Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love ~ by Beth Patillo

The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love, by Beth Pattillo is a warm and welcoming story! I almost felt as if I’d been invited to join the group (though I certainly don’t knit). The characters are honest and flawed, each with their own struggles and triumphs. Each of the ladies in this group is going through her own “stuff” and in many ways it seems an awful lot like real life – complicated, messy, difficult, and heavy at times, but it doesn’t stay that way. Following the “stuff” there are second chances at life and love, surprising twists, and even happy endings.


Knit for Love
By Beth Patillo

Once a month, the six women of the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society gather to discuss books and share their knitting projects. Inspired by her recently-wedded bliss, group leader Eugenie chooses “Great Love Stories in Literature” as the theme for the year’s reading list–a risky selection for a group whose members span the spectrum of age and relationship status.

As the Knit Lit ladies read and discus classic romances like Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice, each member is confronted with her own perception about love. Camille’s unexpected reunion with an old crush forces her to confront conflicting desires. Newly widowed Esther finds her role in Sweetgum changing and is surprised by two unlikely friends. Hannah isn’t sure she’s ready for the trials of first love. Newcomer Maria finds her life turned upside-down by increasing family obligations and a handsome, arrogant lawyer, and Eugenie and Merry are both asked to make sacrifices for their husbands that challenge their principles.

Even in a sleepy, southern town like Sweetgum, Tennessee, love isn’t easy. The Knit Lit ladies learn they can find strength and guidance in the novels they read, the love of their family, their community–and especially in each other.


Author Bio:
RITA Award-winning Beth Patillo combines her love of knitting and books in her engaging Sweetgum series. Pattillo served churches in Missouri and Tennessee before founding Faith Leader, a spiritual leadership development program.

To get more information about The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love, including online purchase options, simply visit The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper ~ by Kathleen Y'Barbo

I so enjoyed this book! The Confidential Live of Eugenia Cooper, by Kathleen Y'Barbo was light, fun, romantic and just thoroughly entertaining! It is a fast-paced story filled with adventure, drama, and humor. Gennie seeks adventure and gets more than she bargained for when she leaves her genteel, upper-class New York home to experience the Wild West for a brief stay in Denver. Along the way she learns some valuable lessons about life, love and perceptions. This book simply made me smile!


The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper
By Kathleen Y’Barbo

The future is clearly mapped out for New York socialite Eugenia “Gennie” Cooper, but she secretly longs to slip into the boots of her favorite dime-novel heroine and experience just one adventure before settling down. When the opportunity arises, Gennie jumps at the chance to experience the Wild West, but her plans go awry when she is drawn into the lives of silver baron Daniel Beck and his daughter and finds herself caring for them more than is prudent–especially as she’s supposed to go back to New York and marry another man.

As Gennie adapts to the rough-and-tumble world of 1880s Colorado, she must decide whether her future lies with the enigmatic Daniel Beck or back home with the life planned for her since birth. The question is whether Daniel’s past–and disgruntled miners bent on revenge–will take that choice away from her.


Author Bio:
Kathleen Y’Barbo
is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty novels, novellas, and young adult books, with more than a half-million in print. A graduate of Texas A&M University, she is currently a publicist with Books & Such literary agency.

To get more information about this book, including online purchase options, simply
visit The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rose House ~ by Tina Ann Forkner

This is a beautiful and compelling story! Rose House, by Tina Ann Forkner, is a poignant and heartfelt story of love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness and new beginnings. It takes place in the picturesque wine country of California. The characters are personable, appealing and interesting. It was all too easy to feel the pain and sorrow of the main character. The story moves at a leisurely pace, but is not slow. I was thoroughly drawn in by the beauty, pain and secrets that swirl together seamlessly, and culminating in the hope of a new future.


Rose House
By Tina Ann Forkner

A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope.

Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.

She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.

What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.

A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.


Author Bio:
Tina Ann Forkner
is the author of Ruby Among Us. Originally from Oklahoma, she now lives with her husband and three children in Wyoming, where she serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation’s board of directors.

