Monday, December 28, 2009

Though Waters Roar ~ by Lynn Austin

Though Waters Roar is the latest book by five-time Christy Award winning novelist, Lynn Austin. It is a thought-provoking story of four generations of women who have fought for social-injustice and making their mark in the world. The story is entertaining, full of warmth and humor, as well as drama and inustice, while still prompting the reader to examine their own values and whether they would be willing to make a stand to do what they believe is right, even if it means public ridicule, arrest or even death. The book clearly shows that strength, conviction and trust in God can rise up in any of us, and lead us to do the right thing, if only we are willing. It is also a lesson in being your own person, the person God created you to be, and allowing Him to lead you to the purpose he designed you for. This was a very good read and I would recommend it to anyone, particularly someone who is interested in the events that have shaped our nation.

This book was provided to me for review by Bethany House Publishers.

~~~

Though Waters Roar
By Lynn Austin

Harriet Sherwood longs to follow in her grandmother's footsteps as a champion for social justice, but Harriet didn't plan on ending up incarcerated. She spends her jail time recalling the histories of her great-grandmother Hannah, Grandma Bebe and her mother, Lucy, each of whom faced struggles and spiritual questions as they found ways to fight: Hannah participated in the Underground Railroad, Bebe fought demon rum, and Lucy fought for a woman's right to vote. Austin weaves their stories through Harriet's memories, creating well-honed characters before finally bringing Harriet to a place of understanding.

In a stirring tale reminiscent of Eve's Daughter's, Lynn Austin spins a compelling generational tale of finding the courage to live a legacy.

Black-Out ~ by Jason Elam

Black-Out is the 3rd and latest novel from the Riley Covington Series, written by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn. It is an action thriller, with Special Ops, international intrigue and even some football thrown in. This was the first book that I read from this series, and while it is clear that there had been previous books, reading them was not necessary to follow what was happening in this book. It was filled with drama, suspense, action and just a touch of romance. It drew me in immediately and kept me turning pages. The characters were very interesting and the faith element was strong, while not the least bit preachy. This book, and I’m sure, whole series, would be a great one for the guys to read, and I’m guessing for lots of the girls too! I truly enjoyed it and would like to read the other books in this series.

This book was provided to me for review by Tyndale House Publishers.

~~~

Black-Out
Jason Elam and Steve Yohn


Riley Covington is still reeling from his father’s brutal murder when he learns he’s been traded. Meanwhile, the counterterrorism division has detected a plot to detonate electromagnetic pulse bombs that could leave the U.S. without power, communications, and transportation—right down to dropping planes out of the sky. CTD scrambles to stop the attacks, but they run out of time. Amid the fallout, Riley, Scott, Skeeter, and CTD must regroup to make sure the second bomb doesn’t reach its destination.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Regret-Free Living ~ by Stephen Arterburn

Leading Christian counselor Stephen Arterburn has a great new book out. Is it possible to live regret free in our relationships? In his book Regret-Free Living, Arterburn great wisdom and advice for just that. He thoroughly examines relationships, and all aspects of relationships, from unhealthy and broken, to accepting responsibility, knowing when to leave or how to work through and restoring warmth, love and trust. There are many great nuggets of wisdom contained herein. It will help you examine the various relationships in your own life and how to deal with them. This is a book that should be in every household.

This book was provided to me for review by Bethany House Publishers.

~~~

Regret-Free Living
Hope for Past Mistakes and Freedom from Unhealthy Patterns
By Stephen Arterburn
With John Shore

"If you’re always dragging yourself down with the past, how is God going to lift you up in the future?"

Overcoming a past riddled with regret is not easy. Consequently, many people live unfulfilled lives, haunted by what ifs and if onlys.

With grace and transparency, bestselling author and Christian counselor Stephen Arterburn shows you he's been there--and how you can live beyond your regrets and allow God to use them.

By shining a bright light onto the path of what is and what is to be, Arterburn invites you to rid yourself of regrets and finally discover true emotional and spiritual freedom.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

40 Loaves ~ by C.D. Baker

The start of a new year brings about many changes. For many of us, that includes looking for a new devotional. 40 Loaves by C. D. Baker is one you may want to take a serious look at. It is a small book, with only 40 devotions in it, but don’t let the size fool you. It is powerful. The entire books is based on questions – questions that many of us think, but certainly don’t ask out loud (because good Christians don’t). The only way we can get answers to our questions, and by the way, grow in wisdom, is by asking them. Searching out the answers will bring enlightenment and quite naturally, we will grow spiritually when we do so. God is much bigger than we can even comprehend, He is certainly big enough to shine his light on the things that we question.

Some of the questions asked, and answered, are: Why do I get angry with God, why don’t I have more faith, why is loving others so hard for me, why does God seem silent in my life, why do I only pray in emergencies, why are some Christians so hard for me to like, why don’t I feel safe at church, why do I resent authority, and many more.

This book will cause you to admit the questions you really try to avoid and examine your heart. It will also help you to grow in your walk with Christ and deepen your relationship with Him. It would make a great gift too, for anyone you know that has questions or is troubled or confused about their own relationship with God. I highly recommend it!

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

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40 Loaves
Breaking Bread with Our Father Each Day

By C. D. Baker


Why don’t I have more faith?
Why am I so bored with Jesus?
Why don’t I feel connected at church?


These are the types of questions the religious establishment often makes it uncomfortable, if not impossible, to ask. And by asking them, C. David Baker, author of 40 Loaves: Breaking Bread with Our Father Each Day hopes to start a conversation in people’s hearts, then with others, and ultimately with God. Many circles of Christianity have led us to believe that certainty and confidence are the proof of true spirituality; questions are discouraged.

But Jesus offered his followers an ongoing conversation—a relationship built around a free, open-ended discussion. Questions were encouraged. They were often impertinent, sometimes alarming, and the religious establishment was distinctly uncomfortable with them … just as it is today.

40 Loaves is something of a collection of the kinds of questions I felt finally free to ask of myself and of my relationship with Christ,” says Baker. “It’s my belief that these questions are shared by many others who long for the freedom to simply ask them out loud. I hope this book becomes a platform that frees others to search their hearts more deeply and be fed with the Bread of life.”

Each “loaf” here is a big question that stimulates discussion, investigation, and contemplation; it will take hours—or days—to digest. Conversational, inviting, disarming, and real, 40 Loaves nourishes self-examination and offers validation for those who feel discouraged, guilty, or even shamed when the realities of their lives don’t match up with the ideals of the Christian establishment.


Author Bio:
C. David Baker
founded an award-winning business before redirecting his career to write full-time from his small farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He is the author of eight books, including six novels, one of which was nominated for a Christy Award. He has contributed articles to the Christian History Institute’s international publication Glimpses, and to Christian Singles magazine. Baker has a Master’s degree in theological studies from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

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To get more information about 40 Loaves, including online purchase options, simply visit
http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307444905

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Rose Legacy ~ by Kristen Heitzmann

Wow! The Rose Legacy by Kristen Heitzmann is without a doubt one of my favorite books this year. Though it starts out just a tad slow, it quickly becomes a page turner. It’s a story that is riveting and dramatic, full of twists and turns, with engaging, suspense-filled tension, which brilliantly blends the present (though historical) with the past in a sweeping, sensational conclusion that leaves you wanting more. Much more. The characters have depth and are realistically flawed. Heitzmann superbly blurs the lines of right and wrong, and clearly shows us that appearances can be deceiving. Who can be trusted? Who will deceive?

This is the first book in the Diamonds of the Rockies Series. I personally cannot wait to read book #2. For anyone who enjoys historical fiction – especially about the Great American West, this book will captivate. For anyone looking for a book that is a cut above, this book will satisfy. And for anyone who appreciates masterful storytelling, The Rose Legacy is for you!

This book was provided to me for review by Bethany House Publishers.

