited you will be about your own baby. And believe me, the only thing in the world that is worth nine months of pregnancy is a baby. And you're getting one. So hop on board the baby train (I don't have to tell you twice, do I?) and start living baby.


2. Turn that Mommy Guilt into Glee (Or at Least Contentment):

That resentment that I felt because I was sick, tired and fat quickly turned to guilt. I felt guilty for resenting my baby who was supposed to be my pride and joy. I felt guilty for resenting my husband who was honestly trying to help me as much as he could. Mostly, I felt guilty that I wasn't thrilled to be pregnant.

I started to wonder if God didn't approve of my pregnancy and my baby. Crazy talk, right? I know that now, but at the time, I felt so awful and so confused that I started to doubt God's providence. Of course, once I realized—duh!—that God blessed me with the pregnancy, I wanted to be grateful to Him regardless of how I was feeling. God wants us to be content in our pregnancies, even when we're not feeling good. Tough job, huh?

It was a long, uphill battle for me. And I had to constantly remind myself of God's grace and mercy. But in the midst of the battle, God taught me many lessons that I wouldn't have otherwise learned: how to depend on others, how to trust and what it means to truly depend on God for strength

3. Pray for Your Baby

Another way to get into the pregnancy groove is to start praying for your baby in-utero. Sounds obvious, right? Well, it wasn't for me. (I was tired and sick, okay?) It took me several weeks of pregnancy to start praying for my son. I was so stunned and overwhelmed by the idea of being pregnant that the idea of praying for my baby didn't cross my mind. One day, one of the girls in my small-group Bible study mentioned that she had prayed for her baby throughout her pregnancy, and suddenly the light went on. I wanted to pray for my unborn child, too!

I could go into the mushy details about how my husband and I lay in bed and put our hands on my slightly protruding tummy and prayed for our son, but I'm sure you get it. In fact, you've probably been praying for your baby since the moment you found out you were pregnant. But just in case there's another woman out there like me who didn't think of it, I thought I'd mention it.

4. Think About the Pros of Pregnancy

There are some (okay, lots of) wonderful things about pregnancy. What other time in your life do you have free license to eat extra calories, sleep late and buy baby clothes without reservation?

Plus, when you're pregnant, everyone (and I mean everyone) gushes over you. I remember walking into church just as I was starting to show. Two of the guys in our Sunday school class ran to grab me a chair. My husband got me water and my girlfriend brought me muffins from the class next door. They had blueberry crumble! Everyone oohed and aahed. Part of me hated all of the fuss—uh, who am I kidding? I loved the attention! Who wouldn't?

But aside from the minor benefits, when you're pregnant it's easy to dwell on all of the things you're missing out on. You can't eat sushi. You can't wear your favorite pencil skirt. Your bras are all too small. And you're too tired to stay up late watching chick flicks with your hubby (as if that happened before). I remember bursting into tears in the middle of our church group's Christmas party because the eggnog was made from raw eggs, and I was a little uneasy about exposing my unborn child to salmonella. I actually sobbed. Totally irrational, I know—especially considering the fact that there were a million other drink options at the party—but I felt so deprived.

The thing is that pregnancy isn't about deprivation. Sure, there are things you shouldn't and can't do, but there is also one huge thing that you can do: Nurture your own child inside of you. What an incredible privilege. I'm sure some of our husbands are secretly envious of us that we get to do it and they don't! How else can we account for their sympathy weight gain?

The best way to get out of a pregnancy funk is to think about the reason for the pregnancy. I know that sounds obvious, but focus on your baby. Focus on the privilege. It'll help you to forget the pain. And if that doesn't work, think of all of the things that you can get away with during this brief period of your life.


Things You Can Do While Pregnant (That You Would Never Get Away With Otherwise)

1. Wear flip-flops or clogs every day. Even to church.
2. Leave the toilet unscrubbed for the nine entire months (might as well make it an even ten).
3. Order dessert (and eat it all by yourself).
4. Wear sweats to the grocery store, to work and to dinner at your mother-in-law’s.
5. Skip your morning shower. Three days in a row.
6. Add half and half to your decaf (or half-caf).
7. Send your hubby to Sonic for a foot-long hot dog at eleven o’clock at night.
8. Eat a foot-long hot dog at eleven and wash it down with Chunky Monkey.
9. Go to bed at seven on a Friday night.
10. Spend your entire Saturday camped out on the couch watching A Baby Story.
11. Borrow your husband's T-shirts.
12. Chat about baby names on a baby names message board.
13. Go to BabiesRUs and camp out in one of their rockers for an entire afternoon. (You probably need to test it out, so go ahead and take a nap if you'd like.)


