Monday, October 31, 2011

My review of Judgment Day by Wanda L. Dyson



Publisher: WaterBrook Press (September 21, 2010)

Suzanne Kidwall excells at exposing people's sins through her weekly cable news show Judgment Day - whether she has her facts straight or not. When a woman ends up dead on her living room floor and Suzanne is found with blood on her hands, she has her turn experiencing a taste of her own medicine - instant judgment in the eyes of the public for a crime she didn't commit. Her only hope is to turn to a private investigation agency to uncover the truth, an agency run by Marcus Crisp, her ex-fiance. As he and his partner, Alex, start shining a light on the facts of the case, it becomes clear that Suzanne has become entangled in something far beyond her grasp, something that has placed her life at risk.

I enjoyed the fast pace of Judgment Day as it untangled the web that Suzanne had become caught up in. Suzanne is an intriguing character with her obviously selfish manners and yet someone who you still can't help but like with her sometimes misguided methods of uncovering corruption and seeking justice. The book doesn't have a dull moment, and I was immediately drawn into the story from the beginning, where nothing is as it seems. Dyson is a skilled writer who does a good job of building the suspense and leading to a satisfying conclusion. I didn't find all the elements of the story to be perfectly plausible, but as a whole the story was highly entertaining and will definitely appeal to readers who love a good suspense story.

I strongly recommend the story and give it 4 out of 5 stars. 

Disclaimer: A copy of this ebook was provided by the publisher for the purposes of an unbiased review.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

2 Free ebooks including Time & Eternity by Allison Pittman, and Fuse of Armageddon by Sigmund Brouwer

Today, Tyndale Publishers made 2 of their ebooks FREE for a limited time, currently free from Amazon.com in Kindle format and as a general EPUB from Christianbook.com:


                    EPUB from Christianbook.com


                    EPUB from Christianbook.com

I have no doubt these books will soon become free for your Nook as well, but as of this posting they are not yet free.

For Time and Eternity is the first book in the Sister Wife series, and is no doubt being offered for free to promote the second book in the series (see my review of book two, Forsaking All Others, which was released October 1, 2011).

Enjoy!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Guest Post from Melody Carlson: Teens and Their Supernatural Pursuits

M Carlson Oct 10.jpg
Today's post is brought to you from the mighty pen of Melody Carlson, an author who has published over 200 books! I hope you enjoy this post, and be sure to check out her teen fiction book Moon White. Thanks for the post Melody :)




Teens and Their Supernatural Pursuits
By Melody Carlson

Have you even wondered why some teens are drawn toward things like Ouija boards or psychics? Or why séances are still popular at sleepovers? Does it just have to do with Halloween and that spine-chilling need for a good scare? Or could it be something more? And, as a Christian, should you be concerned?

Those questions, as well as some confused reader letters, prompted me to tackle the “supernatural” in one of my teen novels (Moon White, TrueColors, Nav Press). And whenever I write an issues-based novel, I’m forced to research—and often in some dark places. So I began scouring websites, learning more about Wicca and the occult, trying to grasp what was really going on with today’s teens—and how I could write about it in a helpful and relevant way.

But, as usual, when I write a teen book, I go back to my own adolescence...trying to connect with my inner teen...and I suddenly remembered a short era when a friend and I got very interested in witchcraft. I had honestly forgotten about this time and was fascinated to recall how we scoured some witchcraft stores on a local campus—I think we even purchased a few things. Fortunately, this interest was short-lived and I became a Christian not long afterward.

However, as I reconnected with my inner teen, I had to ask myself—why had I looked into witchcraft back then? Why do teens dabble with it now? Suddenly the answer became crystal clear. I was searching. I’d been calling myself an atheist for several years by then, but I was spiritually hungry—starving in fact. Consequently I was looking for spiritual answers—something that would fill that empty void within me. I wanted a supernatural force in my life and I didn’t even care where it came from. I needed something bigger than me, more powerful than me, something to hold onto. I had no idea at the time that I was really searching for God.

This realization changed the way I viewed my research. Instead of feeling disgusted and dismayed by the witchcraft/Wicca sites (which are not particularly enjoyable) I began to recognize that these people (mostly girls) were simply searching too. They wanted a power source in their lives just like I wanted one in mine. They just hadn’t found God yet.

This led to another discovery. A girl who’s attracted to a religion like Wicca is usually seeking to gain some control over her life. Something is wrong and she wants to change it. To do so, she’s often enticed to purchase something—like “magical herbs”—to create a potion that will give her some control over her situation. Unfortunately, she doesn’t even realize she’s being tricked.