~~~

The Rose Legacy
Diamonds of the Rockies Series ~ Book 1
By Kristen Heitzmann

Fleeing her idyllic home in Sonoma, California, Carina Maria DiGratia journeys to the mining town of Crystal, Colorado. Clinging to hopes of a new life, she finds reality has a harsh welcome for her. Overrun with men seeking their fortune and women bound by circumstance, the town hosts both dreams and nightmares, with little surety for tomorrow. But at least here Carina is far from the betrayal that still pierces her heart.

Early on, two men vie for her trust, but neither is what he seems. Will Carina discern the truth and confront the turmoil hidden in her own heart in time to prevent tragedy?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Silent Gift ~ Michael Landon Jr.

This was a difficult book for me, as a mother, to read. In The Silent Gift, Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelly have written a moving book that is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Set in the time of the Great Depression of the 1930’s, it’s a painful reminder of how bad things once were for children who weren’t “normal” and the parents who didn’t want to merely institutionalize them.

From beginning to end, the story is gripping, emotionally charged, and dramatic. If you’re looking for an easy, lighthearted read, The Silent Gift is not for you. But if you’re looking for a book with depth and heart, filled with twists and turns, that thoroughly captivates you, then The Silent Gift is definitely the one for you. I highly recommend it!

This book was provided to me for review by Bethany House Publishers.

~~~

The Silent Gift
By Michael Landon Jr. & Cindy Kelly


The 1930s were a decade of enormous uncertainty--for the world, for America, and in particular for one lonely, struggling mother and her disabled son. Their story is one of love and enormous sacrifices in the face of circumstances horrendous beyond belief. When her husband leaves her for someone whose time isn't wrapped up in a silent, handicapped kid, Mary and little Jack are out on their own in a world that has no room for the poor and disabled. Especially not at a time when most Americans are simply trying to survive their economic woes and job losses. But then arrives The Gift...where has it come from, and why? How can a young boy who can neither hear nor speak provide comfort, direction, and sometimes challenges to seekers who learn of the special ability? Whatever the source, its presence brings a single shaft of light and hope to Mary and her beloved Jack. Will it be enough?

Give This Christmas Away ~ Matthew West

What a great way to embrace the Season of Christmas! Give This Christmas Away is a fantastic little book showing how to be a true giver at Christmas-time, written by Christian music artist Matthew West. It is filled with 101 ideas of how to give in meaningful, yet simple and inexpensive, ways to others and keep the true Spirit of Christmas, which is Christ, alive in our hearts and in our thoughts. There are 101 corresponding Scriptures to go with each idea. This little book is a powerful resource for individuals and families to have and use during the Christmas Season and all throughout the year. It will motivate and inspire children and adults alike!


This book was provided to me for review by Tyndale House Publishers.

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Give This Christmas Away (101 Simple & Thoughtful Ways to . . .)
Matthew West


“What if December looked different this year?” Featured on the new Veggie Tales Christmas DVD (Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving), the forthcoming single “Give This Christmas Away” is a duet between Matthew West and Amy Grant destined to become a holiday classic. Now, in this tie-in book, Matthew West shares 101 inspiring ways for you, your family, and your church to give this Christmas away. Mirroring Jesus’ message of love for the unloveable and compassion for the broken, this book will share practical ideas and inspiring stories of giving that will help you give the message of the ultimate Christmas gift this year—Jesus. Includes 101 Scriptures from the New Living Translation.

Monday, December 7, 2009

NKJV Greatest Stories of the Bible

What a fantastic book! I’ve just received the NKJV Greatest Stories of the Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishers, and it is awesome! I must say I was completely blown away by it! It is a wonderful collection of stories from the Bible, including both Old and New Testaments (however it is not the actual Bible), using the New King James Version. The hard cover is absolutely stunning, made to look like an heirloom you might find passed down from generation to generation, or in an antique book store. The pages are sturdy and attractive. There is also a bookmark ribbon to help mark your place.

There are 250 Bible stories told, from Genesis through Revelation. The Table of Contents itself is eight pages long and includes the story title, as well as the Scripture reference. This book would make either a great devotional or resource for teaching. It would be completely appropriate for adults as well as children. It would make a wonderful addition to any personal library. I am particularly excited about how easy it is for parents to share with their children in a family devotional time format.

This book was provided to me for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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Greatest Stories of the Bible
NKJV

A storybook accounting of the most memorable people and remarkable events of the Bible.

Stretching across both the Old and New Testaments, this heirloom edition provides readers with the tales of the Bible in an easy-to-navigate, storybook format. From the creation of the universe to Jesus’ promise to return to Earth again, the NKJV Greatest Stories of the Bible recounts more than two hundred fifty of the most valuable lessons and triumphs from the most memorable people of the Bible. Enjoy reading these stories again and again and gain new insight into their meanings.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie Montana ~ by Tricia Goyer

What a delightful read! Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie Montana is the latest book in the Love Finds You series. It is co-written by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss, and they did a wonderful job on it! There was simply nothing about this book that I didn’t enjoy, from the cast of characters, to the mix of drama and comedy, to the picturesque and perhaps a bit lonely setting. It speaks to the heart, especially to the very real longing for Home that we all have. There is an important message about trusting God, but it is never preachy. It flowed well, was very entertaining and a great way to spend my day. If you enjoy lighthearted inspirational fiction that will warm your heart, this is the book for you!

This book was provided for review by the Litfuse Publicity Group.

~~~

Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie Montana
By Tricia Goyer & Ocienna Fleiss


Julia Cavanaugh has never left New York City. But in 1890, the young woman must head west to ensure that the orphans under her care are settled into good families. After her final stop in Montana, she plans to head straight back east. But upon arriving in the remote town of Lonesome Prairie, Julia learns to her horror that she is also supposed to be delivered into the hands of an uncouth miner who carries a bill of purchase for his new bride. She turns to a respected circuit preacher to protect her from a forced marriage but with no return fare and few friends, Julia’s options are bleak. What is God’s plan for her in the middle of the vast Montana prairie?


Author Bios:
Tricia Goyer
is the author of several books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Montana. To find out more visit her website: http://www.triciagoyer.com/

Ocieanna Fleiss is a published writer and has edited six of Tricia Goyer's historical novels. She lives with her husband and their four children in the Seattle area. Connect with Ocieanna on Facebook!

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To get more information about Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie Montana, including online purchase options, simply visit http://www.triciagoyer.com/store.html?n=1

Friday, December 4, 2009

Treasured ~ God Gave Us Love ~ God Gave Us Christmas Book Reviews

In Treasured, author Leigh McLeroy clearly shows us how much God loves and cares for us – His children. Most of us tend to keep odd little items that may not be considered valuable to others, but they have tremendous worth to us – little keepsakes and trinkets that remind us of people, places and memories that are a treasure to us. It would appear that God does too! Treasured is filled with stories from both the Bible and from Leigh McLeroy’s life. It was a warm, insightful and thought-provoking read.


God Gave Us Love, by Lisa Tawn Bergren is a wonderful book for little ones that talks about the love of God. The illustrations are beautiful and the dialog between Little Cub and Grampa Bear is endearing. It is a sweet story and will appeal to young children, while giving them a great lesson about God’s love for us and our love for each other.



God Gave Us Christmas is another book by Lisa Tawn Bergren that is geared toward young children and teaching a lesson. It begins with the question “Mama, who ‘vented Christmas?’ by Little Cub to Mama Bear, which is a question many parents get at some point. Mama Bear and Little Cub then go on a journey to find the way God shows Himself to us, and see how God gave us Christmas. Once again, the illustrations are beautiful, the story is enchanting and it will make a great addition to your Christmas story book collections – especially for the little ones.


These books were provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

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Treasured: Cigar boxes. Refrigerator doors. Scrapbooks and sock drawers and top shelves. These are the places we store our treasures–the keepsakes that tell the story of whom and what we’ve loved, how we’ve lived, and what matters most to us.