Pregnancy Rocks (Even Though it Sometimes Stinks)

The fact is, in spite of all of the nausea, bloating and constant peeing, there's also an ecstatic, blissful, giddy joy that comes from the fact that you have a baby growing inside of you. It's amazing. And no matter how bad you feel, you can still cling to that. I remember being hunched over the toilet puking up my guts and thinking to myself how amazing it was that there was a tiny life growing inside of me.

The truth is, it's okay to be a little ambivalent, depressed, scared, worried, nervous, angry, irritated or annoyed by your pregnancy. Feeling that way is natural. And feeling that way about your pregnancy has nothing to do with how you're feeling about your baby. Of course you love your baby. But you don't have to love pregnancy to love your baby! Just because you're thrilled to be pregnant, you don't have to ignore all the aches and pains and annoyances.

So, enough pep talking… you're ready, right? Time to get down to the nitty gritty. What are the next nine months really going to be like? What can you do to combat morning sickness? And bloating? And the rest of those icky pregnancy symptoms? And, perhaps most importantly, how much longer (in minutes) are you going to be able to fit into your favorite prepregnancy jeans? Let's talk first trimesters.

"A Heart Most Worthy" Book Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Heart Most Worthy
Bethany House (March 1, 2011)
by
Siri Mitchell


MY REVIEW:
Three Italian immigrant lives intertwine in Boston with the backdrop of WWI as love is gained and lost. A beautiful story that Siri Mitchell really hits her stride in. She has discovered a niche in historical fiction. One of the things I love about her best is that everything doesn't always end up perfect but she wraps it all up beautifully! Three very different Italian young women are finding their way through life and love in America with some help (and hindrance) from each other. There is a little mystery along the way and it is masterfully worked together. Excellent book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including in Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.



But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a sermon and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.



Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.



Her ninth novel, A Heart Most Worthy, follows prior Bethany House releases: A Constant Heart (October 2008), Love's Pursuit (June 2009), and She Walks in Beauty (Apr 2010). She Walks in Beauty won the inaugural INSPY Award for Historical Fiction in Dec 2010. Two of her novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door were Christy Award finalists. Love's Pursuit was a finalist for the ACFW Carol Award.



Publishers Weekly proclaimed, "Mitchell delivers the historical goods."



ABOUT THE BOOK



The elegance of Madame Forza's gown shop is a far cry from the downtrodden North End of Boston. Yet each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana enter the world of the upper class, working on finery for the elite in society. The three beauties each long to break free of their obligations and embrace the American dream--and their chance for love. But the ways of the heart are difficult to discern at times.



Julietta is drawn to the swarthy, mysterious Angelo. Annamaria has a star-crossed encounter with the grocer's son, a man from the entirely wrong family. And through no intent of her own, Luciana catches the eye of Billy Quinn, the son of Madame Forza's most important client.



Their destinies intertwined, each harboring a secret from their families and each other, will they be found worthy of the love they seek?



If you would like to read the first chapter of A Heart Most Worthy, go HERE.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Hearts Aglow" Book Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hearts Aglow
Bethany House (March 1, 2011)
by
Tracie Peterson


MY REVIEW:
Prolific is one of the first words that come to mind when I think of Tracie Peterson. Her historical writing is amazing and absolutely sets me back in time as I connect with her characters. She has done it again with her latest book "Hearts Aglow". I love where she takes the storyline and the characters in this book and it is like a special treat that she lets us tag along to see what happens. I am pretty sure that we will get to see these characters again and I'm glad because I put the book down when I finished but I wasn't quite ready to say good-bye to Deborah, Christopher, Lizzie, G.W. and the rest. Thank you Tracie for another wonderful historical fiction.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 85 novels.

She received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings' Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership's vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.

In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers to co-write a series with author Judith Pella. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers.

She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research.

Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests.

Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family--especially her three grandchildren--Rainy, Fox and Max. She's active in her church as the Director of Women's Ministries, coordinates a yearly writer's retreat for published authors, and travels, as time permits, to research her books


ABOUT THE BOOK



The future should be bright for Deborah Vandermark, who is now pursuing her interest in medicine alongside Dr. Christopher Clayton, who is courting her. But the lumber town is resistant to the idea of a woman physician, and she feels thwarted at every turn.