But think about it, wouldn’t you love to have control over a bad situation sometimes? Wouldn’t you love to be able to change the circumstances that make your life unpleasant? So what if someone offered you the “power” to do just that? Perhaps if you’re fifteen, you wouldn’t see that person as a charlatan and you would fall for it.

Which brings me to another important factor in understanding this generation’s attraction to the supernatural. Follow the money. The more I researched, the more it became painfully obvious that Wicca and witchcraft and the occult are money-making enterprises. Thanks to the internet, these savvy distributors sell anything imaginable—and many things you can’t. That leads to some serious motivation—these marketers want to hook their unsuspecting young customers and reel them in. Of course, these potions and trinkets and how-to books don’t come with a money back guaranty. Nor are they approved by the FDA. Yet they are a multi-million dollar industry.

So, in a way, it’s a perfect storm. Teens that are insecure, lost, unhappy, and searching...meet up with an unregulated industry that offers supernatural answers and power and control...for a price. And, oh yeah, I never even mentioned how this opens a door for Satan to slip in and wreak havoc. For that...you’ll have to read the book.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Review: God Makes Lemonade by Don Jacobson



Publisher: Lemonade Books
Publication date: August 22, 2011

Book Synopsis as provided by publisher:

Do you know anyone who could use some encouragement? Perhaps that someone is you. In God Makes Lemonade you’ll read stories from everyday folks—people like you and me who discover unexpected sweetness in the midst of sour circumstances. Some of these real-life stories are laugh-out-loud funny, others are sobering, and more than a few will have you reaching for a tissue. But these true stories all have one thing in common: hope.

MY REVIEW

Jacobson has collected an entertaining, inspiring set of stories in God Makes Lemonade. I absolutely loved this book! The stories will grab your heart and bolster your faith. Anyone can find something to relate to within it's pages, whether you are struggling with cancer, with financial struggles due to losing a job, or struggling to parent a child with disabilities. The best part is knowing that the stories are true, that other people are experiencing similar things, and God is sustaining them through it.

God Makes Lemonade reminded me that God has a bigger plan at work in my life, a plan I might not see when I am in the midst of a painful time. These stories show that God doesn't leave us where we at, and they truly do inspire hope.

I suggest reading this book with a box of Kleenex nearby. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: Book was received courtesy of the publisher via Glass Road Public Relations for the purposes of this unbiased review.

About Don Jacobson
Don Jacobson
Don Jacobson's twenty-five years in publishing included serving as the president and owner of Multnomah Publishers, where he oversaw the production of more than 1000 titles, including the five-million-plus-selling series Stories for the Heart. He's had the pleasure of working with such best-selling authors as Randy Alcorn, Joni Eareckson Tada, Henry Blackaby, Robin Jones Gunn, Karen Kingsbury, Andy Stanley, and Bruce Wilkinson. Don's wife, Brenda, has been mentoring mothers for more than a decade.


Jacobson and his wife are passionate about helping single mothers and their children, so the royalties from God Makes Lemonade will benefit these unsung heroes through the LemonAid Foundation.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Free ebook, The Edge of Grace, by Christa Allan

The Edge of Grace by Christa Allan: Book Cover
Christa Allan's book "The Edge of Grace" is currently being offered for free as an EPUB ebook from Christianbook.com. For some reason, this ebook is not yet free in Kindle format or as a nook book, but those of you using a Kobo, Sony ereader, or even a Nook will be able to take advantage of this offer on Christianbook.com's site, which offers a very easy downloading process using Adobe Digital Editions (free software).

Check out my past review of this book here and after you've read the book feel free to leave me a comment letting me know YOUR thoughts on the book and it's sensitive handling of a tough subject matter, that of homosexuality and the Christian faith.



Enjoy!

You ACTUALLY believe in MIRACLES? A book review of "Miracles are for real" by Garlow & Wall



Publisher: Bethany House (November 1, 2011)

Book Synopsis from publisher:


Do you believe miracles still happen?

Definitely, you say, because you or a loved one has experienced a miracle--your sister survived a car accident that should have resulted in death. You received a check for the exact amount needed to cover this month's overdue electric bill, when your bank account was empty.

Or maybe you say, I'm not sure. You've heard stories, but you're skeptical. It seems there are a lot of imposters claiming to perform miracles.

The answer? Absolutely. And while the miraculous stories in this book are evidence of God's working today, that's just the beginning. Pastor and teacher Dr. Jim Garlow and writer Keith Wall carefully examine biblical teaching about miracles and provide honest, trustworthy information that will boost your faith. Whether you need a miracle today or you want to understand how to recognize a true miracle, this is your inspiring guide.