God is a collector, too, whose treasures are tucked securely into the pages of his book: a golden bell here, an olive leaf there, a scarlet thread, a blood-stained cloth, a few grains of barley. Each of these saved artifacts reveals a facet of his heart and tells the story of a Father whose most precious possession is…us.

In Treasured, Leigh McLeroy considers tangible reminders of God’s active presence and guides us in discovering evidence in our own lives of his attentive love.

God Gave Us Love: As Little Cub and Grampa Bear’s fishing adventure is interrupted by mischievous otters, the young polar bear begins to question why we must love others… even the seemingly unlovable. In answering her questions, Grampa Bear gives tender explanations that teach Little Cub about the different kinds of love that is shared between families, friends, and mamas and papas. Grampa explains that all these kinds of love come from God and that it is important to love others because…“Any time we show love, Little Cub, we’re sharing a bit of his love.”
This sweet tale will warm the hearts of young children as they learn about all the different sorts of love, while the gentle explanations of each provide a valuable opportunity to encourage children to share with others a “God-sized love.”

God Gave Us Christmas: As Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate the most special day of the year, the curious young polar bear begins to wonder… “Who invented Christmas?” Mama’s answer only leads to more questions like “Is God more important than Santa?” So she and Little Cub head off on a polar expedition to find God and to see how he gave them Christmas. Along the way, they find signs that God is at work all around them. Through Mama’s gentle guidance, Little Cub learns about the very first Christmas and discovers that… Jesus is the best present of all.
This enchanting tale provides the perfect opportunity to help young children celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and to discover how very much God loves them.

~~~

Author Bios:
Leigh McLeroy
is the author of The Beautiful Ache and The Sacred Ordinary. An avid collector and recorder of everyday moments, words, and wonders, Leigh’s keen eye for God’s presence in ordinary life infuses her writing and living with a deep, insistent joy. A frequent conference and event speaker, the author makes her home in Houston, Texas, and posts often on http://www.leighmcleroy.com/ and http://www.wednesdaywords.com/.

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the award-winning author of nearly thirty titles, totaling more than 1.5 million books in print. She writes in a broad range of genres, from adult fiction to devotional. God Gave Us Love follows in Lisa’s classic tradition of the best-selling God Gave Us You. She lives in Colorado, with her husband, Tim, and their children, Olivia, Emma, and Jack.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Leaving Yesterday ~ by Kathryn Cushman

Leaving Yesterday by Kathryn Cushman is a powerful story about a prodigal son and a mother’s love. Most of the time there is nothing stronger than a mother’s love, nor fiercer than a mother’s protection. When the sins of the past merge with a life now changed, how far will she go to protect her child? The choices are not always clear and forgiveness doesn’t always remove consequences. This is family’s journey of bad choices and forgiveness and of despair and hope. It is engaging, authentic, and a story that encompasses many of the issues facing families today.

This book was provided to me for review by Bethany House Publishers.

~~~

Leaving Yesterday
By Kathryn Cushman


A Powerful Drama of a Mother's Unfailing Love

When Alisa Stewart's son checks himself into rehab, he seems to find a healing faith that’s real. Yet the hope she feels at this news is cracked when a policeman shows up asking dark questions about a murder of someone Kurt knew. Alisa is terrified. Her boy is different now. He's changed and deserves a second chance. But as his old life refuses to stay buried, Alisa finds herself facing an impossible choice: keep silent and keep her son or risk everything in a quest for the truth.

Friday, November 13, 2009

White Picket Fences ~ by Susan Meissner

Secrets. Every family has them. White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner shows how destructive secrets can be, and how deceptive the image of a “perfect” family can be. This is a moving story with characters that are flawed, real, likeable, ordinary and extra-ordinary. The story flows well, and is difficult to put down. It blends contemporary issues and family problems with the memories, atrocities and sacrifices of the Holocaust. This book is without a doubt one of my favorite novels of the year.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

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White Picket Fences
By Susan Meissner

Amanda Janvier’s idyllic home seems the perfect place for her niece Tally to stay while her vagabond brother is in Europe, but the white picket fence life Amanda wants to provide is a mere illusion. Amanda’s husband Neil refuses to admit their teenage son Chase, is haunted by the horrific fire he survived when he was four, and their marriage is crumbling while each looks the other way.

Tally and Chase bond as they interview two Holocaust survivors for a sociology project, and become startlingly aware that the whole family is grappling with hidden secrets, with the echoes of the past, and with the realization that ignoring tragic situations won’t make them go away.

Readers of emotional dramas that are willing to explore the lies that families tell each other for protection and comfort will love White Picket Fences. The novel is ideal for those who appreciate exploring questions like: what type of honesty do children need from their parents, or how can one move beyond a past that isn’t acknowledged or understood? Is there hope and forgiveness for the tragedies of our past and a way to abundant grace?


Author Bio:
Susan Meissner
cannot remember a time when she wasn’t driven to put her thoughts down on paper. Her novel The Shape of Mercy was a Publishers Weekly pick for best religious fiction of 2008 and a Christian Book Award finalist. Susan and her husband live in Southern California, where he is a pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves. They are the parents of four grown children.

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To get more information about White Picket Fences, including online purchase options, simply
visit http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781601421661

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Levi's Will ~ by W. Dale Cramer

This is the first book about the lives, ways, and relationships of the Amish, written by a man, that I’ve read. Levi’s Will by W. Dale Cramer is a fantastic novel written not just for those who like Amish fiction, but for fathers and sons (and those that love them) of all walks of life. It is a compelling and complex story which examines the complicated relationships shared between fathers and sons. Impossibly high expectations, disappointment, rebellion and rejection are the theme’s that rule many relationships and Cramer does an excellent job of portraying all of these in this book. He also shows how powerful and important forgiveness can be.

This is a story of great depth and strong characters. It is a story of pain, conflict and estrangement that spans three generations of family. It is powerful and moving and will easily captivate the reader. It is a book well worth reading and reflecting on.