To get more information about Rose House, including online purchase options, simply visit Rose House

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Eldala ~ by Michelle Gregory

I am so excited to be doing this review! Written by a friend thorough my writing group Christian Writers of the West, Michelle Gregory, Eldala is categorized as a young adult, fantasy novel. And it is good! Seriously, I couldn’t put it down! I was completely drawn into the characters and swept away by the story. It is completely captivating, romantic, thrilling and magical. The story moves quickly and contains intrigue, evil, destiny, friendship and love. Michelle skillfully weaves the beauty of goodness and love with the despair of evil into a tapestry of hope and renewal.


By Michelle Gregory

You now have a choice, and it will take great courage to choose the right. From this moment on, you will be walking the path between who you are now and who you were born to be. All I’m asking you to do is to let yourself make the journey. ~ Arathor

Kieran's blood boils every time he hears about the abuse handed down by Teleria's nobility. But years of hiding in his father's smithy have taught him to avoid trouble. Content with being a blacksmith, the only disruptions in his well-ordered life are his disturbing dreams. It isn't until his twentieth birthday, when he receives a mysterious letter and sword from King Arathor - the man who claims to be his real father - that he wonders if his nightmares have become reality. If he believes Arathor, he will have a chance to end a twenty-year curse over Teleria, and free the people from King Rahnak's oppression. But it could also mean giving up his quest to find the mysterious woman with whom he shares an intimate heart connection.

Author Bio:
Michelle Gregory
is a mom of three, married to a wonderful man, and trying to fit writing into a life filled with taekwondo, doctor appointments, church, and homeschooling her kids. Before 2005, she had no idea that she wanted to write, or that she even had a story in me. Since writing her first novel, she’s discovered that she have many stories inside me, all clamoring for her attention. You can learn more about Michelle at her blog, Beautiful Chaos.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Friends We Keep ~ by Sarah Zacharias Davis

Friendship can be complicated, can’t it? In The Friends We Keep, A Woman’s Quest for the Soul of Friendship, Sarah Zacharias Davis, explores some of the joys and difficulties of friendship. We love our friends and we need our friends, so why then do we get jealous or resentful of them? Broken friendships can often be more painful than even the breakups we’ve had with boyfriends. Some friendships are broken off suddenly, while others wilt away over time until there’s nothing left. These are just some of the topics Davis explores as she attempts to navigate the often murky waters of friendship between women.

I did have some difficulty in reading this book, not because it isn’t good – it is, but because it caused me to reflect on friendships I’ve had and still have. But I’m glad I read it, and I’m sure other women will also give thought to, and freshly appreciate their current friendships, and let go of those that have ended. There is a discussion guide included at the conclusion of the book.


The Friends We Keep
A Woman’s Quest for the Soul of Friendship
By Sarah Zacharias Davis

During a particularly painful time in her life, Sarah Zacharias Davis learned how delightful–and wounding–women can be in friendship. She saw how some friendships end badly, others die slow deaths, and how a chance acquaintance can become that enduring friend you need.The Friends We Keep is Sarah’s thoughtful account of her own story and the stories of other women about navigating friendship. Her revealing discoveries tackle the questions every woman asks:

• Why do we long so for women friends?

• Do we need friends like we need air or food or water?

• What causes cattiness, competition, and co-dependency in too many friendships?

• Why do some friendships last forever and others only a season?

• How do I foster friendship?

• When is it time to let a friend go, and how do I do so?

With heartfelt, intelligent writing, Sarah explores these questions and more with personal stories, cultural references and history, faith, and grace. In the process, she delivers wisdom for navigating the challenges, mysteries, and delights of friendship: why we need friendships with other women, what it means to be safe in relationship, and how to embrace what a friend has to offer, whether meager or generous.


Author Bios:
Sarah Zacharias Davis
is a senior advancement officer at Pepperdine University, having joined the university after working as vice president of marketing and development for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and in strategic marketing for CNN. The daughter of best-selling writer Ravi Zacharias, Davis is the author of the critically-acclaimed Confessions from an Honest Wife and Transparent: Getting Honest About Who We are and Who We Want to Be. She graduated from Covenant College with a degree in education and lives in Los Angeles, California.