MY REVIEW

Miracles are for Real had me on the brink of tears one minute and in deep thought the next. The book is brilliantly written, interspersing real, true-life accounts of miracles with commentary on the reality of miracles, how to define them, why miracles take place. For those in the midst of a dark time, looking for a source of hope, this book is a great reminder of God's power and his love and his ability to walk with us through the tough times and move in a miraculous way. It will be impossible not to be inspired reading these examples of miracles, such as one about a child with an obvious brain injury being inexplicably healed! The book is based on clear biblical truths and provides a beautiful and balanced look at miracles. The authors do a great job of advising people from "chasing" after miracles, stating that "we should expect miracles, but they shouldn't be our ultimate goal...Miracles are thrilling, yet they can't compete with the miracle of an authentic life and a focus on always seeking to do the right thing". 

I think what I appreciated most is that the authors don't shy away from the difficult questions, especially the question that so many of us will face at one point, the question of why God doesn't always answer yes to our pleas for him to intervene and provide an obvious miracle when we are in the midst of tragedy and pain and suffering. But before a potential reader wonders "but what could THEY know about pain and suffering anyway?" they should realize that the authors have shown an unusual amount of courage and shared from their own real pain. Readers will be unable to scoff when they read the raw words of Jim as he shares the struggle his wife has been having with cancer, as her body is succumbing to disease despite their pleas for a miracle. His decision to share his own struggles bring a true and authentic feel to the book.

I strongly encourage any person, believer or non-believer, to pick up this book and have their eyes opened to God's love, his power, and the miracles he continues to work today. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

2 Free ebooks for your Kindle, Nook, Kobo from Abingdon Press

Go get two ebooks for FREE from publisher Abingdon Press, one a Christmas novel, and one a juicy mystery story. Remember that these are free only for a limited time, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christianbook.com:


          NOOK                  EPUB from Christianbook



          NOOK                  EPUB from Christianbook

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you!"

One of my very favourite sources of cool stories is from the parables that Jesus so aptly shared.

Recently, my small group was discussing Luke chapter 12 and the parable Jesus told about the rich fool:

“The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

I was struck by how often I am exactly like that rich fool, focused on myself and storing up things for my own pleasure instead of thinking about what God would have me do with the material things he's blessed me with. I might start thinking about getting a bigger house, a newer car, a big screen t.v., buying the latest fiction book, getting a robotic vacuum (because what would be cooler than THAT?). I might get focused on building up a big account for retirement and think "oh, once I'm retired, THEN I can start thinking about how God might want me to serve him more".

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all for putting aside money for a rainy day and being fiscally responsible. I don't think Jesus is advocating to give every penny away without any thought of the future. In fact, Paul writes in the book of Timothy that "8Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever". As a father, I especially feel the responsibility to care for my family, which would include some wise financial planning and ensuring that our family is going to be fed and clothed today, tomorrow, and 7 months from now.

But I don't want to be a fool either! It's very easy for me to be greedy - to want to spend all the money I make on myself and my own family. It's for me and people like me that Jesus warns "Be on your guard against all kinds of greed". What better way than to cut the greed out of my heart than by practicing cheerful giving to those in need, whether giving with money, with time, or falling to my knees and praying for those around us?

Help me, God, not to be a fool!

Monday, October 24, 2011

FREE Melody Carlson ebook, "Harsh Pink"

Harsh Pink, a young adult book written by Melody Carlson, is now available for free for a limited time for your Kindle or as an epub from Christianbook.com for your Kobo, Nook, or other ereader. Follow the link below to Amazon.com:




or grab an EPUB from Christianbook.com

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Advanced Reader's Copy Review: Lost and Found by Ginny L. Yttrup



Publisher: B&H Books
Publication Date: February 15, 2012

Jenna Bouvier feels trapped in her circumstances, trapped by the expectations placed upon her by her mother-in-law Brigitte and the demands of her social position. As Jenna battles her inner desires she must overcome her fears and the scars left by Brigitte's emotional abuse. She also forges an unlikely relationship with financial planner Andee Bell, who is conflicted by her own past and her need to control every aspect of her life. When Andee puts her own needs ahead of her ethics in order to win the trust of Brigitte, the result threatens everything Jenna has held secure, leaving her unable to lean on anyone or anything but God.

I found Lost and Found to be an absorbing read, as the focus shifted from Jenna's point of view to that of Andee and the spiritual director, Matthew, as well as some scenes from Brigitte's standpoint. While the switching back and forth from different points of view could make a novel confusing, the author is skilled at keeping the story moving and she uses the technique expertly.