This book was provided to me for review by Bethany House Publishers.


~~~

Levi’s Will
By W. Dale Cramer

Will flees his Old Order community at the age of 19, leaving behind a pregnant girlfriend and all things Amish. He begins a new life, joining the army and later marrying and having two sons of his own. But his new life and his new family are tainted by the hidden sins of his past. Hoping to patch things up with his father, Will takes his new family to meet the old one. Levi's Will is the haunting story of a fallen man seeking to build a bridge across three generations.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Christmas Miracles ~ by Cecil Murphey

Many ordinary people experience Christmas miracles—those special moments during the season of giving and receiving when Christmas becomes more than just a holiday. In Christmas Miracles (St. Martin’s Press, October 2009), Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson share the stories of those who have recognized the special moments that transcend daily experience and transform their lives.

In these stories, people overcome desperate situations through a miraculous twist of fate—all during the most wonderful time of the year. A young boy sits down to read a Christmas book and discovers that his learning disability has vanished. A woman stranded in a blizzard is rescued by a mysterious stranger who she suspects is an angel. And a woman living far from home gets an answer to her prayer in the form of an unexpected gift.

Bestselling author Cecil Murphey says, “We all face discouraging times, whether it's the lack of money, being stuck on a road in a snowstorm, feeling stress, or being hungry and homeless. But God's help is available. I want readers to see that miracles do happen—sometimes simple, unexpected blessings or those that involve the supernatural. We start by asking, and in strange and wonderful ways God tiptoes into our dark nights; we experience renewed joy in life and witness God in action through people and unexpected events.”


Interview with Cecil “Cec” Murphey
by Marley Gibson
Co-authors of Christmas Miracles, from St. Martin’s Press


I am extremely privileged to have the opportunity today to talk to my friend and co-author, Cecil “Cec” Murphey, and to chat about our upcoming book, Christmas Miracles.

Marley: Cec, thanks for spending some time with me today.

Cec: Marley, it's great that you could take time away from important things like making a living to spend a little time with me.

Marley: I’m so jazzed about our Christmas Miracles book that’s coming out soon. I’ve had a lot of questions from folks wanting to know how we met, what brought us together, etc. So, I thought we’d do a back and forth on how it all came to be. Of course, I have to give props to our amazing agent and friend, Deidre Knight, for bringing us together. For those of you who don’t know, Cec co-authored the runaway New York Times bestselling hit 90 Minutes in Heaven with Don Piper.

Cec: I have to say thanks to Deidre Knight as well. Between Deidre and my assistant, Twila Belk, I've been able to sell quite a few books. 90 Minutes in Heaven has been my big book. I'm also proud of a book I wrote in 1990 called Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. The book has never been out of print and has hit close to four million in sales. Early this year, Cuba Gooding Jr. starred in the made-for-TV film version.

Marley: That’s amazing! You are truly prophetic and definitely “the man behind the words.” Now, people ask how we teamed up. Sadly, there was a personal tragedy that brought Cec and me together as friends.

Cec: True. In early 2007, our house burned and our son-in-law died. Aside from the grief over Alan, we lost everything. Deidre and Jan, my-then-assistant, sent the word out of our tragedy without telling me. I'm immensely grateful for every gift people sent, but I probably wouldn't have admitted I needed help and wouldn't have asked. They taught me how much we need other people.

Marley: Deidre put out a call to other clients of The Knight Agency, to help Cec and his family out in any way in their time of need. At the time, my company was moving and we were cleaning house. We had a ton of office supplies that we were either going to throw away or give to some of the charities the company worked with. I got my boss’ permission to send a large care package to Cec…full of office supplies for him to re-stock his writer’s office. You name it…post-its, staples, paper clips, pens, pencils, markers, white out, ruler, scissors, paper, notebooks, notepads, envelopes, a laptop case, tape, glue, folders, binder clips…etc. A veritable potpourri of office delights. I was hoping that it would help Cec have a sense of getting his office back so he could keep working.

Cec: Marley's gift was the most unexpected I received. We hadn't met, although Deidre Knight had spoken of her many times and kept telling me she was wonderful. I wonder if you can imagine what it was like for me to open that box from someone I didn't know. I saw all those practical things for my office and yelled for my wife. I felt as if I were reading a first-grade book. "Look! Look and see! Oh, look!" I was overwhelmed by the gift and even more to receive it from a stranger. Those supplies were the most practical gift anyone could have given me. I'm still using black paper clips and red folders from Marley.

Marley: Awww…thanks, Cec! I didn’t have to think twice about doing it. Writing is such a solitary “sport,” but the writing community always astounds me with how they help their own. Not long after that, over plates of spinach and Gouda omelets, Deidre introduced me to Cec in person and I was thrilled to finally meet the man behind the words. Deidre knew we needed to work on a project together and thus began our brainstorming. What did you think of that first meeting, Cec, and cooking up the idea to work together?

Cec: Deidre and I had already spoken about a Christmas book and I had some idea about what it should contain, but nothing had come together. One day Deidre told me that Marley was coming to visit her and she wanted us to work together on a Christmas project. Marley and I talked before we ate and again during the meal. Everything felt right to me. I knew my strengths and Marley knew hers (and Deidre knew both of us). Everything clicked. Marley, a far better networker than I am, immediately sent out the word for submissions. Within days she had almost four times more than we could use. (She read every one of them!)

Marley: I was truly impressed with the submissions we received and it was hard narrowing it down to the ones we chose for the book. We’re fortunate to have such a go-getter agent in Deidre Knight. Cec, can you share how the whole idea of Christmas Miracles came about and what you thought of the project originally?

Cec: For me, it actually started while I was on the rapid-rail train from the Atlanta airport when I listened to teens talk about Christmas and it was mostly about gifts. I had the idea then, but nothing really came together. Months later when Deidre I and had a meeting, she brought up the idea of a compilation and mentioned my working with Marley. I've been Deidre Knight's client since 1997 and I've learned to listen carefully when she comes up with an idea. I said yes before she gave me all the information.

Marley: That’s the truth about Deidre! Getting back to those submissions, I want to say we got more than two hundred submissions for Christmas Miracles. So many wonderful stories to read through and select for the book. It was a challenge to pick and choose which ones were right for the book, but I loved every minute of it. After I chose the entries that would go into the book, Cec toiled long hours editing the works for a unified voice. What was the biggest challenge you found in the editing process, Cec?

Cec: I've been a ghostwriter and collaborator for twenty-plus years and this was a switch to give the book a unified voice—which was mine. It would have been easier to stay with each writer's voice, but the book—like many compilations—would have been uneven in tone and quality. When I discussed this via email with our delightful editor, Rose Hilliard, she was (to my surprise) familiar with my work. She told me she liked the warm tone of my writing and that I don't waste words. "That's the voice we want," she said. It still wasn't easy, but it was an exciting challenge. After Marley and I agreed on the stories and gave them that unified voice, our editor pulled six contributions. Although different, Rose felt they were too similar to other stories.

Marley: Can you give our readers a preview of the book? A favorite story perhaps…or one that moved you to tears? (I have to say the little boy who wished for nothing but to be able to read a book all the way through because of his stutter had me bawling when I read the submission.)

Cec: That's not fair! I liked them all. The one that touched me most, however, is the last story in the book, "Sean's Question." We had almost finished the book and I was teaching at a conference in Florida. I felt we needed one strong story at the end. Despite all the good ones, I didn't feel fully satisfied to conclude the book. On the last day of the conference, I met a conferee named Sara Zinn for a consultation. As we talked, I mentioned Christmas Miracles and that I still needed one more story. "I have a Christmas story," she said and told me about Sean. As I listened, tears filled my eyes—but, being the macho type I am, I was sure it was an allergy. Sara wrote the story, and it became the one I sought.

Marley: Oh yes…that one is an emotional one all right. It was meant to be in the book because of how you met at the conference. Now, you and I have both had challenges in our lives that others might have found too much to take, but we are both very strong in our faith and our relationship with God. How do you think Christmas Miracles is going to help others feel closer to God and experience His miracles in their own lives?

Cec: Awareness and appreciation are the two things I want readers to grasp. Awareness means for them to realize that they're never totally alone in life. Those unexpected, out-of-the-ordinary events remind us of that. Appreciation means to be thankful for what we already have. Too often, and especially at Christmas, we focus on what we'd like or what is supposed to make us happy. Christmas Miracles gently reminds readers of both.

Marley: In this day and age when our country is fighting two wars, unemployment is high, and a lot of people have a lack of hope and faith for their future, what do you want readers of the book to take away from Christmas Miracles and how can the stories in our book help provide comfort to those struggling?

Cec: I want readers to see that miracles do happen—sometimes simple, unexpected blessings or those that involve the supernatural (as in one of Marley's stories). I call myself a serious Christian. For me, the world's greatest miracle began with the birth of Jesus. Regardless of a person's religion, this book encourages readers to think about life during the Christmas season and see that life as more than gifts and celebrations. It's also a reminder that God loves us and hears our needy cries.

Marley: Beautifully put, Cec, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Can we share what’s next after Christmas Miracles?

Cec: Why it's the Cec and Marley show, of course. Because of our go-getter agent and our enthusiastic editor, we've already received thumbs up for The Christmas Spirit. This will be stories of people who express the true spirit of Christmas by acts of love and kindness, for release in the fall of 2011.

Marley: And I can’t wait to start working on that project! Thank you so much for your time, Cec, and answering my questions. It was a privilege and honor to work with you and I look forward to our future projects together. You’ve helped me along during a trying time
and I appreciate your friendship and support.

Cec: I liked this project because Marley had to send out the word, collect submissions, read them, and discard the weaker ones. I get to see only the better-written stories. (Don't tell her that I have the better job.) Although I mentioned only one story, all of those in the book touched me because of the poignancy of their situations and the miraculous answers. I won't say the stories increased my faith, but they increased my appreciation for the delightful mix of human need and divine intervention.

Marley: Thanks again, Cec! God Bless! And to our readers, please be sure to pick up a copy of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, out October 13, 2009 from St. Martin’s Press. It’s a great stocking stuffer or gift basket filler. We hope you, too, will discover your own Christmas Miracles in your life.


Award-winning writer Cecil Murphey is the author or co-author of 114 published books, including the NY Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). He’s also the author of When Someone You Love Has Cancer and When God Turned Off the Lights, both 2009 releases. Murphey’s books have sold millions and have given hope and encouragement to countless readers around the world. For more information, visit http://www.cecilmurphey.com/.





Marley Gibson is a young adult author whose first published books in the Sorority 101 series were released by Penguin Group in 2008 under the pen name of Kate Harmon. She has a new Ghost Huntress series with Houghton Mifflin written under her own name. She can be found online at http://www.marleygibson.com/.





Leave a comment for a chance to win the Christmas Miracles gift basket. Wouldn’t you love to take home this amazing basket filled with Christmas goodies galore? This amazing gift basket contains everything you’ll need to make your Christmas holiday a success. Inside you’ll find a stocking stuffed with hard candies, kitchen towels and oven mitts, seasonal potpourri, holiday-colored candles, stuffed animals that talk, snowman candle, nutcrackers, Christmas ornaments, gift bags, gift tags, gift bows, ornament hangers, Christmas cookie cutters, a Merry Christmas doorstopper, a picture frame, Christmas cards, Santa ear muffs, and not just one, but two copies of Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson’s Christmas Miracles – one to keep and one to give away to someone special.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Leaving Carolina ~ by Tamara Leigh

Leaving Carolina by Tamara Leigh was delightful. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and it left me wanting to read more by her. It was awesome! I loved the story, I loved the characters, I loved the Southern flavor . . . I just really loved this book!

Piper was a young woman determined to leave her past, the south, and her family behind her. But at an inconvenient time (isn’t it always that way with family?) she’s drawn back into the thick of it. Her motto is ‘get in, get out,’ but it doesn’t exactly work that way. What she finds is that she’s not the only one who’s changed and that maybe her roots still reach to the southern life she’s rejected. Limelight is filled with humor, heartache, secrets, truth, rejection, acceptance, forgiveness and healing. I can’t wait till the next book in the series is out!

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