A more devastating blow occurs, however, when Christopher breaks off their relationship to return home to his troubled family. Despite her own love life going awry, Deborah is still intent to be a matchmaker for both her widowed mother and her brother, who has caught the eye of the spit-fire daughter of the local pastor.

But what will Deborah do when faced with the truth about Christopher's family? Is there hope for the two of them...or will Jake Wyeth's attentions finally catch Deborah's eye instead?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hearts Aglow, go HERE.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"A Bond Never Broken" Book Review



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Bond Never Broken
Bethany House (March 1, 2011)
by
Judith Miller

MY REVIEW:
This Amana Colonies series by Judith Miller has been one of the most enjoyable series that I have read lately and definitely my favorite among what I would consider in the Amish line. I am fascinated by the history that she has brought alive in these three books. Each book takes place in a different Amana town and each one has totally different characters, but that is great. This book has a really interesting twist. There are two main characters - Ilsa and Jutta - one who lives happily in an Amana town and one who left the Amana colonies with her parents a few years back. But now it is WWI and Jutta's family is experiencing lots of anger towards them just because they are German. They are basically forced to send Jutta back to the Amanas to spy on the good people there and report back on all the unpatriotic things they do. Needless to say her deception weighs heavy on her and things get complicated. Judith has done it again - absolutely fantastic! The only negative thing I have to say is that as much as I like the cover - the darling three little girls on the front had nothing to do with the story... seemed a little odd to me. Overall a total winner.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from Judith:

Most readers want to know how authors 'got started' writing. My first novel, Threads of Love, was conceived when I was commuting sixty miles to work each day. I wanted to tell the story of a pioneer girl coming to Kansas and the faith that sustained her as she adjusted to a new life. When the book was completed, I tucked it away. I had absolutely no idea how publication of a book occurred and had given no thought to the concept. However, through a co-worker, I was directed to Tracie Peterson who, at that time, worked down the hall from me. Having never met Tracie, I was totally unaware of her writing career, but God intervened. The rest is, as they say, history...

With a graciousness that continues to amaze me, Tracie agreed to read my story, directed me to a publisher, and gave me information on a Christian writers conference. Since that first encounter many years ago, I have been blessed with the publication of numerous books, novellas and a juvenile fiction book. Joyously, Tracie and I had the opportunity to develop a blessed friendship. In fact, we have co-authored several series together, including The Bells of Lowell, the Lights of Lowell and The Broadmoor Legacy. In addition, I have continued to write several solo series.



ABOUT THE BOOK

For many years, Ilsa Redlich has helped her parents run a hotel in South Amana, but as the United States enters the Great War, she can feel her world changing. The residents of the towns surrounding the Amana Colonies used to be accepting of their quiet, peaceful neighbors, but with anti-German sentiment running high, the Amana villages are now plagued by vandalism, threats, and insults.

Things get even worse when Ilsa finds out her family won't be allowed to speak German in public--and that Garon, the childhood friend she's long been smitten with, has decided to join the army. Jutta Schmidt is shocked when several members of the Council of National Defense show up on her family's doorstep. Sure, the Schmidts once lived in the Amana Colonies, but that was years ago. She's even more surprised when the council demands that she travel to Amana and report back on any un-American activities.

Not daring to disobey the government agents, Jutta takes a job at the South Amana hotel, befriends the daughter of the owners, and begins to eavesdrop every chance she gets. When Jutta hears Ilsa making antiwar remarks and observes Garon assisting a suspicious outsider, she is torn at the prospect of betraying her new friends.

But what choice does she have? And when Garon is accused of something far worse than Jutta could imagine, can the Amana community come to his aid in time?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Bond Never Broken, go HERE.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"In The Shadow Of Evil" Giveaway!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


In the Shadow of Evil

B&H Books (March 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn, Trade Book Marketing, B&H Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***

MY REVIEW:
Robin Caroll has this amazing gift for suspense/thriller writing that is almost creepy. Why? Because she takes topics and scenarios that could happen right at home and then brings them to life and it has you looking over your shoulder and wondering if that very thing could be happening in your own neighborhood! Child trafficking rings, gang warfare and now scams and unethical practices in a Habitat for Humanity type business. It makes me wonder where she comes up with these stories, but scared to ask... all I know is that I absolutely love her books and her writing and this Evil series ("Deliver Us From Evil", "Fear No Evil" and "In The Shadow of Evil") is fantastic!