The book is deeply introspective and plumbs the depths of our human condition and our relationship with God. The result is a novel that can seem slow at some points as the characters are stirring through their thoughts. However, the whole of the book is triumphant and the conclusion is true to real life. It doesn't provide a perfectly happy ending but instead shows how God's love can illumine our lives and guide us through the toughest of circumstances. I especially enjoyed the quotes from Jeanne Guyon throughout the story, which were full of deep truths and wisdom.

I give this book a strong recommendation and award it 4 out of 5 stars.

I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from the publisher via the netgalley program.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Free non-fiction Christian ebook "Branded" by Tim Sinclair for Kindle

For the past few days, publisher Kregel has made the ebook "Branded" FREE through Amazon. I've been waiting for this book to become free as an EPUB as well, but for some reason this book is not even available yet in this format through Barnes & Noble as a nook book or from Christianbook.com.

Anyway, for all you readers who have a Kindle, get this FREE ebook while you can:



Publisher: Kregel Publications (July 1, 2011)

Product Description 
The church spends $1.5 million for every one new follower of Jesus. Apple sells 26 iPads every minute. What is it that makes Apple so exciting and Jesus so boring? What is it that compels someone to bring their iPod everywhere and their Bible nowhere? In a word: marketing. Jesus is a life-changing product with lousy salespeople—people who are intimidated and embarrassed by the word “evangelism” and who show more enthusiasm for their gadgets than their God.

What would life look like if we stopped mass-marketing Jesus and started marketing our faith like Nike and Apple market their products--sharing relationally, from person to person? Using examples from these and other successful companies, author Tim Sinclair challenges Christians to throw out their casual attitudes toward faith and sign on for a marketing campaign for the Savior.

Written with the wit and wisdom of an experienced marketer, Branded peels away the feelings of fear and encourages readers how to share their faith in ways that are honest, authentic, and, most importantly, effective.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Precious Gift: My review of Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman and Ellen Vaughn



Publisher: Revell; Reprint edition (September 1, 2011)
Book Synopsis as provided by the publisher:

Mary Beth Chapman's life was not how she planned it. All she wanted was a peaceful life of stability and control. Instead, God gave her an award-winning singer/songwriter husband, crazy schedules, and a houseful of creatively rambunctious children. Most difficult of all, she would live through loss that she never could have imagined.

In Choosing to SEE, Mary Beth unveils her struggle to allow God to write the story of her life. She wrestles with some of life's biggest questions: Where is God when things fall apart? Why does God allow terrible things to happen? How can I survive hard times?

MY REVIEW

Equal parts inspiring and sobering, Choosing to SEE has the ability to change people's lives. Mary Beth Chapman clearly writes from the depths of her heart, with no hiding behind "Christianese" or pretending to be the "perfect Christian". Her story is one that will bring tears to your eyes and hope to your heart as you realize that although you will go through tough times, God is holding your hand the whole way through. God promises to never leave us nor forsake us, and Chapman's story so aptly displays this promise to us. 

The authors display great skill with the pen, and have written this moving account in an easy to read way that kept the pages flying through my hands. Their candid manner is so refreshing as we walk with the family through the struggles of their marriage, the reality of depression, the joy of adoption, the tragedy that came with the death of their child. How amazing God's grace is that He sustains the family throughout!

People who are struggling through tragedy should pick up this book. People who are worried they are not deserving of God's grace should pick up this book. People who don't want to admit they are Christians struggling with depression should pick up this book. Parents who have tasted the same loss as the Chapmans in losing a child should pick up this book. A message of comfort, of hope, of permission to be human, that you don't have to pretend to be perfect, that God never gives up on us - this is the message that breathes through Choosing to SEE

Written with great courage, this book deserves a full recommendation, and receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Free Christian Thriller Ebook by Robert L. Wise

Robert L. Wise's book, Shrouded in Silence, is temporarily available for free from publisher Abingdon Press, for your Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc. Get this one while you can!

        NOOK                          EPUB from Christianbook.com

New!! Follow my blog using FACEBOOK!

Hello all,

Some readers would prefer to follow my blog using facebook, so I've joined networked blogs to allow readers to do so. Please sign up using the new widgit on my site.

Thanks all :)

3 free fiction ebooks from Abingdon press (by Oden, Mabry, and Mayne)

3 Christian fiction titles have become free from Abingdon Press as of today. These have all previously been made free in the past, but if you missed them last time, be sure to get them now. I've posted links to Amazon for your Kindle, Barnes & Noble for your Nook book, and to Christianbook.com for a general Epub that can be put onto your Kobo or Sony Device or other ereader.