~~~

Leaving Carolina
By Tamara Leigh


Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina, twelve years ago, shook the dust off her feet, ditched her drawl and her family name, and made a new life for herself as a high-powered public relations consultant in LA. She’s even “engaged to be engaged” to the picture-perfect U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler.

Now all of Piper’s hard-won happiness is threatened by a reclusive uncle’s bout of conscience. In the wake of a health scare, Uncle Obadiah Pickwick has decided to change his will, leaving money to make amends for four generations’ worth of family misdeeds. But that will reveal all the Pickwicks’ secrets, including Piper’s.


Though Piper arrives in Pickwick primed for battle, she is unprepared for Uncle Obe’s rugged, blue-eyed gardener. So just who is Axel Smith? Why does he think making amends is more than just making restitution? And why, oh why, can’t she stay on task? With the Lord’s help, Piper is about to discover that although good PR might smooth things over, only the truth will set her free.

~~~

To get more information about Leaving Carolina, including online purchase options, simply
visit http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781601421661

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Limelight ~ by Melody Carlson

Limelight by Melody Carlson is a great lesson in learning that it’s never too late to change. And in learning what is really and truly important in life. It was initially difficult to enjoy or empathize with the main character in this book, but eventually I found myself really pulling for her. Carlson does a wonderful job of showing how the truth we hide or deny, is the very thing that we need to be set free.

The characters were quirky, and there was an unexpected depth to the struggles that were experienced. Though Claudette was a past-her-prime, former beauty, who was very much a snob, she faced some tough things, overcame adversity, learned a few great life lessons (at 82 no less!) and discovered that sometimes you really can go back home and that less really is more.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

~~~

Limelight
By Melody Carlson


Claudette Fioré used to turn heads and break hearts. She relished the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle because she had what it takes: money, youth, fame, and above all, beauty. But age has withered that beauty, and a crooked accountant has taken her wealth, leaving the proud widow penniless and alone.

Armed with stubbornness and sarcasm, Claudette returns to her shabby little hometown and her estranged sister. Slowly, she makes friends. She begins to see her old life in a new light. For the first time, Claudette Fioré questions her own values and finds herself wondering if it’s too late to change.

~~~

To get more information about Limelight, including online purchase options, simply
visit http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781400070824

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What Matters Most ~ by Melody Carlson

I have not read the other books in the Diary of a Teenage Girl Series, but that didn’t hinder me from easily following and enjoying What Matters Most by Melody Carlson. This was an entertaining novel that did two things for me: 1) Made me glad I’m way beyond those tumultuous years; and 2) Made me wish I’d have had my head so together back in the day. Maya was a lovable character who faced her great adversities with strength and grace. This is a great YA novel, and I think that many teens will identify with and be inspired by Maya’s pain, passion, and perseverance.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

~~~

What Matters Most
By Melody Carlson

Maya’s Green Tip for the Day: Recycled fashion is one of the most fun ways to go green. A pair of jeans could be transformed into a denim skirt. A sweater into a vest. A bunch of old ties into a dress. A blanket into a poncho. Accessorize it in new way–with beads, buttons, appliqués, buckles, stencils, or ribbons…your imagination is only the limit.

Sixteen-year-old Maya Stark has a lot to sort through. She could graduate from high school early if she wants to. She’s considering it, especially when popular cheerleader Vanessa Hartman decides to make her life miserable–and Maya’s ex-boyfriend Dominic gets the wrong idea about everything.

To complicate matters even more, Maya’s mother will be released from prison soon, and she’ll want Maya to live with her again. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. And when Maya plays her dad’s old acoustic guitar in front of an audience, she discovers talents and opportunities she never expected. Faced with new options, Maya must choose between a “normal” life and a glamorous one. Ultimately, she has to figure out what matters most.

~~~

To get more information about What Matters Most, including online purchase options, simply
visit http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781601421197

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jack Daniel's Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook

What a fantastic book/cookbook! The Jack Daniel’s Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook by Lynne Tolley & Pat Mitchamore is more than just a cookbook. Through the pages of this beautiful book, you’ll find recipes, stories, photos, traditions, and some of the folks who come from the lovely area of Lynchburg, Tennessee. This is a delightful portrayal of the life, character, food, drink, and history of the south.

The recipe sections include: Drinks (of course!), Appetizers, Soups & Salads, Vegetables, Breads, Entrees, Outdoor Cooking, Desserts, Cakes & Pies, and Accompaniments. There are plenty of recipes that include the famous Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, but many more that do not. In addition to the numerous recipes, this book shows a rich heritage of Southern living and hospitality. It is both interesting and informative, with the photos adding beauty and flavor. (Some of the photos are downright stunning!)

While I am not much of a cook myself, I do enjoy reading cookbooks. And this one just plain made me happy. I would recommend it to cooks of all levels, and even to those like me, who like to simply read cookbooks, look at the pretty pictures, and fantasize just a little about being a great cook!


This book was provided to me for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

~~~

Jack Daniel’s Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook
By Lynne Tolley & Pat Mitchamore


The rich tradition of country cooking, the distinctive taste of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, and the heritage of rural America are all elegantly captured in Jack Daniel's The Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook. Included are more than 350 recipes, stunning full-color photographs, and stories of the people, places, and traditions of Middle Tennessee. Illustrated and indexed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Things Worth Remembering ~ by Jackina Stark

Things Worth Remembering by Jackina Stark is a book worth reading. It is a moving story depicting how easy it is to fracture a strong relationship, and how difficult it is to mend. Mother/daughter relationships can be complicated. Feelings for one another are often intense and long-lasting. For mother Kendy and her daughter Maisey, their once extremely close relationship is shattered one summer and hurt and anger begins to rule. Both must look deep within themselves, remembering and confronting painful issues in order to move forward.

