Sunday, April 25, 2010

Never Say Never ~ by Lisa Wingate

This was such a fun book to read! Never Say Never is the third book in the Daily, Texas series, by Lisa Wingate. It is a light-hearted, easy read, with a bit of romance, a dash of drama, a lot of humor and wit, with a heap of good old-fashioned wisdom thrown in. The characters are quirky and fun and the way they interact with one another is thoroughly enjoyable. This delightful book made me laugh out loud several times and kept me completely interested throughout. Generally I consider a thriller or mystery to be a page-turner, but this book I must say certainly qualified for that description. If you’re looking for great summer reading, this book is a must!

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


Never Say Never

By Lisa Wingate

Sometimes life's storms blow in unexpected possibilities

Kai has never put down roots in any one place--and she doesn't plan to. But when a chaotic hurricane evacuation lands her in Daily, Texas, she meets hometown-boy Kemp Eldridge, and she begins to think twice about her wayfaring existence. Until she discovers he may be promised to someone else. But Daily usually has a few surprises in store--especially when Aunt Donetta has cooked up a scheme.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kaleidoscope ~ by Patsy Clairmont

This is the first book I’ve read by best-selling author and Women of Faith speaker Patsy Clairmont. Kaleidoscope: Seeing God’s Wit and Wisdom in a Whole New Light is a fresh new way of looking at Proverbs (my favorite book of the Bible). The book is lighthearted, powerful and deep all at once, while being as entertaining as it is enlightening. Patsy shares many humorous stories and anecdotes, mostly from her own life. The chapters are easy to read and not particularly long, which makes it an easy, light and comfortable devotional.

Kaleidoscope has an Intro and thirty-two chapters. Each chapter has a fun or quirky title, a specific verse from Proverbs, followed by commentary, then Bits and Pieces (which is a section for personal reflection) and finally Held to the Light (the last section, which is other Scripture verses from throughout the Bible). It would be easy to read on the run, which would make it perfect for a gal on the go, or can be read slowly, taking time to savor the nuggets of wisdom contained within. This wonderful book would be great for women of all ages and stages. It would make a great gift for self or others.

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



Patsy Clairmont

Acclaimed author and Women of Faith speaker Patsy Clairmont causes womens' hearts to leap and their hopes to lift in this quirky, straight-to-the point look at the Proverbs.

Understanding the Christian life and the Bible can be a daunting task. But maybe God didn't mean it to be so hard. In Kaleidoscope of Proverbs, Patsy Clairmont pieces together some powerful messages from God and reveals new facets of beauty, inspiration, and instruction. Written for busy women, Patsy offers brief, powerful chapters that address the key aspects of their lives, hearts, and relationships.

In the Proverbs, God gives us small gems of hope and truth, and in Kaleidoscope of Proverbs, Patsy Clairmont unveils them for readers with her trademark humor and insightful teaching.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Making Money From Home ~ by Donna Partow

Have you ever wanted to work from home? And be successful at it? Successful author, entrepreneur and ministry leader Donna Partow has been doing so very well for over 20 years. Her latest book, Making Money from Home, is filled with fantastic advice, tips, suggestions and plain old common sense. It covers topics such as: Getting Started, Time Management, Money Management, Priorities, Options, Marketing, Business Basics, Sales, Social Networking and (most importantly) Family Time.

The current economic crisis our Nation is in, has shown us (if we didn’t already know) there is no job security and we are responsible for our own financial well-being. People are starting out every day, and succeeding in, operating a business of their own. There is a ton of information out there on how to, but what is really accurate. It is imperative to find a trusted source and build from there. With Making Money from Home, we find that it is possible to have a profitable business of our own, without being all alone. It is a wonderful resource that will benefit both new entrepreneurs and those who would like to take their business to the next level.

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


Making Money From Home

Donna Partow

In tough economic times, conventional jobs can be hard to find. A home-based business could be the answer for many people. Making Money from Home compares the cost of working outside the home with the benefits of working from home. It provides readers with the tools they need to run a successful home business, such as time management advice, details on the foundations of a solid business, tips on marketing goods and services, legal issues to consider, and information on how to use the Internet effectively and how to create a business plan.

Her Mother's Hope ~ by Francine Rivers

Wow, what a fantastic book! With her latest book, Francine Rivers has done it again! Her Mother’s Hope is the first book in a sweeping saga, filled with hope, love, tough love, sorrow, drama, dreams dashed and dreams realized. It is a story about the complicated and often emotional relationship between mothers and daughters. The characters are real, they are flawed, and they are thoroughly engaging.

This was a book that I couldn’t put down. It wholly captivated my attention. My only problem with this book is that it ended. I cannot wait for the second book to come out.