The titles include:

      NOOK                  EPUB from Christianbook

      NOOK                  EPUB from Christianbook

      NOOK                  EPUB from Christianbook

Monday, October 17, 2011

Heart warming & satisfying read: My review of House of Secrets by Tracie Peterson




Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: October 1, 2011

Book Synopsis as provided by the publisher:


When her father orchestrates a surprise trip to the summer house of her childhood, Bailee Cooper is unprepared for what follows. What is intended to be a happy reunion for Bailee and her sisters quickly becomes shrouded by memories from the past.

Together again, the three sisters sift through their recollections of fifteen years ago...of an ill mother, and of their father making a desperate choice. One sister believes their silence must end and the truth be revealed. But they soon come to wonder if they can trust their memories.

Mark Delahunt arrives in the wake of this emotional turmoil. Determined to win Bailee's affection, Mark becomes a strong fortress for her in this time of confusion, and what was once a tentative promise begins to take root and grow. Caught between the past and an uncertain future, can Bailee let God guide her to healing...or will she risk losing the chance to embrace love?


MY REVIEW 

I found House of Secrets to be a heart-warming and satisfying read. Tracie Peterson has successfully taken a difficult topic, that of schizophrenia, and deftly woven it into the midst of an excellent family drama. Despite the serious subject matter, I found that the book flowed smoothly along and kept my interest from the first chapter to the excellent conclusion. Bailee is a character who will capture your heart with her struggles to overcome the past and her desire to succeed in life while somehow overcoming her fear. Peterson expertly unveils the truth of her past and the tragedies she experienced with spot-on pacing and so kept the pages turning. I especially enjoyed the scenes of Bailee's past, when I was able to view the impact her mother's actions had on her as a child. In an age of human rights, it is somehow easy to focus on the parents views and their rights, and miss what the children may be experiencing as a result of their parent's mental illness. Bailee's dad was also an intriguing character, as we walk with him through his successes but also the terrible mistakes that he made. Underpinning the family drama are deep truths about God's love and his mercy and forgiveness, and ultimately the hope that he gives us. In the midst of all of these difficult topics, Mark's love for Bailee despite her flaws and her family history is truly a testimony of God's love, and his character is an inspiring one.

Readers who have enjoyed previous contemporary novels by Peterson will be more than satisfied with her latest book and should plan on picking it up as soon as possible! I highly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Teach your children to save: My review of Three Cups by Tony Townsley and Mark St. Germain



Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: November 8, 2011

Three different cups marked give, save, and spend start a little boy on an adventure to learning the value of money, of saving, and of giving away to others. Three Cups follows a boy and his family on a simple journey to learning profound truths that not only teach financial management but the joy found in giving as well.

Beautiful illustrations and an easy-to-read, engaging story make Three Cups a book that will greatly appeal to children. It can be difficult to make financial management interesting for children to learn about, but Townsley and Germain have managed to do just that! Children will enjoy learning about how money can be saved in their own bank account, used to buy something they've had their heart set on, or the difference giving money to others makes not only in recipient's life, but in the giver's heart as well. The section at the end for parents is quite practical regarding how to start using the 3 cup system.

Parents with young children who want guidance on how to teach their children to handle their money well, while learning the importance of giving to those in need, should plan on purchasing this book for their own family. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and a solid recommendation.

Disclaimer: Ebook was received courtesy of the publisher through the Booksneeze program, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A comforting and beautiful book: My review of Heaven is for Real for kids by Todd & Sonja Burpo



Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: November 8, 2011

At the age of 4, Colton had an amazing experience – he visited Heaven. His story has been chronicled in the book Heaven is for Real, and a children’s version of that book has now been created, filled with beautiful illustrations. In the pages of this book, Colton shares about his journey to heaven and what he saw and experienced, such as seeing angels and Jesus and playing with animals.

I believe that the children’s version of Heaven is for Real is a book that any child will be able to relate to, from the comforting and well-rendered pictures, to the fascinating details of what Colton saw and experienced, as conveyed in his own words. The book provides a message that is Biblical in nature and therefore is one that can inspire confidence in parents that their children will not be learning something that differs from the Bible’s teachings. Colton’s journey is told in an easy to read manner, one that will leave your children wide-eyed with wonder. I really enjoyed the scripture verses scattered throughout, filled with God’s amazing promises, such as the verse about Jesus preparing a place for us. The book emphasizes the truth that Jesus really loves children, which is such an important message for all children but especially those who feel unloved or ignored. For such children as these, I truly wish I could get a copy of this book into their hands.