This is a story of great depth, strong characters and a poignant portrayal of the importance of forgiveness, and how unforgiveness can cloak a life in darkness. The story is powerful and moving and will easily captivate the reader. This book is a great read for anyone who enjoys women’s contemporary fiction, but even more so for mothers and daughters to read and discuss together.


This book was provided to me for review by Bethany House Publishers.

~~~

Things Worth Remembering
By Jackina Stark


An Emotionally Gripping Story of Broken Relationships Restored

Kendy Laswell and her daughter, Maisey, used to do everything together--until one fateful summer when Maisey witnessed something she shouldn't have, and their relationship fractured. Now, Maisey is back home to get married and Kendy realizes this is her last chance to reconnect with her daughter. Will Kendy and Maisey be able to reclaim the bond they once shared?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Watch Over Me ~ by Christa Parrish

When I was first offered the opportunity to read and review Watch Over Me by Christa Parrish, I thought it looked really good. Then, as I began reading it, I didn’t like it very much. Actually, I didn’t like one of the main characters very much. But the story was very intriguing so I continued on – and boy, am I glad I did! There was loss, grief, anger, love, forgiveness, pain, joy, new beginnings, struggle, achievement, and a beautiful example of family that is chosen rather than obtained through traditional means.

So many times in reading this book, my heart ached for different characters and the particular trials they were each facing. So many times, I found myself truly caring about what happened to the characters collectively and individually. This book was deep, the characters were real, the plot was dramatic and the pace was fast. I had difficulty putting it down. One sentence spoke volumes about the brilliance of this novel, “… because who outside of God himself would have known a brilliant, deaf kid, a vegan hippie, and a toeless soldier would find themselves as some sort of family.” Amen.

This book was provided for review by Bethany House Publishers.

~~~

Watch Over Me
By Christa Parrish


Her Rescue Might Be the Miracle They Needed

Deputy Benjamin Patil is the one to find the infant girl – hours old, abandoned in a field. When the mother can't be located, Ben and his wife, Abbi, seem like the perfect couple to serve as foster parents. But the baby's arrival opens old wounds for Abbi and shines a harsh light on how much Ben has changed since a devastating tour in Iraq. As their marriage teeters on the brink, they now must choose to either reclaim what they once had or lose each other forever.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Kiss Me Again ~ by Barbara Wilson

Love and marriage, and . . . sex. In her new book Kiss Me Again, Barbara Wilson explores intimacy and sex in marriage and how emotions, sexual abuse and past sexual impurity can sabotage the sacred union between a husband and a wife. In society today, premarital sex is more the rule than the exception (sadly, even in Christian circles), and this creates unhealthy and invisible bonds to any persons with shared sexual history. And these bonds cause pain, scars, and hang-ups that are damaging to marriage. But forgiveness, healing and freedom are available. This great book includes a 10-week study guide at the end. It can be read and worked-through individually, as a couple, or even within a safe women’s small group setting.


This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

~~~

Kiss Me Again
By Barbara Wilson

Many married women genuinely want to feel more desire toward their husbands. But while sex before marriage was hard to resist, now resisting seems like all they do. In her new book, Barbara Wilson shows how couples can suffer for years from the “invisible bonds” of previous relationships without even knowing it. Hidden emotions of distrust, shame, and resentment can sabotage even the most loving marriage.

In Kiss Me Again, Wilson:

~ Shares her own story of healing and renewed desire
~ Helps women forgive themselves and their husbands for past choices
~ Shows readers how to break free from “invisible bonds”
~ Explains God’s plan for helping a husband and wife to re-bond
~ Includes conversation helps for both wives and their husbands
~ Helps couples reignite the passion that they thought was lost

With assessment tools, write-in exercises, and gentle guidance, Kiss Me Again offers a biblical plan for rekindling the closeness and passion women long for in marriage. Because no past is beyond the reach of God’s healing touch.

~~~

Author Bio:
Barbara Wilson
is the author of The Invisible Bond and former director of sexual health education for the Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center in Sacramento. She speaks nationwide to youth and adults with her message of sexual healing, and she teaches frequently in the women’s ministry at the multi-campus Bayside Church in Northern California. Barbara and her husband, Eric, have been married for twenty-eight years.


To get more information about Kiss Me Again, including online purchase options, simply
visit http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781601421586

Friday, October 16, 2009

Women's Home Workout Bible ~ by Brad Schoenfeld

I am in love with this book! It is FANTASTIC! Women’s Home Workout Bible by Brad Schoenfeld is everything I’ve ever wanted in a workout resource, and much, much more! It is designed to help any woman set up a workout area in her own home, with budgets ranging from less than $100 to over $2500, depending on what the woman wants. The absolutely amazing thing is that Schoenfeld shows how to get a great, gym-style workout, for very little money.

There are hundreds of exercises, complete with large, easy to see photos and complete explanation, and often slight alternatives as well. The book is organized very well into sections that include body weight, balance balls, elastic bands, dumbbells, barbells and machines. And each section breaks down into shoulders and arms, torso, core, and lower body. It explains sets, reps, tools and equipment, and various workout jargons as well. There are several routines included, but it would be super easy to create your own routine.

The author also takes the time to discuss how or where to purchase equipment, new vs old, etc. This book includes everything to do a proper workout, whether for a slight, low-impact workout, for an intense, grueling workout, and anything in between.

~~~

Women’s Home Workout Bible
By Brad Schoenfeld, CSCS, CPT


Shed unwanted weight, sculpt your physique, tone muscles, reduce joint pain, or simply be healthier and more fit. Women's Home Workout Bible will show you how--all in the privacy and comfort of your own home.

In Women's Home Workout Bible, best-selling author and renowned personal trainer Brad Schoenfeld shares his secrets on the perfect at-home workout. Step by step, you'll identify the home gym setup and workouts for your fitness goals, schedule, and budget.

You'll learn how to set up your personal gym for as little as $100, or expand your options with more equipment for $500, $1000, or more than $2500. Whatever your budget, with over 160 exercises, you'll have plenty of variety, including bands, balls, free weights, and fitness machines.

Women's Home Workout Bible will then ensure you get the most out of your investment. You'll learn how to set up workouts and organize your training for noticeable results. To get you started, there are 12 four-week programs for conditioning, sculpting, and core stability, plus three levels of fat-burning cardio workouts. And with expert advice, exercise tips, and answers to the questions you always wanted to ask, it's like having your very own personal trainer and fitness consultant.

If you're ready to reclaim your body without the expense or scrutiny of public health clubs, you need Women's Home Workout Bible.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Power of Respect ~ by Deborah Norville

I’ve just finished reading The Power of Respect by Deborah Norville, and have to say I am very impressed! Deborah is best known as the anchor for Inside Edition, and this is not her first book, but it is the first by her that I’ve read. In it, Deborah delves deeply into the subject of respect, both giving and receiving, in all types of relationships. She clearly shows the often forgotten importance of respect in the family, business, organizations, schools, etc. She also looks at both self and others respect, and how closely self-respect is linked with self-image and confidence.

The book is filled with examples, studies, facts, stories, great quotes and even Scripture that will help anyone to become better at giving and receiving respect. It would be a good resource for parents, bosses, teachers, leaders, and anyone who is in a place of influence. It would also be a great book for those who see themselves as followers rather than leaders, though the truth is we all lead, influence and guide someone.