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


Her Mother’s Hope

Francine Rivers

The first in an epic two-book saga by beloved author Francine Rivers, this sweeping story explores the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters over several generations. Near the turn of the 20th century, fiery Marta leaves Switzerland determined to find life on her own terms. Her journey takes her through Europe and finally lands her with children and husband in tow in the central valley of California. Marta’s experiences convince her that only the strong survive.

Hildie, Marta’s oldest daughter, has a heart to serve others, and her calling as a nurse gives her independence, if not the respect of her mother. Amid the drama of WWII, Hildie marries and begins a family of her own. She wants her daughter never to doubt her love—but the challenges of life conspire against her vow. Each woman is forced to confront her faulty but well-meaning desire to help her daughter find her God-given place in the world.



How did you get started as a writer?
From the time I was a child, I knew I would be a writer. Because I didn’t know what I would write, I majored in English (emphasis in literary writing) and minored in journalism (emphasis on who-what-when-where-why). My parents had always been non-fiction readers. Rick’s family loved all kinds of books – and lots of fiction. Mom Edith loaned me novels and I loved them. On a dare (from Rick) I decided to write a combination of my favorite genres and wrote a “western-gothic-romance”. Romance novels were booming in the general market, publishers were on the look-out for new writers. My first manuscript sold and was published. I was hooked! I followed with eight or nine more (of what I call my B.C. (before Christ) books). They are all now out of print, are never to be reprinted, and are not recommended.

When I turned my life over to Jesus, I couldn’t write for three years. I tried, but nothing worked. I struggled against God over that because writing was my “identity.” It took that period of suffering “writer’s block” to bring me to my senses. God was trying to open my eyes to how writing had become an idol in my life. It was the place I ran to escape, the one area of my life where I thought I was in complete control. (Hardly!) My priorities were all wrong and needed to be put right. God first, husband and children second (we had three children by then) and third-- work. I prayed God would change my heart. My love for writing and reading novels waned and my passion for reading and studying God’s Word grew.

Rick and I began hosting a home Bible study. I began working with Rick in his business. The children came along and played in the office, hiding in the shipping popcorn. Writing ceased to matter. I was in love with Jesus and my husband and children. God never stops with the transformation process. We began studying the book of Hosea, and I sensed God calling me to write again – this time a romance about Jesus’ love for each of us. Redeeming Love was the result. It is the retelling of the Hosea story, set in Gold Rush-era California. After I turned it in, I wasn’t sure whether I would write anything more. I had so many questions about what it means to be a Christian, how to live for God, different issues that still haunted me. I felt God nudging me toward using my writing as a tool to draw closer to Him. I would ask my question, create characters that would play out the different viewpoints and seek God’s perspective. I began work on A Voice in the Wind. Writing has become a way to worship the Lord through story – to show how intimately He wants to be involved in our lives.

Christian fiction continues to boom. What would you like to see happen in the field?
I want to see Christian fiction speak to the hard and real issues that tear people’s lives apart. We need writers who are willing to ask the hard questions and go through the soul-searching and agonizing to find answers – and present these stories with skill that surpasses the general market. Some of the greatest works or art and literature were rendered by Christians. I believe God is at work in these areas now. I would also love to see more Christian stories make it to the big screen and into the world of television, and to have the Christian worldview presented fairly. Much of what comes out of “Hollywood” appeals to the basest side of mankind and crushes the spirit. Right now, with war and a failing economy, people are hungry for stories that inspire them, lift them and give them hope. People need to know there are solutions and we can have peace and an abundant life -- even in the midst of trials.

What is your goal or mission as a Christian writer?
I want to whet the appetite for the real thing: the Bible and a personal relationship with Jesus. I try to weave Scripture throughout the story so people receive the Word and see what it might mean in their lives – how the Lord is present and real and passionately interested in each of us. He is not an idea. He is real, all-powerful, all-knowing, the embodiment of love, deeply involved in our existence, and He created each of us for a purpose.

What advice would you give to a new writer?
Write what you need to read. Write from your heart and. Write truth. Sometimes it hurts to peel away the layers of self-deception and see ourselves in the mirror, but it will also draw us closer to Jesus. And your work may minister to others struggling with the same issues. Read the Bible every day so that it will flow naturally into the story. Study the Bible from beginning to end. It is the most exciting reading in the world. It is also alive – and will help you recognize when you are entering into sin and need to realign yourself with the Lord. Keep your focus on Jesus.