I must admit that as I was looking at the pictures, my first question upon seeing the drawings of the children was why do they have wings? This question must have been anticipated as it is answered at the end of the book, and really the Bible does not state either way whether this is the case, so I did not find this to be a detail that detracted from the message.

I highly recommend this book for your children, and even for their parents too! 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Thomas Nelson, via the Booksneeze program and netgalley, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book Review: Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin



Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: October 1, 2011

Book Synopsis as Provided by the Publisher:

Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. But the happily-ever-after life she's planned on suddenly falls apart when her boyfriend breaks up with her, accusing her of living in a world of fiction instead of the real one. To top it off, Alice loses her beloved library job because of cutbacks due to the Great Depression.

Longing to run from small-town gossip, Alice flees to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to the tiny coal-mining town of Acorn, a place with no running water, no electricity, and where the librarians ride ornery horses up steep mountain passes to deliver books. When Alice is forced to stay in Acorn far longer than she planned, she discovers that real-life adventure, mystery--and especially romance--may be far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.

 
MY REVIEW


Wonderland Creek was, quite simply, an absolute delight to read, and I enjoyed every moment that I was immersed in it's pages! Alice Grace Ripley is one of the most wonderful characters I've encountered in some time, primarily because she is a character who simply loves reading, and her quirks and tendencies are so very realistic that they kept me (and my wife) in stitches when we read certain scenes! I felt affinity with her right from the first chapter, where she covertly read a few pages of her book during a funeral because she had to find out what happened next, or when her boyfriend complained about her walking while reading and so walking into a lamp post! Oh, how many times in my past I've done similar things, even trying to drive once while skimming a page (horrendously dangerous I know and not a move I've repeated since).

Alice's adventures in the mountains of Kentucky as a pack horse librarian, taking care of the former slave, Lillie, and helping Mack uncover a mystery were absolutely entertaining to read about, filled with deep, tender moments interspersed with laugh-out-loud scenes. Alice's transformation throughout the story from a person with no gumption to a person confident in who God has made her to be is beautiful to behold. Most of all, I loved the faith that is revealed in the pages of this story, especially the truths uttered by Lillie, her ear attuned to God's Spirit, her prayers filled with faith and fervor. The romance that unfolds is sweet and natural and sure to leave you with a smile on your face.

Lynn Austin is a masterful story teller, and fans of her previous works will completely savor her newest release. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Do not fear for I Am with you." Thank-you JESUS!




What an amazing God we serve!!!

I was reminded again today of God's goodness to us, of His faithfulness, of His amazing presence. So often I can struggle to have the courage I need to freely share his love, or I can let the fear of the future and the unknown capture all of my attention. I can hide behind my fear and focus on the things of this world and neglect my walk with Jesus. I can hide behind the guise of not being "offensive", and so neglect to share the power of God's love.

Isaiah 43:10 says "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand".

No matter my fears or insecurities, God has chosen me, has chosen to be with me and to strengthen and help me.

When I feel afraid of offending someone with my beliefs, He is with me and will give me courage.

When I feel overwhelmed, He is with me and will give me peace.

When I am mired in grief and loss, He is with me and will comfort me.

When I am worried about finances, He is with me and reminds me that He will provide.

God is so good. Listen to this amazing song, and praise the great name of Jesus!


3 new free fiction ebooks from Abingdon press (by Strom, Allan, Mabry)

Abingdon Press has released 3 of their fiction novels for FREE today for a limited time. They include:


        NOOK   


        NOOK         


        NOOK

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book Review: Softly and Tenderly by Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck



Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: January 4, 2011

Softly and Tenderly is the second book in the Songbird series, and continues the story of Jade, as written by country-singer/writer Evans and Christian fiction author Hauck. I did not have the pleasure of reading the first book in the series, but found that it did not impact my ability to enjoy this book. In this second installment, Jade's world is rocked when she and her mother-in-law June make a discovery that shocks Jade and causes her to question everything she thought about her husband's family. When Jade then learns that her husband Max had a child with another woman, a child she was never told about, she must confront her past and her present in order to decide whether she will be able to move forward into an uncertain future.

Evans and Hauck have written a moving story, one that is filled with deep characters and family dynamics that are raw and real. The characters are faced with struggles any family may encounter – cancer, drug abuse, infertility, affairs, and I found my heart aching for Jade and June and their past and present difficulties. The shocking discovery that is unveiled in the first chapter sucks you into the story and awakens your empathy for the characters, and I found the story to move along swiftly. The story is carefully crafted, and I enjoyed the author’s creative descriptions, such as when they write “the kitchen was like a structural hug, cozy with June’s Southern hospitality and dabbled with yellow and gray smoky mountain sunshine dripping through the skylight”.