********************
To make it even better I have a copy to giveaway!!! Leave a comment telling me why you would like to read this Robin Caroll book and you will get an entry. If you are a blog follower then leave me a separate comment and you will be entered 2x! Be sure to leave your email address - this giveaway will close on St. Patrick's Day, but you can still add a comment on my new post of this book until March 25th! Good luck!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Robin Caroll is a leading Christian suspense novelist. She gives back to the writing community as conference director for the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. A proud southerner through and through, Robin lives with her husband and three daughters in Arkansas.


Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Informed by the real-life fallout of the U.S. economy and devastation caused by multiple hurricanes along the southern coast, In the Shadow of Evil tells a modern day story involving the exposure of a building rebound scam. Amidst the layers of unethical practices, supply shortages, and excess murders, a top Louisiana homicide detective loses his heart to a charitable contractor while uncovering a secret about his tragic past.




Product Details:

List Price: $14.98
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805449795
ISBN-13: 978-0805449792

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Prologue


Eighteen Years Earlier


What a night!

Maddox turned his car into the residential area and glanced at the digital display on the dash—12:28. Great, late for curfew. He smiled. Being late was worth it when he’d had a hot date with Julie Cordon. Man, the girl was something else. Beautiful, sexy, and funny. Just being with her made him feel special. Made him forget lots of things, including time.

Besides, he was seventeen. Curfews were for kids! A senior in high school, and he had to be home by midnight? All his Pop’s doing.

Tyson Bishop…Mr. Air Force man, determined to force the entire family to live by rules and regulations.

But his dad was over foreign soil right now, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. Mom understood better, wasn’t quite the stickler about curfews like his dad. Good thing, too. Maddox was almost thirty minutes late tonight. Pop would blow his top and ground him for at least a month. Probably take away his car. But not Mom. She’d just caution him to pay closer attention to the time. Launch into the whole spiel about responsibility and accountability. He could recite it from memory.

Maddox whipped into the driveway and pressed the garage door opener. The light from the kitchen door spilled into the garage. Mom would be up…waiting. He should’ve called.

But being around Julie was like being caught in a time warp. Even the car’s interior held her smell. Light, flowery…teasing and tempting.

He killed the engine and jogged up the steps, slipping his charming smile into place. His mom had never been able to stay mad or disappointed when he flashed his dimples at her. He’d promise to mow the grass tomorrow before Pop got home, and she’d forget all about his tardiness.

He shut the garage door behind him and entered the kitchen. “Mom? I’m home.” The hint of roast lingered in the air.

The house was as silent as a tomb.

Odd. She would normally be on her feet to meet him.

He passed the kitchen’s butcher-block island and continued into the living room. A soft light filled the space beside her reading chair, but no sign of her.

“Mom?”

Maddox backtracked to the kitchen. Maybe she was in the downstairs bathroom.

“Hello?” His voice rose an octave as his pulse hammered. The bathroom door was wide open, the room dark.

Where was she?

His steps faltered as he pressed into the kitchen again. The backdoor stood open, the glass pane closest to the knob—shattered. His heart jumped into his throat.

“Mom!”

Using the agility that had garnered him the wide receiver place on the varsity football team, Maddox flew down the hall toward his parents’ bedroom. He pushed open the door with shaking hands.

His mother lay sprawled on the floor, a pool of blood staining the carpet around her. Her face pale against the dark red spilling from her chest. A metallic odor permeated the room.

What? He blinked repeatedly, his mind not processing what his eyes saw. Then…he did. And nearly vomited.

He raced to her side, lifting her head into his lap. “Mom.” Tears backed up in his eyes as he smoothed her hair.

“Mad-dy,” she croaked.

He grabbed the phone from the nightstand, the base landing on the floor with a resounding thud. He grabbed the receiver and punched in 9-1-1.

“Hang on, Mom. I’m calling for help.” Every nerve in his body stood at high alert.

“Too. Late.” She grimaced. A gurgling seeped from between her lips. Her body went slack in his arms.

“911, what is the nature of your emergency?”

He closed his eyes. Fought back scalding tears. “My mother. She’s been murdered.”