To get more information about The Friends We Keep, including online purchase options, simply visit: The Friends We Keep.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Go Out and Sell Something ~ by Rollis Fontenot III

Recently I had an author contact me and request that I read and review his book. While it is not a typical type of book that I do read and review, I agreed. As much as I personally “don’t like sales,” it’s become very clear to me in my normal walk of life, that we are all salespeople. Writers and speakers have to sell themselves, their books and their platforms, in order to get paid. Business owners have to sell why their business should be used. Job applicants have to sell themselves and their skills to get a job. Even ministry leaders have to sell their ministry to get people to serve with and support them. The list could go on and on.

Go Out and Sell Something!: The Recession-Proof Guide to a Successful Sales Career, by Rollis Fontenot III, is obviously a book about making a career in sales. I’ve read other sales books before and was really hoping this wasn’t just more of the same – and it wasn’t. I was actually pleased at the content of this book. Yes, Fontenot covered sales strategy, but that was only a small part of the book. It simply didn’t read or feel like a “sales” book. It actually seemed to be more about customer service and personal development. He spoke of the importance of listening to the customer/client, problem solving, and personal finance (even quoting Dave Ramsey greatly). He also points the reader to other great resource material, even the Bible.

This book is an easy read and I’m certain that sales professionals will like it. I’m also certain that others who realize that like it or not, in life they’re selling, will like it too.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall

What a delightful story! The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall is a beautiful and poignant story of love and family, lost and found. It shows the power of distrust and forgiveness. The characters are interesting, flawed and realistic. Woodsmall did a fine job of portraying a clash of cultures and personalities between the reality of a big city and an Amish community. It clearly shows the power of love and the importance of being true to yourself.

I thoroughly enjoyed this heartwarming story and recommend it to anyone who simply wants to sit back and enjoy a nice, well-told story. It is touching and hopeful, and will take you on the same emotional journey her characters are on.


The Hope of Refuge
An Ada’s House Novel
By Cindy Woodsmall

Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it’s no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God–“Be me to her”– despite how it threatens his way of life.

Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim’s sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stoltzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose–or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything–including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?


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 Hope of Refuge, including online purchase options, simply

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rick and Bubba's Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage - Book Review

I must say, I was looking forward to reading and reviewing this book, because by the title alone, I just knew it had to be funny! And I’m happy to report it didn’t disappoint! Rick & Bubba’s Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage by Rick Burgess & Bill “Bubba” Bussey is fantastic! These two radio hosts and self-proclaimed “sexiest fat men in America” have a lot to say about marriage! And most of it is pretty funny, but don’t let that fool you – there’s also a lot of nuggets of marital wisdom to be mined here, along with solid Scriptural Truths.

Within the pages of this awesome book are: Rules of Engagement for Women and Rules of Engagement for Men, Top Ten Things Not to Say on the Way to Your Honeymoon, Three Sides to Every Story, The Ten Commandments of Marriage, Top Ten Worst Ways to Say “I’m Sorry,” Rick & Bubba’s Anniversary Gift Chart, Differences Between Mom Discipline and Dad Discipline, Sample Apologies for Men and Sample Apologies for Women, Rick & Bubba’s Ideal Date Nights, and more.

If you are looking for a “different” kind of marriage book, this one’s for you. Included with the book is a Best of Rick & Bubba CD, and the formerly secret Book of Blame. I truly enjoyed it and I’m sure you will too.


Rick and Bubba's Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage
By Rick Burgess and Bill "Bubba" Bussey

The only thing funnier than marriage is Rick and Bubba talkin' about it!

Rick and Bubba are at it again, and this time it is all about marriage. Addressing such topics as apologizing (The Ten Worst Ways to Say I’m Sorry), communication (Grunting Is Not a Language), date nights (Worst Date Nights in History), finances (I Thought You Paid the Gas Bill), and playing sports together (I Did Too Let You Win), the two "sexiest fat men alive" will have couples everywhere tied in knots.