The writing is sensuous in places, earthy, raw, and the story unfolds layer by layer in a way that exposes the depths of the characters emotions. I found myself moved by the characters ability to forgive, which is handled in a realistic manner. Readers who enjoy contemporary novels will resonate with this book, and will find their faith both challenged and inspired. Some of the closing words are profound, such as when Jade notes “But it was facing the pain, pushing through the heartache, that brought her to this moment of peace. Life had true hope for her”. These are words that we all may aspire to when we are faced with our own tragedies.

I strongly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Thomas Nelson, via the Booksneeze program and netgalley, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Free ebook: I Surrender All: Rebuilding a Marriage broken by Pornography

Navpress has just made a nonfiction ebook FREE for a limited time, a book based on a true story about pornography and it's effect on marriages. The book can be obtained from Amazon (kindle format), Barnes & Noble (Nook format) or from Christianbook.com (general EPUB for any ereader i.e. Kobo Touch):

             EPUB from Christianbook                       NOOK book



Product Description

Clay Crosse was a soaring success in Christian music, but his secret sin threatened everything. He burst onto the contemporary Christian music scene with his 1994 hit "I Surrender All." And over the next four years, his star climbed higher and higher with more number one hits and sold-out concerts. But beneath his success lurked a dark secret: He was addicted to pornography. No one knew he had a problem-not even Clay-until the day God took away his singing voice. What followed was the story of the power of grace and forgiveness. Now Clay and Renee tell their story with the prayer that it will help countless other marriages-perhaps even yours.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Book Review: A Necessary Deception (the Daughters of Bainbridge House) by Laurie Alice Eakes

 

Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: October 1, 2011

Book Synopsis as provided by the publisher:

When young widow Lydia Gale helps a French prisoner obtain parole, she never dreams she will see him again. But just as the London Season gets under way, the man presents himself in her parlor. While she should be focused on getting her headstrong younger sister prepared for her entrée into Society, Lady Gale finds herself preoccupied with the mysterious Frenchman. Is he a spy or a suitor? Can she trust him? Or is she putting herself and her family in danger?

MY REVIEW

Eakes has written a story chock full of interesting historical details about London Society and the social tension due to the war between Britain and France, providing a splendid backdrop for a story of family drama, new love, and political intrigue. The scenes were filled with just enough action to keep the story moving, while allowing the reader to delve into the characters' minds and hearts and empathize with the difficulties that they face. Lady Gale is a likable character with an independent streak tempered by a love for her sisters and a desire for them to do well in life and marry for a greater love than she experienced in her own marriage. Christien de Meuse, the Frenchman whose motives Lydia cannot quite figure out, is a character who displays the characteristics that all good men should display such as bravery, courage, and ultimately selflessness. Their faith is dealt with in an honest manner, allowing them to struggle in a very human way as they wrestle with their beliefs in God in the midst of difficult circumstances.

I must admit that some of the mystery, when resolved, did not quite seem believable in explaining why the events unfolded the way they did. It simply did not seem likely that so much time would pass between the villain's attempts to "wrap up" the situation and achieve his purposes. I don't want to say more as I would hate to give any of the plot away, but this aspect of the story did not quite live up to my hopes for the book.

However, readers who enjoy historical romance with well developed characters, heart-warming relationships, and a dash of suspense will definitely enjoy this book. I give this book a solid recommendation and award it 4 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Awaken your Faith! My review of "Behind the Veils of Yemen" by Audra Grace Shelby



Publisher: Chosen Books
Publication Date: September 1, 2011

Book Synopsis as provided by the publisher:

Women began to arrive in the entry hall, peeling away their black outer coverings. I watched in amazement as shimmering bodies emerged from the black shrouds. One woman sparkled in a purple silk caftan, her arms gleaming with gold jewelry. I smiled to myself. If people only knew what was under those veils. I looked at their faces, artfully painted with makeup, not at all how they appeared in public: dark eyes in narrow black slits. They were like the beauties of Arab folklore. I was awed by the transformation.

With only prayer and a faith that always seemed too small, Audra Grace Shelby departed with her husband and children on a one-way flight to Yemen...deep into the heart of conservative Islam. With honesty and passion, she shares her harrowing journey as a Christian woman thrust into a culture dangerously different from her own. From the friendships she forged, to her gnawing doubt and fear, to her offers of hope when her new friends' religion failed them, she gives us glimpses of a world most have never seen: behind the veils of real Muslim women--and how the grace of God touches lives in the midst of an Islamic stronghold.

