Friday, January 29, 2010

Thicker than Blood ~ by C.J. Darlington

Thicker than Blood is the debut novel of C.J. Darlington, the latest Christian Writers Guild winner. And it does not disappoint! It is gritty, raw, and real. The characters are flawed, with baggage and pain to spare. But Darlington does a fantastic job of showing the difference God can make in brokenness. She paints a vivid picture of how hurting people hurt people, how forgiveness breaks down walls, and how reconciliation is a healing balm. The message of only God can save us is clear, but not overwhelming or forceful.

The cover is stunning and the story combines two of my favorite things ~ books and horses. I highly recommend this book. I also think it would make a great gift for friends or family who are hurting or on the fringe.

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


Thicker Than Blood

C.J. Darlington

Christy Williams finally has her life on track. She’s putting her past behind her and working hard to build a career as an antiquarian book buyer. But things begin to unravel when a stolen Hemingway first edition is found in her possession, framing her for a crime she didn’t commit. With no one to turn to, she yearns for her estranged younger sister, May, whom she abandoned after their parents’ untimely deaths. Soon, Christy’s fleeing from her shattered dreams, her ex-boyfriend, and God. Could May’s Triple Cross Ranch be the safe haven she’s searching for? Will the sisters realize that each possesses what the other desperately needs before it’s too late?

A stunning debut from the latest Christian Writers Guild winner.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Wish You Enough ~ by Bob Perks

What a fantastic little book! I Wish You Enough by Bob Perks is truly a delightful read. It is a gift book based on the poem by the same name. It is beautiful, colorful, warm and endearing. Perks has expanded each line of the poem into a chapter that contains stories, insights, wisdom and Scripture, along with gorgeous artwork. Topics included in the chapters are sun and rain, happiness and pain, gain and loss, and “Hello’s” and “Goodbye.” It is easy to read and stays with you, as any good book should.

The words to the poem are:

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

This small treasure would make a great gift for young and old alike. For parents and children. For siblings, friends, Sunday School teachers, and anyone else who may be important to you. But don’t forget to make it a gift for yourself as well!

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


I Wish You Enough

Bob Perks

When having more leaves you empty, you’ll discover true happiness lies in enough!

I Wish You Enough encompasses 8 values needed for true contentment and happiness, and transforms them into 8 wishes—or sentiments—for the reader. Through short, inspirational stories about everyday people, author Bob Perks reopens our eyes and hearts to the abundance all around that we so often take for granted.

Big Book of Exercises ~ by Adam Campbell

As this is the beginning of a new year, it seems appropriate to be doing a fitness book review. The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises by Adam Campbell is a comprehensive and valuable guide to fitness for women. There are fantastic color photos used for examples, hundreds of exercises targeting specific body areas, and it even includes specializedworkouts and great information on nutrition. It reviews the importance of using weights in a workout program and why it is so important.

Overall, I really liked this book. It has an enormous amount of useful information that is broken down into simple terms and examples, so that even a beginner can use it effectively. It truly has something for everyone. However, it may be best for someone who has access to a gym which already has all the required equipment. Many women (particularly those just starting out in fitness) simply don’t have all (if any) of the equipment required to accomplish many of these exercises. Other than that, it really is a valuable resource!

This book was provided to me for review by Rodale Publishers.


The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises

Adam Campbell

The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises is the essential workout guide for anyone who wants a better body. As the most comprehensive collection of exercises ever created, this makeover manual is a body-shaping power tool for both beginners and longtime fitness buffs alike. From start to finish, this 480-page makeover manual bulges with hundreds of useful tips, the latest findings in exercise science, and cutting-edge workouts from the world's top trainers.

Inside The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises you'll find:

619 Exercises!
All expertly demonstrated with color photographs, with dozens of movements for every muscle in your body, including:
* More than 100 core exercises! You'll never run out of ways to sculpt your abs.
* 74 biceps, triceps, and forearm exercises: Tone your arms faster than ever before.
* 64 chest exercises, to burn more calories and even help give your bosom a lift.
* 103 back exercises, to make sure you turn heads in your backless dress.
* 40 shoulder exercises, so you can wear a tank top with confidence.
* 99 quadriceps and calves exercises, to help you look great in a pair of shorts.
* 62 glutes and hamstrings exercises, for the perfect backside.