~~~

The Power of Respect
By Deborah Norville


Best-selling author and journalist Deborah Norville researches the importance of respect in our daily lives and in society as a whole.

Respect, a lost value in our world today, is the latest subject of research for Inside Edition anchor and best-selling author Deborah Norville. Citing scientific studies and using stories based on personal interviews, Norville reveals the importance and benefits of respect in many areas of our lives:

* Personally and with others
* Marriage and parenting
* Classrooms and education
* Business and leadership

Readers are reminded that how we look at ourselves and others determines our level of respect. And respect, when given, unleashes the power of goodwill that boomerangs back to the giver in the form of loyalty, trust, and mutual respect. This others-focused approach causes recipients to operate at higher levels of performance, increase productivity, improve relationships, and increase their overall effectiveness.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Sound of Sleigh Bells ~ by Cindy Woodsmall

This book is thoroughly enjoyable and quite satisfying! The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall is not quite normal Amish fiction. It touches on the destructiveness of secrets, guilt and shame, but doesn’t dwell there. Once again, Woodsmall delivers a great story with characters who really tugged at my heartstrings. She clearly shows that the importance of family, trust, forgiveness, and strength of character is important to facing adversity and coming through stronger and better. It is a heartwarming story that is being marketed as a Christmas story, but really works for any season. Once I began reading it, it was difficult to stop until I came to the very satisfying end!

~~~

The Sound of Sleigh Bells
By Cindy Woodsmall

Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancé. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work–including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry. Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?

~~~

Author Bio:
Cindy Woodsmall
is the author of When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and The New York Times Best-Seller When the Soul Mends. Her ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. A mother of three sons and two daughters-in-law, Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband of thirty-one years.


To get more information about The Sound of Sleigh Bells, including online purchase options, simply visit here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Extraordinary ~ by John Bevere

Extraordinary: The Live You’re Meant to Live is the newest book by best-selling author John Bevere. In it, he explores the possibility that God actually wants more for us. Not necessarily to have more, but to be more. Many of us settle a mundane, blasé existence, when we are to live a life of abundance. We live that life of abundance when we use the power and gifts God has placed within us, to walk into the purpose He has for us. Deep down we aspire to be the best us we can be, but we’re often afraid to act on it. This book will challenge and possibly even inspire you to move beyond ordinary to Extraordinary!

~~~

Extraordinary: The Life You’re Meant to Live
By John Bevere


There’s a question that troubles many believers: “Why am I not experiencing more joy, more hope, more satisfaction, more intimacy, more power, more everything in my Christian life--didn’t Jesus promise that?”

He did promise an abundant life, but too many people are trapped by the curse of “the ordinary.” They have accepted the wrong idea that following God means losing individuality, creativity, and a passion for achieving lofty goals.

Nothing could be further from the truth! John Bevere builds a convincing case, straight from Scripture, for a way of living marked by extraordinary experiences and accomplishments—the life God always intended for his children.

Here is a guide to understanding God’s incredible plans, and how to enjoy a life where he adds the “extra” to “ordinary.”

~~~

Author Bio:
John Bevere
is an internationally popular conference speaker, teacher, and author of bestsellers, including The Bait of Satan, Drawing Near, and Driven by Eternity. His award-winning curriculum and books have been translated in over sixty languages and his weekly television program, The Messenger, is broadcast around the world. John and his wife, Lisa—also a bestselling author and speaker—reside with their family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Visit his ministry website at www.messengerinternational.org.

To get more information about Extraordinary, including online purchase options, simply visit http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307457721&ref=externallink_wbp_extraordinary_sec_0817_01

Monday, October 5, 2009

Green ~ by Ted Dekker

Gripping drama. Thrilling suspense. Good and evil. Love and hate. Light and darkness. The apocalypse. If any of these phrases appeal to you, get ready, because Green by Ted Dekker has them all! Green is the final book in the Circle Series, following Black, then Red, then White. It is a thoroughly brilliant, fantasy redemption story, but with a more contemporary feel, like a modern Lord of the Rings or Narnia. It was almost alive in a sensory sort of way, meaning I felt I was actually experiencing emotion to what was being described – I experienced despair, horror, repulsion, fear, love, joy, hope, strength, etc. I even saw the most stunning of beauty and the vilest of evil.

While this is the final book of the series, it can be read first. I have not read the other three, but (with a bit of fear and trepidation) I really want to after reading Green. Once I picked it up, I could hardly put it down. At nearly 400 pages, it can easily be consumed in a weekend; it is such a page turner. Fans of Dekker, a master of suspense and story-telling, will once again be pleased with his work.

~~~

Green
Book Zero: The Beginning and the End
By Ted Dekker


AS FORETOLD BY ANCIENT PROPHETS, an apocalypse destroyed Earth during the twenty-first century. But two thousand years later Elyon set upon the earth a new Adam. This time, however, He gave humanity an advantage. What was once unseen became seen. It was good and it was called...Green.

But the evil Teeleh bided his time in a Black Forest.

Then, when least expected, a twenty-four year old named Thomas Hunter fell asleep in our world and woke up in that future Black Forest. A gateway was opened for Teeleh to ravage the land. Devastated by the ruin, Thomas Hunter and his Circle swore to fight the dark scourge until their dying breath.

But now The Circle has lost hope. Samuel, Thomas Hunter's cherished son, has turned his back on his father. He gathers the dark forces to wage a final war. Thomas is crushed and desperately seeks a way back to our reality to find the one elusive hope that could save them all.Enter an apocalyptic story like none you have read. A story with links to our own history so shocking that you will forget you are in another world at all. Welcome to GREEN. Book Zero.

FOUR NOVELS. TWO WORLDS. ONE STORY.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Let God Talk To You ~ by Becky Tirabassi

I think it is safe to say most of us would like converse with God. To have a prayer life that is not just talking to God, but also hearing from God. In her latest book on prayer, Let God Talk to You, Becky Tirabassi explores this concept that many people struggle with. She explains that God truly does want to talk to us, and that He uses many methods to do so. If we will take the time and prepare our hearts to hear from Him, He will not disappoint, and our lives will be so much richer, stronger, peaceful and purposeful for doing so.

In addition to using examples from her own life, Tirabassi also uses examples from bold pray-er heavyweights such as D. L. Moody, William Wilberforce, George Mueller, and Andrew Murray. This is a great book for anyone, regardless of whether they are new to the discipline of prayer, or have already made it a lifestyle.

~~~

Let God Talk to You
When You Hear from Him, You Will Never Be the Same

By Becky Tirabassi

It is possible – you can hear from God!

Do you long for a closer connection to God? To talk to Him and hear His voice? To follow His instructions, if only you knew what He was saying?

For many of us, talking to God sometimes feels like sending words out into empty space. And hearing from God as the biblical prophets did may seem like an ancient fairy tale.

But Becky Tirabassi shares that it really is possible to hear from God. In fact, God longs to talk to us. He loves us and wants to communicate with us, just as we desire to communicate with those we love. You’ll discover how to develop a conversational relationship with God, one where you can both talk to and hear from God.

You’ll see that God is talking all the time, and there’s no special prayer to pray or requirements to meet in order to hear from Him. Becky shows the many ways that God talks to us and how God has spoken to her in big and small ways, saying things that have redirected her day or changed her entire life. You can hear from God, too. When we set aside the time and focus our hearts on God every day, God talks to us.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Godly Minds, Bold Hearts ~ by K.L. Kraemer

I am so thankful that once again, I’m able to a review a patriotic, historical, in-depth book. Godly Minds, Bold Hearts: Behind the American Defense Against Tyranny by K.L. Kraemer provides a wealth of information about our Godly heritage and history. It is filled with facts, quotes, biographies of the founding fathers, texts of documents, pictures, Scripture, songs, and more. Also included is a listing of American clubs, societies and organizations that serve traditional American values of God, Home and Country. There is a special tribute section to the Daughters of the American Revolution.