MY REVIEW:

I will be the first to admit that I prefer a good fiction novel to a non-fiction book. But something about Behind the Veils of Yemen called to me to choose it first from the stack of books sitting on my desk waiting to be read. I am so glad I picked it up, as the author's heart-felt, grace-filled writing captured me from the first page. Shelby's book is unbelievably moving, a very well-written account of a true story that has the potential to change lives. I got so wrapped up in the story that I read it in one sitting!

What I appreciated most about this book is that the author does not attempt to hide behind religious platitudes, doesn't attempt to pretend to be the "perfect" Christian who is untouched by earthly worries. Instead, her writing is honest and raw, and reveals the depth of the emotions of her heart, her struggles to believe in moments of crisis but also the triumph of God's grace and the power of the name of Jesus. The truth contained in the pages of this book will need time to mull over, to think about what God is trying to reveal to us personally through it's message. And it would be impossible to read this book without coming away with a new appreciation for those living in Muslim countries, people like you and I, people desperate to know that God loves them and that his love is not dependent on their own actions.

I love what the author writes near the beginning of her book, where she states about God that "He had chosen me not because of who I was, but because of who He is". Now, there is a God worth serving, a God who loves us just the way we are, but who doesn't leave us there either, a God who chooses to use us to change the world, even when we don't deserve that honor. Thank-you Jesus!

I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars. If you don't plan on reading anything else this year, please do read this book!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

FREE Ted Dekker & Tosca Lee Forbidden Prequel ebook for Kindle, Nook, Kobo epub

Ted Dekker & Tosca Lee wrote a fantastic beginning to their new The Books of Mortals series in their novel, Forbidden. Now, a prequel to the series entitled The Keeper: A Short Story Prequel to Forbidden has been released as a FREE ebook for a limited time for your Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or other ereader:

    NOOK                  EPUB from Christianbook


Product Description

In the Russian wasteland, a man named Talus bears a secret so terrible that it will cost him no less than his life to share it... a secret so terrible that he must share it in order to find those who will help him protect the knowledge that will one day save humanity. He has chosen two brothers, both hermit monks, to join him in his quest. But time is short... and no man is ready to receive the news that Talus must now share with them both: That they are both already dead.

ENJOY!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Free Max Lucado ebook: God's Story, Your Story: When His Becomes Yours

Max Lucado's ebook, God's Story, Your Story: When His Becomes Yours, has become free for a limited time from publisher Zondervan. It is available for your Kindle, Nook, or as a general epub for your KOBO or other ereader device:

       Christianbook EPUB       NOOK

4 FREE ebooks from Abingdon Press (fiction & non-fiction)

Abingdon Press, publisher of great Christian fiction and non-fiction, has made 4 of their ebooks free for a limited time:


      or NOOK   

      or NOOK   

      or NOOK         

      or NOOK

Get these books while you can for your kindle, for your nook, or as a general epub (from Christianbook.com) for your Kobo or Sony ereader.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Book Review: Waking Hours by Lis Wiehl with Pete Nelson



Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: October 4, 2011

Through her work with the District Attorney's office, forensic psychiatrist Dani Harris is thrown into a case involving a female youth who is brutally murdered. Dani's former childhood acquaintance, former pro-football star Tommy Gunderson, offers his help as an upstart private investigator. Soon the two of them are racing to uncover the truth of what happened, before someone else dies.

Waking Hours was a fantastic read, a very promising start to a new series taking place in East Salem. The supernatural suspense was chilling, the plot tightly woven, and the dialogue swift. The relationship developing between Tommy & Dani was highly entertaining, and some of their dialogue had some memorable lines that were very humorous. I thought that all of the characters as a whole were well-developed and believable, and I am very thankful to know that I can look forward to meeting these characters in future works. I have to say that this is my favourite Lis Wiehl book yet, and while I’ve never before had the pleasure of reading a book by Pete Nelson, it is clear he is a talented author. I honestly found the plot to be flawless, and I have been left craving for more.

Waking Hours will definitely appeal to readers who love mystery and supernatural suspense. I highly recommend this book, giving it 5 out of 5 stars.

This book has been provided courtesy of the publisher via the Booksneeze program and netgalley for the purposes of this unbiased review.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

2 free ebooks from Tyndale for your Kindle, Nook, Kobo

Tyndale Publishers have made an additional 2 ebooks free as of today, for a limited time.

Only Amazon.com is offering the following book free at this time:



However, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christianbook.com have made the following book free:

       NOOK      Christianbook as an EPUB


What a great month this has been so far for free ebooks! Get them while you can!