Hundreds of workouts!
From cover to cover, you'll quickly see that there's a training plan for every fitness goal—whether you want to shrink your hip, find your abs, or shape your arms. Highlights include:

* The World's Greatest 4-Week Diet and Exercise Plan
* The Get-Your-Body-Back (Fast!) Guide
* The Prenatal Workout

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rediscovering God in America ~ by Newt Gingrich

Rediscovering God in America is a beautiful and highly-informative book by Newt Gingrich and featuring the photography of his wife Callista Gingrich. It is a “walking” tour of Washington, DC with stunning photos of various places and Newt offering insightful commentary, historical information, quotes from the Founding Fathers, and Scriptural references. The book is almost seems to be a gift book with high-quality paper and its richly textured cover. It is extremely well done, full of fascinating information, captivating and interesting, and an easy read.

Tour stops include: The National Archives, The Washington Monument, The Jefferson Memorial, The Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, The Capitol Building, The Supreme Court, The Library of Congress, The Ronald Reagan Building, The White House, The World War II Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetary.

Rediscovering God in America would be an asset to any library. It would please any history lover. It would be a strong resource for learning and teaching about amazing Washington, DC. And it would be the perfect addition to any visit to our Nation’s Capital, offering a different perspective on the sites toured. This book is a must-have for anyone who considers themselves to be both a Christian and a Patriot.

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


Rediscovering God in America
Newt Gingrich

Take a walk through Washington, DC with Newt and Callista Gingrich to view our nation's historic monuments and memorials. You will quickly find yourself on a profound and surprising walk of discovery and renewal.

Your first stop will be the National Archives, where Thomas Jefferson's immortal words from the Declaration of Independence that all "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights," jump off the page with the inescapable truth that from day one in our country's history, the source of freedom was neither the state nor even the Founding Fathers.

Targets of Deception ~ by Jeffrey Stephens

In his debut novel, Targets of Deception by Jeffrey Stephens hits a homerun! It is a thrilling and suspenseful ride, which made it difficult to put down! There are great twists and memorable characters. It is fast-paced and action packed. The story is so well written, it is almost hard to believe that this is Stephens’ first book. The topics of international intrigue and terrorism are hot right now, and Targets of Deception is at the front of the pack! I really enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of this genre.

Note: Unlike most of my reviews, Targets of Deception is not specifically geared toward Christian readers. There is a small amount of profanity used in the book.

This book was provided to me for review by Ascot Media Group.


Targets of Deception
Jeffrey Stephens

When Jordan Sandor resigned from active service with the Central Intelligence Agency, it was before 9-11, before the fall of Saddam Hussein, before the world had so dramatically changed. He is reluctantly drawn back into action, when a series of violent events leads him to search out a new al-Qaeda conspiracy to initiate a new wave of cataclysmic assaults with poison gas.

Sandor follows the deadly trail from New York to Florida to Paris and, ultimately, to the small town of Portofino on the Italian Riviera. Never sure who he can trust and who may be an enemy, Jordan relies on his experience, instincts and skills as he risks his life to uncover plans for attacks against the United States and its allies. The terrorist strategy is cunning and far-reaching, with the lives of millions of people at stake. When Sandor discovers a rogue agent behind the plot, he realizes he is the one man who can prevent the catastrophe.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The One Day Way ~ by Chantel Hobbs

What a great book to begin the New Year! The One Day Way is the latest fitness book by personal trainer and life coach Chantel Hobbs. Chantel does a wonderful job of simplifying the process of losing weight, getting fit and gaining health. It’s so simple it’s brilliant ~ focus on one meal, one pound, one day at a time. She shares a little bit of know-how with a whole lot of common sense. And she is as encouraging as she is motivating. There are tips, suggested meal plans and snacks, stories, easy exercises and my two favorites, the Ten Commandments for Weight Loss, and the Ten Commandments to be Fit for Life. The foreword is written by Mike Huckabee. If you’re looking for a good fitness book, that is easy to understand and adapt, The One Day Way is it!

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


The One Day Way
By Chantel Hobbs

The One-Day Way produces lasting results by taking you back to basics. No more complicated weight-loss strategies. No more expensive diet plans that achieve only temporary results. Instead, you will lose weight and get fit with Chantel Hobbs’s simple, high-energy meal plans and her at-home program for cardio exercise and strength training. She will teach you how to change the way you think, which leads to new actions. Before you know it you will be strong, fit, and healthy. All it takes is doing things differently for twenty-four hours—and then repeating it.