This fantastic book is more like a text or reference book, not really one to be read straight through. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves (true) American history, is patriotic, or would like a source that easily backs up the fact that America began as a Christian nation, and will not only survive, but thrive only if it remains one. It would be a wonderful addition to home resource library.

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Godly Minds, Bold Hearts
Behind the American Defense Against Tyranny

By K. L. Kraemer

The story of how colonial America, under the rule of England, became a nation unto its own sizzles with faith inside the hearts and biographies of the founding fathers. America’s scrappy, sloppy, ragtag army was ill prepared, but their unwavering belief in the right of freedom under God held back the greatest military might in the world. A must-have status book of patriotic proclamation for each Christian library.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sacred Waiting ~ by David Timms

Wow, what can I say about Sacred Waiting by David Timms? Not much actually. It may contain some great insight, wisdom or content, I simply don’t know. I began this book with an open mind, desiring to grow beyond my own impatience in waiting, but what I got instead, was insulted. I made it to chapter 2, and proceeded to read what I honestly consider to be the most incredibly stupid, judgmental and flat-out wrong assessment of a situation I have ever read in a book. I was floored that the author put it in there, and even more shocked that the publisher allowed it (of course any author can say anything they want, but it had NOTHING to do with what was even being discussed)! It was pure political editorializing and had no place here. I tried to read beyond that, I really did. But I just couldn’t complete the book.

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Sacred Waiting
By David Timms


Waiting – the Key to Joy, Peace and Abundance

No one likes to wait. Our irritation level rises in checkout lines, train stations, restaurants, and doctors’ offices. We don’t have time to waste. But Scripture constantly speaks of waiting: “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31)

The good news is that waiting on God is much more than watching the clock. Waiting plays a vital role in our spiritual foundation as we draw closer to the Lord and respond to His leading. Challenging believers to rediscover this lost spiritual discipline, pastor and Bible professor David Timms reveals the hidden treasures of waiting on God – the peace and joy of being with Him.

The heroes of the faith all waited on God. And just like Abraham, Moses, and David, you’ll find that your best moments arise from God’s timing, not your own. Every covenant God made came at the end of a season of waiting. God’s rewards wait for you when you learn to practice Sacred Waiting.

The Gentlemen's Conspiracy ~ by Nick Daniels

I’ve just finished reading The Gentlemen’s Conspiracy, the first novel by Nick Daniels. The story was quite thrilling overall. However, I personally had a hard time following it in the beginning and had difficulty in keeping straight the numerous characters (English & French, noblemen, commoners, clergy, and intellectuals) and the present-time/flashback jumping. By the middle of the book, I finally had a grasp on it all and found that it really was good with a gripping plot and controversial mystery.

It is dramatic, and expertly exposes the lie of a widely accepted belief system. The ending was powerful, with the last line being positively explosive! Others may or may not have the same difficulty in following in the beginning, but I can say for sure that this book is definitely not brain-candy. It will require thought and even possibly an examination of personal beliefs. It is fascinating!

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The Gentlemen’s Conspiracy
By Nick Daniels


LONDON, 1836

When amateur geologist Daniel Young inquires about his friend’s murder, he discovers a plot to overthrow the king of England.

Plunged into a crisis of faith and separated from the woman he loves, Daniel must stop the killer before becoming his next victim. He soon realizes that the conspiracy not only threatens to destroy the king, but the foundation of Christianity itself.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dawn's Prelude ~ by Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson does it again! Dawn’s Prelude is the first book in her new series, The Song of Alaska. Peterson is truly gifted at writing Christian historical fiction. Her novels are thoroughly captivating with depth, beauty and historical accuracy. Dawn’s Prelude is no different. It is set mostly in the rugged Alaskan territory in the 1870’s, with interesting characters, a strong storyline, and vivid landscape descriptions. Once again with a Peterson novel, I found myself to be enthralled with the story and couldn’t put it down. It had elements of darkness and evil, love and romance, and hope and healing. Questions of faith are answered with honesty, in a real, not preachy sort of way. In short, I loved it and can’t wait for the next installment!

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Dawn’s Prelude
By Tracie Peterson


She is bound to her past as never before . . . but what more must she sacrifice?

Married off at a tender age to a harsh, older widower, Lydia Gray can’t help but feel a measure of relief when an accident claims his life. What happens next, however, is a surprise to everyone. Through an unforeseen fluke, Lydia finds herself the sole recipient of her late husband’s fortune. But instead of granting her security, strife ensues as her adult stepchildren battle to regain the inheritance for themselves.

Lydia longs to wash her hands of the situation and determines to join her aunt in Alaska, putting financial decisions in the capable hands of her lawyer. The beauty and serenity of life in Sitka appeal to Lydia, as does Kjell Lindquist, the handsome owner of the local sawmill. But a new discovery in Lydia’s life forces her to rethink her future.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

God Made Your Body ~ by Jim Burns, PhD

I just received the most wonderful little book for children, about their bodies. God Made Your Body by Jim Burns, PhD, is a Christian book for children ages 3 – 5 years old, and it covers anatomy, very basic sex education and where babies come from, that is age appropriate. It emphasizes the importance of family and that God loves and created each of us. It even touches on adoption and includes Psalm 139:13-16. I highly recommend this book to parents who have very young children in the home.

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God Made Your Body
By Jim Burns, PhD


From the author:

A Special Note to Parents

Studies show that when children receive values-centered sex education at home, they are less likely to become sexually promiscuous and more likely to have a healthy view of their bodies and relationships. With the media introducing sexual topics to children at such a young age, there is no better countermeasure than parents introducing the concepts in this book to their children.

This book is part of a series of developmentally appropriate books called PURE FOUNDATIONS. God Made Your Body is for children ages 3 – 5. At this age, it’s important to introduce your children to the foundational theme that God created their body and it is special. You begin laying out for them a healthy view of their body and the very basics of sexuality. As you read this book to them, you will be establishing the trust that can come to you when they are older to talk about these issues. You want to be the one to introduce the beautiful way God creates our bodies and that He has a plan for families.

Obviously a book of this length will not cover every subject. It is meant to help you and your child develop a loving, trusting relationship where dialogue is the best teacher. And you’ll discover spontaneous teaching moments from TV or other avenues to continue reinforcing a healthy view of sexuality.

Thanks for laying a foundation of trust and honesty with your child. You are giving your child a gift that will serve him for a lifetime.

Jim Burns, PhD

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Surrendered Heart ~ by Tracie Peterson and Judity Miller

A Surrendered Heart is the third book in The Broadmoor Legacy series by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller. I liked the story very much, however, I have not read the first two books in the series, and at times was a bit confused. (Series’ can be a bit tricky because a writer doesn’t want to repeat all that has happened in previous books, yet if the stories are closely tied together, it is needed somewhat.) Still, the storyline was great, and I was completely drawn in, having a variety of emotions stirred throughout. The characters had depth, the story moved quickly and by the end, I couldn’t read it fast enough. The ending was highly satisfying, with a strong reminder that God is in control. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, but I might suggest beginning with the first book in the series.

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A Surrendered Heart
By Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller


Escape into the history, opulence, and elegance of the Thousand Islands.

When cholera strikes Rochester, New York, in the spring of 1899, the members of the Broadmoor family flee to their castle home in the Thousand Islands. But Amanda Broadmoor, who has always held a special compassion for the less fortunate, resolves to remain in Rochester with Dr. Blake Carstead, working to help control the spread of the dreaded disease.

However, much more than Amanda’s health hangs in the balance. Mishandling of the family fortune threatens to leave the Broadmoor family penniless – and even willing to sacrifice Amanda’s future. Will she be forced to marry a man she disdains in order to save the Broadmoor legacy?