Tell us about your current work.
I have just completed the second in a set of two books about mother-daughter relationship over four generations. This was intended to be one long novel dealing with the different ways generations have lived out their faith – but became so long it needed to be divided. Her Mother’s Hope will be released March 16, 2010. Her Daughter’s Dream will follow in September. There are numerous family and personal details woven into both books and I plan to share those things on my blog.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hunter's Moon ~ by Don Hoesel

This was a different kind of book for me. Hunter’s Moon by Don Hoesel is really more of a guy kind of book, with more emphasis on sports, hunting and fishing than what a girl normally reads. But overall, I liked it. It’s a smart book, with multiple layers, complications, twists and turns. It was a wonderful portrayal of the danger and harm that secrets can inflict, even to the point of being a destructive force that seems to take on a life of its own. I particularly enjoyed the honest portrayal of a new-found faith, with both its strengths and weaknesses, along with the symbolic wrestling over moral dilemmas.

It was a bit slow to begin with, but it really picked up and drew me in. And I wasn’t especially satisfied with the end, but I suspect the author finished exactly the way he intended. I would easily recommend Hunter’s Moon to many of my guy friends, and maybe even some women, but all in all, I’d say it’s much more a great read for guys.

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


Hunter’s Moon

By Don Hoesel

Every family has its secrets...

Bestselling novelist CJ Baxter is known for writing hard-hitting stories ripped from his own life. But there's one story he's never told. A toxic secret that's haunted him too long.

Now, after seventeen years, CJ is headed home, determined to expose the truth. But a black sheep airing the family's dirty laundry is the last thing CJ's brother, Graham--and his campaign for Senate--can afford. With so much at stake, there's nothing the Baxters won't do to keep their secret...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers

I’ve just finished reading The Murderer’s Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers. By far, most of my reviews are books for a Christian audience. This one is not. Had I known the content of the book prior to reading it, I wouldn’t have agreed to do so. There is nothing wrong with the writing mechanically. However, I did not like this book. At all. I found it to be depressing, predictable, and full of every cliché imaginable for a dysfunctional family. It is void of hope, healing, recovery, or reconciliation. The characters seemed flat, completely one-dimensional. The dialog was stilted and redundant, while the use of profanity was highly excessive, particularly the use of “Jesus” and or “Christ” as profanity. I do realize there is a gritty realism of pain and brokenness portrayed, but it is so without hope, I found it utterly discouraging. Many people will like this book (as evidenced by the vast amount of stellar reviews it has received), but to me, worse than the waste of money to purchase it, is the waste of time required to read it. I truly hate giving poor reviews and wish I didn’t have to do so here, but I simply cannot recommend this book.

This book was provided to me for review by St. Martin’s Press.


The Murderer’s Daughters

Randy Susan Meyers

With a plot inspired by an incident from her childhood and, later, by her work with batterers, Meyers weaves a compelling story about two sisters on a journey to overcome the collateral damage of family violence. The book’s protagonists, Lulu and Merry Zachariah, are sisters left orphaned after witnessing their father kill their mother. Following their father’s imprisonment, the girls suffer at the hands of uncaring relatives, a tough-as-nails orphanage and, finally, a foster family ill-equipped to nurture them. As they mature and cope with their traumatic past in dramatically differently ways, their imprisoned father remains a specter in their lives, affecting every decision they make.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Girls Life Application Study Bible ~ NLT

I was so excited to have the opportunity to review this Girls Life Application Study Bible. As the mother of a girl, it is my heart’s desire that she would love the Lord and His Word. This Bible will be perfect for her (she’s still too young now, but I’m keeping it for her)! It is the New Living Translation, so it’s easy to read, with a lot of features that are specific to young girls. The color and design will be especially pleasing to most young ladies. I especially thought “What Now?” (learning how to make good choices in tough times) and “I Survived!” (personal survival stories from older teens about how they made it through) would be especially helpful for today’s young ladies. It is fun, colorful, zany and full of great information in addition to Scripture. It’s hard being young today, especially for a girl, and a stiff, stuffy old Bible won’t speak to girls in a way that can be heard by them, but a Bible like this surely will.

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


Girls Life Application Study Bible

New Living Translation

An edition of God’s Word created for girls ages 11 and up, based on the best-selling Life Application Study Bible. Packed full of notes and features, the Girls Life Application Study Bible is easy to use and helps answer some of the questions preteen girls have about God and life. Discovering God’s will for their lives has never been this much fun!

~ “What Now?” Learn how to make good choices in tough times

~ “I Survived!” Personal survival stories from older teens about how they made it

~ “Amazing Facts” Bible trivia

~ “At a Glance”—the lives of famous women in the Bible—good and bad—become lessons for teens

~ “Is It OK?” A reality check on what the Bible says about the questions that are really on your mind

~ 2-color interior; 16 pages of full-color illustrations about Bible times

~ Book introductions and timelines

~ Charts and 3-dimensional maps

~ Unique colored pattern on outside of page edges