The One-Day Way gives you everything you need to lose weight and get fit in body, mind, and spirit:
~ Break free from past dieting defeats
~ Learn a realistic, life-changing way to measure success
~ Change the way you think so you can change your life
~ Translate your dreams into goals, and your goals into lasting achievements
~ Get strong with thirty-one simple exercises, no fancy equipment required
~ Take advantage of ten ways to eat better while you lose weight

By focusing on food, faith, and fitness, Chantel shows you not only how to lose weight, but how to build the new life you were designed to live. You don’t have to wait any longer. The One-Day Way gives you all the tools for success, starting right now.

Author Bio:
The author of Never Say Diet and The Never Say Diet Personal Fitness Trainer, Chantel Hobbs is a motivational speaker, life coach, personal trainer, marathon runner, wife, and mother of four whose story has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, the 700 Club, and the covers of People and First magazines. She appears weekly on two fitness-themed radio programs and promotes her One-Day Way Learning System on television. Visit Chantel at for fitness updates and coaching tips.

To get more information about The One Day Way, including online purchase options, simply

No Room at the Inn

Hunger, homelessness and hopelessness. Most of us know it’s out there, but if we’re fortunate, it doesn’t touch us. We don’t experience it. In fact, most of us don’t even know someone who has experienced it. But it’s out there ~ and closer than we may realize. No Room at the Inn is a multi-media Christmas experience that is a part of The Hungry Planet Bible Project. It includes a CD and DVD featuring the homeless and hungry reading from the Christmas story, statistics, resources, and ideas to help. It is guaranteed to open our eyes to the anguish and poverty around the world, and right here in America. It will help us to open our eyes, hearts and hands, and be moved to action. As Christians we should have a heart to help in one way or another. I highly recommend this experience.

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


No Room at the Inn
The Hungry Planet Bible Project

No Room at the Inn is part of The Hungry Planet Bible Project. No Room at the Inn is an Advent devotional experience that helps readers prepare their hearts to celebrate the birth of Christ. Through compelling stories, Scripture readings, and application, readers will learn what it means to “love your neighbor.”

But what is The Hungry Planet Bible Project? The Hungry Planet Bible Project is raising awareness of the plight of the homeless and hungry. It will mobilize the church into action on behalf of the poor. The Hungry Planet Bible Project is traveling 10,000 miles across America to dozens of cities and rural communities, giving a face and a voice to the hungry and homeless.

Using cutting-edge interactive multimedia, the experience they bring utilizes video, audio, print, photography, an interactive travelogue, social networking, forums, prayer walls, and donation sites to inspire us to put our faith into action on behalf of the poor. Along with their recitation of Scripture, the homeless and hungry will bless and teach us through their emotional stories of failure, life, and faith. This major initiative brings together retailers, churches, the media, food pantries, homeless shelters and other organizations to help us as Christians achieve the ministry goals God has laid on our hearts.

DVD-ROM Features:
~ The Christmas story as narrated by the homeless and hungry
~ Behind-the-scenes mini documentary highlighting the Hungry Planet Bible Project
~ Small Group Discussion Guide with ideas for coordinating a church or neighborhood food drive
~ Creative ways to help make life more comfortable for those in need
~ Triumphant stories of hope and courage in the midst of pain and sorrow

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Measure of Mercy ~ by Lauraine Snelling

A Measure of Mercy, which is the first book in the Home to Blessing Series by Lauraine Snelling, was a pleasure to read. It was lighthearted for the most part, but there was real depth to it as well. I’m sure that many of the readers will understand and identify with the primary struggle of the protagonist ~ how does one know for sure that she is truly hearing God and obeying His will?

The characters of Blessing are warm and inviting and I can’t wait to get to know them better in the additional books of the series. It was well-written, had great dialog and the pace was comfortable. My only complaint was that there were many references to other instances which are not covered in this book (I presume they will be as the series progresses), and that was a bit confusing at times. But overall, A Measure of Mercy is a good read and I would not hesitate to recommend it.

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


A Measure of Mercy
Home to Blessing ~ Book 1
By Lauraine Snelling

Eighteen-year-old Astrid Bjorklund has always dreamed of becoming a doctor. She had intended to study medicine in Chicago or Grand Forks, but when a disaster wiped out a major portion of her family's income, Astrid stayed home instead, receiving hands-on training from Dr. Elizabeth. Joshua Landsverk left Blessing two years ago, but he's never forgotten Astrid. Returning to town, he seeks to court her. Astrid is attracted to him, and when the opportunity unexpectedly opens for her to go to Chicago for medical training, she finds it difficult to leave. Love blossoms through their letters, but upon arriving back home, she makes a heartbreaking discovery. Will she have to give up love to pursue her dream?